Situated between the Bay of Bengal and the Andaman Sea is the Andaman and Nicobar Islands. It is an archipelago, a string of islands. From the above, it looks like emeralds floating in sapphire waters.
The words “Andaman” and “Nicobar” were taken from the Malay language that means Handuman(Lord Hanuman) and Nakkavaram’ (Land of the Naked), respectively.
It consists of 572 islands, out of which only 38 are inhabited. These islands are covered in lushly tropical rainforests with more than 2000 plant species, 200 of which are endemic. These islands also support and nurture thousands of animals, most of which are rare and endangered.
Bengali is the most spoken language here. Hindi is the official language, followed by English, the second official language in this archipelago. Other languages spoken are Tamil, Telugu, Nicobarese and Malayalam, the least spoken language.
DID YOU KNOW: The island holds the Andaman and Nicobar Command, the only tri-service theatre command of the Indian Armed Forces in Port Blair?
NOTE: The government of India has banned visiting North Sentinel Island as the tribe living there are hostile towards outsiders.
Being the capital city of Andaman and Nicobar Island, Port Blair is the entry point for this archipelago. The main airport, Veer Savarkar International Airport, is based on this island.
It houses the infamous Cellular Jail, Kaala Paani, a traumatic symbol of India’s Freedom Struggle. Other attractions are of Port Blair are Chidiya Tapu, North Bay Island, Samudrika Naval Marine Museum, and the great naval base INS Jarawa of the Indian Navy.
Swaraj (Havelock) Island
Havelock Island was officially renamed Swaraj Island as a tribute to Netaji Subhash Chandra Bose. The most visited place here is the crescent-shaped Radhanagar Beach. It was ranked as the 8th Most Beautiful Beach In The World and The Best Beach In Asia’ by Time Magazine.
Another attraction of this island is the Coral Reefs grown here. Around 560 species of coral reefs are found here. As the reef is in shallow waters, tourists can scuba dive to see beautiful corals, clams, sponges, snails, shrimps, lobsters and much more.
FUN FACT: The 20 rupee Indian note depicts a scene from Andaman and Nicobar islands
Baratang Island is 150km away from Port Blair. It is the only place in India that has Mud Volcanoes. Beautiful Mangrove Boat Rides are also available on this island.
Other attractions are the Limestone Caves, Parrot Island and Baludera Beach.
Netaji Subhas Chandra Bose (ROSS) Island
During British Raj, Ross island was the Headquarters of the British Administration. The architecture here was so marvellous that it used to be called the “Paris of the East”. It got destroyed due to the devastating earthquake in 1941 and by the Japanese invasion. Now, all that remains are the ruins of this architecture.
India’s only active volcano, Barren Island, is 135km from the south of Port Blair. It is inhabited by humans but has a population of goats, foxes, rodents and birds. Tourists are not allowed to enter the island, but they can view it from afar.
Great Nicobar Island
The majority of the island comes under the Great Nicobar Biosphere Reserve that habitats exotic and endemic species of flora and fauna. India’s southernmost point, the Indira Point, is located on this island. During the 2004 Tsunami, this point had subsided by 4.25m.
DID YOU KNOW: Andaman and Nicobar Islands were used as a strategic naval base by Rajendra Chola I of the Tamil Chola Dynasty in the 11th century and the Maratha Empire under Admiral Kanhoji Angre in the 17th century?
Be it for adventurous sports like scuba diving, snorkelling, boat riding, or for a romantic vacation and cruise dining, Andaman and Nicobar Island is an ideal destination.
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