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Andaman Islands

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S ituated over one thousand kilometres off the east coast of the Bay of Bengal, the Andaman Islands are India’s remotest state. With an area of 7,950 square kilometres (or 3,070 square miles), they are located over a thousand kilometres off the east coast of the Bay of Bengal, the Andaman Islands are India’s remotest state. With an area of 7,950 square kilometres (or 3,070 square miles), they are an archipelago comprising of 572 pristine islands-of which about 34 of them are permanently inhabited. Together with the nearby Nicobar Islands, the Andaman Islands are considered to be among the last existing islands with virgin rain forests on the planet.

These relaxed and warm tropical islands are a tourist paradise- boasting of lush tropical forests, sparkling and almost-deserted beaches, undulating mountains, unique fauna and flora and fascinating ancient tribes. Other attractions include remote volcanoes, India’s only live volcano at the barren islands, stunning marine life, kaleidoscopic coral reefs and an interesting colonial past.

Visiting the islands is an unforgettable, romantic experience. The Andaman Islands are connected to mainland India by ferries and flights from the cities of Chennai, Kolkata and Visakhapatnam. Until the start of colonial rule, the islands were mainly populated by indigenous tribes. Today, however, the majority of the people are settlers from the mainland who either live in or around the territory’s capital, Port Blair situated in South Andaman. This small town holds most of the population is the island. After being virtually isolated from the outside world, the Indian government has, in the recent past, decided to allow controlled, environment-friendly tourism on the islands which protects the islands natural environment and the indigenous people.

Situated between India to the West and Myanmar to the North the islands for an archipelago in the Bay of Bengal. Whether you just like to relax with your partner or experience new adventures in the islands together, this is your chance to live your dream.

Major tourist destinations in the capital include Carbyn’s cove beach, the Cellular jail or Kalapani as it was previously known as and the water sports complex. Other destinations in the island group to have a developed tourism infrastructure are Havelock islands and its neighbour Neil. Radhanagar beach in Havelock one of the best beaches in the nation with clear blue waters and white sands. Rich natural beauty of Ross and Smith islands and coral reefs near Cinque Islands are also noteworthy. Frequent tourist ferries and cruise boats transport people in and out of these places every day. At Baratang Islands, near middle Andaman, apart from beautiful beaches

and mangrove creeks you can view the spectacular mud volcanoes and lime stone caves as you meander through the protected forests.

The pristine beauty of the Islands not only attracts mere pleasure seekers but also has a huge crowd of backpackers and thrill seekers. Plenty of surf spots in Andaman Islands like butler’s bay in Little Andamans offering world class waves. Beautiful marine life makes it perfect for scuba diving or snorkelling and under-sea walk. They also have the more common Jet Ski, speed boat rides, parasailing and sport fishing. Mount Harriet provides a perfect camping and trekking spot for those who like to follow the nature’s trail through the tropical forests teeming with rare endemic flora and fauna.

Andaman and Nicobar Islands are also home to few indigenous tribal groups, some have adapted to close proximity to civilization and some are still hostile towards anything foreign. Widely identified groups are Great Andamanese of strait islands, Shompen from Great Nicobar, Jarawas of Middle Andaman, Onges from Little Andaman and Sentinelese of Sentinel islands. Jarawas have the highest population whereas Great Andamanese and Sentinelese are on the verge of extinction. These tribes are protected by the Government agencies but you can still visit their habitation with permits.

These Islands of unparalleled beauty are of great maritime importance and camp major a naval base. These islands were used as a penal base for Indian political prisoners during the British occupancy of India. The islanders have also seen the wrath of Japanese soldiers during their brief occupancy. World War 2 Japanese bunkers are still a common sight along the beaches here. With a murky past and a colourful present, these emerald islands never ceases to astound visitors. These Islands will always be one of the best places to visit presenting us with a scenic and picturesque extravaganza.

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Tips for Travellers

Though Andaman Islands have a pleasant weather, it is wise not to plan your trip from June-September, the monsoons. You would have to compromise on water sports and boat cruises though you get great photographic moments during the monsoon.

When you are planning for activities like scuba diving and sea walk do remember that these require training and licensing. These cannot be done impromptu, so you will be required to keep a buffer of few days at hand as these might take your whole day.

Many parts except Port Blair are still developing and may have fewer ATMs in the vicinity. Do keep some cash with you at all times

The islands have a lot of secluded places and it might get difficult sometimes to get in touch with the main land. Be on the safe side have a tour operator take you around rather than traveling alone.

Trip to Andaman islands is basically fun in sea and sand. Most people ignore the importance of sunscreen lotion and take home a massive tan or sun burns along with long lasting memories with them. Some secluded places might not have necessary medical care keep some sun screen handy and also important medicines that you might require while on a trip.

Never compromise on safety, especially when on cruises, ferries, water sport activities. Never get on boats without life jackets and other safety equipments. Be responsible so that you and your family have a safe and memorable trip to the emarald islands