Andaman Nicobar Island
Union Territory of India - Andaman & Nicobar Islands
The Union Territory of Andaman and Nicobar Islands consist of about 300 islands, 39 of which are inhabited. The Andaman group of islands consists of North Andaman, Middle Andaman, South Andaman, Little Andaman, and many smaller islands, situated in the Bay of Bengal, 1000 km off the east coast of India. The islands form the peaks of a vast submerged mountain range that extends for almost 1000 km between Myanmar (formerly Burma) and Sumatra. The Nicobar group of islands, which begin 50 km south of Little Andaman, comprise Great Nicobar, Car Nicobar, Nancowry, Katchal and Chowra. While geographically and ethnically close to Myanmar, politically the islands belong to India.
The existence of these islands was first reported in the 9th century by Arab merchants. Until the beginnings of colonial rule, the Andamans were populated mainly by Andamanese, indigenous tribes of Negrito origin who practice food-gathering, hunting, honey-collecting and fishing, and are the only tribe on the islands who freely accept contact with the outside world. Patterns of traditional life still remain among the Jarawa and Onge tribes who live in the interior regions of South Andaman. However, the majority of the 300,000 people on the Andamans are mainlanders or their descendants who live in and around the capital of Port Blair on South Andaman. The indigenous people of the Nicobars, the Nicobarese, are of mixed Burmese, Malay, Mon and Shan origin. They are a friendly and cheerful lot, who do not accept money and prefer the barter system. In the Nicobars, the only aboriginals are the Shompens, who are averse to any contact with the outside world.
Though travel is restricted, those islands that are open to tourism are a traveller's delight. Unique fauna, lush evergreen forests, deserted beaches, clear blue lagoons enclosed by exquisite coral reefs, an extraordinary history. For weary mainland travellers, the Andamans offer opportunities for relaxation and/or activities such as trekking, snorkelling and diving.
The capital city is the landing and departure point for boat excursions in the Andamans. It is an ideal base for touring the archipelago.
Fast Facts of Andaman
Places to Interest :
Samudrika Naval Maritime Museum
The Samudrika Naval Maritime Museum, in Port Blair, has an exhaustive shell collection and informative displays on various aspects of local marine biology. There is also a display of the different corals you can see on the Andamans' reefs.
Built by the British in the beginning of the century, it is now a memorial to Indian Prisoners. A son-et-lumiere is held here. It also has a museum and art gallery. This splendid three storey structure stands evidence to the most treacherous acts performed on the Indian freedom fighters by the British. Built in 1906, it has now been dedicated to the nation as a National Memorial.
This museum displays the interesting lifestyles of the tribals of this land. It includes weapons, tools and also rare photographs of the people. The museum is closed on Mondays and public holidays.
Haddo Forest Museum
Situated at Haddo, near to the Mini Zoo at Port Blair, here you can view miniature models of various forest activities. It also displays decorative pieces of art made of various woods like Satin Wood, Padauk, Gurjan, Marble, Peauma, etc.
This island is spread along an area of 0.6-sq-kms. Ross island remained under British occupation till 1942. However, the Japanese took over from 1942 to 1945. The British reoccupied the island in 1945 and later abandoned it. This island presently houses the ruins of old buildings like Chief Commissioner's House, Govt. House, Church and Troop Barracks, among other interesting sights. Though these are now in quite a ruined condition they are reminiscent of the old British regime. Ross Island is open for the tourists excepting on Wednesdays. Boat services are available from the Phoenix Bay Jetty, which is about a 10 minute ride, at 8.30 am, 10.30 am, and 12.30 pm to 2.30 pm.
An excursion can be taken by motor launch to this island beach.
Corbyn's Cove, is a serene coconut-palm fringed beach, ideal for swimming, surfing and sun-basking.
An excursion can be taken by motor launch to this island.
Mini Zoo at Port Blair
This small zoo houses some really rare species of fauna like the Nicobar Pigeon and the Andaman Pig. The Crocodiles bred here through the Saltwater Crocodile Breeding Programme are now in wild waters among the dense mangrove forests and breeding very well.
Bird Island as it is also called, lies at the tip of South Andaman and has a Bird Sanctuary definitely worth visiting. The motorable track running beyond this small fishing village leads through thick jungle overhung with twisting creepers to a large bay, where swamps give way to shell-strewn beaches.
Viper Island is very near to Port Blair. Here you can view the old Jail where the British used to keep convicts. It also has the ruins of gallows atop a hillock. The Jail was abandoned when the Cellular Jail was constructed in 1906.
The maximum period of stay for foreigners is 30 days. Access to the Nicobar Islands as well as some of the Andamans is denied to everyone except Indian nationals engaged in research, government business or trade.
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