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    Kavaratti

    The Kavaratti is the capital of the Union Territory Lakshadweep in India.The Island of Kavaratti lies 360Km of the coast of the State of Kerala at 10.57°N 72.64°E. is the closest major city on the Indian mainland at a distance of 404 km (218 nmi). It has a lagoon area of 3.46 sq mi.Karavatti has been selected as one of the hundred Indian cities to be developed as asmart city under PM Narendra Modi’s flagship Smart Cities Mission.

    he Kavaratti Island is the headquarters of the Union Territory of Lakshadweep. This island is at a distance of 404 km (218 nautical miles) from Kochi and is located between Agatti Island on the west and Andrott Island on the east. It lies between 10o 32′ and 10o 35′ N latitude and 72o 35′ and 72o 40′ E longitude, having an area of 4.22 sq km. Maximum length of the island is 5.8 km and width is 1.6 km. It has a lagoon having a length of about 6 km and an area of 4.96 sq km.

    The island is 2 to 5 m above the mean sea level on the western side and 2 to 3 m on the eastern side.It is located in the centre of Lakshadweep archipelago. Strangely Kavaratti has a small inland lake at its Northern end. The island itself is stretched over an area of slightly more than 4 sq kms and has the maximum percentage of non – islanders as residents.

    As is the case with other islands of Lakshadweep, Kavaratti has warm sandy veaches where toursits can unwind themselves. Though the beaches are narrow, the lagoons around Kavratti are fabulous with star fish, anemones, sea cucumers, countless multi- hued fishes astounding corals. Located to the west of the Island the lagoon is best suited for swimming, kayaking, wind surfing and canoeing. To the South of the Island lies Chicken Neck point which is an absolutely fantastic place for water sports including scuba diving and snorkelling. A glass bottom boat ride offers tourists and opportunity to view the rich marine life and an array of extraordinary corals.

    Kavaratti has the maximum number of mosques in Lakshadweep. Out of the 52 mosques Jamnath, mohidden and Ujra are prominent ones. Jamnath mosque is a massive structure having the largest tank of any mosque in the islands. Mohidden Mosque is an ancient mosque that lies to the North- West of Kavaratti. One of the oldest and most striking is the Ujra mosque built by Sheikh Mohammad Kasim. The 17th century structure has an ornate ceiling, said to have been carved out of a single of driftwood.

    Its pillars are also intricately carved. Women are not permitted to visit its main prayer hall. Sheikh Mohammad Kasim’s grave is located in the mosque which is revered by the islanders. There is a well in the precints of the mosque that contains water having curative powers. A few blocks away from the Ujra Mosque lies an aquarium which is also a museum. The aquarium has a variety of multi – coloured species of fish.

    Yet the main attraction is a small shark that is placed in a large glass compartment and shares space with sea cucumbers, octopuses, schools of fishes and few anemones. The museum displays different types of shells, extra ordinary and numerous fishes preserved in glass jars. Just next to the museum is the Dolphin Dive centre that offers diverse PADI (Professional Association of Diving Instructors) programmes for amateur and professional divers. The trained and expert divers give instructions on diving and other water sports at PADI which is one of the world’s largest leisure diving organization.

    Accomodation in Kavaratti is available close to the jetty. There are a few tourist huts with attached bathroom and balcony. Tourists can savour the buffet that generally serves Malabar cuisine including spicy tuna fish, chicken and sweet potato. Kavaratti is covered in two packages offered byt the Lakshadweep Tourism department namely Coral Reef and Taratashi packages.

    Climate

    The climate of Kavaratti is similar to the climatic conditions of Kerala. March to May is the hottest period of the year. The temperature ranges from 25oC to 35oC and humidity ranging from 70 -76 per cent for most of the year. The average rainfall received is 1600 mm a year. Monsoon prevails here from 15th May to 15th September. The monsoon period raises temperature to the mercury level between 27- 30 degrees. During the monsoon time, boats are not allowed outside the lagoon because of the violent sea. The presence of the reef maintains calm at the lagoon.

    Island at a glance
    Population (2011)11221
    Density (per Sq.km) 2396.
    Access byAir and Sea from India,South-west coast.
    Locationlies between 10o 32′ and 10o 35′ N latitude and 72o 35′ and 72o 40′ E longitude
    Distance to Malabar coast 404 km (218 nautical miles) from Kochi
    Total geographical Area 4.22 Sq.km
    Maximum Length 5.8 Km
    width 1.6 Km
    Temperature32oC (Max.) to 28oC (Min.)
    Humidity70-75%
    Highest Rainfall241.8 mm.recorded in 24 hours
    Literacy Rate 88.29