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Andamans: The Land of Islands

''Crystal clear emerald waters and dense green surrounding forests well define the place''

LOCATION : The Andaman and Nicobar Islands, located in the east of the Indian mainland geographically, float in splendid isolation in the Bay of Bengal.

WHY GO THE DISTANCE : One doesn't feel like in India when in Andamans. Everything, from roads and monuments to museums and islands, has been kept very well by the administration and local people. The place boasts of some of the best pristine white sand beaches, rare plant and animal species, lush green tropical forests and coral reefs floating in the vast blue of the Bay of Bengal.

For tourists the list is never ending with options ranging from Barren Island, mud volcano to coral viewing and sound & light show at the Cellular Jail National Memorial. Despite the place being jam-packed with tourists throughout the year, the cleanliness just cannot be matched with any other place in India.

Going around within the place is not at all a trouble with good availability of buses, taxis and rickshaws. For tourists private boats are operated from Aberdeen Jetty (Rajiv Gandhi Water Sports Complex), Port Blair to nearby tourist places like Ross Island, Viper Island, North Bay, Harbour Cruise etc. Seaplane in Andaman to get an aerial view of the islands has also gained attention from tourists in the recent years.

BEST TIME : The climate is largely tropical and humid throughout the year. October to May months are considered the best months to visit Andamans. Best months for sightseeing are December and February.

Also known as Kala Paani, this place actually gives one goose bumps owing to its association with Indian freedom struggle. It was used by Britishers to transport Indian freedom fighters from the Indian mainland and even tortured some to death. Some of the famous inmates of the Cellular jail were Vinayak Damodar Savarkar, Dr. Diwan Singh Kalepani, Yogendra Shukla, Bhai Parmanand, and Maulana Ahmadullah. A light and sound show is organised in the evenings every day to further bring alive the saga of heroic freedom struggle.

It is located close to the Cellular Jail and Aberdeen Bazar in the north-west Port Blair. Apart from white sand beaches, Andaman is world-famous for all kinds of water sports including para sailing, water scooters, rowing boats, kayaks, paddle boats, water skiing facilities etc.,. From here boats up to the Ross Island are also available.

Has well maintained gardens, restaurants, amusement park and an artificial lake. There’s also a deer and bird park within. Gandhi Park has immense historical significance as it has a Japanese temple and a bunker, both built by the Japanese during the second World War.

Gives an insight into forest activities of Andaman through models besides artifacts made out of timber including Peauma, Oak, Gurjan, padauk and Satin Wood.

Run by Indian Navy, this museum has impressive display of coral and shells.

It is famous for crocodile breeding farm and has about 200 species of birds and animals.

Showcases tribal essentials and artifacts such as boats, weapons, baskets, clothing, photographs, models and records of exploratory expeditions undertaken over the years.

The Fisheries Museum houses more than 300 marine species of marine life, including live coral, sharks, polyps and Starfish.

It is the highest point in Port Blair and once summer headquarters of the Chief Commissioner during the British Raj. Ideal for picnic, the place can also be reached trekking.

There are historical ruins along the beach and a beautiful tropical forest. Important ruins include a church, swimming pool and the Chief Commissioner's residence. Samudrika museum is on this island.

Rich in corals, varieties of coloured fishes, sea turtles etc., besides other marine life.

Havelock offers the best diving and snorkelling sites and unspoiled sandy beaches. Also, one can try hands on some mouth-watering seafood here. MV Makruzz, a luxury catamaran, ply daily between Port Blair and Havelock Island. The vessel is fitted with passenger safety requirements.

A serene and unspoiled soft sandy beach, set in picturesque background of lush green coconut palms and pleasant blue sea. The main attractions of this beach are the inviting water sports activities like surfing, scuba diving and boating.

One can see Mud Volcano here. Limestone Caves are located about 50 minutes (by sea) away from Baratang boat jetty.

Also known as vegetable bowl of Andamans, this island is apt for snorkeling and spending romantic evenings.

One can take a boat from Port Blair to this island. It offers one of the best sandy beaches with lush forests in the surrounding.

Is a lush mangrove forest with large number of birds and famous for its glorious sunsets.

FOOD/DRINK : One must try is seafood here. Though it may pinch your pockets a little more, but considering the quality it is worth it. Fresh coconut is available in plenty. For vegetarians too food availability isn't a problem and one can relish both south Indian and north India cuisines.

Port Bair is connected with Chennai, Kolkata, New Delhi and Bhubaneshwar by air. Air India, Jet Airways, Jetlite, Go Air & Spice Jet Airlines operate regular flights.

Regular passenger ship services are available to Port Blair from Chennai, Kolkata and Visakhapatnam and back.

Source / Review By : Mudita Mamgain

Mudita is a homemaker and has keen interest in travelling

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