The largely uninhabited archipelago located south of Burma and northwest of Malaysia is the Andaman and Nicobar islands on the waters of Bay of Bengal. Nearer to Thailand than to mainland India, it is a treasure trove of natural beauty and gorgeous marine life.
Andaman and Nicobar Islands is one of the Union territories of India and Port Blair is the capital city with an airport and a busy harbor connecting to mainland India.
572 islands come under the union territory out of which only 38 islands are inhabited. Out of 38 inhabited islands, only few are accessible and the rest in Nicobar region is out of bounds for visitors.
It is a wonder that the islands far flung at 1200 kms from main land are part of India. All thanks to the people from Denmark who colonized the islands in 1756 and later sold to the British in 1869. The British used the islands to imprison freedom fighters and built a prison known as Cellular Jail in Port Blair. When India gained independence, naturally the beautiful islands became an integral part of India.
The indigenous people of these islands mainly reside in Nicobar Islands and the Jarwa tribe resides in the main Andaman Island. Talking to them or taking pictures of them is forbidden and they are protected by the government of India to lead a life of their choice.
Other people who live on these islands are immigrants from other parts of India like West Bengal, Tamil Nadu, and Andhra Pradesh. The natural wealth sustains the economy of this region. Fishing, horticulture, and agriculture are the main occupation of the people settled here. Tourism has caught up and hospitality and water sports business has mushroomed across many islands. Handicrafts industries are thriving to cater to the increasing number of tourists looking for souvenirs to take back to their friends and family.
As the plane drops heights, the view of the islands is mesmerizing. Completely covered with tropical green forests bordered with aquamarine waters you cannot wait to touch down and start exploring. The trees are tropical evergreen mangroves and damp deciduous.
Abundant wildlife includes Crab eating Macaque, Dolphins, Wild Boar, Barking Deer, Spotted Deer, Sambhar, Feral Elephants and many more intriguing creatures. Salt water crocodiles have made the mangroves their home. Turtles migrate to these islands to lay eggs. The chief avian creatures of the Andaman and Nicobar forestry and wildlife include White billed eagle, Nicobar Pigeon, Andaman hawk Owl, Andaman Scops Owl, Andaman Crake, Brown Coucal and many more.
Picture (above): Nicobar Pigeon in Jurong Bird Park, Singapore
Beautiful live coral reefs with multicolored fishes keep the Eco-system balanced in this region.
State Bird: Andaman Wood Pigeon
State Animal: Dugog
State Tree: Padauk
Water sports like jet skiing, speed boats, banana boat ride, snorkeling, sea walking, glass bottom boat rides, and diving are the other activities that attract tourists in large numbers to these islands.
Interesting places in Andaman and Nicobar Islands are:–
Cities, Towns, and Villages
|Wandoor Beach||North Bay Beach||Radhanagar Beach|
|Kalapathar Beach||Vijaynagar Beach||Govindnagar Beach|
|Corbyn’s cove beach||Baludera Beach|
|Sitapur Beach||Amkunj Beach, Rangat Island||Cutbert Bay Beach|
|Karmatang Beach||Ramnagar Beach , Diglipur Island||Panchavati|
|MundaPahar Beach, Chidiyatappu||Collinpur Beach near Tirur||Elephant Beach|
Museums and Historical monuments
|Anthropological Museum||Fisheries (Marine) Museum||Cellular Jail|
|Samundrika (Naval Museum)||Marina Park (sea museum)||Chatham saw mill|
|Mahatma Gandhi Marine National Park, Wandoor|
|Havelock Island||Neil Island||Ross Island|
|North Bay Island||Viper Island||Jolly buoy Island|
|Long Island||Baratang Island||Rangat Island|
|Grub Island||Redskin Island||Alexandra Island|
|Belle Island||Boat Island||Chester Island|
|Hobday Island||Malaya Island||Pluto Island|
|Rifleman Island||Rutland Island||Snob Island|
|Twins Island||Tarmugli Island|
Hills and Wild Life Sanctuary
|Mount Harriet||Saddle Peak||Cuthbert Bay Wildlife Sanctuary|
|Narcondum Hornbill Sanctuary||Nicobar Pigeon Sanctuary||South Sentinel Island Sanctuary|
|North Reef Sanctuary|