To Know More About Andaman-Nicobar
The Andaman Islands are an Indian archipelago in the Bay of Bengal. These roughly 300 islands are known for their palm-lined, white-sand beaches, mangroves and tropical rainforests. Coral reefs supporting marine life such as sharks and rays make for popular diving and snorkeling sites. Indigenous Andaman Islanders inhabit the more remote islands, many of which are off limits to visitors.
Replete with picturesque shimmering beaches, lagoons of turquoise blue waters and a bit of history, Andaman & Nicobar Islands is a little slice of paradise tucked around 1,400 km away from the east coast of India. The union territory comprises a total of 572 islands, only 37 of which are inhabited and a few are open to the tourists.
Large coral reefs, an assortment of marine life and the calm blue waters of the Bay of Bengal all make the name "Emerald Isle" highly suitable for the Andamans. Most popular island among all the islands for the dives, however, is Havelock. It is an ideal diving destination for everyone, right from a novice to an experienced diver.
Havelock Island:Havelock Island is one of the largest and most popular islands in Andaman and Nicobar. Spread over a massive area of 113.93 square kilometres, it is situated 57 km north-east of the capital city Port Blair. Havelock Island is a paradise of silky white sand beaches, crystal blue water, rich corals and verdant forests. There is no dearth of beauty on this little island as the reputed and much-loved Radhanagar and Vijaynagar Beaches are also right on its southern shores. Havelock Island is also a favourite amongst those who want to engage in scuba diving, snorkelling, and deep sea diving. The pristine shores and the aquamarine waters of the island stretch right across its expanses! Elephant beach and Kalapather beach are two other destinations where the sunrise and sunsets are divine. A long walk along the stretch of the sand is the perfect way to explore the island on your own.The island was named after a British General and comprises of Ritchie's Archipelago and a collection of five villages. Surrounded by the most popular beaches on Andaman, it is among the most popular places to visit on the archipelago.
Radhanagar Beach: Awarded with the title of 'Asia's Best Beach' by the TIMES magazine in 2004, Radhanagar Beach with its turquoise blue waters and powdery white sands lives up to the moniker. Its vast shores of endless white grains stretch across 2 kilometres, making it a prime attraction of the Andaman and Nicobar Islands. Located at a distance of a mere 7 kilometres from the much adored Vijaynagar Beach and approximately 12 kms from the main Havelock Island, it is a hop, skip and jump away to serenity and beauty. Being located so close to the main Havelock Beach has made it a favourite among tourists. It is also among the most reputed places to enjoy water sports in the Andamans. The best way to reach Radhanagar Beach is via a ferry from Havelock Island. Apart from enjoying the spectacle of the beach and the melange of colours, visitors can also enjoy water sports like boating, parasailing, and scuba diving. Food stalls and vendors can be seen on the fringes of the shore, keeping travellers refreshed with the provision of fresh and delicious seafood as well as beverages. You can also book beach beds, parasols, and umbrellas while they spend hours merely lounging at this exquisite wonderland.
Cellular Jail: The Cellular Jail, also known as 'Kala Pani' is an old colonial prison situated in Port Blair, the capital of Andaman and Nicobar islands. Constructed by the Britishers during their colonial rule in India, Cellular Jail was used particularly to exile political prisoners where they were subjected to many atrocities at the hands of the British. The construction of the jail began in the year 1896 and was completed in 1906, after which it was used to house many notable freedom fighters such as Batukeshwar Dutt, Yogendra Shukla and Vinayak Damodar Savarkar. The aura of history and struggle around the Cellular Jail is palpable and you just cannot help but be overcome with a strong patriotic fervour. The jail complex is now owned by the Government of India and it is recognised as the national memorial monument that showcases the life of prisoners during the British era. The jail narrates of the horrifying and darkest period in the history of India. Soon after the Sepoy Mutiny in the year 1857, Britishers began to use the islands of Andaman and Nicobar as the jails to put fighters behind the bars. The secluded islands were chosen due to their distant location from the main parts of the country where the prisoners would be kept in the dark depriving them of the situation in the country and excluding them from the society. During the independence movement of India, thousands of Indians were imprisoned in the cellular jail, many of them died due to inhumane conditions, many were hanged till death and many simply perished. Today, the Cellular Jail is a solemn reminder of all the struggles that our freedom fighters fought through to win the independence of the country, and is an imperative part of our history that ought to be upheld.
Snorkeling in Andamans: The unique position held by Andaman and Nicobar Islands in the Indian Ocean guarantees a great avenue to experience snorkelling. There are various centres that offer short courses and provide the equipment required for snorkelling. They consist of various programmes for the beginner, intermediate and advanced swimmers. You can experience snorkelling at North Bay Island, Jolly Buoy Island, Havelock Island, Red Skin Island, in Wandoor, Long Island, Andaman Water Sports Complex, Neill Island, South Button, Henry Lawrence Beach, Rutland Island and Kalipur. Tourists can use local transport (roadways and waterways) to reach these required snorkelling locations. So, it is advisable to keep a close tab on the ferry schedules and make sure you reach in time. Snorkelling is a water sport that allows swimmers to observe marine life without diving deep in the ocean and without having to carry heavy equipment. The only equipment that aids Snorkeling is a 30-centimetre long tube called a snorkel attached to a diving mask with glasses. Swimmers can be close to the surface of the water and yet see as much as possible of the life underwater.
Ross Island: Located just 2 kilometres east of Port Blair is the Ross Island; an island which was once the administrative headquarters of the British, but today is only an uninhabited island that is recognised solely for its beauty and scenic views. Following an earthquake that hit Ross Island in the year 1941, the British left the island and shifted their settlement to Port Blair. The island was not able to overcome the grief of this sudden withdrawal, and decay and neglect ultimately set in. One can see traces of a prosperous past in the rubbles of the church, swimming pool and the chief commissioner's home with its extensive gardens and magnificent ballrooms. There is also a cemetery and a small museum managed by the Indian Navy. As in the case of its sister-islands, Ross Island also has thick forests. At first sight of the island, it is tough to believe that this abandoned place was once the seat of British power and housed everything from a bazaar, a church, stores, bakery, a water treatment plant, tennis court, printing press, secretariat, hospital, cemetery and other vital institutions. Today, everything has disappeared except a few buildings, which housed some of these landmarks. Large banyan trees have engulfed the other buildings and have successfully managed to replace the grand structures built by man. The island is enveloped with a sense of nostalgia and takes the visitor back in time. The Indian Navy has managed to rebuild some old buildings, such as the local stores and the bakery, to provide the visitors with a feel of the bygone era. Souvenirs can also be purchased from these shops.
Neil Island: Neill Island is a part of the South Andaman Administrative District and belongs to Ritchie’s Archipelago in the Bay of Bengal. A part of the massive ocean separates it from Ross Island and Havelock Island, Tourists visiting Havelock often make a day-long trip to Neill Island. Perhaps the most endearing feature of this island is its three sandy beaches, namely Bharatpur Beach, Sitapur Beach and the Lakshmanpur Beach. The forest cover has reduced considerably due to the cultivation of rice but a section in the north-west of the island is being preserved actively. The regions where the forest cover is lost has a couple of degrees or so higher temperature than the region with enough flora. Nonetheless, Neill Island is the major supplier of vegetables to most regions of the Andaman Islands. Due to its limited area, Neill Island can be covered with a simple walk. TAll three beaches are exquisite and extraordinarily clean and are well-connected to the mainland as well.
Baratang Island: Baratang Island is a beautiful little island in the North and Middle Andaman Administrative district and is situated about 100 kilometres away from the capital city of Port Blair by road. It is not explored as much as the other islands of this union territory of India and hence, is a delight for the offbeat traveller. Baratang Island if well-known for its mangroves, mud volcanoes and limestone caves. However, you may need to take permission from the Forest Department at Baratang to explore these caves. You can reach Baratang island via the government ferry service that runs between Port Blair city at the Phoenix Bay Jetty. The Baratang Island is also known as Ranchiwalas Island and is home to India's only Mud Volcano. The Andaman Trunk Road that connects Rangat and Mayabunder pass through the Baratang Island and is paved through the lush green rainforests. The island is home to the Jarawa Tribe who regarded the now non-existent Jangil Tribe as their parent clan.
Little Andaman: Little Andaman, a beautiful island with crystal blue waters and clear sand beaches all around, is the fourth largest island of the archipelago of the Andaman and Nicobar Islands, India. It lies to the southern end of the archipelago over an area of 730 square kilometres. The island is home to an extensive rainforest and rare species of marine turtle. If you explore enough, you could also come across some breathtaking waterfalls. This mesmerizing Little Andaman is a traveller's paradise with numerous hotel stay options by the beach. Little Andaman is part of the Indian Union Territory of Andaman and Nicobar Islands and belongs to the administrative district of South Andaman. It is also known as Gaubolambe in the native language, Onge which is spoken by the Onge aboriginal tribe. The island is also called Ebu Belong, and these people have been the island's native residents since 1957. So far the population of over 18,000 inhabitants occupies 18 villages on the island along with the main village, Kwat-tu-kwage on the Hut Bay.
Barren Island Volcano: Located about 135 kilometres to the northeast of Port Blair, Barren Island is situated at the intersection of the seismically active Indian and Burmese plates and is 1.8 million years old and is home to the only active volcano in the Indian subcontinent. As the name suggests, the island is largely uninhabited, thanks to the volcano eruptions that take place here at frequent intervals. Although sightseeing around the island is not that common, you can obtain permissions from the local forest department to do so. There are a number of ferries and boats that can take you around to visit the island. However, due to the unpredictability of the volcanic eruptions, visitors are not permitted to land on the shores and have to sustain with a view from the sea, which is equally memorable and breathtaking. The crater of the Barren Island volcano about half a kilometre away from the shore. The black bedrock of the island lends the sand on the beach a deep purple-black hue that contrasts beautifully with the vibrant blue of the ocean and underwater vibrant marine life. What is interesting is that even though the existence of this volcano is not a hidden fact, and has been known since centuries; owing to little-publicised research with restricted and limited access, the island continues to remain an unexplored mystery.
Shopping in Andaman: A beautiful island, coupled with serene ambience and picturesque view, there's nothing not to love about Andaman. Regarded as one of the most preferred destinations for tourists, this island will leave you spellbound! Popular for snorkelling and other water adventure activities, the group of islands serve as a haven for people looking to enjoy long relaxing beach vacations. While there are a lot of things to do in Andaman, there's one thing that should not miss out on your list- Shopping! The cute little shops around the corner are always buzzing with people. The tourism industry of Andaman is thriving not just because of the location and water adventures but because of its handicrafts emporiums as well. What are you waiting for? Go ahead, treat yourself and indulge in a retail therapy by collecting tropical souvenirs there!
Water Sports in Andamans:Water Sports in Andaman has been a major attraction for adventure seekers and water babies. Although the demand for water sports is fulfilled at various locations in Andaman, Water Sports Complex located in Port Blair is popular for the variety and safety they offer. Whether it is swimming, snorkelling, scuba diving, fishing or just a boat ride, there is something to suit everyone’s desire. The services provided by the complex guarantee an enjoyable time sailing the sea and even exploring it underwater. If one is daring enough, they can even sail through the permitted shoreline of Port Blair on their own all under the watchful eye of the staff. Swimming isn't a prerequisite for any of the activities and thus, tourists can enjoy them without any hesitation. The Water Sports Complex in Andaman is located close to the northern shoreline of Port Blair near Aberdeen Jetty. The complex has a demarcated area for water sports in the Andaman Sea where adventure buffs can go Skiing, Kayaking, Paddle Boating, Banana Boat rides, Rowing, Para Sailing etc. They provide all the necessary facilities for a safe and enjoyable experience. Other water sports like Scuba Diving, Snorkelling, and Undersea Walking are extremely famous here. It is one of the few places in India that offer services for these water sports.
Wandoor Beach: A small village in the southern part of South Andaman, Wandoor is most recognized for the Mahatma Gandhi Marine National Park, which is among the regions with the richest marine biodiversity. Wandoor Beach is situated at the mesmerizing South Andaman Islands. Apart from being one of the places most preferred by tourists, what makes Wandoor Beach famous is its rich biodiversity and its calm and serene shores. Two islands named Alexandra Island and Red Skin Island are also close to the beach and if you are adventurous, then take a boat to the islands for a trip. Wandoor is easily accessible and is only 1-2 hour bus ride away from Port Blair. Moreover, the unique location of this place makes it a great place to go swimming as well as to enjoy the sight of coral reefs. You can also just sit by the beach and enjoy the clear blue waters and spotless white sand.
Long Island: Long Island is a small island in Andaman mostly recognized for village tourism. It is famous for its untouched white sand beaches, dense natural vegetation that forms the tropical forests and its marine life. The untouched scenery and exquisite beauty of Long Island attract tourists with an eye for beauty and a sense of adventure. It is also one of the islands famous for water sports and ocean cruises. Like most islands in the archipelago, this one is also famous for its views, especially during the sunset and the sunrise. Long Island belongs to the East Baratang Group of Islands and is also considered a part of Rangat Taluk. The island expands over a small area of 18 square kilometres. Flora and fauna of this tiny island is quite a treat to the eyes. The forests are a mix of evergreen and tidal swamp forests. The hilly regions are covered with dense forests and have caves hidden behind the thick vegetation. Long Island in Andaman, thus, is not just a paradise for nature lovers, but it is also a perfect exotic escape for backpackers and off-beat travellers.
Corbyn's Cove Beach: Corbyn's Cove is the nearest beach to Port Blair. It is quite popular among tourists as well as locals. Certain parts of the Corbyn’s Cove Beach have some seating arrangement to get a good view of the horizon from a little height. There are some shacks that sell local snacks, drinks, coconut water etc. There are some restaurants also in the vicinity. The beach is one of the places where travellers can get great deals on clothing, accessories and other items to be bought as memorabilia. Corbyn’s Cove Beach has some provision for water sports but often people do not want to enter the waters because the surroundings are littered and the water polluted with garbage. The facilities for water sports are also not as impressive as many other beaches in Andaman and Nicobar Islands. But if one wants to, they can go Jet Skiing or a go on a short boat ride into the sea. The beachfront at Corbyn’s Cove is one of the attractions often covered in the sightseeing itinerary for tourists visiting Port Blair. Many prefer the beach for sunbathing and water sports if they cannot or do not want to travel to other islands or beach fronts. The entire shore is lined by tall coconut trees and visitors can stroll through them before hitting the sands.
Rutland Island: Rutland, lined with virgin beaches, is one of the lesser visited of all the islands located in the southern part of Great Andaman archipelago. The pristine beach, lined with mangrove forests and coral reefs is a great place to connect with nature and relax.
Parrot Island: Parrot Island, a peculiar sort of home to thousands of fluttering parrots, looks like a whole new empire of wilderness born out of the salty waters of the Indian Ocean. Every day, hosts of green parrots arrive at the island as a part of their daily ritual, which is a spectacle to behold. Once in a while, we come across something so beautiful yet bizarre, exquisite yet inexplicable, that we find no words to quite describe it. Parrot Island is one such unparalleled destination, nestled quietly amidst the group of Baratang Islands of Andaman and Nicobar. This small island is part of a larger archipelago, all of which are laced with dense tropical forests and mangrove vegetation.
Jolly Buoy is home to a rich diversity of corals, marine life, and myriad shades of blue and is the most famous island in the archipelago of the Andaman and Nicobar. It is a part of Mahatma Gandhi National Park and thus displays a rich variety of underwater life. The clean and serene water with white sand beaches make it one of the most preferred vacation destination in the south. You will be able to explore the rich marine life including colourful corals reefs and fishes in this place with the means of water activities. Jolly Buoy Beach and the island are a great place to spend some peaceful time while sitting on sand and listening to the rustling of water. Jolly Buoy Island is only a day's visit as the jetty that transport people here starts from 9 am and returns at 2 pm as people are not allowed to stay here post-sundown.Biodiversity Jolly Buoy Island is famous for rich underwater life. A lot of colourful corals and fishes habitat in the sea which can be seen easily. Acropora, Pacillopora, Montipora, Fungia, Leptoseris, Forties, gorgonians and tubipora are the important corals that can be seen in Jolly buoy Island. Beautiful starfishes, ocellaris clownfish , False Percula Clownfish, butterfly fishes, parrot fishes and Angel fishes are the ones that can be easily spotted and are a treat for the eyes because of their vibrant colours and fluid motions.
Known as the bird island, Chidiya Tapu is a picturesque little island in the Andamans, famous for its natural beauty, numerous resident birds and gorgeous views of the sunset. Chidiya Tapu translates to 'Sparrow Island' The tiny island, 25 kms from Port Blair is abundant with lush green mangroves and equatorial forests. While birdwatching is the main allure of the location, there are some fun water activities like snorkelling, scuba diving, deep sea walking, pearl hunting, and boating that one could engage in along its shores. The Sunset point of the island, considered one of the best sunset points in the Andamans, is a prime attraction, offering a truly unforgettable experience of the sunset. This picturesque island is ideal to plan a relaxing picnic amidst the dense forestry and exquisite scenery. The road to the beach lets travellers pass the fascinating rugged rocks of Kalpathar. A trekking trail is available from the shores of the scenic beach to the grand Munda Pahad, an elongated black cliff at the edge of Chidiya Tapu with an open seascape providing a truly breathtaking view of the rich blue ocean. Along with the myriad of mesmerising natural beauty, there is a mini zoo close to the beach where one can view interesting creatures like the monitor lizard. The waters are known to be inhabited by crocodiles, thus entering the water here is forbidden. However, watching the scores of birds fly by as you relax by the pristine water watching the alluring sunset is a memory of a lifetime.
Samudrika Naval Museum is located on the South Andaman Island in the capital city of Port Blair and is the pride project of the Indian Navy. With comprehensive coverage of the marine life present in the deep waters surrounding the island chain's territories, this fascinating museum is an amazing source for details on the environment in the ocean, its ecosystem and its biodiversity. The museum also provides in-depth knowledge on the history and culture of the Andaman and Nicobar Islands. Samudrika Naval Museum has five sections that can each cover the history of the islands, the geographical information, the people of Andaman, the archaeology and the prime allure: the marine life. This museum is home to 350 varieties of marine life including rare fish, enamouring seashells, and diverse corals. Visitors are greeted at the entrance of the museum by the enormous skeleton of a young blue whale, the world's largest mammal. The well-maintained Museum is spread over five rooms, which present the history of Andaman and Nicobar Islands, Geographical information, People of the Island, Archaeology and Marine Life of the Island. But the showstopper of this Museum is the huge skeleton of a Blue whale present at the lawn which was once rescued from the Nicobar Island.
Diglipur, a large island located in the North Andaman area, is an ecological paradise. The island houses rows of tropical forests, mangroves, and lovely beaches rich in exotic marine life. Kalipur Beach, Ross & Smith Islands, Ramnagar Beach, and Pathi Level Beach are all located in Diglipur, which makes it a favourite destination among tourists. The highest point of the Andaman and Nicobar Islands, Saddle peak, is located at this island, accessible through the Saddle Peak National Park. One can also find the Kalpon river here, the only river to flow through the Andamans. Diglipur is easily reachable from Port Blair; you can take a boat till Aerial Bay Jetty which is near Kalipur in Diglipur. The Ross and Smith islands, a mysterious mud volcano, and the Saddle Peak National Park are all located within the confines of Diglipur. The Alfred Caves, an elaborate labyrinth of 42 caves spread across Diglipur can satisfy the desires of the adventurous who are willing to undertake the challenging task of exploring and trekking through these caves. For the tourists looking for a relaxing vacation, the shores of Diglipurs offer many wondrous beaches where one can get lost in the beauty of the sea all day long.
With its brilliant coral reefs and alluring cyan waters, the Elephant beach is one of the locations that adds to the beach paradise reputation of the Andaman and Nicobar Islands. The vivid colour of the water is accentuated by the pure white sands of the beach. These waters are a prime destination for tourists wishing to engage in water sports like snorkelling, swimming, and diving. A trip around the ocean in the glass boat is almost a divine experience. With the amazing coral reefs starting at a depth of a metre, this beach is truly a memorable sight leaving travellers with its imprint for years to come. Boating around this beach can offer one some truly breathtaking imagery. There are boat rides organised from the Havelock Island dock to reach the main jetty. If one is feeling especially adventurous, the picturesque Radhanagar beach is an hour's trek from here. For those who are here to relax, the beach offers some exciting food and drink options while one lounges leisurely on the sands. This is the best beach in the Andaman Islands for engaging in water sports as well as other adventurous options like bird-watching, trekking and kayaking. As this area is famous for its coral reefs, sea walking is a major activity undertaken by almost every visitor to this beach, making this one of the best beaches of India.
Kalapathar beach is a long stretch of white silky sand with big black rocks beside the blue sea and is one the most popular beaches of Havelock Island. Being located on the one tip of Havelock Island, Kalapathar Beach is named after a Black Road (Kalapathar in Hindi) which runs parallel to the seashore. The beach is small but the way to the beach is very good. Mesmerizing views of sunset at this beach makes it a perfect destination to spend some peaceful time and also the beach is not so crowded which has kept it clean till date. The turquoise coloured water can actually be seen during the drive to the beach which makes it look even more mesmerizing. The black rocks the lie along the seashores make a bright contrast with silver sand. Green dense forests surround the beach from all the sides. Being a relatively isolated and protected beach, Kalapathar does not have the usual shacks and resorts that other beaches do and hence can be visited as a stopover attraction. The whole beach is lined up with rich greenery and one of the best features about the beach is that it is comparatively silent and has less crowd which becomes a reason for why it sticks close to the visitor’s heart. As the number of people is lesser, Kalapathar Beach is very special for couples and families who would like to spend time in peace and utmost calmness.
Vijaynagar Beach is one of the most famous beaches on Havelock Island and mostly visited for beach exploration, bird watching, fishing, trekking and thrilling water sports like snorkelling, surfing, sailing and swimming. The picturesque beach has a long stretch of white sand and the pristine turquoise water reflecting the clear blue skies is a view worth visiting. Being located on Havelock Island, Vijaynagar Beach is well-connected to the mainland. Autorickshaws and taxis are available from Havelock Jetty. Kayaking, snorkelling, swimming, and bird watching are among the most common activities carried out here.
Sandbar Beach is basically a long stretch of sand that connects two islands, Ross and Smith in Andaman. The stunning scenery created by the densely forested islands and the stretch of white sand is quite unique to the location and draws several tourists to witness it charm. On a clear day when the waves are gentle, one can relax a bit on the Sandbar or go snorkelling and swimming on either side.
Sitapur Beach is also known as Beach number 5 or Sunrise Beach. It is a stunning stretch of golden sand on Neil Island, set against the azure blue skies and turquoise ocean. The contrast created by the blue waters makes it a mesmerizing attraction. Mostly known for its enchanting golden sunrises and sunsets, it is absolutely safe to swim in. Shaded on the shore by thick palms, it is one of the best places to experience the untouched beauty of the Andamans. However, be prepared as it is an unexplored territory. There are a very few places offering food and drink options and hence you are advised to carry your own. Sitapur Beach can be reached by a Jetty or ferry from Port Blair to Neil Island and lies at a distance of 65 km from Port Blair.