The Andaman and Nicobar Islands is one of the seven union territories of India, Andaman Sea are a group of islands at the juncture of the Bay of The Andaman Sea.The territory is 150 km (93 mi) north of Aceh in Indonesia and separated from Thailand and Myanmar (Burma) by the Andaman Sea. It comprises two island groups, the Andaman Islands and the Nicobar Islands, separated by the 10°N parallel, with the Andamans to the north of this latitude, and the Nicobars to the south (or by 179 km). The Andaman Sea lies to the east and the Bay of Bengal to the west. The territory’s capital is the Andamanese town of Port Blair. The total land area of these islands is approximately 8,249 km2 (3,185sqmi). The capital of Nicobar Islands is Car Nicobar. The islands host the Andaman and Nicobar Command, the only tri-service geographical command of the Indian Armed Forces.The Andaman Islands are home to the only known Paleolithic people, the Sentinelese people, who have no contact with any other people.

1. Port Blair

The capital of Andaman and Nicobar Islands, Port Blair is the poignant reminder of the many sacrifices of freedom fighters. The Cellular jail here is perhaps one of the most infamous remnants of India’s struggle for independence. The main motive of the establishment of this prison was solitary confinement of the prisoners. The wings were built in a manner that the face of each cell only saw the back of the cell opposite to it. Many freedom fighters were incarcerated in this prison colony including Veer Savarkar and Batukeshwar Dutt. Port Blair is also a gateway to other tourist attractions in Andaman and Nicobar Islands, due to its accessibility from the mainland. Ferries operate mainly from Port Blair to other islands.

Places to visit

Cellular JailWandoor & Mahatma Gandhi Marine National ParkJapanese Bunkers
Chatham Saw MillCorbyn’s CoveChidiya Tapu
Samudrika Marine MuseumNorth Bay IslandJolly Buoy Island
Mount HarrietAnthropological MuseumSippighat Agricultural Farm

 

2. Havelock Islands

Havelock Islands is home to Radhanagar beach, one of the most popular beaches in India and also awarded the best beach in Asia by TIME magazine in 2004. The beach is situated at a distance of 12 kilometers from the Havelock Islands and is a must visit site. The waters are sparkling blue and devoid of any wave action. There are a huge number of activities that one can do like scuba diving, snorkeling, boating, fishing etc. The beach is especially popular for couples as it is almost vacant and the serene environment adds to the romance. One can also enjoy elephant rides here. The best way to enjoy the beauty of the beach is to take a camera and go on a long stroll and click photographs amidst the white sands and the blue waters, the sunset at this beach is a marvel to behold.

Places to visit

Radhanagar BeachElephant BeachKalapathar Beach
Vijaynagar Beach

3. Baratang Island

The Baratang Island are a must visit the site for all the people who are planning their itinerary for the Andaman and Nicobar islands. The boat ride is covered with a canopy of the forest which is also a home to the indigenous ‘Jarwa’ tribe. However, one needs to be careful of the sea crocodiles and should not go near the water. The Limestone caves here will immediately gather your attention as the erosion has formed some unique shapes. The company of an experienced guide will make the trip more enjoyable as you might get to know some interesting facts about the local tribes and the history of these caves.

Places to visit

Limestone CavesMud VolcanoParrot Island
Baludera Beach

4. Neil Island

Neil Island is famous for its coral reefs and white shores. The best time to visit its beaches is during mornings and evenings. The morning time is especially good for the people who would like to go snorkeling and enjoy the view of the coral reefs located here. Because of the beauty of the reefs located here, Neil islands are often termed as the coral capital of Andaman. Do not worry if you’re not much of a snorkeling enthusiast, you can enjoy the beach simply by carrying a hammock and a book and enjoy the calm and cool sea breeze and indulge yourself. There are a number of benches for strollers to rest their feet and local vendors who sell coconut water.

Places to visit

Bharatpur BeachSitapur BeachLakshmanpur Beach
Natural Bridge

5. Ross Island

Ross islands are famous for the ruins of Penal colony that precedes the cellular jail or the Kaala paani. The jail was formerly used to incarcerate political prisoners and we can still see the ruins of the gallows at this island. The jail had many notable political prisoners from India’s struggle to independence. The island also has ruins of British’s opulent colonial past in the form a bakery, bungalows etc. The place no matter how notorious it was during the colonial period is a picturesque location which is one of the most important tourist destinations in the Andaman and Nicobar Islands.

6. Rangat

The scenic beauty of Rangat is perfect for flora and fauna lovers. It is located on Middle Andaman Island and is famous for Cuthbert Bay Beach, which is the breeding ground for turtles. These include olive ridley turtles, green sea turtles, hawksbill and leatherback turtles. The Cuthbert Bay Wildlife Sanctuary on the beach provides an undisturbed view of newly born turtles scrambling towards the sea. Visitors can also help in marine conservation efforts by releasing turtle hatchlings.

Transport

The Motor Transport Department of A & N Administration operates from 13 stations in Northern and Southern group of islands. The department has a total number of 205 buses in operation mainly in rural area of A & N islands. Computerized ticketing for ATR express service has been implemented w.e.f. 15th August, 2007 where advance tickets can be obtained.

Forests

Recorded forest is 7,171 sq km of the total geographical area of the islands. Many types of forests are found in the islands, such as tropical wet evergreen, tropical semi-evergreen, moist deciduous, littoral, mangrove and swamp forests. A large variety of timbers are found in the Andaman group of islands. The most valuable timbers are padauk and gurjan. These species are not found in Nicobar.

Wildlife

There are 96 Wildlife Sanctuaries, 9 National Parks and 1 Biosphere Reserve in these Islands.

Mammals – Out of 55 terrestrial and 7 Marine mammal species reported so far, 32 species are endemic.

Birds – As many as 246 species and sub species of birds are reported to inhabit these Islands, and of these, 99 species and sub species are endemic.

Reptiles – There are 76 terrestrial reptiles of these 24 species are endemic.

Marine Life – Islands harbour more than 1,200 species of fish, 350 species of echinoderms, 1,000 species of Molluscs and many more lower forms of life. Among vertebrates dugongs, dolphins, whales, salt water crocodiles, sea turtles, sea snakes, etc., are common.

Coral and Coral reefs – So far, 179 species of corals belonging to 61 genera have been reported. Reefs are mostly fringing type on eastern coast and barrier type on the western coast.

Tourism

Andaman and Nicobar Islands have been recognised as an eco-friendly tourist’s destination. As a tourist paradise, these islands have something very special to offer like Cellular Jail, Ross Island and Havelock Island.

The Andaman tropical evergreen rain forests, beautiful silver sandy beaches, serpentine mangrove-lines creeks, marine life abounding in rare species of plants, animals, corals, etc., provide a memorable experience to the tourists. There is tremendous scope for enjoying nature in the beach resorts, water sports and adventure water sports, adventure tourism like trekking, Island camping, Nature trail, Scuba Diving, etc.

Tourism Department runs guest houses in various parts of the Islands for comfortable accommodation to tourists visiting these Islands. The important places of tourist interest are Anthropological Museum. Marine Museum, Water Sports Complex, Gandhi Park, North Bay, Viper Island, Ross Island, Chidiyatapu, (Bird watching), Red Skin Island, Corbyn’s cove Beach, Islands like Neil Island, Havelock Island, Cinque, Little Andaman, Diglipur (Ross and Smith), etc.

As regards the connectivity, the islands are well connected to the mainland by air and sea. Indian Airlines, Air Deccan, Jetlite operates to Port Blair from Kolkata and Chennai. There are regular passenger ship service from Chennai, Kolkata and Vishakhapatnam.