To the east of the Indian mainland, in the blues of the Bay of Bengal, floats the splendid archipelago of Andaman and Nicobar Islands. The erstwhile 'Kalapani', translated as 'black waters' from back in the day when the islands were the graveyards of martyrs, has now transformed into one of India's best tourist spots. Forever scarred by the atrocities of the British regime, the islands retain an exciting aura that satiates the young adventure junkie in us all.
Once a hill range extending form Myanmar to Indonesia, the Andaman and Nicobar Islands today are a group of 572 near deserted islets (small islands). The majestic forests, and the sun beaming on exotic flora and fauna take your breath away. More than 86% of the islands' area is forest cover which is home to animals like the spotted deer, wild boar, gecko crab-eating macaque and pythons. The glistening white beaches are nesting homes to turtles.
The jewel in the crown, however, is the marine life. The elegance of the crystal clear, blue waters, incredible corals, and the myriad creatures that inhabit the ocean leave you spellbound. Exploring the marine life first-hand through activities like scuba diving and fishing guarantee an enriching experience of coming an inch closer to nature.
The capital city of Port Blair houses majority of the mainland settlers on the island today. Prior to the colonial rule, however, the islands were home to indigenous tribes, some of who still populate pockets of the archipelago.
Tourist infrastructure development has been on the rise over the year, citing rising tourism, but the islands still remain virgin with untouched natural beauty and unexplored marine life. If you wish to visit these islands, now would be a good time.
|Area||8,073 sq km|
|Population||379,944 As of 2011 Census of India|
Surrounded by Sea.
This Festival Is Associated With The Worship Of Goddess Maa Kali As The Goddess Of Ruining The Evil. In The Hindu Calendar, This Comes In The Month Of Aswin, Which Falls In The Months Of October-november. The Bengalis Take Keen Interest And Celebrate In Enthusiastically. Kali Temple At Prem Nagar Is Decorated Beautifully With Colored Lamps. Prescribed Pooja And Artis Are Performed. A Lot Of Hindus Particularly Bengalis. Visit The Temple And Other Places Where The Images Of Goddess Maa Kali Are Installed And Worshiped. Next Day, The Image Is Taken In The Form Of Procession With Songs And Dances, To Haddo Jetty, Aberdeen Jetty And/or Junglighat Jetty For Immersion. A Large Crowd Assembles To Witness The Procession At Goal Ghar, Opposite To State Library, Junglighat Junction, Dairy Farm Junction, Aberdeen Bazar, Delanipur, Haddo Etc.
This Is Also An Important Festival Of Hindus Celebrated With Great Enthusiasm In The Hindu Calendar Month Of Ashweis. This Pooja Is Celebrated By All Hindus In The Name Of Navaratri Pooja For Nine Days. Every Year Durga Pooja Is Celebrated In These Islands During The Month Of September-october. Bengali Associations In Each Village And Some Organizations Make The Images Of Goddess Durga In A Highly Decorative Manner Out Of Clay Along With Images Of Other Gods Like Ganesh, Sri Karthik(sri Murugan)etc And They Perform Pooja With The Help Of Priests.
Ayyappa Pooja Is Celebrated Every Year On 14th Or 15th January Depending Upon The Date Of Thai 1st(tamil Month). The Devotees Observe For A Period Of 45 To 60 Days Preceding The 1st Day Of Thai Month. All Ayyappa Devotees Perform Poojas Three Times A Day Starting From 5 O'clock In The Morning(for 45 To 60 Days). On Thai 1st,the Devotees Go To Ayyappa Temple To Worship Lord Ayyappa.during Thes Days Bhajans, Songs About Ayyappa With Clapping And Other Musical Instruments Is Performed During Pooja Time. It Is Very Interesting To See The Strong Belief That This Pooja And Worship Bring The Blessing Of Lord Ayyappa.
All People Other Than Aboriginal Have Been Celebrating This Pooja As A Festival.ganesh Pooja Is Celebrated In The Hindu Calendar Month Of Bhadrapad Sudha Chaturthi Every Year. People From The South Call This Pooja "vinayaga Chaturthi".people Buy Ganesh Idols According To Their Requirements. The Ganesh Temples At Aberdeen Bazaar, Goal Ghar Etc.are Beautifully Decorated And The Priests, Lyers Or Pujaris,perform Special Poojas Or 'arti' In Honour Of God Ganesh.of All The Ganesh Temples, Sri Lakshmi Vinayagar Temple At Aberdeen Bazaar And Shri Karpaga Vinyagar At Goal Ghar Are The Chief Fascinations On The Occasion. Generally, The Pooja Is Celebrated For Three Days .the Temples Are Full Of Devotees(bhakts). During The Pooja,people Offer "kozhukattai" And "sundal" To The Deity "vinayagar" And After The Pooja, The Kozhukatti And Sundals Are Distributed Among The Devotees Present. Some Organizations And Offices Or Group Of People Also Perform Common Pooja. A Big Image Of God Ganesh Is Installed At An Important Place In The Village Or Organizations Erect Special Pandals For Community Poojas. Temples Are Brimming With Devotees On All Three Days. People From Other Religions Also Visit The Temple With Their Family Members. There Is No Distinction Of Caste, Color Ad Creed To Celebrate This Pooja As A Festival In These Islands. A Dish Prepared Out Of Rice Flour, Jiggery And Coconut Called"kozhukatti" Is Offered To Lord Ganesh As An Important Item Of Pooja Prasad. Another Dish Prepared From Boiled Chana(gram) And Fried With Mustard Is Called "sundal".
The Punjabis Celebrate This Festival With Great Enthusiasm. It Commemorates The Birthday Of Sikh Guru Nanak. This Festival Is Celebrated According To The Hindu Calendar On Karthik Poornima Day. Police Gurudwara In Aberdeen Bazar, Dr. Diwan Singh Gurudwara, Just Behind The State Of India, Main Songs, Prayers, Readings, Bhajans Etc. Are The Special Features On The Occasions. They Organize A Simple But Excellent, Calm Procession With The Songs And Bhajans With The Sayings "gurunanakji Ki Jai". Both Men And Women Participate In The Procession On Four-wheelers. The Way Organize It Is Very Attractive.
According To The Hindu Calendar, This Festival Falls On Phalguni Poornima Day Which Usually Falls During Month Of February-march. In Holi Is Celebrated By People Of All Age Groups Irrespective Of The Region. When The People Of Andaman And Nicobar Islands Play Holi One Can See The Enthusiasm And Happiness On Their Faces During The Festival Of Colors. Some People Go To The Temple While The Youngsters Go To Watch Movies.
This Is The Second Biggest Festival Of Hindus Celebrated In Honor Of Goddess Arulmigu Sri Mariamman. This Temple Is Situated In Astinabad Village, At A Distance Of Six Kms. From Port Blair Bus Terminates On Chidiyatappu Route. The Belief Of All The People From All Religions Is That Goddess Mariamman Has Been Guarding These Islands. There Is A Famous Lore Here That When The Dhannikari Dam Was Being Constructed, The Constructor Could Not Complete It Successfully Due To Frequent Cracks And Scratches. Then He Prayed To Goddess Mariamman By Wearing Sedal Ornaments And He Saw Goddess Marimmanan In His Dream And She Encouraged Him To Continue His Efforts. After The Completion Of The Dam, The Constructor Constructed The Present Temple (rcc Building) And Deposited Some Amount Of Memory In The Temple's Name For Daily Conduct Of Pooja, Celebrations And Maintenance. Now, All People Irrespective Of Their Religion And Region Visit This Temple And Worship Goddess Marimman. All Tourists, Including Foreigners, Do Not Leave These Islands Without Offering Prayers In These Two Temples. Their Festivals Celebrated Every Year During The Month Of February. For Goddess Mariamman Also, The Devotees Perform Pooja And Aarti In The Same Manner As Offered To God Sri Vetrimalai Murugan. Theemithi, Arugandam Kavady, Parakkum Kavady, Pal Kavady, Panneer Kavady, Llanneer Kavady Are The Special Fascinations For The People, Devotees And Tourists. The Terms Parakkum Means Flying, "pal" Means Milk, "theemithi" Means Walk On Fire, "arugandam" Means Troublesome, "llanner" Means Tender Coconut.
This Festival Has Great Importance Among The People Of These Islands. This Festival Is Celebrated To Honour God Sri Vetrimalai Murugan (god Karthik), The Son Of Lord Shiva And Goddess Parvati. Sri Vetrimalai (victroy Hill) Murugan Temple Is The Oldest Temple In These Islands. The Important Feature Of This Temple Is That, The People Of All The Region And Religions Of Our Country And Foreign Tourists Visit This Temple. The Strong Belief Of The People Is That Their Requests Are Fulfilled And Graced By God Murugan. During The Festival, The Temple Is Decorated With Colorful Lights And Banners. During The Festival Period, Every Day "anna Dhanam" Ids Performed. About 10,000 To 15,000 People Come To The Temple To Take Part In The Anna Dhanam (i.e They Eat Full Meal). Tourists Can Witness God Vetrimalai Murugan's Divine Powers. People From Other Islands Flock To Port Blair To Take Part In This Celebration. The Roads From Haddo To Vetrimalai Murugan Temple Are Full Of People. People Of All Religions Offer Lime Juice, Orange Juice, Slated Sweet Water, Butter Milk, And Water To All The Devotees, Visitors, Tourists Etc. As A Partial Fulfillment Of Their Promises. The Sedal And Kavady Bearers Walk On Fire (thee-mithi) And Reach The "moolasthanam". One Can't Stand Near The Fire Even At The Distance Of 6 Mtrs. Devotees Walk On The Fire Which Means Everybody Should Accept The Supreme Power Of The God Sri Vetrimalai Murugan. The Term "moolasthanam" Means The Place Where The God's Statue Is Situated.
The Andamanese Have An Extraordinary And Rich Culture And Traditions. It Brings A Lot Of Visitors Who Are Mainly Attracted By The Native Population Upholding The Richness, Ethnicity And Customs Of The Islands. The Native Population Of Andaman And Nicobar Islands Are Constituted By Two Distinct Groups Namely The Negrito In The Andaman And Autochthones Who Are The Mongoloid Nicobarese And Shompen.they Preserve A Diverse Culture With A Unique Style And Dignity Which Is Appreciated And Attracted By The Tourists. The Major Portion Of The Local People Belong To The Descendants Who Came Here During Early Periods From The Indian Mainland Region. These Migrants From Different Parts Of The Country Add To The Culture And Tradition Of The Region And The Most Appreciated Factor About Them Is That Both The Class Of People In Both The Regions Lives In Peace And Harmony Preserving Their Culture And Traditions. The Tribal Culture Of The Islanders Of Andaman Is Comprised By The Negroids Of The Paleolithic Age Who Migrated From Africa A Few Thousands Of Years Ago And Further They Include Other Ethnic Groups Like Andamanese, Onge, Jarawa And Sentinalese Of Mongoloid Origin Wherein, The Inhabitants Of Nicobar Comprise Of The 'nicobarese' And The 'shompen' Inhabitants. These Tribes Have Maintained Their Uniqueness Amid Relative Isolation And Therefore Have Succeeded In Maintaining The Culture Of The Islands.
Sea Food Forms The Dominant Part Of The Cuisine Of The Andamanese. They Are Mostly Non Vegetarians Depending On Sea Food. They Also Eat Both Red And White Meat. Being Hunters By Origin, The People Of The Island Hunt Birds And Wild Animals And Feast On Them. Initially The Use Of Fire Was Not Known To Them. Other Tropical Food Common To This Area Are Mango, Banana, Orange, Pineapple, Guava Which Are Some Common Fruits Found In The Markets. But However Now Andaman Becoming A Major Tourist Destiny, The People Are Getting More Used To The Other Foods Like Delicious Indian, Chinese And Continental Food Items.
Woodwork And Carpentry Are The Local Crafts Of Andaman. There Are Several Units Engaged In Making The Furniture And Other Wooden Articles Made From Ornamental Woods Like Marble Wood, Paduak And Chui. The Tabletops Made From Paduak Burr Are Singular Works Of Handicrafts In These Islands. The Driftwood That Is Shaped By The Currents And Flow Of The Sea Is Commonly Available In Andaman. It Is Converted Into Art Objects Through Imagination, Dedication And Precision.
The Settlers From Andhra Pradesh And Kerala In Andamans Are Famous For Bamboo And Cane Works. They Can Make Various Exquisite Items, In Accordance To The Provided Designs. The Beautiful Cane Baskets Made From Thin Twigs Of Cane Are Useful For Women To Carry And Store The Market Produce. The Cane Work, Especially The Furniture Made In The Cellular Jail, Is Also Very Popular.
Shell Craft Is One Of The Most Popular Handicrafts Of Andaman Islands. The Shell Crafts Include Ashtrays, Lamps, Buttons And Jewelry Made From The Polished, Decorative Shells. The Tortoise Shell Is The Interesting Resource Material Available. These Shells Are Large And Available In Beautiful Shades. The Articles Like Table Lamps, Small Round And Square Boxes And Some Decorative Items Made From The Tortoise Shells Are Available. Handicrafts From Coconut Shells As Coconut Trees Are Available In Large Numbers, They Are The Best Natural Resources For Handicrafts Of Andaman & Nicobar. The Items Like Finger Bowls, Table Lamps And Some Other Objects Made From The Coconut Shells Are Very Popular Among The Tourists.