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Lakshadweep

Lakshadweep is a state/Union Territory of India.

Lakshadweep is a Union Territory of India. It consists of 36 coral islands totaling 32 km in the Arabian Sea, between 200 to 300 km off the coast of Kerala. The islands are the northernmost among the Lakshadweep-Maldives-Chagos group of islands, which are actually the tops of a vast undersea mountain range, in the Indian Ocean and the Arabian Sea.

The main islands are Kavarrati (capital of Lakshadweep), Agatti, Minicoy, and Amini. The total population of the 10 inhabited islands is about 60,595 according to Census 2001. Agatti has an airport where there are direct flights from Cochin.

The name of the archipelago literally means hundred thousand islands (laksha = one hundred thousand, dweep = island). Prior to 1973, the island group was known by the anglicized name Laccadives. n 1956, despite the fact that most of the Islanders were Malayalis, the States Reorganisation Act separated these islands from the mainland administrative units, forming a new union territory by combining all the islands. Lakshadweep forms a single Indian district and is governed by an administrator appointed by the central government of India. The union territory comes under the jurisdiction of the Kerala High Court at Kochi. The territory elects one member to the Lok Sabha.

The people of the islands speak a dialect of Malayalam and almost all of them are Muslims. It is a folk belief that they are descendants of traders who where washed up on the islands during a particularly heavy storm. Coconut is the main crop cultivated in the islands. Lakshadweep is India's largest producer of coconuts. About 2,598 hectares are under coconut cultivation and the productivity per hectare is 22,310. Coconuts cultivated in the Lakshadweep are also rich in coconut oil.

Ships are the major means of transportation for the islanders. Ships are operated from Kochi, Mangalore or Beypore (Calicut). Advance bookings are required. There are vessels operating between some of the larger islands like Kavaratti, Androth, Kalpeni etc.