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About Andaman and Nicobar Islands

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The Andaman and Nicobar Islands comprise two island groups: the Nicobar Islands and the Andaman Islands, located in the Bay of Bengal. Port Blair is the capital city and the languages spoken popularly are Tamil, Hindi, Bengali and Telugu. It covers a total area of approximately 2508 square kilometers.

The tribal population of Andaman Islands in the 1850s comprised the Jarawa, the Great Andamanese, the Onge, the Jangil and the Sentinelese tribes. The Nicobar Islands belonged to the Nicobarese and the Shompen people.

The Andaman and Nicobar Islands was the naval base for the Chola dynasty between 1014 to 1042 CE. The Danish East India Company came to the Nicobar Islands on the 12th of December, 1755 and formed a “New Denmark” colony.

Why Visit Andaman and Nicobar Islands

Port Blair and Diglipur are the two frequently visited places and are popular for their seafood and scenic beauty. The other tourist destinations are Havelock Island - a great place to go scuba diving and snorkeling, Rutland Island - known for its coral reefs and huge mangrove, Neil Island, Wandoor - has the Mahatma Gandhi Marine National Park, Barren Island - which is home to the only volcano present in India, and Baratang Island - which has many mangrove creeks, limestone caves, mud volcanoes and backwaters, Long Island - a popular camping site, Jarwa Reserve and Little Andaman -a popular surfing destination which was destroyed by the Tsunami.

Other places to visit are the Cellular Jail and the Great Nicobar Biosphere Reserve. Many birds frequent these islands too.

Exploring the Culture of Andaman and Nicobar Islands

The two distinct habitats of the islands are the ‘Natives’ and the ‘Indians’. The Indians comprise immigrants from Tamil Nadu, Paschim Bangal, Punjab, Sri Lanka and Myanmar. The natives are divided into two groups - the Negroid and the Mongoloid.

The Negroids comprise of the Jarawa, Sentinelese, Andamanese and Onge tribes and reside in the Andaman Island. The Mongoloids comprise of the Nicobarese and the Shompen and these tribes live in the Nicobar Islands. These tribes are on the verge of extinction due to the destruction of forest habitats and diseases caused due to the consumption of tobacco and alcohol.

The Sentinelese and Jarawa communities avoid contact with outsiders and are quite violent. The ethnic language spoken in Andaman and Nicobar Islands bears no resemblance to any other language in the country.

All religions are equally practiced in the Islands and people practicing Islam, Hinduism, Sikhism and Christianity live harmoniously in the Andaman and Nicobar Islands. There is no specific cuisine in this place as the tribal people are generally hunters. Immigrants from other regions have brought in their food habits, and rice and seafood items are generally popular and available in all restaurants.

Some of the crafts produced in the Andaman and Nicobar Islands are crafted woods and shells. Other accessories like pearls and paduk are now banned from export.

Facts for Tourists

Some of the tribes do not like outsiders and turn hostile on seeing them. Few cases of attacks by crocodiles have been reported in some areas. The seafood here is definitely worth trying. The use of drugs and other narcotic substances is banned in the Andaman and Nicobar Islands.




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