Andaman and Nicobar Islands is the most sought tropical tourism destinations today, these islands are a once-in-a-lifetime destination, and these are most scenic place in India. Andaman and Nicobar Islands is a cluster of 836 big and small islands situated in the Bay of Bengal, approximately 1200 km from Chennai and 1300 km from Kolkata, out of these 572 islands only 38 are inhabited. The Andaman and Nicobar Islands is a union territory of India, it comprises two island groups namely: the Andaman Islands and the Nicobar Islands. The total land area is 8249 square kilometer and the population is about 4,34,192 as per the estimation in 2019. The capital of Andaman and Nicobar Islands is Port Blair, it is also the only city in these islands.
The Andaman and Niocbar is a union territory of India which is divided into three districts namely, South Andaman, North and Middle Andaman, and the Nicoabar District. The capital of South Andaman district is Port Blair, North and Middle Andaman district is Mayabunder and the Nicobar district is Car Nicobar Island. ADMIRAL D K JOSHI, PVSM, AVSM, YSM, NM, VSM (Retd.) , is the Lieutenant Governor of Andaman and Nicobar Islands since 31 August 2012, Shri Jitendra Narain IAS is the Chief Secretary, and the only Member of Parliament representing these islands is Shri Kuldeep Rai Sharma of the Indian National Congress Party.
The climate of the Andaman and Nicobar Islands is tropical but is moderated by sea breezes. Temperatures typically rise from the low 70s F (about 23 °C) into the mid-80s F (about 30 °C) daily throughout the year. Andaman and Nicobar Islands recives a rainfall of about 3000 mm annually . The monsoon season is from May to September followed by tropical cyclones from October to November .
Most of the area in The Andaman and Nicobar Islands is covered with dense evergreen forest. There are 2508 species and 32 subspecies of plants in these islands, the vegetation is broadly divided into Mangrove Forest, Beach Forest, Wed Evergreen Forest, and Semi-Evergreen Forest. These islands are inhabited by only a few species of Animals which includes wild pigs, spotted deer, civets, shrew, etc., and about 206 species of birds. There are numerous snakes and lizards inhabited in the forest. The sea around is home to saltwater crocodiles, fish turtles, and sea snakes in addition to large varieties of fishes.
Most of the islands of the Andaman and Nicobar Islands (about 550) are in the Andaman, 28 of which are inhabited. Andaman has two districts; North and Middle Andaman and South Andaman, the capital city Port Blair is in South Andaman. Port Blair is the only entry and exit point of Andaman and Nicobar Islands, the only airport is Veer Savarkar International Airport and the airport code is IXZ, daily flights from Chennai, Kolkata, New Delhi, Mumba, Hyderabad, and Bengaluru are available daily. These Islands are also connected by ship which sails from Kolkata, Vizag, and Chennai.
Tourist visiting Andaman and Nicobar Islands should reach Port Blair and then can travel to any of the permitted islands, tourism activities are mainly available at Port Blair, Swaraj Dweep (Havelock), Saheed Dweep (Neil Island), Baratang Island, Rangat, Mayabunder, Diglipur, and Hutbay (Little Andaman). Other than these islands one can visit Jollybouy, Redskin, Ross-and-Smith Island, Ross Island, Avis Island, and Parrot Island for a day trip. The Andaman Islands is also home for four of the indigenous tribes, Onges, Jarawas, Great Andamanese and Sentinelese. The language spoken are Hindi, Bengali, Tamil, Telugu, Malayalam, Oraon and Nicobarese.
Port Blair is the capital of Andaman and Nicobar Island and the only entry and exit point of these islands. The only airport of these islands is at Port Blair, the Veer Savarkar International Airport. The harbor which connects Chennai, Kolkata and Vizag is situated at Haddo. From a tourism point, Port Blair has many places to visit which are Cellular Jail (The national memorial), Carbyn Cove Beach, North Bay, Ross Island, Viper Island, Samudrika Museum, Anthropological Museum, Fisheries Museum, Chatam Saw Mill, Kalapani Museum, Mount Harriet, Wandoor Beach, Chidyatapu Beach, Jollybouy Island, and Red Skin Island.
Cellular jail is the prison that was constructed by the British during 1896 and 1906, it was used to keep the freedom fighters during the Indian freedom struggle by the Britishers, the jail was meant for solitary confinement of prisoners. Some of India's most distinguished freedom fighters were kept here, which includes Savarkar Brothers, Motilal Verma, Babu Ram Hari, Pandit Permanand, Ladha Ram, Ullaskar Dutt, Barin Kumar Ghosh, Bhai Parmanand, Indu Bushan Roy, Pritvi Singh Azad, Pulin Das, among others were brought here for long term imprisonment. Today the Cellular Jail is a pilgrimage place, one may visit the museums where all the belongings of the freedom fighters are kept and most importantly the cell that belonged to Veer Savarkar. An added attraction in the Cellular Jail is the Sound and Light Show, which tells the saga of the freedom struggle.
The Nicobar Islands consist of 22 main islands out of which only 10 are inhabited, the total land area of the Nicobar Islands is 1,841 square km and the population is nearly about 40,000. The Nicobar Islands are separated in mainly three groups Northern group (Car Nicobar Island and Battimalv Island), Central group (Chowra, Teressa, Bompuka, Katchal, Camorta, Nancowry, Trinket, Laouk, and Tillangchong), and Southern group (Great Nicobar, Little Nicobar, Kondul Island, Pulo Milo, Meroe, Trak, Treis, Menchal, Kabra, Pigeon, and Megapod). Indira Point is the southernmost point India lies in Great Nicobar Islands and it’s just 150 km away from Sumatra Island of Indonesia. Most people think that Kanyakumari is the southern point of India but it’s not. The climate of Nicobar Island is warm and ranges from 22 degree celsius to 30 degree celsius, the rainfall is about 3000 mm annually. The Nicobar Islands have many endemic species, the vegetation consists of mangrove forest and broad-leaved evergreen forest. These islands are home to indigenous tribes, Shompen and Nicobarese who speak six dialects of Nicobarese languages.
The history of Nicobar Island is known very little, the Thanjavur inscription (1050 ce) of the Chola dynasty describes the land as Nakkavaram (“Land of the Naked”). Danish missionaries visited the islands in 1756. In 1868–88 the islands were claimed by the British, who established a penal colony there. The Nicobar Islands were occupied by the Japanese during World War II. In December 2004 the islands were hit by a large tsunami that had been triggered by a massive earthquake in the Indian Ocean near Indonesia. The Nicobars suffered extensive damage, and many people were killed. (ref: https://www.britannica.com/place/Nicobar-Islands)
There are namely two tribes that live on the Nicobar: Island, Nicobarese, and Shompen.
Shompen lives in the interior part of the Great Nicobar Islands, there are only 50 to 60 Shompen left presently. They practice a hunter-gatherer subsistence economy. In keeping with the tropical climate of the islands, traditional attire includes only clothing below the waist. The traditional attire for men is a short, thin loincloth made of barkcloth, covering only the genitals without a 'tail' of cloth in front. The decoration is limited for men, consisting of bead necklaces and armbands. Women wear a knee-length skirt of bark cloth, occasionally with a shawl of bark cloth covering the shoulders. Decorations include bamboo earplugs (ahav), bead necklaces (naigaak), and armbands of bamboo (geegap). Both sexes are barefoot. The Shompen probably learned to make and use bows from the Nicobaris. (Ref: https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Shompen_people.)
Nicobaries speak different dialects of the Nicobarese language, most of the Nicobaries follow christen religion and few follow Muslim religion and others follow their traditional religion. Nowadays Nicobaries are found in all the parts of Andaman and Nicobar Islands, they are well educated and many of them serve as government servants, the total population is approximately about 30,000.
Car Nicobar Island is the northernmost island in Nicobar, the islands fall between Little Andaman and Nancowry Island, Car Nicobar is mostly flat and surrounded by beaches. Most of the island is covered by coconut palms, the total area is 127 square kilometers.
Battimalv Island is situated between Car Nicobar and Nancowry. Battimalv is a very flat and small Island, having only 1.58 square kilometers of land area, the island houses a lighthouse maintained by the people of Car Nicobar, the island is home for Niocbari Piegon, which is endemic.
Chowra Island is situated in the south of Battimalv Island, the island is also flat and is surrounded by the coral reef, which extends about 2.5 kilometers from the shore. The island has 3 villages, the total population is about 1500.
Terassa Island island lies in the west of Chowra Island, the total area of this island is about 101 square kilometers. The total population is Terassa Island is around 2000, which consists of Bengalis and Nicobarese.
The Island is located 3.5 km east of Teressa, the island has two villages, the entire population of 21 people now lives in Terrassa after the tsunami of 2004.
Katchal Island is located in the south of Teressa Island, Katchal Island is home to both indigenous and non-indigenous people, the Nicobarese tribe, migrated Tamilians, and few Telegu and Ranchi families. The total area of Katchal Island is 147 square kilometers and the population is about 3000
Karmota Island is situated in the west of Katchal Island, the total area is 131 square kilometers and the population is about 4000, both indigenous and non-indigenous people live on this island.
Nancowry Island is situated in the south of Car Nicobar Island and west of Katchal Island with a total area of 47 square kilometers, the total population is around 1000.
Trinket island is nearby Katchal Island, the total area is 12 square kilometers, the island is covered by shallow waters and coral reef, the island is approachable by boat only during high tide. After Tsunami the entire population left after 91 deaths were evacuated to Nancwory and Karmota only two people returned back and now only the sole inhabitant of this island Gopinath and his wife (as per 2016).
Laouk Island is situated in the northwest of Trinket Island with an area of 0.37 square kilometers, no one lives in this island.
Laouk Island is situated in the northwest of Trinket Island with an area of 14.7 square kilometers, no one lives in this island. The total population is around 38 with 4 households.
Great Nicobar Island is the southernmost island with an area of 921 square kilometers and a population of around 8000 people. The island has several rivers, including the Alexandra, Amrit Kaur, Dogmar, and Galathea. Great Nicobar Island is hilly with the highest elevation point of 642 meters. The Indira Point is the southernmost point of Great Nicobar and India. The population also includes the Punjabi community.
Little Nicobar Island is situated in the north of Great Nicobar Island with an area of 140 square kilometers, the total population is 278 in 59 households with a 100% literacy rate.