Paradise found: Minicoy Ahoy!
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Paradise found: Minicoy Ahoy!

Women in traditional Minicoyan dresses.

When my family first clambered aboard the MV Arabian Sea to head to Minicoy in 2016, we did so with considerable anxiety. It had proved impossible to wrangle anything useful about the tiny Indian Ocean outpost from the Internet, and exceedingly difficult to negotiate more than a few days stay from the agency for the island’s only hotel (the standard package doesn’t exceed five nights but we figured a way around that by combining packages). There was further trepidation when we discovered there were no other tourists on board, only native islanders returning home.

Up on deck on the first magical evening away from the mainland, with pods of dozens of dolphins dancing in the vessel’s wake and flying fish scudding distant from the prow, we had a string of eye-opening encounters with Minicoyans. Every young woman was impressively educated, and almost every man we met had spent his entire adult life travelling extensively all over the world in the service of one shipping line or another. Many were proficient in several languages.

The hotel

Still marvelling at this unexpected cosmopolitanism, we alighted on the palm-shaded isle to another series of delights. Pocket-sized vehicles (there are less than two dozen private cars on Minicoy) moved slowly along miniature roads lined with pastel, dollhouse-like dwellings. It felt like we had landed in Lilliput.

As we put-putted across the island in an open Jeep, the sea breeze parted coconut fronds to offer tantalizing glimpses of shimmering green in the near distance. We grew hushed in anticipation. Then we turned a final corner, and our jaws dropped. Before us was a miraculous lagoon, gleaming infinite shades of jade in the shallows, fading to unreal azure towards the far distant rim of whitecaps. We realized we were looking at one of the world’s greatest travel wonders.

Curiosities abound in minuscule Minicoy. The stunningly beautiful coral-ringed atoll is just 4.8 sq. km, cobbled together with nine other inhabited islands (and additional unpeopled islands and islets), into the Union territory of Lakshadweep. But this southernmost tip of the archipelago is remarkably unique. It’s far away from the rest of the territory, much closer to the Maldives than any part of India. In addition, from its earliest recorded history, native Minicoyans have sustained an intensely tightly knit, largely endogamous, woman-centred and strictly matrilineal culture that persisted even after the advent of Islam in the 12th century. Their Mahl language is an Indo-Aryan dialect of Maldivian Divehi, which again distinguishes them from the rest of Lakshadweep, where Malayalam prevails.


4 Replies

| search is on
Come on Aarosh, you can't do this to us after such a start, do finish it :-D
| Omnipresent
Somnath this is an article which I came across in a news site. I have mentioned the source in the post.
| search is on
| Maha Guru Member
Well, its like Texas stories, as an uncle related, if it isn't true it should be..

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