Indian Archipelago -Andaman Nicobar Islands
The group of islands, the India Archipelago, the Andaman & Nicobar islands are approx 850 miles to the east of mainland India. These islands are believed to have come into existence when the collision between the Indian Plate & the Burma Minor Plate that was part of the Eurasian plate, took place are an extension of the Arakan Yoma range. Being a group of islands, obviously, the Andaman has around 325 islands & Nicobar is constituted by around 247 islands. The group of islands forms an arc: on its west lies the Bay of Bengal while Andaman sea is towards its east. It stretches southwards between Myanmar& Sumatra island.
It is home to many indigenous communities, the tribals that have despised & remained aloof from the outsiders. Most of them have been reduced in numbers due to disease & fights with the British colonizers. Sentinelese dislikes towards outside settlers have not let them come out of their Palaeolithic era of primitive technology till today & are a protected tribe.
But today it is among the amazingly preferred destinations that lure the young and old alike. The raw beauty of the emerald water of different beaches is simply bewitching. The blue waters being so crystal clear just beckons one to it as it is to be seen to be believed. The sublime beauty that the beaches have only make it so tranquil & serene. The greenery around, the virgin forest, at the backdrop gives it an unmatched and intense beauty. There are many budget and luxury hotels that vie with each other to pamper their guests. Scuba diving is a lifetime experience to have here due to the myriad of sea flora & fauna one can see below the surface deep inside. Indulge in snorkeling, Parasailing, Jet Skiing, Speed boating, Undersea walking, Glass Bottom boat rides, Sportfishing, Banana boat rides and other thrilling activities.
Beaches and islands in Andaman are a treat for nature lovers. Havelock Island, Jolly Buoy Island, Guitar island, Katchal island, Parrot Island, Ross Island, North Bay Island and Cinque Island, Wandoor beach, Radhanagar beach, Elephant beach and Kala Pathar beach are some of the famous beaches and islands of Andaman.
Apart from scenic beauties, Andaman is also known for its mouth-watering cuisines. Some of the most preferred and famous cuisines are- Chilli Curry, MacherJhol, Amritsari Kulcha, Fish Curry, Coconut Prawn Curry, Grilled Lobsters, Tandoori fish, Barbeques and other refreshing delicacies.
During the summer season: 24°c – 35°c
During the rainy/monsoon season: 25°c – 33°c
During the winter-summer season: 22°- 25°c
Things to do in Andaman & Nicobar
Trip to Andaman & Nicobar Islands in itself a thrilling experience. It is the most preferred destination for most tourists. Not only it is known for its islands but it is also an ideal destination for trekking, Snorkeling, Parasailing, Jet Skiing, Glass Bottom boating, banana boat rides scuba diving, and some other thrilling activities. The Andaman tour is filled with much much adventure, natural scenic beauties, picturesque views, some tempting cuisines and many more things. For adventurous visitors, there are a lot of trekking spots. Trekkers can trek from Mount Harriet to Madhuban, black mountain to ChidiyaTapu. There are some other exciting spots too for trekkers. Another exciting experience one can have is Snorkeling and can get glimpses of marine life and rarest corals.
Elephant beach, North Bay and Jolly Bouy are considered best for Snorkeling. One can go Undersea Walking. It is another exciting activity to indulge in. The beach considered best for this activity is Elephant beach. There are some pretty national parks to pay a visit like - Mahatma Gandhi National Park situated near the Wandoor beach of Port Blair. One can find a number of endangered species such as wild boar, sea snakes and water lizards. Then there is Mount Harriet National Park in Hope Town, Port Blair. The other beautiful national parks are- Campbell Bay national park on the island of Great Nicobar, North Button island national park in North Andaman, Saddle national park in North and Middle Andaman, and Galathea national park on the island of Great Nicobar. Seaplane ride is another one of the thrilling activities in Port Blair. It lies between Port Blair and Havelock island and can carry 9 passengers at a time. Havelock Island and Rajiv Gandhi Water sports complex are best preferred for banana boat rides. The boats are banana-shaped and at a time only six people can ride these boats.
Andaman does offer plenty of items for shopaholics. It is known for its exquisite pearl Jewellery. One can buy sea shell products, beautifully handcrafted souvenirs, Fishbone Articles, Timber crafts, Jute items, coconut handicrafts, spices, and Nicobar Mats. Visitors will not get disheartened as there are ample items to shop. One can explore the marketplaces and purchase according to one’s choice. Aberdeen Bazaar located in Port Blair is considered to be the most famous market of Andaman. One can get a wide range of seashell products, souvenirs, pearl Jewellery and other local items. The other famous and most visited markets of Andaman are-Sagarika Government Emporium which known for all kinds of hand- made stuff and is located in Port Blair, MG road in Port Blair and Beach markets.
There are some exciting places to pay a visit like-Limestone Caves, Mud Volcanoes, Rajiv Gandhi Water Sports, Anthropological Museum, Havelock island, Long island, ChidiyaTapu, Ross and Smith Island, Cinque Island, Parrot Island, Elephant Beach, Vijaynagar Beach, Kala Pathar, Corbyn’s Cove beach, Neil island and other exciting places too.
Places to visit in Andaman & Nicobar Islands
1. Neil Island
Neil Island is rich in lush green forests and white sandy beaches. One can reach this picturesque island from Port Blair or from Havelock through regular ferry services. One can go for adventurous activities like glass-bottom boat rides, scuba diving and snorkeling. The crystal clear water and the exquisite corals make this beach the most scenic and most loved beaches of Andaman. This beach is popular for watching sunrise and sunsets. This island is situated at Ritchie's Archipelago.
2. Havelock Island
Havelock Island is truly fascinating and most visited Island. The beauty of this Island is unmatched. There are a number of tourist resorts and hotels for tourists who can stay and enjoy the scenic views. It is one of the largest Islands of Andaman. Here tourists can go for snorkeling and scuba diving. One can indulge in watching the myriad sea creatures.
3. North Bay Island
North Bay Island is yet another favorite island among the tourists. One coming to this island is spellbound by the picturesque view and peaceful environment. Tourists can dive to catch a glimpse of Clownfish, Lobsters, and Stonefish. The corals at this island are quite pretty and are spread through a long coastline. Tourists can indulge in various water sports activities. This beach offers a great option for sun basking and sea walking. One can easily reach here by boat from the phoenix jetty at Port Blair.
4. Rutland Island
Rutland Island is located close to Port Blair. It is situated at about 20kms away from Port Blair and can be easily reached by boat. It is known for the Jangil tribe of Andaman. The Island is blessed with rich variegated coral reefs and a variety of marine life. The island has dense jungles, a variety of shrubs and hills. One may find the Jahaji Beach, Bada Balu, Photo Nallah and DaniNallah tourist spots on this Island.
5. Mount Harriet National Park
Mount Harriet National Park was built in the year 1969. The park is witnessed with the third-highest Mount Harriet Peak. It is a reserve forest with pretty coastlines and mountain ranges. The park has some astonishing beaches to visit. It is home to evergreen primitive forests of mixed varieties of trees which act as a shelter to a wide variety of birds like Wood pigeon, Cuckoo dove, Andaman drongo, white-headed starling, Andaman Woodpecker and other birds too.
6. Chidiya Tapu
As the name suggests Chidiya means bird. This place is perfect for bird watchers. One can find a number of migratory birds and common indigenous birds too. It has a very attractive beach and is therefore considered to be the most visited place. Tourists can go for thrilling activities like snorkeling, boating and swimming. This beautiful place is located about 25kms from Port Blair. Tourists coming to this place come across almost 46 varieties of endangered species of animals and birds.
Rangat is one of the largest islands located in the Middle Andaman. One can enjoy the serene beaches, rich lush green vegetation and pretty waterfalls. It is the perfect location for sunbathing, photography and trekking. Tourists can also pay a visit to Yerrata creek and Yerrata Mangrove park that are located near Rangat. Rangat is a full packed attractive destination that should be on the topmost list of one’s trip to Andaman.
Mayabunder is 242kms away from Port Blair. It is situated in the northern state of the Middle Andaman. Far from hustle and bustle of the city, this place is one of the fascinating places in Andaman. It is home to former Burmese Karen Tribes. Tourists coming to this place can witness the pretty beaches and islands like Karmatang Beach, Rampur Beach and Avis Island. The Karmatang beach is known for the nesting ground for turtles. Mayabunder is considered to be one of the worth visiting places of Andaman.
9. Panchavati Waterfall
The Panchavati waterfall is situated about 200kms away from Port Blair. It is situated on the Panchavati hills. Tourists coming here are attracted by its beauty and lush green surroundings. One can indulge in photography, fishing and witness the bountiful nature.
10. Cuthbert Beach/ Cuthbert Bay Wildlife Sanctuary
Cuthbert Beach beholds the azure blue seas. The walk on the beach is replete with the greenery of coastal zone vegetation. The beach has some eco-friendly huts for resting purposes and also for providing information to visitors for exploring natural beauty. The Cuthbert Bay Wildlife Sanctuary is situated in Middle Andaman Island. Cuthbert Bay is also known for the turtle nesting ground. Mayabunder and Diglipur are well connected to Cuthbert Bay Beach area. The sanctuary has a mangrove creek and one can spot a vicious saltwater crocodile. The other major attraction of this sanctuary is the water Monitor Lizards and Terrestrial Snakes living in the surrounding forests.
11. Guitar Island
Guitar Island is in itself an astonishing and pretty island. As the name goes it is in the shape of a Guitar. One can reach here by boat. It is one of the uninhabited islands. There is no accommodation facility available here. One can stay at long and Rangat islands. This island is very close to Long Island. One can enjoy the Fibre boats or speed boats from Long island to this Guitar island. There is one more island that is adjacent to Guitar island which is also in the shape of Guitar but is smaller in size and therefore it is named as small Guitar Island.
12. North Passage Island
North Passage Island is about 30kms northeast of the beautiful Havelock Island. It is shaped like a chicken – neck. To the South of north passage island, there is Strait island. North Passage Island has a beautiful secluded beach on its North-Eastern side namedMerk Bay.
13. Elephant Beach
Elephant Beach has rich marine life and variegated rich coral reef structure. One coming to this beach can enjoy some water sports like Jet skiing, snorkeling, scuba diving, swimming. One can also indulge in sea walking, bird- watching, trekking and kayaking. This beach can be reached by boat from the Havelock jetty in almost 20 minutes. It is the most visited beach in Andaman.
14. Kalapathar Beach
Kalapathr Beach is considered to be the prettiest beach in Andaman. It is the beach of Havelock and the most popular beach in Andaman. One can find a small path that leads to jungles around, which was once the training camp for elephants. This beach is apt for photography. One can enjoy the beautiful view of sunset and sunrise and visitors can enjoy the thrilling boat rides too.
15. Anthropological Museum
The Anthropological Museum depicts the Andaman island’s tribes and their way of living. Tourists paying a visit to this museum can get insight into the four enigmatic tribal communities living in the archipelago for centuries. This museum is situated at phoenix Bay.
16. Mud Volcanoes of Diglipur
Mud Volcanoes are one of the natural wonders that attract numerous tourists to this island. A large amount of depressurized pore water and natural gas like methane is emitted by these volcanoes. There are around 25 mud volcanoes scattered throughout the island. The dense mangrove sea and rich flora and fauna are other attractive things to watch. One must surely pay a visit to such a place. It is undoubtedly worth visiting the place.
17. The Parrot Island
The Parrot Island is situated at about 30kms from the Baratang jetty and is uninhabited. It is a beautiful and much pretty island and is home to thousands of parrots who leave the island in sunrise and come back at sunset. It is a treat for bird watchers and nature lovers. A boat ride around this island gives one a picturesque view.
18. Limestone Caves of Baratang Island
Limestone Caves are ancient and dark. It has stalactites and stalagmites ledges hanging from above the ceiling and piling up from below. The Baratang island is around 100kms from Port Blair. After reaching Baratang island one has to trek to the caves.
19. Cellular Jail
The Cellular Jail is a national monument and was then referred to as Kala Pani. This Jail was a colonial prison meant for the freedom fighters who were busy in the struggle for freedom from the colonial Britishers. A number of political prisoners were exiled to this prison. The wings here are three floors and have 693 cells. Many of the prisoners were hanged and thrown into the sea. Visiting this jail makes one feel the pain of the freedom fighters and the price they paid for India’s Independence as well as one feel proud and honor the sacrifices of freedom fighters. One will surely get goosebumps after watching the Sound and Light Show in Cellular jail which narrates the story of the history of India’s heroic freedom struggle.
20. Lalaji Beach
Lalaji Beach is situated on Long Island. One can easily reach here by boat from the Yerrata Jetty in Rangat to Long Island. This beach will surely leave a long-lasting impact on one’s mind as it offers a picturesque view that is perfect for photography. One can enjoy the calm sea and indulge in swimming. It is a sandy, elongated, and sprawling beach that is surrounded by crystal clear water.
21. Netaji Nagar Beach
Netaji Nagar Beach is situated at Little Andamans. It is about 11 km from Hut Bay Jetty. It is one of the isolated beaches of Andaman. One can enjoy the calm sea and indulge in sunbathing. It is perfect for photography. Visitors coming to Andaman should surely pay a visit to this pretty beach.
How to Reach
Tourists can reach directly from Kolkata, Chennai and Vishakhapatnam to Andaman as direct flights are available from the aforesaid cities. There are connecting flights available from Delhi and other cities also. One can board Air India, Jet Airways, Go Air and Spice Jet airlines for their comfortable journey. There are no direct international flights available to this place. The nearest airport is Veer Savarkar International Airport located in Port Blair. After reaching one can hire a taxi to reach their destination.
Visitors can avail ship which is operated by Govt of India from cities like – Chennai, Kolkata and Vizag. It takes 3 days by ship. Tickets can be purchased from the aforesaid cities. It is advised that if tourists are on long vacation they can travel by ship but if one is planning for a short vacation then the best way is to reach is by flight. The ship services are not available daily. It is operated once or twice a week. No train and No bus services are available to reach Andaman & Nicobar Islands.
Best time to visit Andaman & Nicobar Island
Andaman being the most favored destination can be visited all-round year, where the temperature is pleasant throughout the year. But the best time to spend vacations in Andaman is between the months from October till May as the weather is soothing and pleasant. One can comfortably stroll on the streets and enjoy the beautiful sites, beaches and markets. July to September is considered to be the monsoon season and should be avoided by the visitors as the high tidal waves rain and strong wind are not comfortable to explore the place.