Andaman and Nicobar Islands Information
Andaman and Nicobar Islands is one of the important tourist destinations in India. It is splendid isolation in the sheltered waters of the Bay of Bengal, floats the emerald land of world class eco-tourism destination, the Andaman and Nicobar Islands. These islands are an archipelago of 572 islands, islets and reefs. Only 38 islands are inhabited, 25 in Andaman and 13 in Nicobar. Total area is 8,249km., in which forests cover 7,171 sq.km. The sea which exhibits fascination world of colourful underwater marine life, rarest of the coral reefs in world and the mysterious remains of sunken ships sea waters sports the sandy beaches on the edge of meandering coastline fringed with coconut palms that sway to the rhythm of the sea tropical rainforests abound in exotic and endemic flora and fauna endangered Palaeolithic tribes, places of historical importance unpolluted fresh air exquisite tranquillity all makes this breath talking beautiful islands as the peak of nature’s gifts.
Sandy beaches of these islands are famous for turtle nesting. Important species of turtles include Leather Bag turtle, Green Sea Turtle, Hawksbill Turtle and Olive Ridley Turtle. Water Monitor Lizard, Salt Water Crocodiles, and Reticulate Python etc., are also seen here.
Seafood is the speciality 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 in most of the hotels.
A visit to these islands is a memorable lifetime experience, as these rare gifts of nature fit the bill of everyone.
The Nicobar Islands are separated from Andaman by the ten degree channel. Great and little Nicobar have the Giant Robber Crabs, Monkeys with long tail, Nicobar Pigeons in plenty. Megapode, a rare bird is found in great Nicobar. The southernmost tip of India is Kanyakumari as has till recently been considered, it is Indira Point in Great Nicobar Island.
The climate of these islands is of tropical type but the breeze blowing in from the seas make it very pleasant. In fact, the islands are the remnants of two vast mountain ranges, which at one time, stretched from Arakanmayo in Mayanmar (Cape Negaris) to SumRE (Achin Head) in Indonesia. The most attracting places included Cellular Jail (historical monument), Mahatma Gandhi Marine National Park, Water Sports Complex, Mount Harriet, Fisheries Museum, Samudrika Museum and Barren Island, where the only active volcano of India lies.
Legends of Andaman and Nicobar Islands
Myth logically the name Andaman is presumed to be derived from ‘Hanuman”, the monkey God of the famous epic “Ramayana”.
As per the legend, while searching for Sita (Rama’s wife) who was abducted by Ravana (King of Sri Lanka), Hanuman landed on these islands. Hence, the islands got the name “Hanuman islands” as per their pronunciation pattern. In course of time, that name changed ot Anduman and finally as Andaman.
This legend seem to have some base as Andaman and Nicobar Islands do have many places having names similar to that of Malaysian places, one striking example is “Malaka” in Nicobar. In Malaysia, there is a city this very name.
This also, it is told, got the name by Hanuman link. The related legend is as follows. While flying to Lanka, Hanuman halted here for a while. As his feet touched this area while flying to Lanka, the island got the name “Lankapathams”(Patham is the Sanskrit word for Feet).
Later due to various pronunciation patterns, that name underwent many changes as “Lankapathas”, “Lankabutus” (Arab histories refer this island in this name), “Ankabatus”, “Ankapats”, “Nakapats”, “Nakapars” and finally as Nicobar. There is one another story as these islands were once inhabited by a horrible canniballic naked tribes, the voyagers noted this as “Nakkavar Theevu” (Nakkavar Means Naked Theevu means island). It is to be noted that, the Cholas inscriptions mention this name. In course of time, that changed as Nicobar.
This island derives its name from the vessel ‘Viper’ in which Lt. Archibald Blair came to the islands in 1768 to establish a Penal settlement. The vessel, it is believed, met with an accident and its wreckage was abandoned near the island.
Cellular Jail Kalapani
During the British regime in India, the freedom fighters and political leaders who revolted against the British and the dreaded criminals were deported from the mainland to the Cellular 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.
To be precise, this jail was “Indian Bastile”, in which the freedom fighters suffered untold miseries.
The barbaric torture ground was often referred by Indian nationalists as “Kalapani”, Literally, this means “Black Water”. In mythology, black water is synonymous the hell and hence this infamous jail got that name.
In 1788 to 89 the British Raj sought to establish a penal colony in Andamans. Captain Blair, a navy official was sent to survey and report. He came with some officers and staffs and established a settlement in Chatham Island in the southeast bay of Great Andaman (Now called Port Blair) and that place was named as Port Cornwallis. After two years that place degraded as a place of eeriness, as some strange diseases brought forth many a death. In panic, the British officials abandoned that place and formed a new settlement in a distant place. But that change also didn’t proper. Then, the settlement plan was dropped and all returned to the mainland. Later, in 1857, work to set up a penal colony once more started. A commission headed by Dr. F. Maunt was sent by Lord Canning for that purpose. That commission selected the same area in Port Cornwallis. But, many opposed that plan, on the grounds of old memories of eeriness. Then, to overcome that panic sentiment, the old name “Port Cornwallis” was erased out and a new name “Port Blair” was notified.
Jolly Buoy Island Redskin Island
These islands are part of the Mahatma Gandhi Park. This specialty is clean sandy and swimming pools. This water is so transparent that we can clearly view the coral reefs under them. Lots of fish with variegated colors swim across the shoals in a friendly manners. We can also observe the life style of deep sea creatures. It is a n ideal resort of tourists to unwind and enjoy. The place is filled with peace and serenity. It is about a half-day trip. We need to take food and water along with us. We have to travel about 29km from port Blair by road to wandoor. It will take a half-an-hour ferry service to reach these islands form there.
This Island was the capital city of the British rule. This island is in the control of the naval force now. We can reach this place in few minutes from phoenix Bay cruises shuttle tourists quite frequently to this island. Ruins of British building such as church, pool government offices, market place and Jymkana club are still present here. A museum “Smrithka” is maintained by the naval force. Photo stat copies of letters written by British officials. Photographs and detailed documentary about the island are found in the museum. The parts of this island are sinking due to earthquakes. It is a great fear that is due course the island would be completely eroded by the sea. Peacocks and deer abound this place.
It is a pleasant to stay hare during the day time. We need to carry lunch and water for picnic.
Staying here will be very pleasant during the day time. This island has a graveyard for the Britishers. It is completely surrounded by coconut palms and whispers woeful tales of the past. Chidiya Tapu
Maya Bunder is a dense forest. It is about 240km from Port Blair. A harbor is present here. Assistant commissioner and police of superintendent’s officer, local government offices, colleges and schools are found here. It is a very busy location. Government tourist homes and private resorts are plenty. We can reach here by bus and boat.
There is no road route to this island. It is about 30km away from Port Blair by boat. Government’s Dolphin Yatri Nivas and other private resorts are also found here. All facilities are present in them. We can spend a long holiday in peace.
We have to travel about 32 km by boat from Port Blair. This is a small Island. Bengalese and Tamilians live here. Garden crops are found here. Most vegetables are taken to Port Blair. A small beach and a fertile village are the high points of this island. People who wants peaceful mind and to being alone can stay here for days together. Government and private resorts are found here.
We need to reach Little Andaman from “Port Blair” by small ships. It takes about 10 hours to reach this island. The capital of this island is Hut Bay. Andaman and Nicobar Islands harbor head office and other government offices are located here. Many refugees from Bangladesh and Sri Lanka are staying here. This island is filled with farms. Palm trees are cultivated here for palm oil. There are huge plantains of palm trees. There is also a factory for extraction of palm oil. The centre part of this island boasts a huge water fall. Tourists would enjoy this spot. Harmandar Bay a part of this island is the abode of Nicobari tribes. The Ongi tribal people live in Twankcreek.
Andaman Tourism Information
Forest Departments Museum
This museum is a store house of the kinds of trees available in Andaman and Nicobar Islands. Sample of various kinds of trees and their names are exhibited here. Wooden handicrafts are kept on display and are available for a price.
The rare species of birds, crocodiles, monkeys, foxes, pythons, deer, wild goats, pigs, parrots and pigeons are found here.
Naval Marine Museum
Corals, shells, fish, sea creatures are all found here. The Navy’s costumes equipments and weapons are displayed. Some islands documentaries are also available here.
This museum has a display of the native tribal’s such as Nicobarese, shompens, Jarawas, Ongis, Andamanese and sentinels, weapons, pottery, hut models, wooden boats and their photographs. It boats of a fine cultural heritage of the tribal people.
This museum has many strange sea creatures and fishes. Good quality of export fish are also find here one can gain a lot of information about the fisheries department from here.
Aberdeen water sports (Aberdeen Jetty)
India’s best water sports complex is this Aberdeen. Rowing boats, pedal boats, Kayaks aqua cycle, aqua glides and bumper boats are available here for rides. There is a small pool to. One can indulge in water sports in deep sea rooms are provided for changing their dresses.
Marine Park is a place for family picnic and taste of sea breeze. It is an amusement park with a lot of rides. A toy train is also there. The “Traffic Park” is near this which explains traffic rules and road safety to the children.
Wandoor Beach and Mahatma Gandhi Marine National Park
Wandoor Beach is a beautiful beach located about 29km away from Port Blair. Sea creatures and the mangrove forests are enjoyed by everyone. This coastline is surrounded by 15 Islands. Mahatma Gandhi Marine National Park has been constructed on these islands stretching about 281.50. A stretch of pristine coastline adds beauty. It is an ideal resort for tourists. A small port charters boats to Jolly Buoy Island and Red skin Island.
“Dil Dhaman Lake is located near the Lieutenant Governor’s residence and Shri Vetri Malai Murugan Temple. Gandhi Park is constructed here. This park has an ancient Buddha temple and a statue of Gandhi in a seated position. Giant wheels, Bumper boat, boat riding are plenty for the children amusement rides. This is an ideal place for family picnic. There is also a restaurant in the park.
Andaman Temples, Durgah and Festivals
This big temple is found on a hillock, on the background of Sadhipur postal colony and Gandhi Park. It is a meeting point of both south Indians and North Indians. This is one of the biggest Hindu temple of Andaman and Nicobar Islands.
Madhar Baba Durgah
Devotee of Baba believes the saying that “Whatever you want, you will get. Animal sacrifices are made and food is distributed to everyone who visits this place. A hundreds of devotees have their meals every day. The durgah is located on the way to corbyn’s cove. People belonging to all caste and creed, visit this place.
Malaka Murugan Temple
Malaka is found in Car Nicobar. It is temple for Lord Muruga. This has been erected on the coastline. Tamils have built a shrine for Gnana Dhandayudhapani. We can view this temple from Malaka Government tourist home. This place is populated with Christian tribes. A few Tamilians only stay here and so it is a remarkable feat building a Tamil temple here.
Island Tourist Festival
This carnival is organized to entice tourists. A huge exhibition is organized at Port Blair in the view of this carnival. Hundreds of government and private stalls are found in this exhibition. The fest is for 10 days. We can enjoy both South and North Indian artists exhibiting their talents debates. This festival is scheduled for the second week of February every year. A VIP from India would inaugurate the festival. Port Blair would be crowded with local people and tourists during these 10 days.
Andaman Tour Information
Chatham saw mill
One of the Asia’s largest saw mills was built here during the British rule. This island is connected to Port Blair by a bridge. Expensive wood like patak, marble, Curzon, satinwood are cut into various sizes of plants blocks and sleepers. They are dipped in chemical solutions and they were cured before they sold. They are available for the islands requirements as well as for other states. They could be used for houses, government offices and factories with requests permits they are catered to other states through containers by ships. The Island has the second largest warf of these Islands, where Island-Mainland ships can berth.
This mill was established in 1883 with the primary object to meet the local requirements of sawn timber for the constructional works. Unfortunately the mill was destroyed badly during the 2nd world war by the direct hit of bombs. The mill was revived in forties and fifties.
This is a government owned mill where more than 1000 employees work. The present annual average turnover of the chatham saw mill is around rupees six crores. Mechanism is in vogue. It is obvious that profit is not the only criteria for the mill But also meeting the local timber requirements at reasonable rates along with providing employment. They permit tourists to see the process of felling and cutting and curing wood, without any charges.
Cellular Jail Atlanta Point
It is a national monument this is a shrine of cruelty raised by the Britishers. This is Asia’s biggest cellular jail. It has seven tiers, three floors 698 rooms. This jail was built in 1906. A few floors and rooms are available today. This jail is a standing testimony of the debacles of World War II and few earthquakes. The walls are a silent witness to countries sub stories of the Britishers cruelty. They shackled the freedom fighters and subjected them to physical torture. Many fearing such painful tortures committed suicide those who protested were hanged to death.
Veera savarkar the Maharastrian freedom fighter and his brother spent about 10 years here without seeing each other. The Britishers eventually released all the prisoners in 1938 and put an end to its dictatorship. Cellular jail is renovated with modern infrastructure as a National memorial.
Sound and Light show
We can witness the gory sights of the Britishers torture. Hindi commentary is there at 6.00pm and English commentary is also there at 7.15pm. Tickets are available at the entrance of the cellular Jail.
Sipicot central Agricultural Research Farm
This research centre belongs to the central government. This centre is involved in cultivating experimental crops, vegetables, essences and perfumes. It is on a stretch of about 80 acres and is about 14km away from port Blair. Sea creatures and fish are also researched here.
Mount Harriet is a big mountain. It is about 55km form port Blair. We have to take a boat ot pamp plot and then travel about 15km by car. Phoenix Bay is the starting point for boats to ferry to Bambu plot.
The Governor spent his summer vacation on this mountain during the British regime. It is raised about 365m from sea level. It is an ideal spot to enjoy scenic beauty. Vardant forest, quiet solitude, blue skies, pristine sea coast are the rarities of this spot. It is a sanctuary for people who seek private time. It is a creator’s paradise. This mountain has a government tourist home too.
Chidiya Tapu is about 26km from the Port Blair. It is blessed with dense forests and a beautiful coastline. A village is thickly populated with different varieties of birds. The sunset amidst the mountains should not be missed by anyone. We can reach this place by road by bus or car. The favorite sports are boat riding and snorkeling.
Industry Exporium (Sagarika)
This is an exporium for wooden handicrafts managed by the government in Port Blair. Splendid varieties of furniture, beautiful wooden dolls, small chairs, wooden vessels, shell ornaments, wooden walking sticks and ornamental lamps are exhibited. It is a fair price shop.
A regular feature of Port Blair is cruise rides. We can take a cruise to Ross Island, Haddo, Panighat, Viper Island, harbor and floating shipping yard.
We have to go Kalighat by boat from Mayabunder and then take a bus to reach Diglipur. There is no roadway nearby 46km. We can see elephants keeping the lumberjacks in carting the wooden logs on the way to Diglipur.
We have to cross a dense forest. This is a strong Bengali belt. A few Tamilians also live here. The Kalpang River has a hydroelectric power project. Lot of government and private resorts are found here. One day is required to see around this place.
Campbell bay is the boundary of Nicobar. The tip of the Bay is called Indira Point. It is about 60 miles away from Indonesia. The historical name of this place is “Nakkavaram”. We can see its features in ancient Tamil literature. History claims that Rajendra Chola II visited there islands. The Kalathiya famous river runs here.
Foreign turtles visit this island. They lay eggs and return to their lands. We can see the turtle laying their eggs crocodiles are also present in this island. It is frequented by cyclones and earthquakes.
Ex-Army men have made this as their abode.
State Trees Animals Birds
Andaman Padauk, a tall deciduous tree, which grows up to a height of 120ft., is the state tree. The timber is highly priced as it is well suited for making unique designer class furniture.
‘Dugong’ an endangered mammal is the state animal. It is strictly herbivorous and feeds on the sea grass and hence its name ‘Sea Cow’. It is about 3m., length and weighs about 400 kgs. It is distributed in shallow tropical waters in Indo-Pacific region. In Andaman and Nicobar Islands, it is seen in Ritches archipelago, North Reef, Little Andaman and parts of Nicobar.
‘Andaman Wood Pigeon’, an endemic bird is the state bird. It is of the size of a domestic pigeon but has a longer tail. Whitish head, checkerboard pattern on neck, reddish bill with yellowish tip, purplish orbital skin, dark grey coloured upper parts, pale blue grey under parts. This bird lives in dense broad-leaved evergreen forest.