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Tuesday, 2 June 2015
DETAILS OF ALL ANDAMAN & NICOBAR ISLANDS
DETAILS OF ALL ANDAMAN & NICOBAR ISLANDS
Port Blair Port Blair, the gateway to the pristine islands, is the capital of Andaman & Nicobar Islands. A typical small Indian city, where people of diversified cultures and religion live together in peace and harmony. With over 5 tribes and many religions, it is incredible how Port Blair has never faced any religion/region based conflicts ever. With households celebrating every festival, whether big or small, together, with pomp and vigour ,this city can undoubtedly be called Mini-India. Aberdeen Bazaar is the hub of the town, located about 2 kms away from the airport and about 1 km away from the Phoenix Bay Ship Dock. You can reach anyplace in Port Blair from anywhere in the city in not more than 15 mins in a vehicle. So, distance is never an issue here. You can choose to stay in the hotel of your choice and eat at a place you like, even if they are little away from the city. Best time to Travel Andaman Best time to travel to Port Blair would be between October to May. Though there are lots of tourists prefer to come during the off-season. Places to See Here are a select places you must visit when in Port Blair. Cellular Jail Andaman Island was called the Kalapani because of this place where freedom fighters were kept under rigorous imprisonment during the British regime in India. The saga of heroism of our Freedom Fighters can be witnessed here. Not to be missed is the “Light & Sound show” in the evening. More details on timings, location and charges here. Ross Island The former British Head-Quarters in Andaman Islands. It is a treat to visit the island just to watch the trees growing on the ancient buildings. Yes, you read me right ! See for yourself; the picture beside says it all. Ross Island is 25 mins from Port Blair. You can take a boat from Aberdeen Jetty. Corbyn’s Cove Beach A coconut palm fringed beach located in Port Blair. If sunset watching is what is in your mind and you don’t want to travel too far, this is the place to be. Being the only beach in Port Blair, you’ll find a lot of localites here. Imp: There is no public transport available here. You may hire an auto on to and fro basis, if you don’t have a rented vehicle with you. Wandoor A beautiful beach just 25 kms from Port Blair. Famous for snorkeling and coral watching in glass bottom boat among tourists. A day trip to Wandoor might cost somewhere around 2000-4000 if you hire a rental car. You may take a bus from Aberdeen Bazar bus stop if you are in backpacking mode. Chidya Tapu As the name suggests, Chidya Tapu means the Bird Island. A place for picturesque sunset and bird watching around 25kms from Port Blair. Taking a drive to ChidyaTapu, you will discover the greener side of Andamans – the evergreen rain forests, the mangrove creeks and the rich flora. Chidya Tapu also has a forest guest house situated on top of a hillock. For bookings one may contact Forest Department. Havelock Island This island, with beautiful sandy beaches fringed with green canopy of the rain forest beckons every one to enjoy the fun at the azure sea. Vijaynagar beach, 5 Kms. away from the jetty on the eastern side and Elephant beach, 10 Kms. from the jetty (including trekking through the forest) on the north western part of the island are other breathtaking beaches. The Tourism Department organizes Island camping (tented accommodation) during the tourist season at Radha Nagar beach. One can enjoy the stay right on the seashore by hearing the lulls of the solacing sea in this camp. Havelock is connected by daily speed boat services from Port Blair. Dolphin Resort provides comfortable accommodation at Havelock. Private Hotels are also offering excellent accommodation facilities there. Snorkeling and Scuba Diving facilities are offered by Scuba Dive Centre operators seasonally. Accommodation at Dolphin Resort & Island camping could be made from the Reception Desk of Directorate of Tourism, Port Blair on all working days during office hours. Neil Island Known as the ‘vegetable bowl’ of Andaman Islands for its quality and quantity of agricultural produce, Neil Island is a small settlement 36kms from Port Blair and takes around 2 hours by sea. It also has a decent cattle population and is known for milk production, most of which gets transported to the capital city. The best beaches to visit on Neil Island are – Bharatpur, Sitapur & Lakshmanpur. Among them, Sitapur is considered to be the best. Neil Island is being considered as another ‘Havelock in the making’. But we really leave it up to you to decide.It has a small village life with most people occupied with Agriculture or tourism activities. Neil Island is yet another place which is considered ideal for eco-tourism owing to the lush green paddy fields, banana plantations and tropical trees. Sporting activities are picking up pace at Neil Island with a dive center coming up soon. There are a number of private resorts opening up, but for now the Hawabill Nest is the most popular one. It belongs to the Govt. of India. Jolly Buoy Sparkling hues of blue spread seamlessly in the clear pristine waters. Bright white sand lining the water. Jolly Buoy seems a befitting name for this little piece of paradise in Andaman. Part of the 15 islands in Mahatma Gandhi Marine National Park; it is one of the two that is open to tourists. Colours dominate the landscape here, with brightly hued corals dotting the serene waters. One of the best places for coral spotting, a trip to this island will never disappoint you. Glide peacefully on a glass boat with the beautiful corals and marine life right beneath you. Or bring out your adventurous side by indulging in snorkeling as you revel among the corals and the abundant marine life. The sand proves soothing and seems perfect to make sandcastles. Unlike other beaches, you will find Jolly Buoy litter free, owing to the island being a no plastic zone. The island is preserved in its pristine form with just a limited number of tourists allowed on it. You will be privy to a private beach like atmosphere. So splash, swim or just sit quietly on the sand as the gentle waves tickle your toes, soaking in the ubiquitous beauty and serenity. Baratang Baratang Island is situated between Middle and South Andamans, approximately 100 kms from the capital city Port Blair. Connected well through road and boats, the main transportation point is the Baratang Jetty. The road to Baratang from Port Blair passes through the Jarawa Tribe Reserve also known as Andaman Trunk Road (ATR Route). Hence, security personnel also travel for the safety of the tourists and the tribals in a convoy. Interacting with them, giving them food or clicking their pictures is strictly prohibited and a punishable offence. It can be said that this place is a conglomerate of the varieties nature can offer. Like every other place in Andaman Islands, it has a beautiful coastline that boasts of rich marine diversity. Some of the beaches are Baludera, Rogalchang, Nayadera etc. It has mangroove creeks on both sides and a dense tropical forest apart from the beaches. This gives scope for adventure and fun activities like Jungle Trekking, Creek Safari, Island Camping, Beach Tours and Bird Watching and water sports like Snorkelling and Scuba Diving. Places to See A) Mangrove Creeks & Lime Stone Caves-Baratang is famous among tourists for Lime Stone caves and Mangrove Forests. These caves are located 50 minutes away by sea from the Baratang Jetty. You can hire small speed boats or fishermen boats (dongis) to reach Lime Stone Caves. They cost about Rs 600/- (both ways). The journey to the caves enthralls everyone as it takes you underneath the dense forest of mangrove plantations. For some it’s an experience of lifetime. Baratang is one of the few select places on the Earth where limestone caves can be found. Special permission from the Forest Department at Baratang is needed to visit the caves, which can be obtained from the Baratang jetty. Limestone caves remain closed on Monday. It is advisable to carry drinking water and food packets while visiting the caves. B) Mud Volcano-Baratang also has an active mud volcano that squirts little fountains of mud. However, the eruptions are quite sporadic in nature. C) Parrot Island-And if one has to experience the beauty of the sun setting over the ocean, it has to be done at Parrot Island.It is home to a large number of parrots which can be spotted returning to their nests in the evening while the sun sets in the backdrop making for a spectacular view and a really mesmerizing experience for the beholder. An Andaman itinerary is incomplete without a visit to this place as popular tourist sentiment goes. Diglipur Digilipur is the largest and farthest town located in the North Andaman Islands. It is more like a division or a county. It is 300 kms by road and 180 kms by sea from Port Blair which means a road trip might take the whole day. Yet, the beauty of Diglipur makes the escapade from the daily routines to this pristine place a worthy holiday. Diglipur is a hub of a lot of tourist activities and attractions. Eco-friendly tourists flock in large numbers on the island for its abundant forest cover & marine life. Diglipur not only promises a rich flora and fauna but is also famous for its orange and rice production. There are a whole lot of places to explore in and around Diglipur.Andaman Islands have only one river ‘Kalpong’ which flows through Diglipur and sustains the first and the only hydroelectricity project of the archipelago. The twin islands called Ross & Smith Islands, connected by a thin sand bar, are just a half an hour journey from Diglipur. A fascinating and must visit place, Ross & Smith and the Ramnagar Beach are famous for turtle nesting during December to February. Ross Smith Island Two secluded islands far away from the hustle bustle of the city and connected to each other by a thin strip of sandbar ; that’s Ross & Smith island for you. The island pair stands as a silent reminder of ‘Beauty in Connectedness’. Everything from traveling to spending time on the islands have an exclusive feel to it. There is a Marine Sanctuary on the island which makes it an ideal place for spotting beautiful coral reefs and colorful species from the underwater. The beach is surrounded by tropical forests and is a preferred place for trekking and trail hiking by many tourists. One can also opt for activities like Scuba Diving & Snorkelling. And the clear blue waters add a touch of cleanliness and to the whole experience. The beach is seldom crowded and many a times tourists find the whole island to themselves alone! Furthermore, Ross & Smith islands are home to the Olive Ridley turtles which means, being the right place at the right time, one can even witness the turtle nesting! (connect it to Turtle Nesting activity?) Occasionally, wild elephants from the adjacent forests may be spotted on the islands. The Smith island has a small village with about 60 families and accommodation is offered by the Directorate of Tourism. During peak season night stays are not advisable as there might be accommodation scarcity. Mayabunder Mayabunder is situated in the Northern part of Middle Andaman at a distance of 242 km by road and 130 kms by sea from Port Blair. This place is known for its cultural eccentricity due to the presence of Burmese and East Pakistani settlements. The beaches have a mangroove ecosystem which not only appeals the eco-friendly tourists but also attracts the general eye. The best beaches of Mayabunder are Avis Island which is a 30 minute boat ride from Mayabunder and Karmatang which is 13 kms away from Mayabunder. Karmatang is also a turtle nesting ground and if one is visiting during the December – February season, this very interesting national geographic scene could be witnesses live! Kalighat creek, situated on the way to Mayabunder from Diglipur is an interesting place to visit. Little Andaman Little Andaman is situated at the southern end of the Andaman & Nicobar Islands opposite the Great Andaman Island. It is the fourth largest island of the archipelago. The Duncan Passage separates Little Andaman from Rutland Bay of Great Andaman. A major part of Little Andaman was affected badly by the Tsunami in the year 2004. The island is still recovering from the loss. Little Andaman has an evergreen rain forest which paves way for a very rich biodiversity. There are two waterfalls in the island – White Surf waterfall which is 6.5 kms from Hut Bay Jetty and the Whisper Wave which is 20 kms from the same. It also involves a 4 km trek through the rain forest. On the way to White Surf waterfalls, elephant safari can be enjoyed. One can also visit the Elephant lumbering sites and the elephant calves training sites. Also, Little Andaman is famous for Red Oil Palm Plantation and has a large area under the plantation regime. Both these places can be visited on the way to White Surf and Butler Bay. Barren Island 139 kms by sea from Port Blair. The only active volcano in India is located in Barren Island. The volcano erupted twice in recent past, once in 1991 and again in 1994-95, after remaining dormant for about 177 years. This island is about 3 kms in diameter, and has a big crater of the volcano, about half kilometer away from the shore. The island can be visited by chartered boats only with the permission of Forest Department. Cinque Island Cinque island is divided into North and South Cinque which are connected together by a sandbar giving the whole island a spectacular look. It is a part of Mahatma Gandhi Marine National Park (popularly known as Wandoor Marine National Park) along with 15 other islands and islets of the Labyrinthine Island Group. It has absolutely no human habitation but is amazingly rich in flora and fauna making it an ideal place for eco- tourism. Cinque Island has been declared a sanctuary as it houses an enormous variety of coral reefs, sea weeds, colorful fishes, shells, starfish, sea anemones, salt-water crocodile, turtles and water snakes. It is surrounded by coral reef gardens that extend to a few hundred meters into the deep sea. Also, it offers activities like Scuba Diving, Snorkelling, Game Fishing & camping. It has been claimed that waters around Cinque island have a visibility range of upto 80 feet! The island is situated 26 kms from Port Blair and is accessible through almost all major islands by boat. However, no scheduled ferry services are available for the place. One will have to hire a chartered boat of permitted category. Visiting Cinque Island requires permission from the Forest Department which can be availed without much hassle. But, night stay permissions are seldom granted for the place. North Passage Island North Passage Island is a very sparsely inhabited place in Andaman Islands, yet a very pretty one with tourists visiting primarily for savoring a secluded beach. 95% of the landmass is designated as ‘Reserved Forest’. The island is most famous for Merk Bay, a shallow beach with coral, white sand. The best part about this place is the ‘playful dolphins’. They show up quite often and watching them lost in their own railleries could be great fun. It is also an ideal place for Snorkelling, Sun Bathing & Swimming. Diving options are not available. The only inhabitants of this island are the members of Forest Department and the people who look after the coconut plantation. Might as well be a single digit number! Otherwise, it a small island around 9 kms long and 3 kms wide at the maximum. It is 70 kms by sea from Port Blair. Regular boat services are not available for transportation. Boats have to be hired from Long Island or Yeretta Jetty in Rangat to reach Merk Bay. One word of caution would be that there are no accommodation facilities available at North Passage island and hence, a day trip is the best one could do. Keeping some packed food and drinking water could be handy and is hence advised. Long Island As soon as you arrive on Long Island you will know it is different from any other island you have visited. At first, it seems a pretty workaday sort of place. People will be going about their business at the jetty and there are no rickshaws lining up to pick up tourists! Just step away from the jetty, though, and the special quality of the island will become immediately apparent. No traffic noise! There are 2 rickshaw trucks and about 5 motorbikes and no other motor vehicles on the whole island. So everybody walks, and as they pass they will smile and greet you with a “Namaste”. Local children know at least 2 words in English: “One Photo”. But no-one will try to sell you anything. The island has an electoral roll of about 2000 inhabitants, probably only about 750 live on Long Island full-time, and they survive by fishing, growing vegetables and doing casual work where they can.The island has a school, police station, health centre and a bazaar with a number of shops selling basic essentials. There are 3 restaurants serving basic thalis, snacks and chai, and the place comes to life in the early evening. Long Island is a beautiful, unspoilt island, with varied walks around the beaches, village and forests, and one of the loveliest beaches in the Andaman Islands, Lalaji Bay. You can reach Lalaji by walking through the forest (1.5 – 2 hours), going along the shore at low tide, or by boat. Apart from local fishermen, you will find the beach pretty well deserted most of the time. There is good snorkelling from Lalaji or from the beach close to Blue Planet.