About Andaman and Nicobar Island


Andaman and Nicobar Island

Andaman and Nicobar Islands one of the important Tourist destinations in India. It is situated over 1000 km off the east coast in the middle of the Bay of Bengal, connected to the mainland by flights and ferries from Kolkata (Calcutta), Chennai and Vishakapatnam. Port Blair is the chief community on the islands, and the administrative centre of the Union Territory. The Andaman Islands form a single administrative district within the Union Territory, the Andaman district (the Nicobar district was separated and established as a new district in 1974). It is thickly covered by deep green tropical forest, the archipelago supports a profusion of wildlife, including some extremely rare bird species, but the principal attraction for tourists lies offshore, around the pristine reefs that ring ring most of the islands. Filled with colorful fish and kaleidoscopic corals, the crystal clear waters of the Andaman Sea feature some of the world’s richest and least spoilt marine reserves perfect for snorkeling and scuba diving. After the initial tumble the burgeoning tourist scene took following the tsunami, the islands have recovered remarkably well, aided by cheaper and more frequent flights from the mainland. Despite continuing concerns over the fragile ecological and ethnological balances. Many foreigners see the Andamans as something between a final frontier and a lost paradise and have decided to go now before the seemingly inevitable mass influx begins.


The Andamanese is a collective term to describe the peoples who are the aboriginal inhabitants of the Andaman Islands and Nicobar Islands, located in the Bay of Bengal. The term includes the Great Andamanese, Jarawa, Onge, Shompens, Sentinelese and the extinct Jangil. Anthropologically they are usually classified as Negritos, represented also by the Semang of Malaysia and the Aeta of the Philippines.


A total of 48,675 hectares of land is used for agriculture purposes. Paddy, the main food crop, is mostly cultivated in Andaman group of islands, whereas coconut and areca nut are the cash crops of Nicobar group of Islands. Andaman Forest abounds in a plethora of timber species numbering 200 or more, out of which about 30 varieties are considered to be commercial.


For administrative purposes, the Andamans are grouped with the Nicobar Islands, 200km further south and separated from the Andamans by the deep Ten Degree Channel. Foreign tourists are only permitted to visit certain parts of the Andaman group, while the Nicobar Islands remain strictly off-limits to non-Indians and are not covered by this guide. There are approximately 200 islands, of varying sizes, in the Andaman group and nineteen in the Nicobar. The summits of a submarine mountain range, the two chains stretch 755km from the Arakan Yoma hills in Burma (Myanmar) to the fringes of Sumatra n the south. All but the most remote of these are populated in parts by indigenous tribes, whose numbers fell dramatically as a result of nineteenth century European settlement and, more recently, rampant deforestation. New felling is now supposed to be strictly controlled, but how closely this is adhered to is a matter for conjecture, and there is the additional problem of timber poachers from Burma and Thailand.


The point of arrival for boats and planes is South Andaman, where the predominantly Tamil and Bengali community in the small but busy capital, Port Blair, accounts for almost half the islands total population. The most beautiful beaches and coral reefs are found on outlying islands and a healthy get up and go spirit is essential if you plan to explore these, as connections and transport can be erratic, are frequently uncomfortable and are limited in scope, especially on the smaller islands. One away from the settlements, you enter a world of minimal amenities, where you’ll need your own camping supplies and equipment. It’s also worth pointing out that a surprising number of travelers fall sick in the Andamans.


The dense tree cover, marshy swamps and high rainfall combine to provide the perfect breeding ground for mosquitoes, and malaria is endemic in even the most remote settlements. Sand flies are ferocious in certain places and tropical ulcer infections from scratching the bites in another potential hazard.


The Climate remains tropical throughout the year temperatures range from 24°C to 35°C, while humidity levels never fall below seventy percent. By far the best time to visit is between January and March, before the pre-monsoon heat sets in. From mid-May to October, heavy rains flush the islands, often bringing violent cyclones that leave west-coast beaches strewn with fallen trees, while in November and December less severe rains arrive with the northeast monsoon. Despite being so far east, the island runs on Indian time, so the sun rises as early as 4.30 am in summer and darkness falls soon after 5pm.