Once known as Kalapani – Black Waters – for their role as a feared penal settlement, the Andaman and Nicobar Islands are now a relaxed tropical island outpost that belongs to India but is geographically closer to Southeast Asia.
The Andaman Islands are a group of Indian Ocean archipelagic islands in the Bay of Bengal between India to the west, and Burma (also known as Myanmar), to the north and east.
Nicobar Islands, lying south of the Andaman Islands, are the smaller part of the Andaman and Nicobar Union Territory with approximately 22 islands. These islands are approximately 189 km off the coast of Indonesian island of Sumatra and are divided into three group, northern group, central group and southern group.
Andaman & Nicobar Island's clear history can only be traced from the time of a British Survey conducted in 1777 and the settlement of the East India Company in the territory of the Islands in 1789. But, the island was abandoned the British in 1796 because of the natural calamities; yet, the British resumed control over the island in the 19th century. During the 19th century as the Andaman and Nicobar Islands history maintains, the British used Andaman and Nicobar as a penal colony, which was named 'Kalapani' or the Cellular Jail. The British ruled over these islands until the Japanese invasion and occupation in the Andaman Islands during the World War II. The Japanese regime remained in power from March, 1942 till October, 1945.
After the independence of India, these islands were retained back by India and were declared as the Union Territory in 1950.
By Air: The islands have their domestic airport Vir Savarkar Airport at Port Blair which is connected with Chennai and Kolkata by air. The airport is under control of the Indian Navy.
By Sea: The islands are also reachable by cruising through the Bay of Bengal and regular passenger ship services are available to Port Blair from Chennai, Kolkata and Visakhapatnam and back.
Shopping in Andaman and Nicobar islands is a delightful experience though the islands are more popular for beaches and exotic locations. The tourists can visit local curio shops and emporiums for stocked handicrafts for wonderful souvenirs.
Port Blair is the main shopping center where one can buy intrigue coconut shell lamp shades, ashtrays, Nicobari mats, apart from wood crafted items like chairs, tables, bowls, trays and walking sticks in wood and shell. Aberdeen Bazaar in Port Blair is the main commercial center where a few Government Emporia and plenty of private shops along-with eating joints, pubs located.
Other shopping centers are situated at Prem Nagar, Goalghar, Delanipur and Junglighat, all of these are just 3-4 kms away from Aberdeen Bazaar.
There is an entire caboodle of hotels that provide accommodation across Andaman and Nicobar Islands while you are on a visit to these twin Islands.
Star Hotels in Andaman and Nicobar Island
Welcome Group Bay Island
Palm Grove Eco Resort
Premium Hotels in Andaman and Nicobar Islands
Peerless Beach Resort
Hotel Sinclairs Bay View
Budget Hotels in Andaman and Nicobar Islands
Citi King Palace
Dhanalakshmi Private Limited
Lodges in Andaman and Nicobar Islands
Andaman Teal House
Sagar Alok Lodge
Pristine Beach Resort
Jagannath Guest House
Hornbill Nest Yatri Nivas
Megapode Nest Tourist Complex
Sea View Tourist Complex, etc.
Resorts in Andaman and Nicobar Islands
Fortune Resort Bay Resort - Port Blair
Sun Sea Resort - Port Blair
Barefoot at Havelock (Jungle Resort) - Havelock
Silver Sand Beach Resort - Havelock
Wild Orchid resort - Havelock
Coconut Groves Eco-Friendly Huts - Havelock
Government Lodges in Andaman and Nicobar Islands
Hawabill Nest - Neil Island 282630
Hornbill Nest - Carbyn's Cove 229130
Andaman Teal House Delanipur- Port Blair 232642, 234060, 234061
Turtle Resort Kalipur - Diglipur 220603
Hawksbill Nest Cutbert Bay - Ranagat 279159, 276333
Tented Accomodation Radhanagar Beach - Havelock 282411, 282235
Dolphin Resort - Havelock Island 282411, 282235
Island Tourism Festival
Island tourism festival is a 10-day festival which is full of dances, dramas, acts etc. There are so many exhibitions and art displays with aqua sports and para-sailing. People from other countries can understand the culture of Andaman and Nicobar, languages, customs, beliefs, values, attitudes, and religion during these festival days. This festival is celebrated in the month of December and January by their administration. And the main aim of this festival is to promote the Andaman and Nicobar Islands as good and tourism friendly places. This festival of Indian classical dance, vocal music and ballet is held from the 16th to the 25thof every December. Cultural troupes and artists of national and international recognition perform here during the festivaland handicraft stalls are put up.
Andaman offers the exquisite location for holiday vacations in the lap of nature. Island camping is the popular way for enjoying the sea, beaches and the clear sky. The pristine beauty of the Mother Nature blended with the cool breezy sea winds make the stay in Andaman Islands a memorable experience. Those who like to have secluded stay with nature can opt for Island camping in Andaman. The infrastructure facilities for a luxurious stay are all available in the Islands. There are tents and beach front resorts for the benefit of travelers. The stay in Andaman Islands will provide a rejuvenating effect for a motivated traveler.
There is no greater adventure than diving. Whether you are a novice, or whether you have been diving for so many years, there is always something new, fascinating or challenging about venturing into the underwater world. Your mind may be mesmerized by clouds of colourful fish, your curiosity raised by the mysterious remains of sunken ships or your creativity awakened by the art of underwater photography. Your diving interests may range from a casual pastime pursued on vacation, to a constant passion, or even a career. Diving offers something new for everyone. One major location for Scuba diving in Andaman is located at Wandoor, about 32 km away from Port Blair. The Scuba diving center in Wandoor offers all facilities and necessary equipments for a superb experience of scuba diving. Adding to this there are many skilled trainers who can help the tourist in getting into the deep of the sea. Diving in Andamans is a unique lifetime experience. The coastal water surrounding theses islands is the abode of one of the richest coral reef ecosystem is the world. The specialty is that, here the coral reefs and underwater formations are undamaged by human activity. The best season for diving is from December to April.
Snorkeling in Andaman Islands is a unique lifetime experience. Snorkeling is possible in the islands nearby Port Blair and Havelock Island.
Those interested in trekking can enjoy the nature trail from Mt. Harriet to Madhuban where one can come across rare flora and fauna. Other trekking routes are also available.