Posted 17 March 2023 in Travel Wanderlust
The rich collection of flora and fauna that India is known for is not only present on the mainland but also on its islands. The Andaman and Nicobar Islands, which is the most prominent archipelago of India, stands testament to this claim of rich biodiversity. With its pearly white beaches that are often lashed by fierce waves of the Bay of Bengal, this group of islands is both a destination of scenic beauty and high-octane water sports.You can immerse yourself in the pristine forests filled with vibrant biodiversity at these islands on your next holiday.
Here’s all there is to know about exploring Andaman and Nicobar Islands.
Apart from the panoramic vistas to be captured at the Andaman and Nicobar Islands, the place has a history that is deeply rooted in the colonial rule of India. However, the first mention of this group of islands was in the Hindu epic Ramayana, where it was referred to as Handuman. Even Greek thinkers like Ptolemy recognised the Andaman and Nicobar, naming them Agadaemon or Angademan.
In the 13th century, Marco Polo is said to have visited here and given it the name Angamanian. Following this, there have been records of visits from Friar Odoric in the 14th century, Caesar Fredericke in the 16th century, and finally Lieutenant Archibald Blair of the Royal Indian Navy (British India) in the 17th century. Blair set up a naval base here, which later led to the formation of the Andaman Committee.
In 1896, the Cellular Jail was set up in the then British penal settlement of Port Blair (named after Archibald Blair). Since 1947, the Cellular Jail has become a museum, and a popular attraction for tourists and history enthusiasts. But besides this, the island group has a lot more to offer for tourists who are looking to explore both its history, geography, and ecology.
Some of the popular places to visit here are:
In 2004, the title of 'Asia's Best Beach’ was bestowed upon the Radhanagar beach by TIMES magazine. Located in Havelock Island, the unbelievably white sands of this 2-km-long beach are truly a surreal attraction for tourists.
Also known as the Netaji Subhas Bose Island, this popular place is just 2 km east of Port Blair. It used to be an administrative hub for the British-Indian government. But today, it is nothing but an uninhabited island, swallowed by its surrounding biodiversity, making it an adventurous place to visit.
This beach is one of the reasons that the Andaman and Nicobar Islands are often referred to as island paradise. Located in Havelock Island, the crystal clear and turquoise waters of this island enable visitors to indulge in snorkelling to witness its pristine coral reefs.
One of the most interesting facts about North Bay Island is that it is featured behind the Rs. 20 note. This popularised the island, making it a bustling tourist destination in South Andaman.
Alto dress beach features clear shallow waters that are perfect for snorkelling and glass-bottom boating. If you want to spend the day away from crowds of tourists, then this beach in Havelock Island is the perfect place.
The Kalapathar Beach at Havelock Island has distinct black boulders lining its shore. While this beach may be ideal for swimming enthusiasts, one must watch out for the massive black stone boulders on the sea bed.
This is one of the most popular islands for tourists because it is located far away from the main archipelago. This island is part of the Ritchie's Archipelago in the northern side of the Bay of Bengal, and so tourists usually make a day-long visit to Neil Island.
The Laxmanpur beach at Neil Island is a long stretch of land that is divided into two parts. The first part, known as Laxmanpur Beach I, is famous for picturesque sunsets; while the second part, known as Laxmanpur Beach II, is famous for two naturally arching rock bridges which are sometimes known as the Howrah Bridge of Andaman.
The Bird Island or Chidiya Tapu is about 25 km from Port Blair and is a popular destination for bird watching, nature gazing, as well as water sports. It is also known for pearl hunting from the sea beds of the Bay of Bengal. When here, visit the sunset point which is an excellent place for photography enthusiasts.
This beach is popularly known as Sunrise Beach and provides an enchanting view of sunrise and sunset. You can visit this beach on Havelock Island but should remember to carry enough food and water with you because the options of buying them here are limited.
This National Park is located at the foothills of the third highest peak of the Andaman and Nicobar Islands, Mount Harriet. You can visit this thriving area of biodiversity in the Ferrargunj Tehsil of Port Blair. With over 46 square kilometres of forest cover, this park is a true delight for nature lovers. Moreover, you can also go on mountain climbing adventures at this park and scale the 365-metre-high Mount Harriet to be rewarded with enthralling views of the blue ocean.
If you want to visit a shopping destination, then Corbyn's Cove Beach is a perfect place t. Apart from shopping for exquisite local items and other memorabilia, you can also spend the evenings by the beach at local restaurants. Since the waters around Corbyn’s Cove are not very clean, this is more of a place to hang out with friends and family rather than indulge in water-based activities.
The Baratang Islands are popularly known as the Ranchiwalas Island and are located in the North and Middle Andaman Administrative district. The defining features of these islands are their thick mangrove forests and the only mud volcanoes you will ever find throughout India. You can also find a labyrinth of limestone caves here that are open to tourists for exploration. However, you must seek permission from the Baratang Forest Department before entering these caves.
Despite the name, there are no viper snakes on this beautiful island. This island got its name from one of the ships that brought Lieutenant Archibald Blair to the islands. This island is often called the predecessor to the Cellular Jail in Port Blair. This is because before the construction of the Cellular Jail, the British used this as a makeshift penal settlement to exile Indian prisoners.
The Wandoor Beach is most famous for the Mahatma Gandhi Marine National Park and the mesmerising marine biodiversity contained within it. If you are interested in exploring the pristine nature at the Islands, then you should visit Wandoor Beach. Moreover, you can also travel to Alexander Island and Red Skin Island from here, if you are up for an adventurous boat ride.
This Island is part of the Mahatma Gandhi National Park and is famous for its crystal-clear waters and vibrant coral reef. There are several water-based activities you can indulge in here which include experiencing marine biodiversity up close. This makes Jolly Buoy Island a popular holiday destination in Andaman and Nicobar, especially for families with children.
This beach is possibly the most visited one out of all the beaches in the archipelago. Loathed in Havelock Island, it is usually crowded with tourists who are looking to participate in activities like snorkelling, surfing, parasailing, and swimming. The clear cyan waters of this beach also make it a popular destination for photographers.
If you wish to catch a glimpse of the only active volcano in the Indian subcontinent then you should go to Barren Island. This uninhabited island is home to a 1.8-million-year-old volcano that rests at the juncture of the Indian and Burmese tectonic plates. Despite the apparent dangers of visiting an active volcano, there are guided tours to this island from Port Blair that maintain all the possible points of precaution.
If volcanoes are not interesting to you and you would rather prefer to look at spectacular sights of a pandemonium of parrots clouding the clear blue sky, then you should head over to Parrot Island. This island is located between the Baratang and Andaman group of islands, and is an excellent place for witnessing something new and spectacular.
Inaugurated in 1987, this park is located on an island within the Andaman and Nicobar archipelago that is completely uninhabited by people. There are no villages or communities you can find here and therefore the flora and fauna of the Saddle Peak National Park are completely untouched and in their original condition. Due to the lack of human intervention, this national park has become a popular place to preserve some of the rare endemic species of the Andaman and Nicobar Islands.
Besides all these wonderful places to visit, there are many more areas within this archipelago that can be added to your Andaman itinerary. For example, Cinque Island, Little Andaman, Long Island, Rutland Island, Stewart Island Beach, Limestone Caves, Red Skin Island Beach, Pathi Level Beach, Karmatang Beach, Butler Bay Beach, Katchal Island, Guitar Island, and Avis Island Beach are some other unique places you can visit on your next visit to Andaman and Nicobar.
If you are thinking about going to Andaman and Nicobar Islands for your next holiday, then here are the most prominent properties you can stay at.
Each destination has its benefits and drawbacks, but to overcome the latter, here are some essential travel tips so that your holiday to the Andaman and Nicobar Islands is as hassle-free as can be.
You can reach the Andaman and Nicobar Islands only by flight as it is an island group and there are no roads or railways that connect it to the main landmass of India. IndiGo operates several flights from prominent Indian cities to the Veer Savarkar International Airport in Port Blair.
Since the Andaman and Nicobar Islands are coastal regions, they usually experience a moderate level of temperature throughout the year.
With so many interesting places to visit that showcase the raw natural beauty of these islands, there is no reason why Andaman and Nicobar shouldn’t be your next holiday destination. Moreover, since IndiGo provides seamless connectivity to Port Blair from almost all cities within the Indian mainland, your journey to the Andaman and Nicobar Islands can be smoother and more relaxing than ever.
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