August 03, 2017 19:11
Andaman And Nicobar Islands - Blue Seas, Virgin Islands And Colonial Past:- Andaman and Nicobar Islands, located in the Bay of Bengal are known for their scenic beaches, dense forests and adventurous water sports.
Out of the 600 islands in the Bay of Bengal, only around 36 islands are inhabited. The archipelago is divided into two groups of islands - the Andaman Islands and the Nicobar Islands. Of these, only 9 islands in the Andaman Islands group are open for tourists.
The sandy beaches form as nesting homes to turtles, animals such as spotted deer, wild boar, gecko, crab-eating macaque and python can be spotted in the 86% area still covered by dense forests.
In Andaman and Nicobar Islands, rains are usually on and off while the other days are mostly sunny. You can visit the Beladaru beach at Batarang Island, if it is sunny. There are many indoor activities to indulge you as well, when it rains.
Other places to visit here are Radhanagar, dolphin resort, Cellular jail and Phoenix Bay Jetty which is quite a sight in the rains.
- Summer ( April - July ) Summer temperatures range between 24 to 37 degrees Celsius. During this time, all the water sports are open to visitors and it is an excellent time to visit the islands.
- Monsoon (July - September ) During this time, the temperatures range between 22 to 35 degrees Celsius. July and August witness the maximum visits to the islands. However, in case of heavy rainfall and unpredictable seas, water sports may not be an option.
- Winter (October - March ) Winters are not severe at all. Weather stays mild and pleasant. Temperatures range between 20 to 30 degrees Celsius.
- How To Reach
Andamans can be reached via air and water only, since these are an isolated cluster of islands in the Bay of Bengal along the Eastern coast of India.
Veer Savarkar International Airport in Port Blair is connected via flights to Kolkata and Chennai. Only domestic operators offer flight service to Andaman Islands.
Nearest Airport: Veer Savarkar International Airport (IXZ)
You can reach Port Blair via water from Kolkata, Chennai and Vishakhapatnam only. It takes about 4 days to reach Andamans via cruise.
There are auto-rickshaws and taxis available in Port Blair and on Havelock Island and are the best means to move around. On Havelock Island, you can also rent scooters and motorbikes.
1) Havelock Island
Havelock is one of the most popular islands among the 600 in the region and is the most developed when it comes to tourism. It is a 2-4 hour ferry ride away from Port Blair.
Named after a British general, Havelock Island is the largest island that comprises of Ritchies Archipelago. Havelock is located 57 km north-east of the capital city Port Blair. It consists of 5 villages which are Shyam Nagar, Vijay Nagar, Radha Nagar, Krishna Nagar and Govinda Nagar.
2) Scuba Diving
Andaman and Nicobar Islands is a popular spot for scuba diving among tourists. 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. For non-certified amateur divers, charges start from about INR 3,500 for a 30-minute dive.
Scuba Diving is the most sought after activity on Havelock island. The top agencies which are certified by SSI and PADI and provide scuba facilities are Barefoot Scuba, Doongi Dives, DiveIndia, Andaman Dive Club and Andaman Bubbles. Smaller Dive schools include OceanTribe, Gold India and ScubaLuv.
Andamans, with its clear waters and rich coral reserves, offers a large number of spots for shallow as well as deep dives (up to 55m). The major dive spots are: Pilot Reef (6-18m), Lighthouse (6-20m), Aquarium (12-15m), Elephant Beach (6-25m), Jacksons Bar (20-35m), The Wall (10-55m), Johnnys Gorge (25-30m), Dixon's Pinnacle (18-40m), Minerva Ledge (10-18m).
3) Cellular Jail
The Cellular Jail constructed by the Britishers is the old colonial prison situated in Port Blair. The jail complex is now owned by the Government of India and it is recognized as the national memorial monument showcasing the life of prisoners during theBritish period.
The jail narrates 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 the independence leaders 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.
Many of the prisoners died due to inhumane conditions, many were hanged till death and many simply perished.
- Open Time: National Memorial: 9:00 AM - 12:00 PM, 1:00 PM - 4:15 PM (Closed on Mondays)
4) Snorkeling in Andamans
Snorkeling is another popular water sport among tourists. Sea around Havelock Island serves as one of the best sites for snorkeling.
You can see a kaleidoscope of colors underwater with a variety of reef, fishes, turtles, sharks and rays. Snorkeling costs around INR 400-500, and is much cheaper compared to Scuba diving.
5) Ross Island
Ross Island is one of the Andaman and Nicobar Islands, about 2 km east of Port Blair. One can see remnants of an opulent past in the ruins of the church, swimming pool and the chief commissioners residence with its huge gardens and grand ballrooms. Managed by the Indian Navy, there is also a cemetery and a small museum.
Ross Island, a few km from Aberdeen jetty at Port Blair, is yet another member of the Andaman group of islands.
6) Neil Island
Neil Island is apparently named after a British soldier, James George Smith Neill, who had sternly dealt with the insurgents during the suppression of the 1857 Mutiny.
The island is located 40 kilometres north-east of Port Blair, the capital of Andaman and Nicobar Islands. It is the southernmost island of Ritchies Archipelago.
Neil quite small compared to Havelock is a place to chill out after the bustle of Havelock Island. You can walk the whole island in about an hour or two.
In Neil there have three good sand beaches. The color of sea water is light blue, dark blue and green. Neil Island is a peaceful island. You can go around to see the natural bridge, beach #8, sitapur beach, ramnagar beach and lakshmanpur beach.
7) Water Sports In Andamans
The Andamans, while great for the peaceful, undisturbed soul-searching vacation that you need, also happen to be a hub for indulging in some killer water sports. Come, soak in the fun!
Activities offered : Water-skiing, Sail boats, Windsurfing, Speed Boats, Snorkeling, Scuba Diving, Para sailing, Water scooters, Row boats, kayaks, paddle boats
Cost of Activity : Starts at Rs. 2000 including equipment, depending upon the kind of activity.
Currents : 55 - 64 cm/sec
Difficulty Level : Easy-Medium
Nearest Airport : Port Blair
Nearest Port : Port Blair
Region : Bay of Bengal
Time required : 4-5 days if you want to try out all the different sports
Water Temperature : 26-30 degrees Centigrade
Air: It is most convenient to travel to Andaman Islands by air. The airport is situated at the capital city of Port Blair. Regular flights are available to the islands from Chennai, Kolkata and Delhi. One can also get flight from Bhubaneshwar on certain days.
Sea: Another way of reaching these exotic groups of islands is through sea. The regular passenger ship services to Port Blair commence from Chennai, Visakhapatnam and Kolkata with usually 3-4 sailings per months both sides. The complete voyage takes around 50 to 60 hours approximately to reach the final destination.
Things to carry
2) Flip Flops
4) Bathing Suits
6) Energy Bars
7) Waterproof camera bags, lenses and battery packs
Carry a small bottle of water during the day for emergencies. Stretch before participating in water sports. Make sure you choose operators that offer up-to-date safety gear.
The best time to visit the Andamans is from October to May. It is during this time that the Emerald Isle is at it's prettiest, balmiest best. Choose good adventure operators who will provide good equipment.
8) Wandur National Park
Located in the south-western coast of the Andaman Islands, Wandur National Park is a marine life conservation area situated at a distance of 25 km from the capital city of Port Blair. The wildlife sanctuary which is also known as the Mahatma Gandhi Marine National Park consists of a group of 12 islands which are situated geographically in a labyrinthine shape and are home to some of the most exquisite marine wildlife in the world.
The national park is a great place to try some snorkeling and diving in the crystal clear water of the islands. The coral reefs are the highlight of the park exhibiting their glorious forms.
The famous islands to visit are Jolly buoy Islands, Redskin Island, Grub Island, Rangat Island, Neil Island and Long Island. The national park can amaze and dazzle everyone visiting especially those who hold wildlife close to their hearts.
- Open Time: The first boat trip starts at 8:30am and continues till 10:30am at an interval of 30 minutes. The National Park has only 150 permits for tourist entries distributed on the basis of first-cum-first-serve.
9) Chatham Saw Mill
Chatham Saw Mill is the biggest and the oldest mill across Asia owned by the Forest Department. The mill is also a storehouse for a variety of woods cut into different shapes and sizes.
- Open Time: All days of the week except Sunday: 8:30 AM - 2:30 PM
10) Corbyns Cove
Corbyns Cove is the nearest beach to Port Blair. It is quite popular among tourists as well as locals.
It serves as an ideal place to just get a good sunset view and laze around. There are quite a few water sports which draw many adventure enthusiasts here.
- Open Time: All days of the week: 12:00 AM - 12:00 PM
11) Barren Island
Barren Island is located at a distance of 35 kms of Port Blair, the capital city of the Andaman and Nicobar islands. The island is famous as a rare and interesting scuba-diving destination.
12) Viper Island
Years before Cellular Jail was constructed, Viper Island was used by the British to keep the freedom fighters in exile. You can still see the remains of the jail which was built in 1867 by the British.
13) Wandoor Beach
A small village in the southern part of South Andaman, Wandoor is most recognized for its Mahatma Gandhi Marine National Park.
The village also has some beaches which are relatively less crowded and offers mesmerizing views. You can combine your trip with a visit to Jolly Buoy or Red Skin Island, where you get to see beautiful corals. Wandoor is easily accessible and is only 1-2 hour bus ride away from Port Blair.
14) Baratang Island
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