Lakshadweep – Culture and Tradition

Lakshadweep – Culture and Tradition

Lakshadweep is a union territory and is the smallest Union Territory of India. Earlier they were known as were also known as Laccadive Islands. Lak Lakshadweep made up of 39 islands, there are twelve atolls, three reefs, and five submerged banks. These islands are quite famous for their beauty and the sun touching the sea coast and lush green landscape. Kavaratti is the capital of this union territory.

The name Lakshadweep in Malayalam and Sanskrit means ‘a hundred thousand islands’. The sandy beaches, natural landscapes, the abundance of flora and fauna, and the absence of a rushed lifestyle increase the beauty of Lakshadweep.

History

Lakshadweep map

People started living on the island for the first time when Cheraman Perumal, the last king of the Chera dynasty ruled in Kerala. In olden times, people lived here in Amini, Kalpeni Androt, Kavaratti, and Agati. Some archaeology of archaeology suggests that Buddhist people lived here in the 5th and 6th centuries.

Some people here believe that in 661, an Arabic person Ubedullah started the religion of Islam here. His tomb is seen on the island of Androt. In the 11th century, the island was ruled by the Chola dynasty and later by Kananor.

In the 16th century, the Portuguese ruled the territories between Ormuz and Malabar and to the south as far as Ceylon. Portuguese took it completely in 1498 and later started taking the production of Kahapar, ie Kathi, but in 1545 the people removed him from here.

In the 17th century, the island was ruled by Ali Raja / Arakkal Bhivi of Kannur, but he was granted this territory as a gift by Kolathiris.

In 1787, the archipelago of Aminidivi (Androth, Amini, Kadmat, Kiltan, Chetlath, and Bitra) went under the occupation of Tipu Sultan. But after the Third Anglo-Mysore War, the region came under British occupation and became part of South Kanara. The remaining territory was handed over to the Arakkal family of Kananore, but in return, they also had to pay it every year.

If payment was not made for any year, then the British used to run the administration of that region themselves. All the islands here were connected to the Malabar district of Madras province during the reign of Britishers.

On 1 November 1956, when all the states of India were being rebuilt, Lakshadweep was separated from Madras and declared as a Union Territory. Before naming the island, some people called it Lakkadiv, Minicoy, and Aminidivi islands but on 1 November 1973, it was named Lakshadweep.

Culture

Lakshadweep Culture

The culture of the Lakshadweep group is quite rich. There are many types of practices and traditions here. People of the religion, Islam live in this region, but here people of other religions also get to see festivals and dances. The earlier inhabitants of Lakshadweep were Hindus who had migrated from the Malabar coast of Kerala and converted to Islam in the 7th century. It is said that a person named Ubedullah has made a big contribution in bringing Islam religion here.

Due to Lakshadweep being close to Kerala, there is a lot of influence on the tradition and tradition of Kerala. Festivals like Muharram, Bakri Eid, Miladunnabi, and Eid ul Fitr are celebrated with great enthusiasm here.

Languages

People living on this island speak like the people of Kerala and a mixture of Indian and Arabic language is seen in their language. People of Lakshadweep speak only in the Malayalam language, but in the Minicoy area here, a type of Dhivehi language called Mahl is used by people here. Jeseri (Dweep Bhasha) is also spoken.

Costume

Minicoy women
Minicoy women Source: womenfitness.org

The plain, but colorful costumes of Lakshadweep, and the Amini cluster of islands, deserve praise, for their inherent sense of artistry. The tribal men, of this coastal land, other than Minicoy, don themselves in a white or colored lungi, coming as a rectangular piece of cloth, with its edges, stitched together. The younger generation wears a shirt over lingo.

The women of Lakshadweep wear kachi, it is similar to lungi but is unstitched along the edges. The color of Kachi is either black or white with black borders. The top wear for women is a long-sleeved jacket. The front of the jacket is very vibrant and embroidered.

The headdress is known as thattam, which is a long scarf covering head and shoulders. Not only men but also women tie a silver thread around the waist. Though this is still followed by very old people, the male section in the present generation wear white dhotis, pants, and shirts while the female wear pavada, churidar, sari, salwar kameez, maxi, etc

Cuisine

Lakshadweep Cuisine
Lakshadweep Cuisine Source: yatra.com

Lakshadweep is very famous for its seafood and Kerala cuisine has its influence on their food habits. Rice is their staple food, locals usually eat rice with non-vegetarian dishes and vegetarian curries. Coconut is an important ingredient in most dishes, and fried fish is a must-have in any menu. The seafood forms the main ingredients of their food. Squid and Octopus can also be found in the region. Tuna fish is mostly available which is either grilled, baked, or fried. The main dishes are rayereha (red tuna curry), sannath (white coconut-based tuna), parotta, Idli, dosa are commonly seen here.

Coconut bondas and Moah appam are famous local sweets, while kadalakka is sugar-coated sweets made of ground rice and pulses. There is no alcohol but fresh coconut water is readily available. Lakshadweep exports in large quantities, and tender coconut water, which will be among the sweetest you’ve ever tasted. The spicy and tangy delicacies will surely give you another reason to visit Lakshadweep islands again and again.

Fairs and Festival

With the majority of the population belonging to the Muslim religion and the festivals celebrated here are Muslim festivals. Most widely celebrated festivals are Independence Day and Republic Day, Milad – Ul – Nabi, Idulfitr, Bakrid, and Muharram. Among other festivals celebrated by the inhabitants of the island are Moulood Festival, Katuvili, and Ratheed. Ratheeb and Maulood are performed before undertaking new ventures like the construction of houses, the building of Odams (sailing crafts), etc.

Dance and Music

Minicoy folk dance
Minicoy folk dance Source: lakshadweep.gov.in

Both Music and Dance in Lakshadweep are highly influenced by Islam culture. Kolkali and Parichakali are two major folk dance of the area, and these folk dances usually depict the joys and sorrows of the people. These folk dances strike an emotional chord in your heart and are very popular being close to their tradition and culture. Kolkali literally means stick dance and is performed with sticks, while Parichakali literally means ‘the Shield Dance’ done with shields and swords by men. These traditional dances are performed on auspicious occasions like festivals and marriage.

Lava is the most popular dance of Minicoy and Opana is popular in marriages where a song is sung by a lead singer followed by a women group. Oppana Muslim dance which is a dance form of Kerala Muslims is also performed by tribes in the marriage celebrations. Folk dances are similar to that of the ones in northeastern India.

Art and Crafts

The Art and Crafts of Lakshadweep got its boon by growing tourism in the region. The most widely made crafts are that of coir, corals, shells, and oysters are also used to make decorative items. You can also find crafts of coconut shells and tortoise shells. You can find many decorative craftsmen crafts and jewelry using corals, shells, and oysters from roadside and beach stalls.

Famous Personality

K. Nalla Koya Thangal: politician
P. M. Sayeed: politician
P. Pookunhi Koya: politician
Muhammed Hamdulla Sayeed: politician
Mohammed Faizal P. P.: politician

Tourism

lagoon
lagoon

Lakshadweep is an irresistible attraction for beach lovers, adventure lovers, and eco-tourists. Clear and unspoiled water in the Lakshadweep makes it a neat and perfect destination for diving. Here you can discover marine life with scuba diving with excellent underwater visibility. Lakshadweep Islands offer beautiful shallow lagoons that are perfect to go snorkeling and spot exotic marine life. The isles of Lakshadweep are a paradise for all the water sports addicts who offers offices for exercises like yachting, swimming, water skiing, scuba jumping, kayaking, windsurfing, and paddling.

You can catch the most colorful treat by watching the sunrise and sunset at the beaches. Every island has something unique to offer so you can catch the government-run ferries to cover all the island and do island hopping. The blue sea lashing against the beaches of Lakshadweep, shimmering in the golden radiance of sunlight makes Lakshadweep a dream-destination.

Coral islands are created by tiny sea-creatures called polyps. To protect the skeletons of Calcium carbonate. When they die, these skeletons turn into large masses of white limestone. Hence the sane in Lakshadweep is white.

Agatti Island

Lakshadweep can be entered from Agatti Island itself. The island is about 459 km away from Cochin. The island of Agatti is about 6 km long. A large number of fish are found on this island. Fishing is the main occupation of the people here.

The island has some special beaches on which swimming can be done. Tourists can enjoy swimming, snorkeling, and scuba diving to the fullest. Due to the large bay here, this island looks even more beautiful. People on this island can enjoy scuba diving, fishing, boating, boat riding, water skiing, and kayaking.

Kadmat Island

Lakshadweep
Lakshadweep

Kadmat Island is the most beautiful island here, so it has become the main attraction of tourism. There is a large bay to the west of the island which is situated only 10 km away from Ko Amini.

Kavaratti Islands

It is the most developed island in Lakshadweep. Kavaratti is also the capital of Lakshadweep and the island is mostly inhabited by people from outside. There are many mosques (about 52), of which the mosque of Ujra is the most beautiful.

Kalpeni Island

Kalpeni is located at a distance of about 76 km from Androt. This place is situated in a large bay. There are different types of sea jive in this bay.

Bangaram Island

Bangaram Island

Bangaram Island is considered the best tourist destination in the world due to its very soft sand and some tree forests. Due to the sea here, the sand is so fine and soft. The island is about 8 km north of the island of Agatti.

Minicoy Island

Being so close to the Maldives, the islanders have a closer affinity to the Maldivian way of life and speak in Mahl. Minicoy Island is also known for its diverse marine life, which can be easily explored with a boat cruise. The lighthouse on Minicoy Island is a must-see. The awesome blue lagoons, white sand, an ideal place for water sports like Scuba, Snorkeling, Kayaking, and swimming in the perfect setting to get lost in tranquillity and solitude.

Avatar for Simmi Kamboj

Simmi Kamboj

Simmi Kamboj is the Founder and Administrator of Ritiriwaz, your one-stop guide to Indian Culture and Tradition. She had a passion for writing about India's lifestyle, culture, tradition, travel, and is trying to cover all Indian Cultural aspects of Daily Life.

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