ANDAMAN & NICOBAR

About Andaman & Nicobar Island

The Andaman and Nicobar Islands, located in the east of the Indian mainland geographically, float in splendid isolation in the Bay of Bengal. Once a hill range extending from Myanmar to Indonesia, these picturesque undulating islands, islets numbering around 572, are covered with dense rain-fed, damp and evergreen forests and endless varieties of exotic flora and fauna. Most of these islands (about 550) are in the Andaman Group, 28 of which are inhabited. The smaller Nicobar, comprise some 22 main islands (10 inhabited). The Andaman and Nicobar are separated by the Ten Degree Channel which is 150 Kms. wide.

These islands also boast of freedom fighting days’ historically significant landmarks viz. Cellular Jail, Ross Island, Viper Island, Hopetown and Mount Harriet. The Andaman and Nicobar Islands have been declared as two of the 218 endemic bird area of the world. As many as 270 species and sub-species of birds have been reported existing in these islands, 106 of them being endemic. The Andaman Wood Pigeon, Andaman Padauk and Dugong are declared as State Bird, State Tree and State Animal respectively. There are about 96 Wildlife Sanctuaries, nine National Parks and one Biosphere Reserve in the islands. These islands are blessed with the bounties of both south-west and north-east monsoons.

Andaman is home to world class beaches, kaleidoscopic coral reefs, lush green rain forests and an active volcano. The popular tourist destination also offering water sports such as snorkeling, scuba diving, sea bed walking and more. Experience the nature in its most beautiful form as you explore various islands including Havelock, Jolly Bouy, Niel, North Bay, Ross and Wiper, among others. Port Blair, the capital city of Andaman houses majority of mainland settlers. Despite booming tourism, it remains a virgin beauty with untouched natural surroundings and a marine life worth exploring. From attending the musical show at the Cellular Jail in Port Blair to an early morning scuba dive at Havelock to enjoying the gorgeous sunrise at the Kala Pathar beach, Andaman islands offer something for everyone in the family, youngsters, kids, newlyweds, and others. It is also one of the best destinations for honeymooners in India.

BY AIR

The Veer Savarkar Airport, an International Airport is located in the capital town of Port Blair, the gateway to Andaman and Nicobar Islands. Port Blair, is connected with Chennai, Kolkata, New Delhi and Bhubaneswar by air. Air India, Jet Airways, Go Air, Spice Jet, Indigo & Air Vistara Airlines operate regular flights. Foreign chartered flights are also permitted to land at Port Blair subject to the fulfillment of guidelines of the Directorate General of Civil Aviation.



BY SHIP

Regular passenger ship services are available to Port Blair from Chennai, Kolkata and Visakhapatnam and back. There are three to four sailings every month from Kolkata and Chennai to Port Blair and vice-versa. There is only one sailing for Visakhapatnam in a month. The voyage takes about 50 to 60 hours during fair weather.



INTER-ISLAND CONNECTIVITY - BY FERRY

The Directorate of Shipping Services, A & N Administration operates regular ferry services from Phoenix Bay Jetty, Port Blair in the inter-island and foreshore sectors connecting all populated island/tourist places. The Directorate also operates vehicle ferries to important locations and several Harbour ferries. The sailing schedules are published in the Administration's News Paper – The Daily Telegrams (English Daily) and Dweep Samachar (Hindi Daily). The All India Radio & Doordarshan also announce sailing schedules besides official website. Tickets are issued through the ‘STARS' counters located at Phoenix Bay Jetty, managed by the Directorate of Shipping Services. For tourists, private boats are operated from Aberdeen Jetty (Rajiv Gandhi Water Sports Complex), Port Blair to nearby tourist places like Ross Island, Viper Island, North Bay, Harbour Cruise etc. Private tourist boats are also available at Wandoor (Mahatma Gandhi Marine National Park) for journey to Jolly Buoy and Red Skin Islands. Private luxury tourist boats are operating from Phoenix bay jetty, Port Blair to Havelock and back during season, cutting down travel time considerably.

INTER-ISLAND CONNECTIVITY - BY AIR

The Directorate of Civil Aviation, Andaman and Nicobar Administration has introduced Sea-plane services to tourist places like Havelock, Diglipur and Hut Bay. In addition, daily helicopter services are also available from Port Blair to other inter-island tourist destinations, such as Neil, Havelock, Diglipur, Hutbay etc.

Attractions

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Havelock Island

Havelock is one of the few places that the administration of the Andaman and Nicobar Islands union territory of India has permitted and encouraged development of tourism, with a focus on promoting tourism. Havelock Island avoided much of the devastation by the 2004 Indian Ocean earthquake and its resulting tsunami and there were no documented casualties. There is a lighthouse at the northern point of the island, near Govinda Nagar, established in 2005.

Cellular Jail

The Cellular Jail, also known as Kālā Pānī (Hindi for black waters), was a colonial prison in the Andaman and Nicobar Islands, India. The prison was used by the British especially to exile political prisoners to the remote archipelago. Many notable dissidents such as Batukeshwar Dutt, Yogendra Shukla and Vinayak Damodar Savarkar, among others, were imprisoned here during the struggle for India's independence. Today, the complex serves as a national memorial monument. The construction of the prison started in 1896 and was completed in 1906. The original building was a puce-colored brick building.The bricks used to build the building were brought from Burma.

The building had seven wings, at the centre of which a tower served as the intersection and was used by guards to keep watch on the inmates; this format was based on Jeremy Bentham's idea of the Panopticon. The wings radiated from the tower in straight lines, much like the spokes of a bicycle wheel. A large bell was kept in the tower to raise an alarm.

Each of the seven wings had three stories upon completion. There were no dormitories and a total of 696 cells. Each cell was 4.5 by 2.7 meters (14.8 ft. × 8.9 ft.) in size with a ventilator located at a height of 3 meters (9.8 ft.). The name, "cellular jail", derived from the solitary cells which prevented any prisoner from communicating with any other. Also, the spokes were so designed such that the face of a cell in a spoke saw the back of cells in another spoke. This way, communication between prisoners was impossible.

Ross Island

Ross Island is an island of the Andaman Islands. It belongs to the South Andaman administrative district, Andaman and Nicobar Islands. The island is situated 3 km (2 mi) east from downtown Port Blair.

There is a pathway up to the northern end of the Island, where the new concrete 10 m high circular lighthouse Tower was constructed in 1977, on an offshoot rock about 50 metres (160 ft) away from the shore line. The tower is approachable during the low tide. It was at this lighthouse that photo voltaic panels were introduced for the first time in India, to charge the batteries for the operation of light. Ross Island has thick forests. To any onlooker it may give the impression that it has no "life" — in the sense that there is no human habitation. Spotted Deers and peacocks are mostly found in the island and the island is full of palm and coconut trees.