Andaman and Nicobar is a Union Territory in South India situated at the juncture of the Bay of Bengal and Andaman Sea. The Andaman and Nicobar Islands are a group of 572 islands of these, about 36 are permanently inhabited. The Andaman is separated from the Nicobar by the Ten Degree Chanel. The islands are located 150km (93mi) from Indonesia and 190km (118mi) from Myanmar. The largest town and the main entry point to the islands is Port Blair.
Foreigners need a permit to visit the Andaman Islands. Permits are issued on arrival and allow traveling in the Andaman Islands (excluding tribal areas), while the Nicobar Islands are off - limits to all except Indian nationals engaged in research, government business or trade.
Silver sandy beaches, emerald waters, swaying palm trees - the Andaman and Nicobar Islands look like a beautiful holiday postcard. Pristine islands, myriad bays, lagoons, crystal-clear waters, coral reef, tropical fishes, the sea frequented by Dolphins, many diving and snorkelling opportunities is what lure most visitors to the islands.
Some of the most beautiful beaches and frequently visited islands are: Merk Bay, Ross and Smith Islands, Beach 5, Butler Bay, Havelock Island, Neil Island, Chiriya Tapu, Ross Island, Cinque Island, Long Island, Wandoor, etc.
Scuba diving, fishing, jungle treks, bird watching, diving and snorkeling are the most popular activities.
The islands are home to fascinating tribal groups. The handicrafts of the Islands include shell jewellery, palm mats, coconut shell lampshade, wood crafts, bamboo cane craft and Nicobaree mats.
Andaman and Nicobar have a rich history and one can see a strong influence and heritage left by French, Dutch, Japanese and British. The major historical landmarks are the Cellular Jail in Port Blair, Ross Island, Viper Island, Hopetown and Mount Harriet.
The islands encompass three ecosystems – tropical forests, mangroves and coral reefs. The fauna and flora are rich with endemic bird and mammal species that are unique to the islands. The dark jungle hills and isolated beaches are breeding grounds for turtles and home to crab-eating macaque, masked palm civet, ground-dwelling megapodes, hawabills (swiftlets), emerald Nicobar pigeon, saltwater crocodiles, etc.
There is no particular cuisine that can be termed as Andamanese or Nicobarese. Seafood plays a major role and a wide variety of fish, crabs, lobsters and prawns are easily available at the many restaurants and eating places on the Islands.
Major Festivals of Islands include: Island Tourism Festival – cultural event promoting tourism at Port Blair with performances of popular music bands, singers and dancers (January); Beach Festival with varied sport games, food courts and various entertainments (April); Music and Monsoon Festival - cultural event promoting tourism (August); Food Festival – a four day festival exhibiting the ethnic food (September); Film Festival – a classical films festival at Port Blair (November), etc.
Andaman and Nicobar has a tropical monsoon climate with the average temperature around 23°C (73.4 °F) to 31°C (87.8 °F) and the humidity at around 80% through the year. Heavy monsoon rains are experienced between May and October. November to December also have their fair share of rainy days. Best time to visit is between mid-November and April.
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