Lakshadweep offers tourists with not just a mesmerising natural setting but attracts them with its simplistic lifestyle and vibrant culture. Its diversified traditions and cultural practices add on to the overall charm of Lakshadweep.
The culture of Lakshadweep is similar to that of Kerala state to a large extent. Its proximity with the state of Kerala and its influence can be seen evidently in the cultural practices of those residing on the islands. The influence can be seen in not just practices but also in cuisine, dance and music of the place.
The main language of the people in Lakshadweep is Malayalam. However, one can find people speaking languages such as Tamil, Telugu, Kannada, Marathi, Oriya and Bengali.
Most of the people on the island follow Islamic religion which also defines the culture of Lakshadweep to some extent. However, there are other ethnic groups as well living on the islands.
If legends are to be believed, Hazrat Ubaidullah was the prophet and founder of Islam in Lakshadweep. Festivals such as Zikkar, Eid-ul-Fitr and Eid-ul-Zuha form an important part of the Lakshadweep culture.
People of Lakshadweep
The Lakshadweep islands consist of a few prominent kinds of tribes namely Koyas, Malmis, Melacheris, Aminidivis and Manikfanss. The culture of Lakshadweep has been prominently influenced by these five major tribes.
The people who are believed to have inhabited the islands first are Aminidivis. The tribe Koyas used to be the landowners while the Malmis tribe used to work under them. The tribe Melacheries used to mainly constitute the working class or labour community.
The attire of Lakshadweep men and women represents a simplistic lifestyle. Lakshadweep men mostly wear tight pyjamas up to the ankles over which a white dhoti is wrapped around the waist. Upper part of the body used to be left bare but now most of the men wear a light shirt on top. A heat gear is must for all the adult men of the island.
Women in Lakshadweep wear Libu which is a long gown. There are some differences in the use of cloth materials based on the class structure. For instance, the most of the women of higher sections are seen wearing silk robes when compared to those of lower class. Women also wear headgear known as Phatugan.
The main industry of the islands are tuna, coir making, vinegar, jaggery and copra making. As coconut is the only crop grown in the region, their livelihood depends on this to an extent.
Another important part of Lakshadweep lifestyle is fishing. The handicrafts of Lakshadweep are also very popular all over the world. Artisans of the island create attractive jewellery and decorative items from coir, corals, shells and oysters.
The cuisine of Lakshadweep consists mainly of lots of spices and coconut. For non-vegetarians, there are mouth watering options of sea food and halal meat. The religion they follow and the cultural practices are not a direct result of Kerala’s culture but is a moulded form of the same.