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Lakshadweep is the smallest Union Territory of India. It consists of 12 coral atolls, three coral reefs, and five banks. The total land area of the territory is 32 km². The islands are located in the Arabian Sea, between 200 to 300 km off the coast of Kerala. Ten of the islands are inhabited, 17 are not. There are numerous islets which are not counted in this number.
The inhabited islands are:
The main islands are Kavarrati (where the is the capital city, Kavarrati , is located), Agatti, Minicoy, and Amini. The total population of the territory was 60,595 according to the 2001 census. Agatti has an airport where there are direct flights from Cochin.
The name of the archipelago literally means hundred thousand islands (laksha = one hundred thousand, dweep = island). Until 1973, the island group was known by the anglicized name Laccadives (compare to Maldives, Sanskrit name Maladweepa).
The people of the islands speak a dialect of Malayalam and almost all of them are Muslims. It is a folk belief that they are descendants of traders who where washed up on the islands during a particularly heavy storm.
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