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Tourist Places To Visit In Andaman and Nicobar Islands
The Andamans are a cluster of ancient and historic islands in the Bay of Bengal that are famous for their serene shores and unspoiled flora and fauna. All through the year, tourists throng here looking for a change of pace and weather, and a grand old time. If you are someone with a love for picturesque sunsets and the sound of waves thrashing the shores unhindered, not to mention scrumptious seafood, then the Andamans might just prove to be the vacation you needed. Listed below are the top tourist places to visit in Andaman, each suffused with its own unique charm, be it the Neil Islands or Port Blair, Diglipur or Barren Island. You have a wide range of choice for your trip!
Capital of the Andaman and Nicobar Islands, Port Blair is one place you should not skip. Home to several museums, and a major base to the Indian Navy, Port Blair is where you should head to drink in the beautiful historic air of the Andamans. Famous for its Cellular Jail, aka KaalaPani (Black Water), Port Blair will afford glimpses into British-era India and the stories of bygone times. Other gorgeous places for sight-seeing are ChidiyaTapu or Bird Island named after the myriad species of birds found there, Chatham Island known for Asia's largest saw mill, and Zsi Museum which abounds in animal and insect species.
This island must be, by far, the most visited place in the Andamans. Renowned for its sherry sunsets and pristine beaches, the Havelock Island also has something in store for the more adventurous types. You can go Scuba Diving, Snorkeling, Trekking, Mangrove Safari and Fishing. Yes, you heard that right! Apart from these activities, you simply have to visit Radhanagar Beach which was rated as the best beach in Asia by Time Magazine. Elephant beach and Kalapathar Beach are other beautiful beaches if you plan to stay in Havelock for some time. For people who want to splurge besides doing laid-back things, Havelock also has a generous smattering of restaurants and resorts providing great food and drinks.
Jolly Buoy Island
Exceedingly beautiful, this island is a poet's dream come true. Known for its crystal clear, blue sea water, immaculate sand and underwater corals, Jolly buoy is the place you should go to if you want to lay back and enjoy the sun. A strict no-plastic zone, it would be clever to leave your plastics at your hotel, or at Wandoor beach where you need to go if you plan on going on to Jolly buoy. With long stretches of sand and not a soul around, this island is your best bet if you really plan to just chill. You can also enjoy snorkeling and scuba diving and check out colourful and gorgeous coral formations while you are at it!
Your trip to the Andamans will not be complete without visiting the lush, bountiful Baratang Island. Famous for the Mud Volcanoes, Limestone Caves and the Parrot Island, Baratang Island truly takes your experience of the Andamans a notch higher. The Middle Strait Jetty known for its salt-water crocodiles is another attraction you must not miss. The most incredulous and beautiful part of visiting the Baratang Island is that it is home to the Jarwah tribe, which is yet untouched by civilization. So go on, make your way through tranquil mangroves to say hello to these people and feel humbled by their innocence.
Little Andaman Island
It would do you good not to undermine this island based on its name! Surrounded by luscious greenery that will bring tears to your eyes, Little Andaman Island is in fact, the fourth largest island in the Andamans. This island not only promises peaceful beaches, but also enchanting waterfalls. Go surfing, boating and elephant calf training only on this island. Let those gigantic elephants give you a tour of the island on one of those elephant safari's, or go take a look at the aptly named White Surf and Whisper Wave waterfalls. Sight-seeing opportunities aplenty, this island will also provide you with several photo-ops!
A lonesome island near Port Blaid, Neil Island is a quaint little village island located a few kilometres away and can be reached by jetty/ferry or helicopters. The place is filled with swaying palm trees, paddy fields and loads of mesmerising beaches. The sunset and sunrises on these beaches are especially famous. The beaches here are named after mythological Ramayana characters like Bharatpur Beach, Sitapur Beach, Laxmanpur Beach, Ramnagar Beach etc.
The Cuthbert Bay is home to a beautiful sandy beach that goes by the name of, of course — Cuthbert Beach and the Cuthbert Wildlife Sanctuary. The sea here is a light azure colour and there is also lush greenery on the shore with palms swaying gaily. Eco-friendly huts are lined by the beach to give you space for resting and you can also pull out loungers and chill on the beach front. The Cuthbert Bay Wildlife Sanctuary on the other side, is home to beautiful mangrove creeks, turtles, salt-water crocodiles and terrestrial snakes of various types.
As the names suggests the Chidiya Tapu is an island of birds, where birdwatchers throng in big numbers. Indigenous as well as a hoard of migratory birds are found here, resting by the shore, on trees, flying freely in the sky. Sunsets and sunrises are also beautiful from this island so many people flock here to just chill at the end of a day.
Ross Island has a British heritage to it, named as it was by the British Marine Surveyor — Sir Daniel Ross. There are ruins, pre-independence era buildings, heritage walks going through streets filled with hospitals, bakeries, church, press, troop barracks, ballrooms and swimming pool houses. When you are done exploring history you can walk to the beach and chill on the sands as peacocks and ducks prance by.
Once upon a time, Viper Island was a prison, an exile ground, used to torture Indian freedom fighters by the colonial British. It is hence tainted by sweat, blood and tears of the Indian freedom fighters. There is a Cellular Jail here which existed even before the one in Port Blair. You can visit it, check out the interiors and chains and old structure of its body which was partially destroyed during the tsunami. Viper Island is by no means a fun place, but a grim reminder of how the British persecuted Indians.
North Bay Island
The North Bay Island is a summery getaway in Andaman Nicobar. Diving is a coveted sport on its shore and you get to see the mesmerising aquatic life — stone fish and turtles and clownfish… lobsters and corals, all vividly painted in nature’s best. First time divers will enjoy here as the dives are simple and not too deep. You can also go snorkelling, sea walking, scuba diving and take boat rides at sunset.
Fun fact: the lighthouse of this island is printed on the 20 rupee Indian currency note!
Mount Harriet National Park
Founded in 1969, Mount Harriet National Park is located on Harriet mountain which is the third largest peak in Andaman. There are reserve forests on mountains and the Kalapathhar, which was also a death sentence ravine used by British for Indian freedom fighters.
As for the national park itself, you have beaches with gorgeous coastlines, butterflies, tribal communities living in self-made huts and birds of many varieties coexisting in peace.
Why is Avis Island worth a visit? Because its beaches have this powdery sandy shore that is unique to only its shoreline on Andaman. It is a peaceful little island in its own right and is used for a day-picnic spot by many off-beat travellers. Most times you will need to carry food and water as there aren’t many options here. But the scenery of colourful vivid corals, fish and turtles floating just beneath the surface of the sea is enough to make your day.
Now then, it must be clear from the name itself that this island is home to parrots! It’s like an empire of these birds, seeing as they fly all around — from the shore of the sea to the wilderness in the middle of the island. It is nestled in the group of Baratang Islands but has its own strong personality, with tropical mangrove forests and green parrots! Jetties are easily boarded to reach here from Baratang.
Barren Island is home to a volcano. The island is situated between Indian and Burmese tectonic plates and has seen much activity in the last 1.8 million years. This is the only volcano in the subcontinent and the area around it is mostly empty, uninhabited. Sightseeing is allowed with only specially obtained permission from the forest department due to the active nature of the volcano. But if you manage to weasel out the permission then Barren is a gorgeous place, with crater like landscape that merges into the sea, black bedrock that creates a rich purple floor and peace that is not found easily on other islands.
One of the largest islands on Andaman Nicobar, Diglipur is home to exotic aquatic life, tropical thick forests, Saddle Peak National Park and Alfred Caves. In fact, Ramnagar Beach, Ross Ialnd and Kalipur are all part of this larger area. With its line of beaches, caves, mud volcanoes and tourist-friendly markets and streets, Diglipur should definitely be on your list when in Andaman Nicobar Islands.