The Andaman & Nicobar Islands are unique. It is unlike any other place in India. Sprinkled in a tiny pocket of the Indian Ocean, the Andaman Islands are part of India but geographically closer to Myanmar (190 kms) and Thailand (150 kms). The Andaman Islands are a home to the only known Paleolithic people, the Sentinelese people, who have no contact with any other people.
The Andaman and Nicobar Islands consists of 572 emerald Islands, only 36 of which are inhabited. East of the Indian main land the Andaman & Nicobar islands are at the juncture of the Bay of Bengal and Andaman Sea, and are a Union Territory of India. Port Blair is the Capital of Andamans and Nicobar islands. The Name Andaman is derive from 'Hanuman' – The Hindu God, many times spelled Monkey God also by the people coming from The Western culture.
The Islands are shrouded in the mystery for centuries because of their inaccessibility. A paragon of beauty, these islands present a landscape of scenic and picturesque extravaganza, shimmering like emeralds in the Bay of Bengal (INDIA). Thickly wooded with rain forest and tropical trees, edged by mangrove swamps and pristine, palm- fringed, white sand beaches melt under flame and purple sunsets; coral reefs with beautiful marine life, these islands easily rival the like of the Maldives or the Caribbean in the terms of natural beauty.
The Sparkling clear water with clean isolated beaches makes it one of the best places in the world to explore the seabed; rare species – Dugong ( the state animal) , the marine turtles, tropical fishes, coral reefs, water activities like sea walking, Scuba diving, Snorkeling, Kayaking make it a ultimate tourist destination of India.
Much of the Andamans are accessible to foreigners, while the Nicobars Island are off limits to the tourists.
These Islands have been inhabited by the Aboriginal tribes for the thousands of years but long remained unexplored because anyone attempting to land would be attacked and killed. Today there are a few hundreds of the different tribal people survive on the islands like Onges who live in Dugong Creek in Little Andaman and traditionally painted their naked bodies, the fierce Jarawas on the South and Middle Andamans, the Sentinelese on North Sentinel, Nicobarese on the Car Nicobar island, Shompens on great Nicobar Island lives and hunted wild pigs, fishes, caught turtles with harpoons. Some tribes made pottery but the Andamanese particularly were exceptional since they had not discovered the art of fire making.
During the British period political leaders, dreaded criminals, activists who rose against British Rule were deported from mainland of the undivided India to Andamans 'Kala Pani' – the Cellular Jail- the Indian Bastille, situated on the sea coast of Atlanta Point in the North-Eastern part of Port Blair. Thus these islands were infamously known as the 'Black Water Prison' or 'Kala Pani' another famous name of Andaman and Nicobar Islands.
It was in 1857, after India's First War of Independence, that a penal colony was attempted at Port Blair with an initial lot of 200 freedom fighter who, for the first time, attempted to over throw British rule in India. The number of freedom fighters increased to 773 within three months.
During the 2nd World War the British hastily evacuated and abandoned these Islands in the face of advancing Japanese Forces, allowing Japanese occupation of Andaman and Nicobar Islands. The Japanese brutally ruled the territory for four years from 1942 to 1945. During this period, Japanese took up massive fortification on these islands through construction of airfields (Port Blair, Rutland, Car Nicobar), installation of Radars and guns for air defence network, chain of foreshore concrete pill boxes.
On the morning of 7th October 1945,the Armada carrying 116 Indian infantry brigade of South East Asian allied Land force under the command of Brigadier A.J. Solomon surrounded Port Blair Compelling about 20,000 armed Japanese force to surrender on 9th October 1945.
With the advent of Indian Independence on 15th August 1947, these islands were merged with the Indian main stream.
Hindi Bengali, Tamil, Malayalam and English are widely spoken languages. Andaman and Nicobar have a tropical rainforest all over and hence it displays a wide variety of flora. The dense and impenetrable forests have cane brakes; wet bamboo trees clusters and Mangrove forests. The flora found in Andaman and Nicobar Islands have mixed elements from India, Myanmar and Indonesia, all of which have had an influence on the flora found on the island.
As of now, more than 2200 different species of plants have already been recorded. The isolation of the Islands has led to the evolution of many endemic plants, animals and birds species. 62 identified mammals 32 are unique to the islands, including the Andaman wild pig, crab eating macaque, masked palm civet and many species of tree shrews and bats. Almost 50 % of the island's 250 bird species are endemic. Mangroves provides a protective barrier between land and sea.
Rice and seafood form the staple diet for the Andamanese and Nicobarese people. The food is supplemented with coconut and similar locally found ingredients. Due to the rich cultural diversity of the islands, cuisines from all over the Indian subcontinent have found their way here, and tourists can easily get North Indian and South Indian dishes to eat when they visit. The island has easy access to fish and edible shellfishes, which make up for some very interesting and delectable local dishes.
The Cellular jail situated in Port Blair, Andaman Islands is closely associated with the freedom struggle of India. The Cellular jail, built in 1896 was used by the British to transport Indian freedom fighters from the Indian mainland. Thousands of freedom fighters languished for years in solitary confinement in the cells of the Cellular Jail. Today, the Cellular Jail is declared as the National Memorial, a tribute to those who dared to raise their voices against the British rule.>
The saga of the heroic freedom struggle is brought alive in a moving Sound & Light show at the Cellular Jail. The show is conducted every evening in the premises of Cellular jail which gives us a brief idea about the happenings in the jail prior to Independence in 1947.
A marvelous Island with plenty of marine life, Neil Island is an ideal location for eco-tourism. Neil Island is also known as the vegetable bowl of Andamans. The sandy beaches at Sitapur, Bharatpur and Lakshmanpur are very attractive for spending the evenings. The breathtaking view of sea and the lusting greeneries in the island is really rejuvenating and enjoyable for enthusiastic travelers. Neil Island is connected by regular Boat service on the way from Port Blair to Havelock Island. Neil Island is also famous for snorkeling. Another famous activity carried out at the Neil Islands is fishing and angling.
Baratang Island is about 90 km away from Port Blair. Bartang contains the only known of mud volcanoes in India which is about 4 km away from the boat jetty. Limestone Caves are located about 50 minutes (by sea) away from Baratang boat jetty. The experience at Parrot Island at sunset, when all the parrots are returning home is indeed a mesmerizing experience. Once in Baratang,one can take amazing backwater cruise through the dense mangrove forest to the famous Limestone Cave. Inaccessible to many travellers and many people of the Andaman Islands, Baratang once used to be one of most feared destination. Attacks by the native Jarawa Tribes were common allowing nobody to ponder around there place. The Jarawa Tribe Reserve, today stands as a reserve for the Jarawa Tribes members. Efforts were made by the Government to help the native tribes and to gain trust. The journey from Port Blair to Bartang passes through the Jarawa Tribe reserve.
Viper Island is located near Port Blair. Infamous for convicts who were jailed here, the gallows atop its hillocks was where criminals and revolutionaries were housed before the commissioning of the Cellular Jail. The ruins of the discarded jail, built by British in 1867, can be still seen in this Island. Viper Island is accessible by harbour cruise originating from Phoenix Bay Jetty in Port Blair.
The Ross Island is a 20-minute boat ride from Aberdeen Jetty in Port Blair. Ross Island, the capital of Andaman & Nicobar Islands during the British Raj days, now stands guard to the Port Blair harbour. There are historical ruins along the beach and a beautiful tropical forest. Important ruins include a church, swimming pool and the Chief Commissioner’s residence. A small museum of the Indian Navy, called Samudrika, has a good collection of old records that depicts the history of the Ross Island.
Andaman Water Sports Complex offers all kinds of water sports facilities: Sail boats, para sailing, water scooters, rowing boats, kayaks, paddle boats, water skiing facilities etc.,. Boating from this complex up to the Ross Island is really an exciting experience. There is an artificial waterfall as well, which is a great attraction among the visitors. A children park nearby is a place for children to enjoy the serene environment. There is also a Memorial for the Battle of Aberdeen fought between Britishers and Andamanese aboriginals in 1859.
The Forest Museum located at Haddo offers an insight into forest activities in the Andaman & Nicobar Islands through models. The Forest Museum also displays the artifacts made out of timber including Peauma, Oak, Gurjan, padauk and Satin Wood. The Forest Museum is run by the Forest Department of Andaman and Nicobar Islands.
Samudrika Museum is run by the Indian Navy. The Museum has five ( 05) sections: history of the islands, their geography, people, marine life and archaeology. The Museum also houses an impressive display of coral and shells, and a large relief map of topography in Andaman & Nicobar Islands.
The Anthropological Museum, in Port Blair, was set up in the year 1975. The Anthropological Museum displays tribal essentials and artifacts such as boats, weapons, baskets, clothing, photographs, models and records of exploratory expeditions undertaken over the years. The in-house library provides invaluable reference to the indigenous Tribal culture of Andaman & Nicobar Islands.
The Corbyn’s Cove, is a serene and unspoiled soft sandy beach, set in picturesque background of lush green coconut palms and pleasant blue sea. The main attractions of this beach are the inviting water sports activities like surfing, scuba diving and boating. The Corbyn’s Cove beach, situated 8 kms from the City centre is the closest Beach from the city. This coconut- palm fringed beach, is ideal for swimming, surfing and sun bathing.
The Fisheries Museum houses more than 300 marine species of marine life, including live coral, sharks, polyps and Starfish. These marine species, peculiar to the Andaman & Nicobar Islands is found only in the Indo-Pacific and the Bay of Bengal.
Chatham Saw Mill, once Asia’s largest Saw Mill is located in Chatham Island & is connected to Port Blair by a Sea bridge. Since the Supreme Court of India banned logging in Andaman & Nicobar Islands, most of the wood now comes by ship from Malaysia, Myanmar and Thailand. Chatham Saw Mill converts huge Logs into different sizes of timber. It also processes ornamental species which is used in the manufacture of furniture and handicraft.
Mount Harriet 383 metre was once the summer headquarters of the Chief Commissioner during the British Raj. Mount Harriet, the highest point in Port Blair is an ideal place for a Picnic, Trekking, Bird watching and Butterfly watching in Andamans. Mount Harriet is 20 kms. by travelling with ferry and road both. Mount Harriet National Park established in 1979, covers about 46.62 km2 . Mount Harriet 383 metres (1,257 feet), which is part of the park, is the third-highest peak in the Andaman and Nicobar archipelago next to Saddle Peak (732 metres / 2,402 f eet) in North Andaman and Mount Thullier (568 metres / 1,864 feet) in Great Nicobar.
The Mahatma Gandhi Marine National Park near Wandoor is rich in corals, varieties of coloured fishes, sea turtles etc., besides other marine life. Mahatma Gandhi Marine National Park is a bird’s paradise having more than 271 varieties of birds including, 39 that are endemic. Mahatma Gandhi Marine National Park is located 29 kms from Port Blair. You have to get a permit from the Wildlife Warden’s office near the Wandoor Jetty to visit the Mahatma Gandhi Marine National Park anf Jolly Bouy and Red Skin are the most visited Islands for Snorkeling and corals viewing .
Located at the southern most tip of South Andamans, 30 kms from Port Blair, Chidiyatapu is a lush mangrove forest with large number of birds. The Munda Pahar beach is an ideal picnic spot. Chidiyatapu provides a fabulous view of the isolated islands & breath-taking sunset views.
The Cinque Island is located 54 kms from Port Blair (2 hours by boat from Chidiya Tapu). Cinque Island is one of the best diving destination in Andaman & Nicobar Islands & has clear water with visibility levels of up to 80 feet. It is the best place to view a large variety of marine life and black corals. No body is allowed to stay overnight in Cinque Island.
Long Island is 82 kms. from Port Blair. Long Island is connected by boat from Port Blair, either directly or “island hopping” via Neil Island and Havelock. Long Island offers an excellent sandy beach at Lalaji Bay with unpolluted environment and evergreen forests. Lalaji bay Beach is 6 kms. away from the boat jetty of Long Island.
Long Island is approximately 10km from North to South, 5km from East to West, much of it forested. You can also visit nearby uninhabited islands from Long Island. There are no motor cars on the island, and no roads: free of traffic or crime, the island is a perfect destination for families. Generally, people walk or use bicycles.
The Climate of Andaman & Nicobar Islands is described as Tropical climate. Andaman and Nicobar Islands has a humid Weather and has no winter season. Rain season lasts for 180 days in a year. The southwest monsoon touches the Indian soil first in the Andamans and then proceeds towards the Indian mainland.
Sea breezes keep temperature within 20 °C to 32 °C, range Humidity around 80 %. Annual rainfall is around 2540 mm. Monsoon Season is early May To September, while the North East ( dry) monsoons between November and December also have their fair share of rainy days.
The best time to visit the Andaman Island is from November to April end.
Andaman Island can be reached only by Air or by Sea only. The best way to reach these exotic islands is to take flight from New Delhi, Kolkata or Chennai to Port Blair – the Capital of Andaman and Nicobar Island.
AIR Travel To Andaman Island: Indian Airlines and private Airlines like Indigo, Go air, Spice Jet and Jet airways operate daily air service from Delhi, Kolkata, Chennai, Mumbai to Port Blair and back. The flights are expensive on these routes and you are suggested to book your flight tickets well in Advance.
BY SEA: Regular passenger ship services are available to Port Blair—the major gateway of Andamans, from Chennai, Calcutta and Vishakhapatnam and back. Tickets for the ships do need to be booked in advance and the 3-day journey can be arduous given the basic amenities on board. The voyage takes about 55 hrs. – 70 hrs. of sea journey.
Inland Ferries: Once you are in Port Blair, you can choose to travel to Havelock Islands / Niel Islands by the Inland ferry services. There are three ferries that ply between Port Blair and Havelock covering Neil Island on the way on the daily basis.
Travellers can choose between the slower Government ferry and the faster new Catamaran / Costal Cruise depending on their arrival time in Port Blair as well as their budget. We will be glad to offer you all the travel details at the time of your final bookings with us.