Laccadive (Lakshadweep) Islands are a group of coral reefs and islands in the Indian Ocean, lying between 8°North and 12°13′ North and 71° East and 74° Eeast. In the archipelago there are seventeen separate reefs, but there are, however, only 12 atolls, three reefs and five submerged banks. The Lakshadweep islands are located a few hundred kilometers off the coast of south- western Indian off the coast of Kerala.
The Lakshadweep islands are coral islands, usually true atolls rest on a submarine ridge. The islands are formed by sand banks where have taken root coconut trees and other vegetation that have developed thanks to the monsoon rains and high tropical temperatures. The inhabitants of the islands survive thanks to trade and to a subsistence agriculture.
Only eleven are inhabited islands: Kavaratti, Agatti, Amini, Kadmat, Kiltan, Chetlat, Bitra, Andrott, Kalpeni, Bangaram and Minicoy. The total population of the territory is about 60,000 inhabitants, they are Muslims and speak a dialect of Malayalam. The islands are small and the total area is only about 32 sq. km, and they form the smallest Union Territory of India.
The main islands are those of Kavarrati (where the capital, Kavarrati, is located), Agatti, Minicoy and Amini. Tourism is an emerging industry, thanks to the beauty of the waters and marine life, it is an archipelago similar to the nearby Maldives, but much less exploited for tourism. Agatti has an airport where arriving direct flights from Cochin.