Andaman and Nicobar Islands - The Serene Pearl Garland

If you are experiencing the sight of exotic beaches, beautiful flora, rare fauna, and an oozing beauty of nature at every blink of your eye, then you are definitely in Andaman and Nicobar islands. A group of 572 islands, but only 34 are the permanent habitats or say eligible for humans to live. It is one of the seven Union Territories of India lying at the juncture of the Bay of Bengal and the Andaman Sea.

10ºN latitude passes between the two islands where the latter lies at the North, and the former lies at the South of the imaginary divisor. Port Blair is the capital of the territory and is an Andamanese town.

History

There is no evidence of initial human settlement in the Andamans and Nicobars, but according to anthropologists, some stone-tool crafters have lived here for 2000 years.

The history of Andaman and Nicobar islands is a fascinating one as many dynasties and empires came, ruled, and vacated the lonely islands giving different names to them and adding many exciting chapters to the history of these little specks in the ocean.

First appeared the Chola dynasty! As a ruler of the islands, the Tamil King – "Rajendra Chola" conquered the Andaman and Nicobar islands and used these as a naval base. The new name given to the island was "Tinmaittivu," which means impure islands in Tamil.
Then came Marathas in the 17th century and used the islands as temporary maritime ship-base.

Danish East India Company came into the picture on 12th December 1755, and they declared the islands as Danish Colony on 1st January 1756 and gave the islands a new name, "New Denmark." Still, as time passed by, they decided to change it into "Frederick's Islands. "

From 1778 to 1784, Austria made a colony on the Nicobars and renamed them as Theresia Islands.
British rulers didn't leave behind either and made a naval and penal base on the islands in 1789. However, they vacated the territory after a while. In 1858 they again appeared and established a colony here. The people who raised their voices against the "British Raj" or criminals from the Indian Subcontinent were sent here for imprisonment in the Cellular Jail included in the British Colony, and they named it as "Kalapani."

WORLD WAR 2nd brought the Japanese as controllers of the islands practically, but nominally the territory was under the authority of Arzi Hukumate Azad Hind of Netaji Subhash Chandra Bose. He visited the islands and renamed them "Shaheed Dweep," which means Martyr Island and the "Swaraj Dweep" or the self-ruled island.

When India got its independence in 1947, this broken chain of Andaman and Nicobar Islands became the part of India in 1950, and in 1955 it was declared as one of the seven Union Territories of India.

Geography

The Andaman and Nicobar Islands is a group of 572 small islands and islets. The total area covered by these islands is about 8,249 km2 or 3,185 sq m. Where the Andaman comprises 325 islands, and the Nicobar has a group of 247 islands having an area of 6,408 km2 and 1,841 km2, respectively. It lies at the articulation of the Bay of Bengal and the Andaman Sea.

Flora and Fauna

Beautiful weather, mostly rain throughout the year, amidst the sea, are some of the features that make these islands an attractive flora and fauna.

There are approximately twenty-two hundred (2200) varieties of plants and flora, which have been recorded to date, but it is believed that much is still unknown to mankind.

Deciduous forests are found in Harbor Middle Andaman, a lot of ferns and orchids can be seen in the forests of South Andaman. Forests in North Andaman are evergreen, while North Nicobar is experiencing this type of scarcity.

Forests account for about 87% of the total area of the islands, so one can imagine what an amazing diversity of flora the islands must-have.

This atypical forest coverage is made up of twelve types, namely:

  1. Giant evergreen forest
  2. Andamans tropical evergreen forest
  3. Southern hilltop tropical evergreen forest
  4. Cane brakes
  5. Wet bamboo brakes
  6. Andamans semi-evergreen forest
  7. Andamans moist deciduous forest
  8. Andamans secondary moist deciduous forest
  9. Littoral forest
  10. Mangrove forest
  11. Brackish water mixed forest
  12. Submontane forest

The Andaman Wild Boar and it’s variety in both the islands, namely Sus Scrofa andamanensis and Sus Scrofa nicobaricus are the endemic species, 26 species of Rodents are found. Bats are also a majority say 14 different species, Saltwater Crocodile, and the State animal of Andaman “Dudong” or the Sea Cow are some of the variety of fauna found in the islands.

About 270 species of colorful birds and 225 species of moths and butterflies are found here; a few of them are very large and extraordinary.

Ninety-six wildlife sanctuaries, 9 National Parks, and 1 Biosphere Reserves lie in Andaman and Nicobar islands.

Climate

A tropical climate, never letting you forget that you are exploring an island with humidity more than 80%. The temperature fluctuates between 23 ºC and 31 ºC. In the month of November, the North East monsoons and in the month of May, southwest monsoons occur and balance the weather as not too chilly in winters and not extremum hot in summers. Thus, these islands are beautiful and worth visiting around the year.

Best Time to Visit

The monsoons occur mostly all around the year. The island surrounded by water from all sides; the weather in Andaman and Nicobar remains moderate all through the year. It’s never too hot or too cold.

A nature lover should visit here between May to December to experience the lush green surroundings and waterfalls, while divers are suggested to travel between the months of December and April.

One should visit the islands in winter to hear the chirping of birds and to see birds.

Why Andaman and Nicobar is Worth Visiting?

Mesmerizing Beaches Nature and Parks

  • Jolly Buoy Island in Port Blair
  • Neil Island in Havelock Island
  • Ross Island in Port Blair
  • Elephant Beach in Havelock Island
  • Kaala Patthar Beach in Havelock Island
  • Chidiya Tapu in Port Blair
  • North Bay Island Andaman in Port Blair
  • Laxmanpur Beach in Neil Island
  • Wandoor Beach in Port Blair
  • Corbyn’s Cove in Port Blair
  • Bharatpur Beach in Neil Island
  • Limestone Caves in Baratang Island
  • Sitapur Beach Neil Island
  • Radhanagar Beach in Havelock Island
  • Jogger’s Park
  • Marina Park and Aquarium
  • Red Skin Island in Port Blair
  • Gandhi Park in Port Blair
  • Ferar Beach in Port Blair
  • Inglis Island in Havelock Island
  • Mount Harriet National Park
  • Little Andaman Island in North Andaman Island
  • Diglipur Beach in Diglipur
  • Cinque Island in North Andaman Island
  • Barren Island Volcano
  • Dhani Nala Beach in Rangat
  • Amkunj Beach in North Andaman Island
  • Mini Zoo in Port Blair
  • Parrot Island
  • Karmatang Beach
  • Mahatma Gandhi Marine National Park

Landmarks and Sights

  • The Cellular Jail in Port Blair
  • Chatham Saw Mill in Port Blair
  • Howrah Bridge in Neil Island
  • Neil Island Jetty in Port Blair
  • Phoenix Bay Jetty in Port Blair
  • Murugan Temple Port Blair
  • Viper Island in Port Blair
  • Sippighat Farm in Port Blair
  • Indira Point in Great Nicobar Island

Boat Tours and Water Sports

  • Dive India in Havelock Island
  • Blue Corals Dive in Havelock Island
  • Andaman Bubbles in Havelock Island
  • Andaman Water Sports Complex in Port Blair
  • Ocean Tribe Scuba Diving in Havelock Island
  • Scuba Love,in in Havelock Island
  • India Scuba Explorers in Neil Island
  • Doongi Dives in Havelock Island
  • Gamefishing Asia-Day Tours in Port Blair
  • Andaman Dolphin in Port Blair
  • Sea Link Adventures in Port Blair
  • Lakadives in Port Blair
  • Andaman Kayak Tours in Port Blair
  • Havelock Kayaking in Havelock Island
  • Dive Mnatra in Port Blair
  • Blue Planet Scuba in Long Island
  • Andaman Game Fishing in Havelock Island
  • Ayush Tours and Travels- Day Tours in Port Blair
  • Andaman Sea Game Fishing- Private Day Tours in Port Blair

Museums

  • Samudrika Marine Museum in Port Blair
  • Anthropological Museum in Port Blair
  • Fishery Museum in Port Blair
  • Science Centre in Port Blair
  • Zci Museum in Port Blair
  • Forest Museum

Ferry Ride (transportation)

Makruzz in Port Blair

Night Life

Venom Bar in Port Blair
Pink Fly Lounge in Havelock Island

How to Reach

Airways

Veer Savarkar Airport is pleasing. The entire airport can be seen from an aesthetic point of view, and there is no night flight. The airport is fully used and controlled by the Indian Air Force. Flights from within mainland India are the only route to reach Andaman and Nicobar Islands. Airways like JetLite, Go Air, Air India, and Spice Jet are some of the airways that offer flights from Delhi, Kolkata or Chennai to Port Blair.

Waterways

One can board the ship from Chennai, Kolkata or Visakhapatnam to Port Blair. The ghats take about five days, and one should always keep in mind that the Bay of Bengal is not always calm. The Shipping Services Directorate is run by the government and runs to the Indian mainland. It operates two separate ships:

  • small “tourist” ferries,
  • larger "local" ferries

Local Transport

Auto Rickshaws and taxis are available in Port Blair and Havelock Island. One can avail Scooters and Motorcycles on rent as well.

Economy and Finance

The economic growth of Andaman and Nicobar depends upon its agriculture, industry, and tourism. 

Paddy is the main food crop cultivated in the Andaman group. Nicobar group cultivates cash crops like coconut and areca nut. Fruits like Mangoes, banana, orange, papaya, sapota are also grown on the hill slopes. Spices like nutmeg, clove, cinnamon are grown in plenty. Palm, noni, red oil, cashew are some limited crops.

The territory has around 1,374 small scale village and handicrafts industries which are registered.

Andaman and Nicobar are also becoming a favorite tourist place. It’s mesmerizing beaches, beautiful sea views, museums, National park, and many other tourist spots are attracting people from and outside India, which is acting as a helping hand in the economic growth of the territory.

Education

The peaceful islands, though apart from the mainland of India, have a reliable educational system and a literacy rate of 86.27% under the census report of 2011. The islands lack behind in offering very high education but afford to provide some professional and notable courses maintaining their quality. There are schools affiliated to the C.B.S.E board boasting their excellent infrastructure. Some schools educate the students free of cost who are below the poverty line.

  • Primary Schools
  • Middle Schools
  • Ashram Schools
  • Vernacular Schools
  • Secondary Schools
  • Senior Secondary Schools

Best Schools

# School Board Location
1 Government Secondary School CBSE Prathrapur Brijkunj, Po-Brichkunj
2 Govt Boys Sr Sec School CBSE Middle Point, Port Blair
3 Govt Sec School CBSE Mildera Ii Katchal, Port Blair
4 Govt Sr Sec School CBSE Haddo, Post Port Blair, Mahatma Gandhi Road, Middle Point Aberdeen Bazar, Port Blair
5 Ummat Public School CBSE Port Blair
6 St. Mary’s School CBSE Post Box No. 270 744101
7 M E S School CBSE Azad Nagar Stewart Gunj Bambooflat South Andaman Andaman Andaman & Nicobar 744107

There are some government-owned art and science colleges too. Some other institutes which provide professional courses are affiliated to Pondicherry University, whereas some are affiliated to Delhi University rest of them are affiliated to Chennai University.

Colleges

  • Jawaharlal Nehru Rajkeeya Mahavidyalaya
    Course Details: BA, BSc, BCom
  • Sri Nagarjuna Degree College
    Course Details: BA, BSc, BCom
  • Government Teachers Training Institute, Andaman
    Course Details: Junior Basic Training

Professional Courses and Their Centres

# Type of Course Name of College Course Offered
1 Graduation United College of Arts and Science BCom, BSc and BA
2 Medical Regional Medical Research Institute  
3 Agricultural Research Central Agricultural Research Institute, Port Blair Social Science, Animal Science, Horticulture, Forestry, Field Crops and Fisheries Science
4 Teacher’s Training course and Science Course Tagore Government College of Education B.Ed, BSc, Computer Science
5 Diploma, Trade Diploma and Post Diploma Dr. B.R. Ambedkar Institute of Technology Diploma in Polytechnic
6 Undergraduate Courses and Post Graduation courses Jawaharlal Nehru Rajkeeya Mahavidyalaya Historical Studies, Masters in Commerce
7 Ph.D Regional Medical Research Institute Doctor of Philosophy (Ph.D), Microbiology and Entomology
Did you find this article informatory?
Sorry to hear this! Can you please help us improving it?