All about Andaman & Nicobar Islands

Like the ingredients in a salad, Andaman & Nicobar Islands are a group of isles that form a blend of culture and traditions. These emerald isles play a home to people from various walks of life. Though they are part of the Indian Territory, not many people were aware of their existence before the tsunami.

Situated in the lap of Bay of Bengal, these small specks of land still envelope rich flora and fauna lost by most of the world.  Every piece of land is decorated with high mountains, green forests and rich animal life. The introduction to these beautiful islands can be felt with the rendezvous in Port Blair, the capital city. One can reach here easily via sea or by air, with a minimum fare of about Rs 5000/- per head. For accommodation you can opt for various hotels in and around this place.

To know this place one can always start with the famous “cellular jail” which holds testimony to the struggle for freedom during the British rule. Every famous freedom fighter who was sentenced for a punishment in “kala paani”, has written down their experiences in this jail. Moving on to the normal city life you can experience extreme warmth and love from the natives. The small town is endorsed with one single huge market that comprises of groceries and the daily necessities. Apart from these basic components, the most captivating are the beaches of the isles that include the Carbyn’s cove, Radhanagar beach, Wandoor, Chidiyatapu beach, etc, from which the world-famous shells are obtained. People from all over the world visit this place in order to experience this virgin beauty on a personal level and take back wonderful memories with them.

Havelock, Mount Harriot, Jolly Boy, Ross Island, Smith Island etc are the other tourist spots where you can capture nature’s best art work still in its untouched form. It might be interesting to know that Andaman have Asia’s second best beach in Havelock after Maldives. Barren Island is another wonder which holds India’s only live volcano. Other attractive places would include limestone caves, mud volcano, coral reefs and the turtle nesting farm spread all over the group of islands. Traveling through all these places might give you an impression that you are somewhere in the north-eastern mountains, but the exception is that these are not treacherous.

A very uncommon feature of this “Mini India” is the various tribes residing in this place; they are the Great Andamanese, the Jarawas, the Onges, the Shompen, the Sentinels and the Nicobarese. Out of all these native tribes only Nicobarese are known to be civilised and rest all can be seen living in the “ancient man” ways till now. The man of the group still leaves the women and children at home early morning for hunting and comes back in the evening with the food to fill everyone’s stomach. The women are responsible for taking care of the house, the children and the elders of the clan. Though they are left to their own environment and not allowed to be photographed by the tourists, they have been studied to be very friendly with the outsiders. Coming to the cuisine of these isles, it basically includes all types of sea food. You can find recipes with various types of fishes, squids, crabs, lobsters etc. With the different radii the method of its preparation varies and so does the taste. Lastly the to do list includes scuba diving, jet skiing, snorkeling, trekking, camping and many more to keep you busy and entertained through out.

In short Andaman & Nicobar Islands are similar to other coastal regions but with a simple difference, the immaculate and pristine beauty waiting to be discovered and appreciated.

Nupur Paul