Just where are the Andamans?
Welcome to one of the world's best kept secrets - the Andaman Islands. Long shrouded in mystery and legend - the islands have just started to emerge on the independent traveler's list of must see places in the world.
The Andaman Islands are located in the Bay of Bengal and form the western perimeter of the Andaman Sea. While the eastern fringes of the Andaman Sea have now become the playground of the rich and famous in Phuket and Langkawi, the Andaman Islands still retain the original wild and untamed character of this pocket of South East Asia. Measuring over 700 kms from north to south, including the inaccessible Nicobar Island chain, these 572 Islands of the archipelago are swathed in over 86% primary rainforest. Only 36 islands are inhabited to the day, comprising a mix of colourful mainland Indian settlers, residual refugee communities from Myanmar, and of course the aboriginal inhabitants of the Andamans.
Due to the government's strict controls and presence of a vigilant naval force, the added stigma of a former 'penal colony', and the untiring efforts of environmentalists, the Andamans still remain pristine and beautiful.
The islands are breathtakingly beautiful. Tropical rainforest abound in rare and endemic species of flora and fauna. Cut off from the continent for thousands of years, many species have evolved a little differently from their mainland cousins. Hundreds of bird species make the islands a birders dream destination. Four out of five species of sea turtles, including the giant leatherback are found in the Andamans. Wild 'salties' (saltwater crocodiles) inhabit vast mangrove eco-systems keeping nature in balance. Butterflies and bugs - many still being mapped - add colour to the forest.
Don those tanks of air, snap on that mask, and as you hear the hiss of the air regulator, slip below the surface into what is probably the final undiscovered frontier for scuba diving in South East Asia.
Ever since Jacques Cousteau showcased the stunning underwater landscapes and marine life of this remote destination in his film, Andaman Islands: Invisible Islands in 1991, scuba divers have jumped at the rare chance of being able to dive in these unexplored waters. An explosion of fish life greets you at most dive sites, with both small and large species crowding out each other to take a peek at that uncommon scuba diver. Pelagics like sharks, mantas, and whales are frequent visitors to the more challenging sites such as Minerva, Invisible Banks, Campbell Shoal, Barren Island and Narcondam.
The history of the Andaman and Nicobar Islands is not very well recorded and shrouded in mystery. Accounts relate that Marco Polo was among the first from the West to set foot on these islands. The fearless Marathas led by one of their admirals, Kanhoji Angre had his base on the islands in the early 18th century. From this strategic outpost, he attacked passing Portuguese, Dutch and English merchant vessels on their way to or from their colonies in the East Indies. Despite many efforts by the British and Portuguese naval forces, Kanhoji Angre was never defeated until his death in 1729.
The British under the East India Company established their first colony in the Andaman and Nicobar Islands in 1789 and was abandoned later in 1796. After the Great Indian Mutiny of 1857, the Crown took over the running of their Indian empire and finally annexed the islands in the 19th century. They turned them into a penal colony for Indian freedom fighters, giving them their ubiquitous nickname "Kalapani" or "Black Waters". (Parents often warned their truant children that they would be sent to Kalapani if they did not behave.) The construction of the infamous Cellular Jail was completed in 1908. Hundreds of anti-British Indians were tortured to death and executed here. With the Second World War, Japanese troops occupied the islands and the local tribes initiated guerrilla activities to drive them out. When India achieved independence in 1947, the Andaman and Nicobar Islands were incorporated into the Indian Union.
Some quick facts about Andamans
1255 from Kolkatta
1190 from Chennai
1200 from Vishakhapatnam
Varies from sea level to 732 meters
Saddle peak - 732 meters
Tropical throughout the year with mean minimum temperature at 23oC and maximum at 30oC. Humidity is relatively high - 70% to 90% with a gentle breeze blowing all the time. The weather is generally pleasant with average annual rainfall of 3,000 mm in Port Blair.
92%, protected forest 86%
Cottons throughout the year
+91 3192 (std 03192)
Port Blair is connected with chennai and kolkata by daily flights. These flights are operated by alliance air and jet airways.
Access by sea
Regular passenger ship services are available to Port Blair from Chennai, Kolkata and Vishakhapatnam and back. There are three or four sailings every month from Kolkata and Chennai to Port Blair and vice versa. There is one sailing from Vishakhapatnam in a month. The voyage takes about 50 to 60 hours.
All foreigners need to specify that they intend to visit the Andamans while obtaining the visa to India. Once they have a valid visa, which covers the Andamans, they can stay in the islands for 30 days. This can be extended by another 15 days with permission. They require a permit to stay, which can be easily obtained on arrival at Port Blair from the immigration authorities. In addition, permits can also be obtained from Indian Missions Overseas, Foreigners Registration Offices at Delhi, Mumbai, Chennai, Kolkata and the Immigration authorities at the airports at Delhi, Mumbai, Kolkata and Chennai.
The places covered by this permit are:
For night halt:
South Andaman Island, Middle Andaman Island and Little Andaman Island (excluding the tribal reserve), Neil Island, Havelock Island, Long Island, Diglipur, Baratang, North Passage Island, and islands in the Mahatma Gandhi Marine National Park (excluding the islands of Boat Hobday, Twin, Tarmugli, Malay and Pluto). Night halt in the Park is only with permission.
For day halt :
South Cinque Island, Ross Island, Narcondum Island, Interview Island, Brother Island, Sister Island and Barren Island (you are not permitted to land on Barren).
Indian nationals need no permit to visit Andamans. However, permits are required to visit Nicobar Islands and other tribal areas, which are given in exceptional cases. Application on a prescribed form may be addressed to the Deputy Commissioner, Andaman District, Port Blair.
HISTORY OF HAVELOCK
Havelock Island was originally inhabited by the Aka Kede Sept of the Great Andamanese tribe. Evidence of this early inhabitation still exists around Elephant Beach: Kitchen Middens (piles of molluscs) survived intact near the creek behind the beach until the tsunami and scattered remnants of the same can still be seen.
The Aka Kede retreated from Ritchies Archipelago in the late 1800’s, after the advent of the British. Havelock itself was subsequently populated by the Indian Government, mostly through Bengali refugees during Bangladesh’s war of independence. Now Havelock is the most popular destination in Andaman. Radhanagar beach in Havelock has been rated the no.1 beach in Asia.
About Discover Andaman Holidays
Nurturing the idea of providing quality services to the domestic and international tourists visiting Andamans, Discover Andaman Holidays first came into being after the Tsunami in 2005. What started as a humble beginning soon turned into a organization that revolutionized the tourism industry in Andaman. Initially we were engaged in customized tours only, although LTC and fixed package tours were the most profitable for travel agents, but we thought that Andaman was not the place to be explored in 2-3 days that too with a fixed itinerary in a group. Hence we never ventured into group LTC packages and always strived to provide the best of customized services to our esteemed clients, and that is what makes us the leading customized tour operator in Andaman.
With all big names of travel industry venturing in Andamans, it is very difficult for a tourist to choose from various packages on offer online. Although not all of these online agents are providing substandard services but most of the times the guests do not get genuine information on their travel plans from the call centres.
We at DAH have dedicated tour executives who were born and brought up in these emerald islands to handle guests in the most professional way and at the same time have a friendly attitude with them. We are commited to provide what we promise and guarantee full refund in case we lack on any service that we had promised but could not deliver. We don’t make tall promises either as we are aware that these islands are one of the remotest places in India and the facilities are not at par with any of the developed destinations like Goa or Bangkok.
Our Director is a qualified Scuba Diving Instructor and has been exploring the hidden natural treasures of Andamans for years. The idea of DAH came to his mind when he realised that the natural beauty of these islands must be show cased to the world in a professional manner. And the journey began.
Today, our excellent travel services and innovative ideas at rock-bottom prices give us an edge to stay ahead of the curve. It is our ability to provide tailor-made holiday packages at reasonable prices that people trust us for reliability and transparency.
Know before you come
As per Govt. instructions, construction is not allowed 50 metres from the Sea beach. Hence unlike Bangkok and Goa the cottages in beach resorts in Andaman are situated at least 50 metres away from the beach and do not face towards sea. Very few available Sea view rooms in Port Blair and Havelock are charged extra. A room in a sea view hotel does not guarantee a sea view from your room.
There is no night life in Andaman !!! All bars and restaurants are closed by 10.30 pm. There is no Disc or pub.
Andaman is a no nonsense destination !
No sex tourism, Complete communal harmony, No political disturbance, No crime, Literacy and gender balance, Safe for women and couples, Heaven for honeymooners.
Discover Andaman Holidays welcomes you to the world of adventure and romance, where nature stretches out its arm to embrace you. Where you will not only see the nature’s romance but also know the history of Indian freedom struggle’ the infamous Cellular Jail.
A beautiful Sea of paradise on earth!! A perfect all - year warm ocean and welcoming sun and more wrapped up in one exquisite destination.
What are you waiting for? Paradise beckons - The Andaman: one of the world’s most important biodiversity hotspots, a feast of plenty for nature - loving tourists and India’s best kept secrets, explore them all with Discover Andaman Holidays.