Experiencing The Real Lakshadweep
Minicoy is the southernmost island which is more closer to Maldives than to another Lakshadweep island. The nearest Lakshadweep island to Minicoy is Kalpeni which is around 450 Km away whereas the nearest Maldives island Addu is just 139 Km away from Minicoy. Minicoy coves an area of approximately 4.22 sq km and is the second largest island after Androth. Although its official name is Minicoy, the people here like to call it Maliku, meaning the good harbor. Maldives is divided into nine different villages or athiris which are separately administered by an elected male representative called 'mopan'. The villages can be distinguished by their color and the symbol. The people of Minicoy are a hard working lot. During a major part of the day, you will find the men out in the sea fishing or sailing the international trade routes. It is only in the evening that all the men return back to the islands.
The most unique aspect of Minicoy is definitely its culture. The culture here is totally different from what is found in other islands of Lakshadweep. It is more similar to the customs and traditions in Maldives island. Mahl is the main language spoken in Minicoy which is common to Maldives. Though there are few people who speak Malayalam as well. Unlike other societies, Minicoy is a matrilineal society which means family descent is traced through female line. Here a man lives either in his mother's house or his wives.
The most important attraction on Minicoy island has been same for more than the last 100 years. Built in 1885 by the British, the magnificent lighthouse has become a symbol of pride for Minicoy. It is one of the oldest surviving structures in entire Lakshadweep. Climb till the topmost platform on the lighthouse from where you can get mesmerizing views of the unending sea and the lush green Minicoy islands. The light house is still functional and shows path to all the ships passing by.
For tourists, there is nothing better in Minicoy than shopping. From the moment you enter Minicoy you will know that people of Minicoy love colors. One of the hobbies of the people here is to craft woods and paint them in the most vibrant colors. They prove to be a great memorabilia to take back home. Also indulge in snorkeling, which is unbelievably refreshing and rewarding in the long and shallow lagoons here. Sea walking barefoot is not a viable option as the sea bed is rocky and rugged.
For accommodation, there is a 20 bedded Minicoy Resort that is among the most well organized government resorts in Lakshadweep islands. It is situated on the southern side of the island, close to the lighthouse. Every cottage has an open to sky bathroom with a coral laid floors. The arrangement for food is maid on the courtyard at the entrance itself. Although you are served food according to their choices but if wish to taste the Minicoy specialty, then you have to give an advance notice. The Lakshadweep tourism also organizes traditional Minicoy Bandiya and Lava dances.
Minicoy can be visited with Lakshadweep Tourism's Swaying Palms and Coral Reef packages. For commuting inside Minicoy, there are tempos which are the only means of transportation on the island.