About Andaman

Being such a popular destination, reaching the Andaman is not a hassle. The place is easily accessible through air and sea routes. The Portblair Airport is the main aerodrome connecting the place with rest of world. Besides, sea-lovers can book their tickets in one of the passenger ships that sail on a regular basis to Portblair from cities such as Chennai, Kolkata and Vishakhapatnam.

About Andaman

  • By air:

    Veer Savarkar International Airport or Portblair Airport is the main airport connecting these islands with other parts of the country and world. Airlines such as Air India, Spice Jet, GoAir, Vistra, Indigo and Jet Airways have regular flights for Portblair from prime Indian cities―Chennai,Madurai, Coimbatore, Ahmedabad, Hyderabad, Kolkata, Vishakhapatnam, Bhubaneswar, Cochin, Mumbai, Bengaluru and Delhi.

  • By sea:

    The Andamans can also be reached by sea route but it's a time-consuming journey. From Kolkata and Chennai, three to four ships sail every month to Portblair and vice versa. Moreover, a ship sails from Vishakhapatnam too once a month. The sea journey takes around 50 to 60 hours.

Gripping Nirvana OR Geography

The Andaman & Nicobar group of islands, one of the seven union territories of India is a group of scenic islands nestled like a broken necklace in the eastern part of Bay of Bengal where these islands are the summits of a submarine mountain range laying on the great gigantic closure zone extending from the eastern Himalayas along the Mayanmar border to the Arakan and finally Sumatra and Lesser Sundas. Altogether there are some 572 islands, where 37 are permanently inhabited and rest as tiny islets and rocks - all with rolling terrain, with ridges and spurs all over with subterranean inlets and creeks due to underwater canyons. Forming a long and disjointed chain of islands in an arc formation which are about 800 km long where the total land area of these islands is approximately 7,950 km2 (3,070 sq mi)

These islands are considered to be the most romantic destination in the Indian subcontinent, the reason being tranquil beaches and amazing hospitality. Portblair being the Capital of these Islands lies at the east coast of South Andaman and is a gateway to other pristine islands.

The common tour advisory for your andaman islands travel

The common tour advisory for your andaman islands travel

  • When visiting the various national parks in the island do not pick any flowers from the trees. Also when visiting marine parks seek the permission to take photographs or video your activities. You are travelling an unknown area; it would be a wise decision to take the help of various guides available to make your sightseeing more memorable. Always carry your basic identification documents like voter id, car driving license, especially if you are driving around the island.
  • When you and your family are swimming, consult a coast guard and swim in sage areas only. If you are diving, do not touch or bring back portions of coral reef. You might face legal actions if you are found even with a small portion. If you are keen to buy wildlife trophies you would need transit passes from various wildlife departments. If you would be enjoying scuba diving for the first time seek the help of a certified scuba diver.
  • If you are travelling to the island from outside India, you have to make accommodations and book your air tickets much ahead. This would help you with your immigration issues. If you want to visit other islands in your Andaman Islands travel, you have to seek permits to visit the islands. If you visit an island without a permit you would have problems. When visiting the beaches do not litter them and keep it clean. If you have young kids keep a watch on them. When visiting various sites, do not dirty the place. Store the empty bottles and packets in the dustbin.
  • Do not enter tribal areas without passes. Without a permit do not take photographs and videos in tribal restricted areas. Otherwise you would face extreme legal actions. While scuba diving do not disturb the corals. Do not carry seashells and artifacts around the island.
  • Be careful and do not throw plastic bottles and bags around public places. When you travelling on a vacation to this beautiful island enjoy the beautiful surroundings and preserve it. This is a natural heritage location and you should keep it untouched for other people to enjoy its beauty, like you have.

The Antiquity / History / saga

A clear history of the Andaman & Nicobar Islands can be had only from a British Survey of these islands conducted in 1777. The Andaman & Nicobar Islands remained the abode of the Negritos and the Mongoloids respectively, who occupied the Islands for centuries. These islands remained secluded from the mainland till the end of the 18th Century when people from the outside world first arrived. The history of Andaman and Nicobar Islands suggests that the island was a covered with a tribal population until 1789. In 1789, the East India Company established a settlement in Andaman and Nicobar Islands, but was soon vacated in 1796. It was in 1857, during the first war of Indian Independence that the island was used as a penal colony, which was known as 'Kalapani'. The convicts charged against some criminal offense against the East India Company was sent to Andaman and Nicobar Islands. Moreover, during the Second World War, the island was recaptured by the Britishers who continued their administration in the islands till 1947, the year when India got its independence.

The Andaman and Nicobar Islands is home to 4 Negrito and 2 Mongoloid tribes. Those belonging to the Negrito origin – the Great Andamanese, the Onge, the Jarawas and the Sentinelese - are still at hunting-gathering stage of economy. The Mongoloid origin, Nicobarese, has accepted the challenge of change and have prospered and multiplied. The members of the other Mongoloid community, the Shompen, still shy away from outsiders. The Jarawa, Onge, Sentinelese and Great Andamanese are thought to have travelled to the Andaman Islands from Africa up to 60,000 years ago. The Andaman & Nicobar Islands remained the abode of the Negritos and the Mongoloids, who occupied the Islands for centuries. The first tribe to come into contact with the Indian settlers were the Great Andamanese followed by the Onge and finally the Jarawa. Barring Sentinelese, other tribes have come into contact with the Indian settlers.

Arrival procedures at Island / Entry Formalities

Indians need no permit to visit Andamans Islands. But permits are required to visit Nicobar Islands and other tribal areas, which are given in exceptional cases. Application on a prescribed form may be addressed to the Deputy Commissioner, Andaman District, Portblair. Whereas, All foreign nationals require a permit to visit the Andaman Nicobar Islands, which is easily available on arrival at Portblair by flight or ship from the Immigration Authorities for 30 days .This is extendable for another 15 days with permission and the delegated authority to extend permission is the Superintendent of Police, Andaman District-Portblair.

The Restricted Area Permit can also be obtained from the Indian Missions overseas and also from the Foreigners Registration offices at Delhi, Mumbai, Chennai and Kolkata and from the Immigration Authorities at the Airports of New Delhi, Mumbai, Chennai and Kolkata.

Places covered under restricted area permit
For Day and Night Visits
  • Entire island of Middle Andaman excluding Tribal Reserve
  • Entire island of South Andaman, excluding Tribal Reserve
  • Municipal area, Portblair
  • Havelock Island
  • Long Island
  • Neil Island
  • Mahatma Gandhi Marine National Park except Boat, Hobday, Twin Islands,
  • Tarmugli, Malay and Pluto (Night halt in these Islands subject to special permission of the UT Administration)
  • Mayabunder
  • Diglipur
  • Rangat
  • Baratang Island
  • North Passage Island
  • Little Andaman Island excluding tribal reserve.
For day visit only
  • Jolly Buoy
  • South Cinque
  • Red Skin
  • Mount Harriet
  • Ross Island
  • Barren Island – restricted to visit on board vessels only, with no landing ashore.
  • Narcondam Island

Mysterious Facts about Andaman

The word Andaman is derived from the malay word Hanuman. Lord Hanuman (The Hindu Monkey god) is said to have landed in Andaman islands on his way to Lanka (Now Sri Lanka). People thus believe that the name Andaman has been derived from the word Hanuman or Handuman.

Indira point: Situated in the heart of Great Nicobar Island, Indira Point is the southernmost point of India. It is named after the name of Indira Gandhi. The 2004 tsunamis adversely affect the Indira point subsiding it by 4.25 meters. The inhabitants of these islands don’t interact with outsiders. The name of the tribe is Sentinelese which dwells here. They react with aggression at any endeavor of outside contact, flinging arrows and stones at the visitors. In 2004, when the government tried to rescue the tsunamis victims in Andaman’s, they fired arrows at them whereas, some of the oldest tribes known to mankind as 'Jarawa' are called fondly as 'adivasi' by the people here. They are only very few in number - less than 500. They don't interact with outsiders here, in fact they are fearful of them.

The only active volcano in India is present in Andaman. Barren Island located in the heart of Easterly Island in the Andaman Islands chain, is confirmed as the only active volcano in South Asia. The first erection was recorded in 1787 coupled with the latest which started in September 2010 and continued until January 2011.

Andaman islands are closer to Indonesia than India The irony of the location of these islands is that though they are officially recognized as a part of India. But they are relatively closer to Indonesia, then the rest of India. The Andaman Island is 800 kilometers away from India and only 150 kilometers from Indonesia.

Islands of Parrots. One of the islands of Andaman is also known as Parrot Island. Parrot Island near Bara tang Jetty in South Andaman district, is the most captivating peculiarity of these islands. The specialty of the Parrot Island is that it remains mostly uninhabited except when thousands of parrots cum huddling to this island. A group of mangroves trees is perfectly shaped since these birds perch here. The birds again leave in the morning. The mystery behind this closed book is still not known to the locals.The 20 rupee note describes a scene of Andaman Islands. The another interesting fact about this Island is that The scenery describes on our 20 rupees red colored note depicts a natural scene on the Andaman and Nicobar Island, which is not known to most of the people. Many The Coconut crab: The largest land living arthropod, coconut crab, lives in Andaman. These are super huge crabs and they hate water ,they are mostly like land animals and they love climbing coconut trees.

The land of sundry butterflies: Thousands of butterflies flock to the Andaman Island every year. I.e Andaman is a proud host to butterflies that migrate to the islands. Even postal stamps have been issued in honor of this phenomenon.

The world's largest sea turtles - Leather back turtles come for nesting here. These turtles are called Dermochelys Coriacea. They are super huge. Every year, thousands of these turtles flock to Andaman. That's a big thing because only four places in the world can boast as nesting places for these turtles and Andaman is one of them!

Katchal Island in Nicobar Islands enjoyed the distinction of being the first place to receive the first sun rays of this millennium sunrise - happened on 1-1-2000. Many rich and famous people from around the world had converged on it for a glimpse of the millennium's first sunrise.

Andaman and Nicobar are covered with 90% forest and only 10% is inhabited by people. There are a total of 572 islands, and some are not even inhabited.

Pleasuring Atmosphere / Climate

The Andaman & Nicobar Islands are unique. The moment you step out of the Veer Savarkar Airport, you are greeted with the beauty of this exquisite land and the refreshing smell of saline, unpolluted air. A paragon of beauty, these islands present a countryside of scenic and picturesque extravaganza, sparkling like emeralds in the Bay of Bengal. The islands have many attractions for adventure loving Eco-Tourism .The Island water are suitable for adventure water sports, discover scuba diving for those keen to enjoy the crystal water of the Andaman sea. Snorkeling is an activity that gives everyone an opportunity to appreciate the wonderful marine life and underwater landscapes, trekking through dense ever green forests, bird watching, game fishing, witnessing natural lime stone caves, active mud volcano, adventures water sports, island camping, real marine life with glass bottom boats, night cruise alongside the harbors of the Portblair and many more makes your dream holiday a memorable holiday.

Winter starts in December and ends in February. Average minimum temperature remains around 22 degrees while the average maximum hovers around 30 degrees making daytime a bit warm.

Summer begins in March and ends in mid-May. Average minimum temperature remains around 24 degrees while the maximum temperature lingers in the mid-thirties making it a sunbath spell in visit.

Monsoons, the rainy days start by end of May and lasts till September. However, post-monsoon rain continues till December. Weather remains hot and humid during these months.

The best time to visit Andaman and Nicobar Islands is between October to May. In the month between October and May, tourists can fulfill their lusts relevant to water sport activities and also of capturing splendid picturesque. During this interval, tourists can be able to make themselves a part of annual tourism festival. After monsoons, at this time, crystal clear water can be seen which is idyllic for swimmers and snorkelers.

Flora and Fauna

The Andaman and Nicobar islands are home to some of the richest varieties of flora and fauna, with 92% of the islands covered in primary tropical rain-forests. Of the 2000 plus species of plants that grow on the islands, at least 1,300 are exclusive and not found in mainland India. The South Andaman forests have a profuse growth of epiphytic vegetation, mostly Ferns and Orchids. The Middle Andamans harbours mostly moist deciduous forests. North Andamans is characterised by the wet evergreen type, with plenty of woody climbers.

The north Nicobar Islands, including Car Nicobar and Battimalv, are marked by the complete absence of evergreen forests, while such forests form the dominant vegetation in the central and southern islands of the Nicobar group. Grasslands occur only in the Nicobars, and while deciduous forests are common in the Andamans, they are almost absent in the Nicobars. This is a typical forest coverage made-up of twelve types namely: Giant Evergreen Forest, Andamans Tropical Evergreen Forest, Southern Hilltop Tropical Evergreen Forest, Cane Brakes, Wet Bamboo Brakes, Andamans Semi-Evergreen Forest, Andamans Moist Deciduous Forest, Andamans Secondary Moist Deciduous Forest, Littoral Forest, Mangrove Forest, Brackish Water Mixed Forest, Submontane Hill Valley Swamp Forest.

The islands are home to nine national parks and nearly a hundred marine and wildlife sanctuaries that offer extraordinary experiences and diverse ecosystems. Interview island houses the largest wildlife sanctuary in the Andaman and Nicobar islands. The Landfall Island Wildlife Sanctuary is great for spotting wildlife in their natural habitats and is popular for its water sports. Mount Harriet National Park offers some of the richest butterfly diversity in the world and the islands are home to some of the largest butterflies globally.

There are as many as 58 species of animals live in Andaman & Nicobar Island Groups. Some 60% of these animals are endemic to these islands only. There are a host of butterflies flocking to the thick tropical forests of Andaman Islands. Half of these butterflies are found only in these Islands. The largest of the land-living arthropod (Birgus Latro) lives in Andaman Islands. These are land-living crabs. Since they climb up coconut trees at night time for the soft kernels of tender coconuts stealthily they are nick-named as -‘Robber Crabs.’ They make a tiny hole and suck the entire kernel portion leaving out the shells as they are. These crabs are found in some parts of Nicobar Islands as well as areas of South Sentinel Island.

Very few of the state animal Dugong are held in captivity as they are very shy and do not breed easily. There are only five dugongs in captivity in the world. Japan and Australia each have two dugongs at Mie Toba Aquarium and at Sea World on the Gold Coast, Queensland where they draw huge crowds of visitors. The fifth dugong is in Singapore at Underwater World, Sentosa Island. As they prefer the sea grass abundantly available along the Andaman Island coast line, sometimes lucky visitors have been able to spot them in all their natural glory!

Any mention of the islands would not be complete without a nod to the crown jewel – its marine life. Crystal clear waters and exotic corals are the biggest crowd pullers where the world going with 700 species of Corals, Andamans itself is backed up with 600 of its core species. The Mahatma Gandhi Marine National Park just outside of Portblair offers ecotourism experiences in Jolly Buoy island as well as Red Skin – a tourism must-visit. Owing to its endless coast, the islands also offer an interesting variety of seashells and have become part of the island’s lifeline. These colourful and natural sea shells (once even served as money) are now used as ornaments, souveniers, in local cottage industries and even as musical instruments.

The pure variety and mixture of lifeforms and ecosystems in the island is what draws nature lovers, photographers and ecology enthusiasts to it day after day, year after year.

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