A Lakshadweep Adventure

Having nothing (much) to do…im sifting through ‘old’ photos…and i happend to lay my hands on these…our School trip to the Lakshadweep !

This was in…Nov. 2001…my first and last School Trip. The destination was exciting and caught the imagination of every 1 around. Add to that the availability of NVfood ( esp. sea food) on a school trip; which has been very traditionally V.
Now without rambling on about the things leading up to the trip…i start with the first days- a long train journey to Cochin, Kerala. This was a our base for the first 2 days…where in we managed to see much of this sleepy little city. We visited the Jewish Synagogue, the Chineese Fishing nets,the sea side avenue, the first Church in S.India and the huge local shopping complex.
Then came the part we were looking forward to the most…the sea journey from Cochin to Laksadweep aboard ‘The Tipu Sultan’. The ship was magnificent and befitted the name…Huge decks and a very comfy lounge and dining area. We were shown our acco places which was an array of V small rooms ( i doubt thats what they call it on a ship) with 4 bunks deep in the hull of the ship and surprisingly quite close to the kitchen. Depositing our luggage there we came face to face with the strong coconutty fumes emanating form the kitchens. Never being used to such oils they left most a bit heady and nausseated. But the excitement of exploring our environs took over and hardly any1 felt anything. Withen no time it was time for lunch. And I witnessed an amazing array of tantalising, mouth watering dishes…which soonproved to be a prelude to the days to follow !
Gorging on Heaps and heaps of fried fish (esp. Tuna), classic curries and soothing desserts really left us feeling like the Tipu Sultan. Being heavily satiated, majority of the gang went for a nap. This turned out to be the biggest mistake they could ever make. Barely a few hours later the ones awake, me included (though i find it strange now), saw sights straight out of NatGeo or Discovery. Tens of Dolphins leaping out of the waters; not on TV but live, left us leaping with excitement. Most of the remaining day was then spent hoping for more dolphins to create the magical spectalce again. In this wait apart from the standard gossip a nice discussion came up…here many realised what our destination was really named: ‘Lakshadweep’ or ‘Lakshwadeep’ ? In hindsight it seems so obivious but believe me it was not so then. 🙂
Then that night was the one which has literally been burned into everyones memories…forever. A fire broke out onboard. Our guides and teachers collecting the dispersed crowd amidst billowing smoke and flurry of movement and nervous cries is still scary. Finally All assembled on the top deck and within two hours things were ok…Since the rooms were still out of bounds, that night was spent on the bare floor of the lounge…with the organisers comming up with mind diverting games and dances.

Next morning we awoke to find our ship moving at snail speed. One of the propellers had been damaged the previous night. If the speed incereased the entire ship would topple over about the faster propeller..With this slow speed we were informed that Lakshadweep would still take 5 whole days. However another cruiser( Bharat Seema) was on its way to take the people aboard the Tipu Sultan to their destination. Till the cruiser intercepted us (in 8 hours ) we were allowed to visit the Androth Island, the closest of the cluster to the main coast. It was really calm, peacful, friendly and …
Afterwards we finally reached our destination-

The Agathi Island Beach Resort. This was extremely a splendid place in the lap of nature…truly idyllic. Once we crossed over the
periphery of the lagoon….the water was crystal clear and an amazing colour of blue. The entire expance of the lagoon was like one big natural swimming pool. We were greeted to cool ‘narial-paani’ after which we lugged our luggage into the cottages assigned to us…and to our utter dismay found that the doors were cut in half-horizontally. The open door policy did not stop here. As a tradition of the islands each person is extremely trusted and practically cant run away (hide) anywhere…hence the people here dint lock the cottage or house doors. We too graciously accepted this and left our belongings ‘under the open sky’. The lunch and dinner that day and over our entire stay there was a real feast with the Tuna ruling.

Next morning we went snorkelling…and believe me no amount of praise can give you the actual thrill and enriching experience as actually doing it yourself ! The vibrant colours, the thriving sea-life, the extraordinary corals…oh the list is never ending! I also happened to celebrate my 14th birthday on the Lakshadweep. This is one BDay i will never forget ! Over the next 2 days we moved about the island which was hardly 3 Km long and 0.5 Km wide. Visiting the local school (children travel by the local school boats) seing the small airport (yes) very small meant only for the ATRs and seeing the sun rise and set on our left and right was indeed memorable. Though each one was hoping and wishing for another chance for snorkelling the sudden sea storm (which are quite common here and happen unanounced) dashed our chances.
After a real once in a life time experience we finally left Lakshadweep with a Laksha worth of memories. Our return journey to Mangalore by ship went of very smoothly. And then we returned to mumbai by train completing our 10 day trip.

Author: mysterytryst

Hi. Here i am venting out some stuff into cyberspace with the hope that it'll be considered as great words of wisdom in some mysterious far away alien world...till then hope you have a good time here getting a glimpse of my experiences, trips and observations.... Please feel free to connect, comment, like and share. Id love to hear your thoughts and reactions. © All content is mine, share with due credit.

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