Andaman and Nicobar Island is a piece of paradise in the earth. It has become a very popular tourist destination due to its striking natural beauty and the diversity of the flora and fauna and also the presence of the tribal people who are still isolated from the so-called civilized world. It is one of the seven union territories in India at the juncture of the Bay of Bengal and the Andaman Sea.
The Andaman & Nicobar are a group of picturesque Islands. A total of 572 islands covered with dense forests and endless varieties of exotic flora and fauna. Out of these 572 islands close to 550 islands belong to the Andaman group and around 22 are in Nicobar portion. Most of these islands are uninhabited. The no of inhabited islands is 28 in Andaman and 10 in Nicobar. The earlier archaeological evidence of inhabitation in these islands dates back to nearly 2200 years. The indigenous people of Andaman and the indigenous people of Nicobar form a deep cultural and linguistic diversity.
Particularly vulnerable Tribal Groups (PTGs) who have been identified in the Andaman & Nicobar Islands. They are:-
Great Andamanese of Strait Island
Onges of Little Andaman
Jarawas of South and Middle Andaman
Sentinelese of Sentinel Islands
Shompens of Great Nicobar
Some popular tourist destinations of Andaman are as follows -
Neil Island is known as the ‘vegetable bowl’ of the Andaman. The settlers named the beaches after mythical characters of the epic Ramayana (Bharatpur, Laxmanpur, Sitapur, Ramnagar etc.). Approximately 37 km northeast from Port Blair it is famous for its sandy beaches and unexplored coral reefs. From Port Blair Phoenix Bay jetty, regular boats operated by Government and Private operators are available. Time taken is approximately two hours. Auto rickshaws, taxis, cycles, and motorbikes are available for transport within the island.
It happens to be the second most popular tourist destination of Andaman after Port Blair. An abundance of natural beauty is the prime reason behind its popularity. In spite of frequent visits from the travelers, the island remains an ideal place for serenity. This is the largest island and it lies on the eastern side of Andaman Island. It comprises some world famous beaches. One of the most renowned among them is the Radhanagar Beach locally known as the No 7 Beach. Surrounded by dense forests this eye candy beach has got a very clean sea shore stretched quite long. The water here is crystal clear and offers an opportunity for swimming. Albeit swimming is not suggested during the monsoon which lasts till September here. The beach has got well-maintained change rooms for Male and female. This picture perfect beach also offers a wonderful view of Sunrise and sunset. There are few other beaches in Havelock which are also quite picturesque and tourist friendly. Elephant beach is one of them. It attracts the attention of a lot of people because of its reputation for water sports such as snorkeling, boating, and kayaking. Vijayanagar beach which is also popular as beach no 5 is an attractive spot for the beach dwellers. It is a calm and quiet place where you can enjoy the music of the waves and sea breeze. Just 3 km from here is another jewel called Kalapathar beach.
Port Blair is the capital of the Union Territory of Andaman & Nicobar Islands. It is located on the east coast of South Andaman Island. Port Blair is the gateway to the pristine islands. Now Port Blair has a long list of places which are worth visiting. Following are those places which u should not miss:-
1) The Cellular Jail, a national memorial – This historic jail was a mute spectator and witness of brutal atrocities on the glorious freedom fighters of our country. The Sound and Light show in the Cellular Jail narrates this story and a must watch.
2) The Fisheries Museum - exhibits species of marine life endemic to the islands and found in the Indo-Pacific and the Bay of Bengal.
3) Corbyn's Cove Beach - Corbyn's Cove beach- the coconut-palm fringed beach, six kilometers away from Port Blair town
4) Samudrika - The Naval Marine Museum - houses a vast collection of cells, corals and a few species of colorful fishes of the sea around the islands.
5) Zoological Survey of India Museum - exhibits several varieties of sponges, corals, butterflies, centipedes etc.
6) Kalapani Museum - only private history museum in the country, The museum has a vast collection of rare archival photographs, paintings, and artifacts of tribes, history, rare original documents of Colonial and Japanese periods, including many documentaries and films related to the Island and the Indian Freedom Struggle.
7) North Bay Beach – One of the breathtaking beaches in the north of Portblair
8) Chidiyatapu - 28 Kms from Port Blair. famous for bird watching, sunset view, panoramic scenic beauties, and many colors of oceanic view.
There are few other places exist which one can surely visit namely Rajib Gandhi water sports complex, Gandhi Park, Cottage industry emporium Sagarika, Mount Harriet, Sippighat Agricultural Farm and cinque island famous for underwater marine life - to visit, one may contact private boat operators in Port Blair to hire a boat with due permission from the Forest Department.
Apart from a few spectacular beaches, Andaman is a place fully capable of satisfying the needs of those who look for a bit of history. Ross Island is an example of that. This tiny island lies within 3 Km from the capital Port Blair. When British rule here at its peak it established itself n an impotent place of the British Raj. You can do a walking tour here through the island which gives you a proper idea about its glorious past through its buildings, churches, museum. A piece of very important information has to be noted and that is this place currently is controlled by the Indian Navy and registration with a valid ID card is mandatory. One has to do it on arrival here. This place is almost uninhabited so do not expect commercial items here. You can carry your food or there is a canteen run by the navy which is recommended.
Nestled between the middle and south island of Andaman it is famous for its limestone caves and mud volcanoes. One has to take a thrilling voyage while reaching to this island as the path crossed the reserved forest areas which are home to the Tribal Jarawas. Police van should escort the tourist vehicle. Here we must mention that this isolated rain forest infested island is recommended for those who prefer to be adventurous in their endeavor. While reaching to the limestone caves you need to take a boat and then a jungle trek is needed. But the trouble is worth taking as these caves are just mindboggling. These all are more than a million years old. A mud volcano is another attraction. Barathang is 100 km from Portblair.
Andaman offers a tropical climate so it’s never very cold and the summer is warm. Ideal time ts October to March. But to be very honest one can visit this place throughout the year. Few places (mentioned already) are not recommended in monsoon (May-September).
Never an issue here as both North and south Indian food is available. The capital region is famous for its mouth-watering seafood. Andaman is highly inhabited by the Bengalis so Bengali food is very common here. Plenty of restaurants are available in the port Blair, Havelock region s well as other parts also quality food is available.