Andaman & Nicobars, a group of 572 Islands & islets spread over like a broken pearl chain in Bay of Bengal covering an area of 8249 sq.km. Over a distance of 780kms of ocean from North to South. The Island , although an Union Territory of India, is very close to Rangoon(Burma), Phuket(Thailand) Malaysia & Sumatra. However to reach these islands irrespective Indians or Foreigners have to undertake journey from Chennai/ Calcutta / Vizag. Andaman is graded as one of the ideal destination for availing leave travel concession to cover a long distance journey.
There is a reference in the Hindu epic Ramayana, to the monkey-god Hanuman making a stopover in the Andaman while he was en route to Lanka in search of Sita. Aboriginals have inhabited the Islands for thousands of years ? but their xenophobia and their belligerence resulted in the area remaining unexplored. Sir Arthur Conan Doyle of ?Sherlock Holmes? fame described the islanders in his book, ?The Sign of Four?, as ?perhaps the smallest race upon this earth ? fierce, morose and intractable?. Lying on the ancient trade route between Burma and India, the islands were delineated on Ptolemy?s second century a.d. map. The Chinese traveller, I-Tsing who visited India in the seventh century gave a rivetting account of these isles, as did the Venetian explorer Marco Polo (1254-1324).
The place became the naval base of the great Maratha admiral, Kanhoji Angre in the early 18th century. He frequently crossed swords with the Europeans ? the British, the Dutch and the Portugese. In 1713, he captured the yacht of the British governor of Bombay, releasing it only after obtaining a hefty ransom. Though attacked later by a combined British/Portugese naval task force, Angre remained undefeated until his death in 1729. The first westerners to set foot on these isles were the Danes in the mid-18th century.
Andaman and Nicobar Islands have an unique culture, where all religions, languages, ethnic groups live in total peace and harmony and hence it is rightly called Mini India. Port Blair has a cosmopolitan character where people of all walks of life live together in peace and tranquility. All major festivals are celebrated with equal zeal and fervour and attended by all religious groups.
Sea food is the specialty of these islands. The unpolluted water of Andaman Sea abounds with varieties of fish, crabs, lobsters, prawns etc. Seafood is easily available and deliciously cooked. North Indian, South Indian, vegetarian, continental, Chinese dishes are also available.
This unique complex offers all possible aqua-sport facilities like Water-skiing, Sail boats, Windsurfing, Speed Boats etc., and safe water sports like Paddle Boats, Row Boats etc. There is a sea water swimming pool and a change room. There is also a Memorial for the Battle of Aberdeen fought between Britishers and Andamanee aboriginals in 1859. Nearby is anAmusement Park with Rollercoaster, Pleasure rides etc. and a children Traffic Park is adjacent to it.
One can enjoy the under-water marine life and view the rarest varieties of corals by snorkeling in the Mahatma Gandhi Marine National Park, Carbyn's Cove Tourism Complex, Havelock and other islands on all days from dawn to dusk depending on the weather.
Camps are just the right choice for the nature-lovers who wish to enjoy the sun, sea and the pristine beauty of nature by spending quiet holidays right on the beach. Tents are available on hire at all the Guest Houses at moderate rates.
Diving in Andaman waters offer a fascinating world of under-water marine life, varieties of colourful fishes, rarest of the coral reefs in the world, mysterious remains of sunken ships etc. All these can be explored through SCUBA diving.
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 the tents are available on hire from Andaman Teal House.
About 13 km long and 4.5 km wide, the island of Diu is situated off the southern coast of Gujarat, separated by a narrow channel.
Five weekly flights between Calcutta and Port Blair and four flights between Chennai and Vishakhapattnam connect the islands to the mainland.
Regular passenger ship services are available to Port Blair from Chennai, Kolkata and Vishakhapatnam and back. There are three to four sailings every month from Kolkata and Chennai to Port Blair and vice-versa. There is one sailing from Vishakhapatnam in a month. The voyage takes about 50 to 60 hours and the ship normally berths at Port Blair for about two to four days.
The summer temperatures range between 20?C and 38?C. And the winter between 20?C and 25?C.
This beautiful island with lush green forest and sandy beaches is the vegetable bowl of Andamans. Connected by boat from Port Blair four days a week, it provides an ideal holiday for eco-friendly tourists. Hawabill Nest guesthouse of the Directorate of Tourism is situated here (Tel: 82630). One can feel the sincerity and serenity of village life here. Beautiful beaches at Laxmanpur, Bharatpur, Sitapur and the bridge formation on the sea-shore (Howra bridge) are the attractions.
Situated opposite to Andaman Teal House, Delanipur this museum is meant to create awareness on various aspects of oceanic environment. A good collection of shells, corals and a few species of colourful fishes found in these islands are on display.
Time: 8.30 AM ? 12.00 Noon, 2.00 PM ? 5.00 PM, Monday & holiday closed Entry fee - Rs. 10/-
One can enjoy the quiet village life and solitude of virgin nature here. You can also breathe unpolluted air, a rare commodity for the city dweller. Cutbert Bay beach (20 kms. away from Rangat bazar/jetty) is a turtle nesting ground. One can view the nesting of turtles during December ? February season. Hawksbill Nest, guest house of the Directorate of Tourism, is near to the Cutbert bay beach and Turtle sanctuary. Panchavati waterfall and Amkunj beach are on the way to Cutbert bay. One can go to Mayabunder and Diglipur from here.
Situated in the northern part of Middle Andaman, Mayabunder offers excellent scenic beauty and beautiful beaches. Inhabited by the settlers from Burma, East Pakistan and ex-convicts, Mayabunder has a distinct culture. Beach at Avis Island (30 minutes boat journey from Mayabunder), Karmatang beach (13 kms.) and mangrove lined creeks are the attractions. Karmatang beach is also a turtle nesting ground. One can view nesting of turtles during December-February season. Swiftlet Nest guest house of the Directorate of Tourism (Tel: 73495) is very near to the Karmatang beach. One can go to Kalighat (for Diglipur) by boat from here.
Situated in North Andaman Island, Diglipur provides a rare experience for eco-friendly tourists. It is famous for its oranges, rice and marine life. Saddle Peak, 732 metres, the highest point in the islands is nearby. Kalpong, the only river of Andaman flows from here. The first hydroelectric project of the islands is coming upon this river. One who comes by road from Port Blair has to take a boat from Mayabunder to Kalighat and from there journey by road to Diglipur (25 kms.), and from there to Kalipur (18 kms.) for viewing, Kalipur and Lamiya bay beaches. Directorate of Tourism provides comfortable accommodation at Turtle Resort, Kalipur. The Water Sports Centre is near by. Those who want to go for trekking to Saddle Peak can collect trekking equipments on hire from Turtle Resort and start trekking from Kalipur. Ram Nagar beach (15 kms. away from Kalighat) is famous for Turtle nesting during December ? February season. One who comes by boat from Port Blair will reach Aerial bay jetty, which is very near to places like Diglipur and Kalipur.
This island has a beautiful beach at Butler Bay, a waterfall and plantation of oil palms. Apart from this there are several sandy beaches all along the coastline of the island. The break water at Hut Bay offers an excellent view to the tourists. Little Andaman is the vegetable bowl for the Nicobar group of islands. The Onge tribals live in this island, so do Nicobarese apart from settlers from erstwhile East Pakistan and other places. However entry to tribal areas is restricted. Journey 8 hrs. by sea from Port Blair towards south.
A rustling fan, Car Nicobar is the headquarters of Nicobar District. It is a flat fertile island covered with cluster of coconut palms and enchanting beaches with a roaring sea all around. The Nicobari huts, built on stilts having entrance through floor with a wooden, ladder, are unique to this island. 16 hrs. journey by sea from Port Blair.
Katchal is a tiny island in the Nicobar group. It was this island, which heralded the new millennium with the first sunrise on 1st January 2000. This island has beautiful beaches at East bay, Jhula and West bay.
The southern end of the Nicobars, this island has Indira Point (formerly Pygmallion Point) the southern most tip of India. The beach near Galathia is the nesting ground for Gaint Leather Back Turtles. This island also has biosphere reserve area. 50-60 hrs. journey by sea from Port Blair.
An island in Mahatma Gandhi Marine National Park, it offers a breath taking underwater view of coral and marine life. It is an ideal place for snorkeling , sea bathing and basking on the sun kissed beach.
The lure of underwater coral gardens and unspoiled beaches specially a sand bar joining two islands are irresistible. Super place for SCUBA diving, swimming, fishing and Camping.
Another island in Mahatma Gandhi Marine National Park has a nice beach and offers spectacular view of corals and marine life.
About 38 Kms. from Port Blair, this island provides idyllic resort in the lap of virgin beach and unpolluted environment. Camping facility is available near Radhanagar beach. A guesthouse of Tourism Department "Dolphin Resort" is available for the tourists.
At a distance of about 135 Kms. from Port Blair is the land of volcano, Barren Island, the only active volcano in India. The Island, about 3 Kms. has a big crater of the volcano, rising abruptly from the sea, about 1/2 Km. from the shore and is about 150 fathoms deep. Can be visited on board vessels.
Once the seat of British power and capital of these Islands, it stands now as a ruin of the bygone days with the old structure almost in debris. A small museum named 'Smritika' holds photographs and the other antiques of the Britishers relevant to these islands.
The Britishers used to harbour convicts here. The first jail was constructed here which was abandoned after the construction of Cellular Jail. It has a gallows atop a hillock, where condemned prisoners were hanged. Sher Ali, who killed Lord Mayo, the Viceroy of India in 1872, was also hanged here.
It has a Saw Mill lying on the tiny island connected by a bridge over a stretch of sea-water. This Saw Mill is one of the biggest and oldest in Asia. The main mainland -Island harbour is also here. The other harbour is Haddo, which is nearby.
One of the most picturesque sea-beaches, it is ideal for sea bathing and sun-basking. The Waves Restaurant, The Peerless Resort nearby and the Hornbill Nest Guest House at a stone's throw, provide a kaleidoscopic view of the blue water front.
Chidiya Tapu is the southern most tip of South Andaman. The lush green mangroves, forest cover with numerous chirping birds and the Sylvan Sands and Munda pahar beaches make it an ideal picnic site. The forest guesthouse situated on top of a hillock provides a fabulous view of isolated islands, submerged corals and the breath-taking sunset. Conducted tours are available from Andaman Teal House, Port Blair.
The summer headquarters of the Chief Commissioner during British Raj, this place is an ideal for a nice and fascinating over view of the outer islands and the sea. It is the highest peak in the South Andamans (365 metres high). One can trek upto Madhuban through a nature trail and can find rare endemic birds, animals and butterflies. Conducted tours to Mt. Harriet are available from Andaman Teal House.
Entry Fee: Rs. 10/-
Cellular Jail, located at Port Blair, stood 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-coloured building with central tower acting as its fulcrum and a massive structure comprising honeycomb like corridors. The building was subsequently damaged and presently three out of the seven prongs are intact. The Jail, now a place of pilgrimage for all freedom loving people, has been declared a National Memorial.
This three-storeyed prison, constructed by Britishers in 1906, is a pilgrimage destination for freedom fighters. This colossal edifice has mutely witnessed the most treacherous of inhumane atrocities borne by the convicts, who were mostly freedom fighters. Now dedicated to the nation as a National Memorial.
This museum at Phoenix Bay (Bus stand ? Delanipur road) depicts the life of the Paleolithic Islanders. It also houses the models of the aborigines and their tools. Closed on Mondays and holidays.
Situated near Andaman Water Sports Complex, it exhibits species of marine life peculiar to the islands and found in the Indo-Pacific and the Bay of Bengal. Closed on Mondays and holidays.
Entry Fee: adult ? Rs. 2/-, child (upto 12 years) Re. 1/-, Video without focus light ? Rs. 25/- .
Connected by boat four times a week from Phoenix Bay Jetty, this island offers an excellent sandy beach at Lalaji Bay, unpolluted environment and evergreen forests. The sea around the island is frequented by dolphin convoys. Lalaji bay, 6 kms. away from the boat jetty, is accessible by 15 minutes journey in dinghies or trekking through the forest. Directorate of Tourism offers island camping during season.
Situated near to Andaman Teal House, this museum and research library exhibit a good variety of sponges, corals, butterflies, centipedes etc., Open on all working days.
Situated at Haddo (near to the Zoo), this museum offers an insight into forest activities through scale models and displays decorative pieces made of famous woods like Padauk, Marble, Peauma, Gurjan, Satin Wood, etc., Open on all working days.