Andaman and Nicobar Islands

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Introduction

The Andaman and Nicobar Islands, comprising 572 tropical islands is located on India’s Eastern coast in the Bay of Bengal. Thirty six of these islands are inhabited.

These islands were once known as the ‘Black Waters’ or ‘Kalapani’. It was a penal settlement most feared, but as of now it is a relaxed island of the tropical kind. It is close to Asia’s south east region and belongs to India. It is popularly visited by tourists across the world for the incredible marine life, corals, lush green forests, unique wildlife, superb untouched beaches and intriguing past of colonialism and Stone Age culture remnants. Indigenous people inhabited it in the past but as of today, settlers of the mainland and their descendants that live in and around Port Blair, populate the islands.

The Ten Degree Channel separates the Andaman Islands from the Nicobar Island and is covered well with lush green forests, casuarina trees and coconut palms. Various endangered species including, Megapode, rare Nicobarese Pigeon and Giant Robber Crab are home to this place. The Sentinelese, an ancient and extinct tribe is found living at the Nicobar Island.

 

Best Time to Visit

All through the year, the Andaman and Nicobar Islands enjoy tropical weather along with high humidity. October to May is the best time to visit the islands. The monsoon months are from November to December and then from May to September. The highest temperature generally is 31 degree C while the lower is around 23 degree C.

 

How to reach: 

By road

Since it an island, the rail and road services are non-existent.

By Sea

Between Vishakhapatnam, Kolkata and Chennai and Port Blair, passenger ships go to and fro regularly. Each month from Chennai and Kolkata to Port Blair and back there are 3-4 sailings. From Vishakhapatnam there is one sailing during the month which takes around 50-60 hours. At Port Blair, Mumbai, Vishakhapatnam, Kolkata and Chennai are located offices of shipping corporations from where schedules and information can be obtained.

By air

Tourists can reach the Veer Savarkar Airport located at Port Blair by air. It is well connected to Kolkata and Chennai in India by a number of popular airlines on a regular basis.

 

Availability of hotels and restaurants

Accommodation of all types including 5 star hotels, 4 star hotels, 3 star hotels, 2 star hotels, hostels, apartments, budget hotels, luxury hotels, bed and breakfast arrangements are available at the islands. Tourists can certainly find accommodation depending upon their budget at the Andaman and Nicobar islands.

To cater to the needs of various kinds of tourists, both international and local cuisine is offered at all the hotels at the Andaman and Nicobar Islands. Hotel staff is well dressed, polite and always ready to help. If a request is made then a tourist guide is also arranged by the hotels.

Many hotels in various categories are situated in Port Blair. Services provided are simply superb and the hotel rooms extremely comfortable, clean and spacious. Most of the accommodation facilities are located near the beach areas, and hence holiday makers can get beautiful views of the area. In fact many of the resorts offer opportunities to explore the neighboring areas and thus give tourists their money’s worth. To ensure accommodation at the best of hotels and that too at affordable prices, it is best to make advance bookings on the internet.

 

Best places, locations, monuments

If you are looking for isolation, peace and beaches that are nearly deserted then, Niel Island populated by settlers from Bengal and located on the Northeast of Port Blair, is a great place to visit. Agriculture and fishing are the popular activities here. Tourists can have a great time, lying on the beach, cycling through farms and paddy fields, snorkeling or walking through jungles. Worth visiting is the 1890 built, three storey Cellular Jail National Memorial and a former British prison. A number of political dissidents mainly freedom fighters from India were jailed in this prison once but it is now a shrine to independence. Cells were constructed individually for the purpose of solitary confinement.

Originally Cellular Jail had 7 wings containing around 698 cells that radiated from the central tower. For freedom fighters it was almost like a university where debates, ideas and books were exchanged despite the wardens and walls. In Port Blair the Indian Navy run science museum is the best one. Informative and accurate exhibits at the museum address a number of concerns related to the marine life, animals, plants, tribal communities and the ecosystem at the islands. Another interesting destination is the fun university town called Rajshahi located on Padma River’s northern bank. Lots of attractions here can keep tourists entertained for a few days for sure!

Aberdeen Market is one of the best tourist attractions having everything right from dock for tour arrangement, bus stand, major hotels and souvenir shops. At Port Blair is located Corbyn’s Cove Complex, a complex for tourists that offer water sports facilities in a wide range.

At Ross Island which is also called the ‘Paris of the East’ one can see the Victorian English ruins and architecture. For the British, it has been the administrative headquarters, formerly. Labeled buildings and jungles growing fast can be seen here. Resident spotted deer is seen at a small park nibbling at the bushes besides peacocks and historical photos and displays are put up at the small museum at Ross Island. From the Aberdeen Jetty, which located behind the Port Blair Museum, tourists can take ferries to the island on all days except Wednesdays. Ruins of the 1867 British built gallows can also be tacked at Viper Island. Before the Cellular Jail was constructed, political prisoners were housed at the Viper Island.

Breathtaking views of the marine life, dolphins and underwater corals are possible at Jolly Buoy & Red Skin Island. Tourists can bask in the warm sun and sea bathe at these islands.

Bird Rock, or the Chidiya Tapu Beach can enchant anyone with the mangrove tree shaded narrow creek and lush green hills. Water is studded with corals and fish in wide varieties. Tourists can watch elephants at work carrying heavy logs. Aqua sports activities like sail boats, water scooter, glass bottom boats, wind skiing, Gemini boats, speed boats, para sailing and wind surfing can be enjoyed at the Andaman Water Sports Complex. Sippighat offers options of motor boats, rowing and paddling. Research is conducted here on various spices, trees and plants. The Samudrika Marine Museum and Anthropological Museum, the Chatham Saw Mill and M.G. Marine Park are the other attractions of the islands.