Dreamed 'The island of fairytale', Did Lakshadweep

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#1 Mar 14th, 2014, 14:58
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#1
We must go beyond textbooks,go out into the bypaths and untrodden depths of the wilderness and travel and explore and tell the world the glories of our journey.
By John Franklin


That inspire me to travel sometime through the very known path , and sometime an off-beat trails. I love to be a wanderers – I would love to fly across the world to lost myself in its beauty, I love to take that path which is never been used by too many- a path which is thrilling in its every turn. This is my third destination is last 120 days and I am loving to be nomad. My mom always warns me , I am running away!!! My friends and office colleague often ask me, how do I manage to get so many leaves? How could I plan so many trips in a single year ? Don’t I get bored doing such frequent trips? How do I manage all the financial constrains?

And thankfully my wife dont complaint too much atleast after being these places.

I love to get introduced myself to a new culture, new persons , a new place , a new era.

"A man travels the world in search of what he needs
and returns home to find it.
”- I remember while traveling.


No man is an island entire of itself; every man
is a piece of the continent, a part of the main;
if a clod be washed away by the sea, Europe
is the less, as well as if a promontory were, as
well as a manor of thy friends or of thine
own were; any man's death diminishes me,
because I am involved in mankind.
And therefore never send to know for whom
the bell tolls; it tolls for thee. –


By John Donne


Its dark… very dark. I am feeling myself blind … I am trying to find a way out to get out of this dense forest- I am hungry and feeling very thirsty …there is no food or drink to help me. The vulture were crying , a scary atmosphere. I desperately wanted to get out of this , I am trying hard , but then I don’t know how to get out of the woodland. I found a group of Fireflies – thanks God finally some light of hopes. But what is this, they started flying high- “No they are my last hope, I can not let them go alone” I have also started flying with them at a supersonic speed following them across Pacific and Atlantic. I found a cute princess flying at a very relaxing mood , with a silvery stick in her hand. She had dressed properly in a milky white cloths.

“Are you the princess of fairytale?” I asked her.

She smiled. She knows I had been waiting for her since my childhood. During my childhood days I had heard a lot of stories about her from my grandma. She had repeatedly assured me that someday I will met that beautiful princes and finally I had.

I set beside a pinnacle of of rock, there was white snow all around. I asked her “where is your home?” She pointed her figure toward something in far. Ohh my lord , ‘what’s that?’ I am not sure but it looks like a eyeball. I stood up and try to figure out what’s that. I went closer to that , and found a beautiful island inside a deep blue sea surrounded by beautiful palm trees hugging each other. I flied to the Island and suddenly the princess disappears. I tried searching her here and there , but didn’t found her anywhere in that small beautiful island. There was not a single house in the island , then where did she stay ? I got no answer , but nevertheless , I am enjoying myself sitting beside the deep blue sea. The refreshing water of the island swapped me away to the paradise. I wake up and found the first ray of sun falling straight to my eyes.


I had actually got the habit of having this dream quite frequently ever since I came to know about the beauty of Caribbean Islands. And the urge has transformed to yearn and then to restlessness since when I had saw the Maldives pictures in one of my friends facebook album.

I love hills , the curves of the hills viewed from one of the remotest village gives me an immense pleasure and the first sun ray on top of snow-capped mountain gives me a moment of my lifetime. Hills always invite me to its lap- but islands are a different beauty altogether- never knew these are such a beautiful part of the world.

During the month of January 2012 , I along with one of my friend were planning to trip to Bali. However due to lack of leaves , and due to a major financial constrain we had to postponed the tour. When I saw the pictures of Lakshadweep , I thought, this must be the island which I had dreamed several time, this is the island which I had heard the stories in my Grandma’s fairytale - that’s how it started. And we have quickly decided that we will be touring to “The island of fairytale”- Lakshadweep. The journey begins....






On my way back , sitting at Agatti Airport , I met a young couple who were off to their honeymoon to Lakshadweep and very very disappointed. Why???

Because she couldn't do much shopping there in Lakshadweep. So before I start writing anything about Lakshadweep let me tell you a few things to set the expectation.



- Do travel means only a hell lot shopping to you?
- Do travel means only visiting a lot of popular temple to you ?
- Cant you live without the polluted air?
- Do travel means you confined yourselves in a ultra luxurious hotel room for the three days?

If any of the above answer is yes - you should better avoid Lakshadweep.




- Do you enjoy getting out of your hotel room , and stare at the nature?
- Do you prefer the unpolluted nature over polluted city life, when you travel?
- Do you like to walk miles in a lonely beach, which is kept just for yourself?
- Do you like to taking a bath in the crystal clear beach?
- Do you prefer unexplored , unspoilt destinations over the crowded and spoilt beaches?
- Are you in search of the definition of unadulterated nature and beauty?

If yes , then you must visit Lakshadweep atleast once in your lifetime.




- Do you enjoy photography ?
- Do you enjoy water sports?
- Do you love to be adventurous at times?
- Do you love to met wonderful people with rich cultures?
If yes , then you must visit Lakshadweep as soon as possible. You could hardly get a better place than this to food your hungry soul.
Last edited by mithun123; Mar 14th, 2014 at 16:35..
#2 Mar 14th, 2014, 15:11
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#2
What an intro!!!! looking forward for the whole story to be revealed....
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#3 Mar 14th, 2014, 17:49
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#3
Lakshadweep was planned. But we don’t just wanted to go Lakshadweep, we wanted to do it.

Now what is that ‘doing Lakshadweep’?

We don’t just wanted to stare at the sea and admire. We wanted to meet the marine life there , we wanted to swim with the fishes and turtle, and at time touches them, we wanted to wake up in the early morning and wait for the sun to show its face, we wanted the sun to stay longer , we wanted to pray for a perfect sunset, we wanted to meet the people there as much as we can , we wanted to visit all the island in its proximity , we wanted to learn how to climb in the coconut tree, we wanted to learn swimming , we wanted to run with a crab and sing with the birds , we wanted to go to the deep see, we wanted to see the reef and when tired we wanted to sit , relax and sleep beside the beach.


So came the next part , how to go there?
Should we take a ship from Kochi and reach to the island at a snails speed, or should we board an ATR-72 and land in the only airport of Lakshadweep and then ‘do’ whatever we wanted to do.

It was 2012 February , I had booked Samudram Package by SPORTS. I was super excited for the trip for two things.

1) I have dreamed of a tropical island for so many days , and finally getting a chance to visit that.
2) That time I used to be travel with Kaushik-da(Kshil).

When you are super excited , SPORTS (Lakshadweep Tourism ) has an amazing ability to neutralize your excitement. I was all set for Lakshadweep , my bags were packed , flight to Kochi was booked , and all on a sudden SPORTS cancelled the voyage of that particular date just 3 days before its schedule departure.

I didn’t wanted to take a chance on SPORTS this time. But the only other option was to bang on other unreliable service of Air India. Who knows , when they will be disappointed on management , would go on strike , cancelling all the flights. But among these two unreliable agencies , I have to rely on either of them and I choose to opt for Air India for the following reason.

1) I wanted to spend more time on islands and spend time with the locals.
2) I wanted to see the sunrise and sunset from the island , rather than from the ship.
3) In SPORTS package , I will be left in the islands with hundreds of more tourist , I didn’t wanted to do that. I didn’t wanted to stand on the queue for scuba and snorkelling.
4) I wanted to do it in my own way , not the SPORTS way.

So , I had got 3 days in March 2014 and booked my flight ticket on September 2013. An believe me , I stole a deal. Return ticket of 2 person from Bangalore to Agatti has came only at odd 11K odd. Just 2.5K for one person one way.



Now the next question comes , accommodation – In Lakshadweep accommodation available at different islands – Agatti , Kavaratti , Kadmat , Bangaram , Tinnikara and a few more.
After primary analysis , Agatti was best suited for my budget – still expensive. Just to remind you all the resorts of Agatti are officially closed. I have spoken with almost all the homestay owners of Agatti , and found Mr Mohammad Navas of http://trip2lakshadweep.com/ as excellent person. He was very professional in all our interaction, and seemed to be an excellent person. He understood the problem with budget we face , as we travel so frequently and offered us the best rates.

Now the permit issue, permit was been taken care of by Mr Navas. I will discuss about permit formalities in later in this report.
#4 Mar 14th, 2014, 18:39
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#4
Hi Mithun,

Your intro is excellent...At that moment I can remember only one cote - “The world is a book and those who do not travel read only one page.”
We are waiting for your next coruscation.....
#5 Mar 15th, 2014, 12:54
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#5
It's always something more than just traveling .... in your TR, Mithun. I Love it.

Carry on ....

Quote:
1) I wanted to spend more time on islands and spend time with the locals.
2) I wanted to see the sunrise and sunset from the island , rather than from the ship.
3) In SPORTS package , I will be left in the islands with hundreds of more tourist , I didn’t wanted to do that. I didn’t wanted to stand on the queue for scuba and snorkelling.
4) I wanted to do it in my own way , not the SPORTS way.
aamar payer tolai sorshe...(I have wheels under my feet)
#6 Mar 15th, 2014, 13:29
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#6
Mithun, I know how long you have been dreaming of Lakshadweep! I am very happy to see you finally made it there. Bring on the photos….
"Only the guy who isn't rowing has time to row the boat."
(Jean-Paul Sartre)
#7 Mar 15th, 2014, 18:40
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#7
So what is Lakshadweep?

- Lakshadweep is the paradise , where you can experience sunrise and sunset sitting at the same location.








- Lakshadweep is you stand tall, stare at the ocean and admire the beauty of the nature.






- Lakshadweep is a forest walk ,


and sometime you will lost your way.



And sometime you make your way through knee-deep water






- Lakshadweep is a magical game of colors - Turquoise , Green , oceanic blue, nevy blue , royal blue all is here. You cant even miss these colors , even if you have color-blindness.






- Lakshadweep is all about hearty welcome from the locals there





- Lakshadweep is playing with the Marine life and singing with the birds.





- Lakshadweep is all about lonely islands , no sound , no disturbance - its easy to lost yourself, and talk to your soul.






- Lakshadweep is all about marine life, colorful birds, colorful crab- You name one and it would be there. Even snakes will come to welcome you.










- Lakshadweep is trying your hand on fishing




and sometime you catch dangerous stingray without any effort




- Lakshadweep is about great delicious sea food, you name one , and it would be in your menu today.





- Lakshadweep is all about great sunset , where sun wont rest to mesmerize you even after sunset.






-Lakshadweep - is not in poles- yet give you a feeling of aurora.



- Laksahdweep is trying water sports the whole day










- Lakshadweep is walking many miles in the white sand and you wont feel tired even after that.


And relaxing if at all you feel that.



-Lakshadweep is about staring at the sea



and sometime at the sky.






Lakshadweep is about great hospitality , great people and great welcome






Lakshadweep is about coral , which you can see from miles away in crystal clear water.





Lakshadweep is about hundred thousand island - 27 found , many sank into water.
#8 Mar 16th, 2014, 14:40
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#8
There is language barrier !!!!

Yes there is , but please don’t forget you are planning for a trip to South India. I agree , that language is a problem, but far far better than the problem you face in touristy destination. Most of the educated person can speak English very very well , and some are fluent in Hindi too. I don’t expect a boatman to speak English, but you will face no problem at all, they speak with their language of heart.



There is food issue!!!!
I disagree, if you love local recipe , probably this is the paradise for foodies. Even if you are vegetarian , you will have ample choice in menu.



People are conservative, you cant wear swim dresses???
I would say “No”. They are probably the most open minded people I have ever encounter. Please bear in mind , that it is a village, and not very unexplored destination. So please avoid wearing too short in the residential area , its not that someone would complaint , but you will feel odd-man out. Feel free to wear shorts in the resort area near Airport.

How about crime??
Lakshadweep is absolutely crime free , you will roam in the lonely road even in the midnight , and you would never be afraid. Sleep beside the beaches in the night and believe me , its absolutely safe and secure. Keep the door open , even a fly wont enter your room without permission.

So after coming back from Lakshadweep , many of my friend asked me where is this.

Name:  Lakshadweep in World Map.jpg
Views: 7395
Size:  39.3 KB


Right on the sea , about 300KM aerial distance from Indian mainland.





Here is how Lakshadweep became part of India. From Wikipedia.
Quote:
The inhabitants of these islands, remote from the mainland of India, heard the final news of the Partition and Independence of India some days after it occurred on 15 August 1947. As the islands were then British possessions and part of the Madras Presidency, in accordance with theIndian Independence Act 1947, enacted by the British parliament a month before, the islands transferred automatically to the new Union of India. However, considering that they also had a Muslim majority, it seemed possible that the new dominion of Pakistan might seek to lay claim to them. On the orders of Vallabhbhai Patel, the first Home Minister and Deputy Prime Minister of India, a ship of the Royal Indian Navy was sent to the Laccadives (as they were then called) to hoist the Indian national flag and ensure the islands' integration into the new Union of India, aiming to thwart any similar attempt by Pakistan. Hours after the arrival of the Indian ship, vessels of the Royal Pakistan Navy were seen near the islands, but after observing the Indian presence they returned to Karachi.[12]
In 1956, during the reorganization of Indian states, the Lakshadweep islands were organized into a separate union territory for administrative purposes.
To safeguard India's vital shipping lanes to the Middle East, and the growing relevance of the islands in security considerations, an Indian Navy base, INS Dweeprakshak, was commissioned on Kavaratti island.[13]

Lakshadweep is the tiniest union territory of India. It consist of 12 atolls , three reef and five submerged banks. It consist of 27 islands on which 10(Now 11 including Bangaram) are inhabited. Total Lagoon area is 4200 square KM. The territory was officially named as Lakshadweep only on 1st November 1973.


So if it is only 27 islands , why the heck they call it as Lakshadweep(Hundred thousands islands)?
The reason of the name is unknown , so is the history of the region . In 1743 AD the reference of Laccadives is found in Dutch Company memorandum. The group of islands fall in the direct trade route between India and Africa and Arabia. The locals believe , the islands were considered to be the landmark or Laksha(Aim) for the traditional navigator , and hence the island was later started calling “Lakshadweep”. Reference Mr Makhan Jha.

Ok , so what are the atolls, reef ?

FromWiki
Quote:
An atoll (/ˈætɒl/ or /əˈtɒl/)[1] is a ring-shaped coral reef including a coral rim that encircles a lagoon partially or completely. There may be coral islands/cays on the coral rim.
Quote:
A reef is a rock, sandbar, or other feature lying beneath the surface of the water (80 meters or less beneath low water).
So enough of Gyan. Lets see one of the picture and then we will proceed to the main journey in the island.
#9 Mar 16th, 2014, 16:21
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Couldn't wait anymore for the whole Tr to reveal...
#10 Mar 16th, 2014, 16:48
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#10
Is it in the proximity of line of control??” “ Is it disturbed??” – No, still Lakshadweep is restricted – restricted for tourism.

Everyone – the boatman in Agatti , the Fishermen , the locals – everyone wants to have tourism there – but the administrators have some different plans.

Now , how to get the permit?
If you are sailing on SPORTS package to Lakshadweep , then SPORTS take the responsibility of arranging permit for you. If you are planning to fly then the contact of Agatti will guide you to get the permit. The tourist permit is very limited , and you can go there as the family friend of the contact in Agatti or if you are a govt employee , you can travel for LTC.
The permit is issued from the Lakshadweep Union Territory Administrative Secretary, Kochi.

The permit application form can be found here. http://lakshadweep.nic.in/depts/reve...ry_permits.htm

You need two provide the attested photocopy of an Id proof , Address Proof , 3 copies of passport size photographs and if you are a Govt Employee , you need to provide an certificate from your boss or Head of the department or HR stating you can claim the LTC for the travel year. You can courier these documents to the travel agent or the contact in Kochi, whomsoever your homestay owner had advised, and they will do the needful for you.

Please bear in mind that , you should send the documents atleast a month before your travel date. Because , your consignment has to reach Kochi through the courier, they normaly takes 2-3 days to process the permit and to send you back the original permit , they will take a couple of days.


Including all its just 10 days, why are you asking me to start the permit formalities a month back?

Because , you never know when the Secretary will go on a long leaves. You never know when the rule will change , you never know what all additional document you need to send. So its better play safe and get your permit beforehand.
#11 Mar 16th, 2014, 17:40
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#11
So our flight was from Bangalore to Agatti with around 40 minutes stopover at Kochi.


What are the alternatives?
Are you kidding !!! There is only one flight that fly to Agatti on a daily basis except Sunday. Previously there was air service by Kingfisher Airlines and Jet Airways. However Jet has stopped its service , and Kingfisher has stopped themselves.

The flight departs Bangalore at 8:30 in the morning. And be ready for answering the questions from security staffs at Bangalore Airport. “Where is Agatti ??” “Is it in India?” etc etc.

Even during check in , the ground hostess has read the name of the destination in my print-out as Agartala. Its Agatti , I said , she searched it with the Airport Code and finally issued my boarding pass.

You board the ATR-72 , and try to get a right side window seat.(No its not free seating, you should ask for the right side window seat , at the checkin counter). Till it reaches Kochi , no one would announce that the flight will fly till Agatti. All they will announce is till Kochi. And when you will reach kochi , few of your co passengers will be surprised looking at you, “why is this guy is still sitting!!!”

From kochi , it takes 1 hour 25 minutes to reach Agatti. And for the whole duration it flies over Arabian Sea.

Unfortunately weather was not in our side and visibility was very very poor. Hence though we have seen a few island from the flight , cant take the snaps , nothing that a lens can capture. On the route you will pass by Androth Island.

So at 11:30 we reached near Agatti airport.


Here is the first view of Agatti from the flight.



The flight will fly from toward south and just on top of heart shaped Kalpetti Island , it will take a U-turn and get ready for landing.




Agatti runway is a narrow strip of land , probably not more than 200 m in width, not even that. And 1 KM long.



When the flight will land , it will give you an sense , that it is landing on the water. Here is the snap taken from the flight , after its complete rest.





And here is the ATR-72 that will take you to Agatti. Its operated by Lice Airlines- A partner company of Airindia.




On the Airport , you will found the Pawan-Hans helicopter is resting beside the sea to take you to Kavaratti. The Helicopter service also daily and at connecting time with the flight. It reaches Agatti at about 10:30 AM , and fly back to Kavaratti at 12:00. The flight fare for the Govt officials and the native locals are less than 1000 rs one way, but for the tourist its slightly more. Your homestay owner at Agatti or the Agent who booked your Lakshadweep trip can book the helicopter for you. However , I was been informed by one of the tourist in Agatti , that it requires a special permit other than Lakshadweep permit to board that Helicopter and reach Kavaratti- the Capital of Lakshadweep.




In the Airport you will be welcomed in the Arrival Lounged , and your entry permit will be checked. If you don’t have a valid permit , you will be sent back.

In the lounge , I have found this map , which could be very very helpful.



Your luggage’s will also be delivered here.
While it takes time , I had planned to go outside and click a few photographs.
The eastern side beach at the first glance. Here the Lagoon is much smaller than western side.



Police van resting on the Airport



The only main road of the island- 7KM long in total. Road condition is excellent I must say- with no traffic at all. You can cruze at 80KMPH easily. But this is not the place to hurry. Just sit and relax yourself. You can see the Airport Auto stand in the picture.




Eastern side beach again


After taking the bags Mr Navas arranged a car to take us to the resort, which is hardly 200 meters from the Airport Gate. We had booked a homestay and got a resort. I have already started liking Agatti , and thanked Navas.
#12 Mar 17th, 2014, 02:41
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There is a very interesting fact about Agatti Airport stuffs. There is a daily flight which arrives at 11:40 and go back by 12:10. There is helicopter service to Agatti, which normally arrive at 10:30-11 and go back by 12:30. So what normally the two dozen stuffs do in the whole day – In the morning they come to the Airport at around 9 unless there is some other emergency clean everything , switch on the AC , and by 10:30-11 , they are ready to welcome the arriving guests, and after 12:30 they are left with no work- I literally mean no work at all.

So what they do at that time ???
Fishing. I met with an inspector there who was fishing at round 2 pm. I will come to that later.


Once we reached the resort , the welcome drinks was something amazing- tender coconut, that will swap away all the tiredness due to flight journey, if at all any.

Now the next thing was to plan what to do and when?

We decided to soak the beauty of the island today, visiting other islands the next day and doing watersports the third day.
Fine.


First it was time to visit the resort surrounding- absolute beauty, surrounded by the coconut tree everywhere.



Just now we came to know we are the only tourist of the resort , and other than us only one group of tourists are there in Agatti.
Our resort was western side beach facing , which had a much larger lagoon area. Crystal clear water – turquoise in color.




One or two ships are anchored here and there , it’s a different world altogether.




We met Mr Rahim , who is a Scuba Expert, excellent instructor and very professional in his job , and welcomed us. They were actually getting off for underwater.



And thought of trying my hands in a monochromatic shot.




It was already 2 by that time , and our lunch was ready. They were not sure whether we are vegetarian or non-vegeterian . So in the confusion , they had prepared vegetarian meal today.
I strictly follow my food habit, few of the months in a year , I strictly take no vegetarian food at all other than rice and roti. But March is not among these months – So I can manage with vegetarian food in today’s meal.


We finished our lunch and I must say it was yummy!!!


It was time to resume our duty- to roam around. First stop was the jetty , just in front of Agatti Beach Resort, which is currently shut down due to dispute and who when when it will restore its service.



The water , sea, breeze , coconut plantation , boat , everything looked amazing. You could spare hours just staring at the sea.



The long stretch of lonely beach is just kept for us.




Just relax and soak the beauty of the nature.




And use the hammock whenever needed- its all kept for you.
Nice breeze , the melodious sound of waves , and wonderful view in the surrounding – we thought of relaxing there for sometime.



And tried to match this with the island I used to see in my dream.



Its time to move on to eastern side of the island, it was difficult to resist ourselves to jump in the water , and why should we?? After all we are here to make friendship with the sea.





We thought of having some juice in the restaurant.



In the eastern side of the Agatti Island the lagoon is much smaller compare to western side. The blue colour water indicates the deep sea.



And in this world of advertisement , everyone advertise themselves, here is one such advertisement



And here is the sea.



This beach runs parallel with the runway, if you walk straight , you will reach south pole, if you cant walk that much , just a KM will take you to Kalpetti island.


Few more pictures




What a wonderful place for to serve your hungry soul.



They have a wonderful technique to climb the coconut tree- Which I have also learnt the next day , I will tell these later.


And back to the resort.




and get drenched completely
But for now Kayaking first .



Look at where we are.



Wify also tried her hands



and finally back
#13 Mar 17th, 2014, 03:17
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#13
Thank you for that,lots of good info.
cheers
norman
#14 Mar 17th, 2014, 12:09
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Legend View Post What an intro!!!! looking forward for the whole story to be revealed....
Thank you so much Legend. By now I have already started day wise story.

Quote:
Originally Posted by Arpan_novell View Post Hi Mithun,

Your intro is excellent...At that moment I can remember only one cote - “The world is a book and those who do not travel read only one page.”
We are waiting for your next coruscation.....
Thank you very much and very well said.



Quote:
Originally Posted by Duronto Jajabar View Post It's always something more than just traveling .... in your TR, Mithun. I Love it.
Carry on ....
Wow!!! What a compliment , I love it. But travel means a lot ofinteraction to me along with photography.


Quote:
Originally Posted by theyyamdancer View Post Mithun, I know how long you have been dreaming of Lakshadweep! I am very happy to see you finally made it there. Bring on the photos….
Thanks TD. Indeed , I was trying to be there since 2012. 2013 , didn't supported me. Finaly 2014 it is. And by the end of the TL, I would probably also made you dream of the tiny land.


Quote:
Originally Posted by Legend View Post Couldn't wait anymore for the whole Tr to reveal...
Ledend- Thanks very much, its started now.

Quote:
Originally Posted by 6345789 View Post Thank you for that,lots of good info.
cheers
norman
Thanks norman.
#15 Mar 17th, 2014, 12:43
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#15
Wow.what a place.Added Laccadives in my 'To be visited' list.
It would be great if you can add some detailed info about bookings and cost involved.
Only rules that matters are:What a man can do and what a man can not !!!!

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