Area-8293 sq km on 139
People per sq km-34
Bengali, Tamil, Telugu and other tribal languages
Floating in splendid
isolation, east of the Indian mainland, is the archipelago (archeological find) of 572 emerald
islands, islets and rocks known as the Andaman and Nicobar Islands. This Union
Territory is spread over a distance nearly 800 Kms. from North to South with 38
inhabited islands. A hill range extending from Burma (Myanmar) to Indonesia,
these undulating (rising and falling) islands are covered with dense forests and an endless variety
of exotic flora & fauna. The rare avifauna, underwater marine life and
corals, with crystal clear water and mangrove-lined creeks, offer a dream view
of the rare gifts of nature. The clean environment, roads, greenery as well as
unpolluted fresh air attract many nature-lover. A visit to these islands is a
The topography of the islands is hilly and abounds in
evergreen forests. The sandy beaches on the edge of meandering coastline are
fringed with coconut-palms that sway to the rhythm of the sea. The sea around
the islands offer excellent scope for water sports. The clean and wide roads,
free of filth as well as unpolluted fresh air attract any nature-lover, who seek
absolute peace and tranquility in the lap of mother nature. Adventure tourism
like trekking, island camping, snorkeling, scuba diving etc., are the real
attractions. A visit to these islands is a memorable lifetime experience.
The Andaman and Nicobar Islands were constituted into a Union Territory
in November 1956. The Islands are in two groups: the Andaman's and
the Nicobar, with a ten degree channel separating the two. They stretch
over 500 miles of water in the Bay of Bengal. Geographically, they
are situated between the 6th and 14th parallel of north, latitude and
between 92 degree and 94 degree of east longitude.
Although the Andaman Islands, large and small, number about 239, the
bulk consists of three closely connected large islands., North, Middle
and South Andaman's which with other two Islands, Baratang and Rut-Land,
almost form one landmass known as the Great Andaman's. In the Nicobars,
there are 19 islands of which 13 are inhabited by about 12,000
aboriginal tribesmen. Most of them live on Car Nicobar, the northern
most of the archipelago. Half of the total area is covered by the Great
Nicobar which is almost uninhabited. Port Blair, the capital of the
Andaman and Nicobar Islands, is 120 miles from Cape Negrais in Burma,
780 from Calcutta and 749 from Madras.
The Islands possess a number of harbors, notably Port Blair in the
south, Elphinstone and Bonington in the middle and Port Cornwallis in
the north. The Nicobar- Islands are situated to the South of the Andaman's.
There is a fine landlocked harbor between the Islands of Kamotra and
Nancowry known as Nancowry Harbor. Coconut is the main item trade and
the major item in their diet. And they have been cultivating coconut for
as long as any one can remember.
Mythologically, the name Andaman was presumed to be derived
from Hanuman, who was known to the Malays as Handuman. Since Prehistoric times,
these islands were the home of aboriginal tribes. The tribes of, the Andaman
group of islands are the Great Andamanese, Onges, Jarawas, and Sentinatese, all
of Negrito origin, while the tribes of Nicobars are the Nicobarese and Shompens,
both of Mongoloid stock. The first settlement by the British took place in 1789,
which was later abandoned in 1796. The second settlement was basically a penal
settlement, taken up in 1858, after the First War of Independence, followed by
the settlement of convicts, Moplas, some criminal tribes from Central and United
Provinces, refugees from erstwhile East Pakistan, Burma and Sri Lanka as well as
In these islands people of all faiths - Hindus, Muslims,
Christians, Sikhs etc., and of all languages like Hindi, Bengali, Malayalam,
Tamil, Telugu, Punjabi, Nicobari etc., live together in complete peace and
harmony. Inter-religion and inter-regional marriages are common. This amazing
racial and cultural mix is correctly described as Mini-India.
Forests are the green extend over gold of the islands. The
reserved and protected forests extend over 86% area of the territory and the
forest cover is more than 92 %. About 50 % of the forests has been set aside as
Tribal Reserves, National Parks and Wildlife Sanctuaries, which are inviolate.
Luxuriant mangroves, perhaps the richest in the world, occupy nearly II. 5 % of
the territory. More than 150 plant and animals species are endemic in nature.
Mahatma Gandhi Marine National Park is rich in corals, varieties of colored
fishes, sea turtles etc., besides other marine life. It is a birds paradise -
more than 271 varieties of birds inhabit the idyllic landscape, out of which 39
are endemic. Megapode, Swiftlet, Hornbill and Nicobar Pigeon are some of the
specialties of the Andaman & Nicobar Islands.
Since pre-historic times,
these islands have been the home of aboriginal tribes. But the first settlement
by the British took place in 1789, which was later abandoned in 1796. The second
settlement was basically a penal settlement, taken up in 1858, the year after
the First War of Indian Independence, followed by the settlement of convicts,
some criminal tribes from Central and United Provinces, refugees from erstwhile
East Pakistan and Sri Lanka as well as ex-servicemen
A clear history of the
Andaman & Nicobar Islands can be had only from a British Survey of these
islands conducted in 1777. The Andaman & Nicobar Islands remained the abode
of the Negritos and the Mongoloids respectively, who occupied the Islands for
centuries. These islands remained secluded from the mainland till the end of the
18th Century when people from the outside world first arrived. The
history of these islands could be divided into four broad periods
- the period of
seclusion and piratical disturbances
- a period of foreign intrusion and settlement
In the Second Century, the
Andaman and Nicobar Islands were located in the maps prepared by the great Greek
astronomer, mathematician and geographer, Claudius Ptolemaeus, which possibly is
the earliest reference to these islands. The early history of Nicobar is not
well known although these islands were familiar to traders in ancient times, the
islands being situated close to the trade route to the Far East. Though little
is known about Portuguese activities in these islands, it is evident that the
Portuguese missionaries started preaching Christianity among the islanders. The
Nicobarese language also reflects a few Portuguese words.
The Andaman & Nicobar
Islands are a veritable Garden of Eden and a naturalist's heaven. The clean
environment, roads, greenery as well as unpolluted fresh air attract all nature
lovers. The tropical rain forests and waters of Bay of Bengal are the home of a
vast collection of plant, animal and marine life. Topographically the islands
are hilly in places fringed with coconut palm, covered with tropical jungle and
interspersed with flat stretches of crescent shaped beaches. Adventure tourism
like trekking, Island camping, snorkeling, SCUBA diving etc. and other water
sports are the real attractions. A marvelous mix of nature's most precious
delights, the Andaman & Nicobar Islands are a once in a lifetime holiday
Andaman waters offer a fascinating world of under-water marine
life, varieties of colorful fishes, rarest of the coral reefs in the world,
mysterious remains of sunken ships, etc. All these can be explored through Scuba
Andaman & Nicobar Scuba Diving Society situated at Wandoor provides Scuba
Diving opportunities. Private divers are also available.
One can enjoy the under-water marine life and view the rarest varieties of
corals by snorkeling near the Andaman Water Sports Complex, Corbyn's Cove
Tourism Complex, Mahatma Gandhi Marine National Park, Havelock and other islands
on all days from dawn to dusk depending on weather.
One can go trekking through the nature trail from Mt. Harriet to Madhuban and
enjoy the rare forest life, flora and fauna. There are other trekking routes also. Trekking
equipment and tents are available on hire from Andaman Teal House.
Island camps are just the right choice for
the nature lovers, who wish to enjoy sun, sea and pristine beauty of nature by
spending quiet holidays right on the beach. Tents are available locally on hire
from October to May.
Places of Interest :
Cellular Jail, located at Port Blair, is a mute witness to the tortures meted
out to the freedom fighters, who were incarcerated in this Jail. The Jail,
completed in the year 1906 acquired the name, 'cellular' because it is entirely
made up of individual cells for the solitary confinement of the prisoners. It
originally was a seven pronged, puce colored building with a Central Tower
acting as its fulcrum and a massive structure comprising honey-comb like
corridors. The building was subsequently damaged and presently three out of
seven prongs are intact. The Jail now a place of pilgrimage for all freedom
loving people, has been declared a National Memorial.
The penal settlement established here by the British after
the First War of Independence-e in 1857 was the beginning of the agonizing story
of the massive and awful Jail at Viper Island followed by the Cellular Jail. The
patriots who raised their voice against the British Raj were sent to this Jail,
where many perished.
Netaji Subash Chandra Bose hoisted the first Tri-Color on
30th December, 1943 at a place near this Jail. During the 50th year of India's
Independence, the living freedom fighters and widows of the freedom fighters,
who were incarcerated in the Cellular Jail were honored by the President of
India on 30th December, 1997. A commemorative coin and a postal stamp on
Cellular Jail were also released on this occasion.
The saga of the heroic freedom struggle is brought alive in a
moving Son-et-Lumiere' shown daily at 6.00 PM (Hindi) and 7.15 PM (English).
Also there is a Museum and an Art Gallery which is open on all days except
Monday from 9.00 AM to 12 Noon and 2.00 PM to 5.00 PM.
ANDAMAN WATER SPORTS COMPLEX
This is a unique sports complex in India in its own kind.
There are facilities for safe Water Sports such as Rowing Boats, Paddle Boats,
Kayaks, Aqua-cycle, Aqua-glide, Bumper boats, etc., and Adventure water sports
such as Water-skiing, Water scooters, Gemini boats, Para-sailing, Sail boats,
Wind-surfers, Speed boats, Glass-bottom boats, etc., There are Saline Water
Swimming Pool, Nature-walk, Change Room, Food Plaza, also. There is a Memorial
built to commemorate the Battle of Aberdeen, fought between the British and Andaman
aborigines in May, 1859, in which many Andamanese died. There is an
artificial water-fall nearby.
CHILDREN'S TRAFFIC PARK
This park near Aberdeen Water Sports Complex, is set up by
the Traffic Police to educate young children about the traffic rules. There is a
Toy Train nearby.
This beautiful Park at Port Blair has facilities like
children's park, amusement park, entertainment park, deer and bird park, water
sports, nature trail,, lake, garden, restaurant and Japanese temple, as well as
a bunker. The erstwhile Dilthaman Tank, which was the only source of drinking
water to Port Blair has been developed into Gandhi Park in an unbelievably short
time of 13 days.
Corbyn's Cove, 7 Kms., from the town, is the coconut-palm
fringed beach, ideal for swimming, surfing and sun-basking. Facilities like
water sports, restaurant and bar, change room, etc., are also available.
The Chatham Saw Mill
The Chatham Saw Mill, one of the oldest and largest mills in
Asia, built on a tiny island, is connected to Port Blair by a bridge. It is a
store-house of timber like Padauk, Gurjan, Marble, Satin Wood, etc. The island
has the second largest wharf of these islands, where island-mainland ships can
Situated in Haddo, Port Blair, it houses some of the rare species of endemic
birds and animals found in these islands.
The summer headquarters of the Chief Commissioner during
British Raj, it is an ideal place for a nice and fascinating view of the sun,
sea and sand. It is 365 meters high, the highest peak in the South Andamans. One
can trek up to Madhuban through a nature trail and can find rare flora and fauna,
endemic birds, animals and butterflies. Conducted tours to Mt. Harriet are
available from Andaman Teal House.
Sprawling over an area of 80 acres is a Government farm.
Research & development programs for cultivation of spices like cloves,
nutmeg, cinnamon, coconut and Ruins in Ross Island pepper are conducted.
A short boat ride from Phoenix Bay Jetty, Ross Island, was
the seat of the British Administration. Important ruins include a Church,
Cemetery, Swimming Pool and Chief Commissioner's residence. A small museum of
Indian Navy, Smritika, has a good collection of old records. Boats are available
from Phoenix Bay Jetty, Port Blair daily except Wednesday.
Viper Island is very near to Port Blair and was the old Jail
were British's used to harbor convicts. It has ruins of gallows atop a hillock.
The Jail was abandoned when the Cellular Jail was constructed in 1906.
climate in Andaman and Nicobar remains in the range of 23 degrees
Celcius to 31 degrees Celcius due to the Sea Breezes and the humidity
level is 80% throughout the Year. While December and January are the
high seasons, the best time to visit Andaman and Nicobar is between
December and April.