Lakshadweep islands attract visitors from all around the world with their stunning natural beauty. However, entry to the islands is allowed subject to some severe conditions. Moreover, visitors have to stick to many local rules, violation of which attracts severe legal action. Having an idea about these dos and don'ts would be of great use to travellers planning a trip to this paradise.
Handle coral reefs with care
The biggest attraction of the Lakshadweep Islands is the amazing sight of coral reefs that come in all colours and shapes. However, take care that you enjoy their visual beauty only – never ever try to touch them. Lakshadweep, being a union territory, has strict laws to protect the coral reefs formulated by the Central government. This makes destruction or even touching the reefs punishable. Remember this rule during your stay on the islands to save any kind of trouble.
Keep off alcohol
Alcohol is banned on all islands of Lakshadweep, except Bangaram. The local people detest drinking and visitors, too, are expected to respect local sentiments. Also, never entertain any idea of carrying liquor to the islands from your place as that also invites strict official action.
Ban on addictive substances
Apart from alcohol, other substances which cause addiction are also banned in Lakshadweep. Never carry drugs or any other addictive items to the islands as you will attract stringent punishment.
Swimming is ok, but…
Any visitor to a place surrounded by water would be tempted to take a dip and enjoy. But while taking a bath or swimming in the pristine blue waters of Lakshadweep, remember to wear respectable swim wear. Otherwise, swimming will not be allowed.
Entry to several islands banned
Outsiders need a special permit to enter Lakshadweep. No entry will be allowed without this document. Travellers from Kerala can obtain the permit from the office of the Lakshadweep administration at Willingdon Island in Kochi.
Land of coconuts
Keralites may consider that their state is the land of coconut trees. But a visit to Lakshadweep will convince them that the islands, too, deserve that honour. Coconut trees have a special place in the landscape of Lakshadweep and in the life of the local people. Though the islands abound with coconut groves, never attempt to climb a coconut tree or pluck a nut. Both acts are illegal for outsiders. All the coconut groves are owned privately and picking a coconut is considered theft.
Lakshadweep consists of numerous islands, both inhabited as well as uninhabited. In fact, there are only 11 islands which have human habitation. For travellers from India, entry is allowed to Agatti, Bangaram, Kadmat, Kavaratti, Kalpeni, and Minicoy islands only. Meanwhile, foreigners can visit only Agatti, Bangaram and Kadmat. Tourists have to take care to avoid stepping into islands where they have no permission to visit. Always obey the instructions of the guides in this regard.
Costly drinking water
The poetic lines 'Water water everywhere/ nor any drop to drink' hold true for Lakshadweep. Though surrounded by a wide expanse of the sea, many islanders have to depend on bottled water to quench their thirst. The innumerable coconut trees create an ironic situation whereby tender coconut water is cheaper than drinking water in Lakshadweep.
Still, even with all these restrictions, the beautiful Lakshadweep islands are worth a visit. The amazing natural attractions of the place will truly leave memories that will last a lifetime.