The pristine beaches along the shorelines of Bay of Bengal are home to the archipelago of Andaman and Nicobar. The virgin isles with turquoise water, tropical rain forests, golden beaches, and rich flora and fauna are a grand lure for the visitors. The Union Territory of India is the native place of several indigenous mass including the Jarawas and the Sentinelese. Owing to the hostile behavior of these tribes, many parts of the islands are still inaccessible to the tourists. The place is a charming destination for all; young couples, adventure lovers, and family holidaymakers. Below mentioned are 8 best places to visit in Andaman and Nicobar while on your next holiday.
- Havelock Islands
The paradise isles for the adventure lovers is Havelock. One of the largest islands in the archipelago is known for its dive sites and blue beaches. Its shorelines like Radhanagar beach and Elephant beach is popular among the travelers for its coral reefs. Owing to its variety of coral reefs, the place is also one of the best places in Andamans to experience scuba diving. Banana boats, sport fishing, and kayaking are some other outdoor activities that can be carried out at these islands. Apart from these shorelines, Vijaynagar beach and Kalapathar beach are few other popular beaches among the travelers.
- Neil Islands
Apart from the natural rock formation of Howrah Bridge, this landmass is famous for its beaches like North Bay beach, Bharatpur beach, and Laxmanpur beach. Scuba diving, snorkeling and parasailing are the main adventure activities that can be carried out here. Being one of the finest places for sea walking in Asia, you can also experience a ‘Sea Walk’ with colorful fishes, coral reefs and other marine lives at the North Bay beach. If you are not an adventure loving person, you can simply relax at the white beach while enjoying a beautiful sunset on the horizon. One can also visit Sir Hugh Rose islands in the South East coast that hosts a small turtle sanctuary.
Credits: Tip Tap Toe
- The Cellular Jail
Once a colonial prison in the islands, the Cellular Jail has now been converted to a museum and memorial glorifying the struggle of Indian freedom fighters. During the British rule, the freedom fighters were imprisoned here as a punishment of ‘Kala Pani’ or Black Water. The prison walls have several wings and cells that till date carry the ciphers of the dreadful punishments. Though several parts of the jail has been destroyed during World War II, major portion of the erection still stands strong reminding us of the sacrifices made by our forefathers.
- Mount Harriet National Park
A true paradise for the hikers and trekkers is Mount Harriet National Park. The most popular trek route is the 16 km long course from Mount Harriet to Madhuban. The fascinating green path renders some extravagant views of the rich flora and fauna of Andamans. One can also opt for an elephant safari to roam across the National Park. The exotic national park is home to a variety of fauna like tinted butterflies, blue-eared kingfisher, wild pigs, turtles, and robber crabs.
- Mahatma Gandhi Marine National Park
This national park is spread over two major landmasses; Labyrinth Island and Twin Island. The park is home to a variety of magnificent fringing reefs. Parts of the marine park is shaded with mangroves, tropical rain forests, white coasts, uprooted trees, and sheet rocks. The Twin Islands are the popular breeding grounds of turtles in the marine park. Snorkeling, glass-boat rides and scuba diving are some of the adventures available here.
- Baratang Island
Kayaking through the dense mangrove forests cannot be better than at Baratang Island. Limestone caves, mud volcano, Parrot Island and Baludera beach are other popular attractions of the island. With recent eruptions in 2005, the place bears an only example of a mud volcano in India. The tribal people of Jarawa live at close proximity to Baratang but can rarely be spotted as they chose to stay aloof from the mainstream.
- Rajiv Gandhi Sports Complex
The one-stop solution for all adventure lovers is the Rajiv Gandhi Sports Complex. The place has all sorts of outdoor activities one can ask for; parasailing, banana boats, jet skiing, sport fishing, glass boats, snorkeling, scuba diving, sea walking and many more. The best part of the complex is that there is always a trained person assisting to your needs and queries.
- Forest Museum
Another must-visit site is the Forest Museum in Port Blair. Managed by the forest department, the museum displays several artifacts made from timber, oak and satinwood. The galleries of the museum are the showcases of the rich flora of Andaman and Nicobar islands. Accompanying the exhibits, there is also a small zoo and a botanical garden for the tourists to see around.
As mentioned earlier, the tribal of Andaman and Nicobar islands are quite aggressive and chose to stay remote from society. Their habitat is spread across South Andaman and Middle Andaman Islands and can rarely be spotted.
The islands has some luxurious and fantastic resorts at the bay to spend your holidays. You can book a private cottage amidst the woods as well to enjoy a close hour with the nature.
Other popular attractions in and around Andamans include Ross Island, Chidiya Tapu, Barren Island, and Viper Island. All the above islands are very well interconnected with jetties, boats and private cruises.
Best time to visit:
Owing to its geographical features, the Andamans stays warm across the year but with sea breezes. Though Andamans can be visited throughout the year, winters are the best time to plan for the islands.
How to reach:
One can either take a ship or a flight to the Andamans. Veer Savarkar International Airport is the only airport at Port Blair that connects major cities of the country viz. Kolkata, Delhi, Mumbai, Chennai, Bangalore, Vishakhapatnam and Bhubaneswar.
One can board a ship from Chennai, Vishakhapatnam, and Kolkata. Though journey by the ship is a bit longer as compared to the flight, yet the three-day-long water trail gives a lifetime experience to the nomads.