Lakshadweep, India Orientation


One of the uninhabited islands in Bangaram Atoll, Lakshadweep.

from Wikipedia by Lenish Namath CC-BY-SA-3.0

Lakshadweep is an archipelago of twelve atolls, three reefs and five submerged banks, with a total of about thirty-nine islands and islets. The reefs are in fact also atolls, although mostly submerged, with only small unvegetated sand cays above the high-water mark. The submerged banks are sunken atolls. Almost all the atolls have a northeast-southwest orientation with the islands lying on the eastern rim, and a mostly submerged reef on the western rim, enclosing a lagoon. It has ten inhabited islands, 17 uninhabited islands, attached islets, four newly formed islets and five submerged reefs.
The main islands are Kavaratti, Agatti, Minicoy, and Amini. The total population of the territory is 60,595 according to the 2001 census. Agatti has an airport with direct flights from Kochi.

India's Coral Islands

The Aminidivi subgroup of islands (consisting of Amini, Keltan, Chetlat, Kadamat, Bitra, and Perumal Par) and the Laccadive subgroup of islands (comprising mainly Androth, Kalpeni, Kavaratti, Pitti, and Suheli Par), both subgroups having a submarine connection between them through Pitti Bank. Together with Minicoy Island, a lonely atoll located at the southern end of the 200-km-broad Nine Degree Channel, they form the Coral Islands of India in the Arabian Sea. All these islands have been built up by corals and have fringing coral reefs very close to their shores.'INDIA: A Physical Geography' , 1968, Publications Dn, Ministry of I&B, Govt. of India. page:74.
Two banks further north are not considered part of the group:

  • Angria Bank

  • Adas Bank

The atolls, reefs, and banks are listed from north to south in the table:
Atoll/Reef/Bank(alternate name) type LandArea(km2) LagoonArea(km2) No. ofislets Pop.Census2001 Location
Aminidivi Islands
Cora Divh bank - 339.45 - -
Sesostris Bank bank - 388.53 - -
Bassas de Pedro(Munyal Par, Padua Bank) bank - 2474.33 - -
Cherbaniani Reef (Beleapani Reef) reef 0.01 172.59 2 -
Byramgore Reef (Chereapani) reef 0.01 57.46 1 -
Chetlat Island atoll 1.14 1.60 1 2,289
Bitrā Island atoll 0.10 45.61 2 264
Kiltān Island atoll 2.20 1.76 1 3,664
Kadmat Island (Cardamom) atoll 3.20 37.50 1 5,319
Elikalpeni Bank bank - 95.91 - -
Perumal Par reef 0.01 83.02 1 -
Amini Island 1) atoll 2.59 155.091) 1 7,340
Laccadive Islands
Agatti Island (Agatti) 2) atoll 2.70 4.84 1 8,000
Bangaram Island (Bangaram) 2) atoll 2.30 4.84 1 61
Pitti Island 1) islet 0.01 155.09 1 -
Androth Island (Andrott) atoll 4.90 4.84 1 10,720
Kavaratti Island atoll 4.22 4.96 1 10,113
Kalpeni Island atoll 2.79 25.60 7 4,319
Suheli Par 3) atoll 0.57 78.76 2 -
Minicoy Atoll
Investigator Bank bank - 141.78 - -
Minicoy Island 4) atoll 4.80 30.60 2 9,495
Viringili Island 4) islet 0.02 30.60 1 -
Lakshadweep 32.69 4203.14 32 60,595 08°16'-13°58'N,71°44°-74°24'E
1) Amini Island and Pitti Island are both on Pitti Bank, a largely sunken atoll with a lagoon area of 155.09 km2
2) Bangaram and Agatti Islands are connected by a shallow submarine ridge
3) new international tourist resort, otherwise uninhabited, but with a population 61 at the 1990 census
4) Minicoy Island and Viringili Island are both on Maliku Atoll

Flora and fauna

Ducks on a beach at Kavaratti, Lakshadweep

from Wikipedia by Thejas CC BY 2.0

The Lakshadweep Archipelago forms a terrestrial ecoregion together with the Maldives and the Chagos. It has over 600 species of marine fishes, 78 species of corals, 82 species of seaweed, 52 species of crabs, 2 species of lobsters, 48 species of gastropods, 12 species of bivalves, 101 species of birds. It is one of the four coral reef regions in India. The corals are a major attraction for the tourist. Pitti Island, is an important breeding place for sea turtles and for a number of pelagic birds such as the brown noddy (Anous stolidus), lesser crested tern (Sterna bengalensis) and greater crested tern (Sterna bergii). The island has been declared a bird sanctuary. Cetacean diversity off the Lakshadweep Islands and in adjacent areas is higher than other areas although a lack of scientific study results in poor understanding and conservation promoting. These include various whales (e.g. pygmy blue, Bryde's, sperm), smaller cetaceans (e.g. orca, pilot whale) and dolphins.
Animal Butterfly fish
Bird Noddy tern
Tree Bread fruit
Flower Not designated
The region does not have a rich flora and almost all the plants can be found on the mainland of India. There is also an absence of forest in the region. Nearly 400 species of flowering plants have been documented, including three species of sea grasses Cymodocea isoetifolia, Syringodium isoetifolium and Thalassia hemprichii, other angiosperms as Pandanus, Heliotropium foertherianum, Tournefortia argentea and Pemphis acidula as well as fungi, algae, lichens are also found. The common flora of the coral sands include coconut groves and coastal shrubs as Pemphis acidula, Cordia subcordata, Scaevola taccada, Thespesia populnea, Suriana maritima, Dodonaea viscosa, Guettarda speciosa and seaweeds such as sea lettuces, Codium and Hypena.