Mangalore renews ties with Lakshadweep

Mangalore renews ties with Lakshadweep

One of the beatiful spots in Lakshadweep.

Deputy Commissioner of Dakshina Kannada V Ponnuraj has stated during the Tourism Day celebrations recently that there are favourable indications from the Administrator of the Centrally administered Union Territory (UT) of Lakshadweep. A ship will regularly ply from the Mangalore Port to the islands; also a scheduled flight is now extended to originate from Chennai and touch Bangalore/Kochi and turn around at Agatti air strip in Lakshadweep. The DC added that infrastructure for tourist convenience will be developed in Mangalore port.

People of the Mangalore coast have always had a close association with Lakshadweep - ‘Laksha Deepa,’  or ‘innumerable islands’. Out of the total 24 charted islands, there are at least nine submerged sand banks and coral reefs in the atoll. Eleven of the islands are inhabited. Majority of the people living here are the followers of Islam - Shafi school of the Sunni sect. The mother tongue of the inhabitants is the type of Malayalam heard in North Kerala and Coastal Karnataka, (akin to the mopalla speak). Jeseri (Dweep Bhasha) is also spoken to some extent. Tuna fish, the ‘chicken of the sea’ abounds in the Lakshadweep, a unique method is used to catch these large fish. All food and other essentials have to be ferried and traditionally Mangalore has been a prime supplier. Women played a leading role and the matreleaneal system was prevalent.

History and life

The southern most island of Lakshadweep is Minicoy.  It came into Indian possession from the British in 1956. Mangalore used to serve as the seat of administration for the northern islands. The headquarters of the UT of Lakshadweep is today the Island of Kavaratti. Historically these islands including the Maladives had close association with the west coast from Karwar to Kochi. Mangalore and Kozihode were the favoured ports of trade. Minicoy and Maladives had strong influence of Ceylon as is evident from the culture and language. Some time in 1783, the Malabar settlers of the Northern Islands approached Tippu Sultan who ruled Mangalore and parts of Malabar at the time and he took over the rule from the Muslim House of Arakkal of Cannanore, thus many of the Northern Islands came under administration from Mangalore and continued so even during British rule.

For decades, the Member of Parliament representing this UT was late P M Saeed who went on to be deputy speaker of the Lok Sabha. He had his education in Mangalore; today it is represented by his son Hamdullah Sayeed, the youngest MP, with close association with Karnataka. The first ever Prime Minister to visit the UT was Indira Gandhi, in 1969. Few years later, Rajiv Gandhi and his family spent a short holiday in the Lakshadweep. Later Lakshadweep became recognized as a holiday getaway.

Mangalore old port caters to supplies of all kinds, one can see here sail vessels manned by Tamil sailors. The tiny island treasures hold many surprises and unimaginable contrasts. Yes, this paradise can be a prime holiday destination!

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