The Lakshwadeep islands in the Laccadive Sea, off the south western coast of India have had a relatively sheltered existence through much of their history, though there are mentions of the islands in ancient travelogues. Comprising a string of 36 coral islands draped in palm trees 300 km off the coast of Kerala, Lakshwadeep is as stunning as it is isolated. Only 10 of these islands are inhabited, mostly by Sunni Muslim fishermen with fishing and coir production the main sources of income.
Created in most part by the accumulation of coral and fringed by stretches of reefs, the islands are also home to over 600 species of marine fishes, 78 species of corals, 82 species of seaweed, 52 species of crabs, 2 species of lobsters, 48 species of gastropods, 12 species of bivalves, 101 species of birds. The real attraction of the islands lies underwater: a fascinating world of pristine archipelago lagoons, unspoilt coral reefs and warm waters that draw in enthusiastic snorkelers and the more adventurous divers. Besides the main island housing the administrative headquarters at Kavrati, the archipelago contains the islands Kalpeni, Minicoy, Kadmatt, Agatti, Bangaram. Facilities for scuba diving, kayaking, canoeing, yachting, snorkelling, wind surfing and water skiing are available at Kadmatt.