Andaman & Nicobar Islands - The Indian Tropical Paradise

by Sharanya Sunderamoorthy


Posted on 9th June, 2015


Radhanagar Beach Andaman
Image Credit - mattharvey1

Andaman and Nicobar islands are one of the most beautiful places in the earth! It is sparsely populated which itself is a blessing in disguise. 'Andaman' is derived from the Malay word for the Hindu god Hanuman. 'Nicobar' is a Malay word that roughly translates to 'land of the naked people.'

The most widely spoken language here is Bengali, followed by Hindi, Tamil, Telugu and Malayalam. But there is a separate language called 'Andamanese', spoken by the natives here. Some 200 years ago, due to outbreak of some disease, many of the native population was killed. Hence slowly this language is on extinction.

Andaman and Nicobar are covered with 90% forest and only 10% is inhabited by people. There are a total of 572 islands, and some are not even inhabited. Andaman Nicobar Islands
The Tribes of Andaman

Some of the oldest tribes known to mankind are living in Andaman. These tribes are called 'Jarawa'. They are called fondly as 'adivasi' by the people here. They are only very few in number - less than 500. They don't interact with outsiders here, in fact they are fearful of them.

Andaman Jarawa Tribe
Image Credit - Wikipedia

First sunrise of this millennium

Katchal Island in Nicobar Islands enjoyed the distinction of being the first place to receive the first sun rays of this millennium sunrise - happened on 1-1-2000. Many rich and famous people from around the world had converged on it for a glimpse of the millennium's first sunrise.

Andaman Sunrise
Image Credit - Antony Grossy

Andaman is also known as the paradise of biologists. In the year 2002, Andaman & Nicobar Islands have been identified as ‘Bio Diversity Spots’ by UNESCO.

Coral Reef

The coral reef surrounding Andaman is one of the best in the world. Nearly 197 species of coral were identified in thirteen sites. Nearly 111 species of these 197 species are newly recorded - previously not known. These coral reefs have not been much affected by the coral bleaching which affected the coral reefs in other part of the world too.

Andaman Coral Reef
Image Credit - Waskyo

Andaman Coral Reef
Image Credit - Sunphol Sorakul

Andaman Coral Reef
Scuba Diving

Andaman is a paradise for Scuba Divers. There are lot of scuba diving centers in Andaman - the highest in India. There are options for both pleasure divers and professional divers.

Andaman Scuba Diving
Image Credit - Arun Katiyar

Dermochelys Coriacea

There are a lot of wonderful marine creatures and exotic varieties of fish here. The world's largest sea turtles - Leather back turtles come for nesting here. These turtles are called Dermochelys Coriacea. They are super huge. Every year, thousands of these turtles flock to Andaman. That's a big thing because only four places in the world can boast as nesting places for these turtles and Andaman is one of them!

Leather Back Turtles

Commercial fishing is prohibited in Andaman. It is one of the very few places in the world where fishes die of old age and they get to live a full life!!!

Oliver-Ridley Turtles

Scientific name: Lepidochelys olivacea. These are one of the endangered species. They flock to Andaman and use this island as their nesting ground.

Oliver Ridley Turtles
Coconut Crab

The largest land living arthropod Birgus Latro, lives in Andaman, the highest number in the south Asian region. These are super huge crabs and they hate water. They are mostly like land animals and they love climbing coconut trees.

Coconut Crabs
Image Credit - DIBP Images

Coconut Crabs
Image Credit - Wikipedia

Dugong

There is a special variety of sea animal called Dugong. These species are super shy to mate, hence there are very few in number now. And Andaman islands is like a honeymoon spot for them, they lose their inhibitions. There are only five breeding centers for them in the whole world and Andaman is definitely one them. Dugong is also the state animal of Andaman.

Dugong
Image Credit - Cocos Reflections

There are many species of flora and fauna that are exotic to these islands...

The happy land of butterflies

Every year, thousands of butterflies flock to Andaman from the nearby tropical islands. They are proud hosts of these butterflies. A postal stamp was released by the Indian government in fond memory of these butterflies that flock to the island. We have to be proud, that usually only birds or animals migrate, but here butterflies migrate.

Butterfly India Stamp
Butterfly Andaman
Image Credit - dany13

Volcano

The only active volcano in India (also in the entire southern Asia) is present in Andaman. Barren Island which is some 135 km north-east of Port Blair is where you can see the live volcano but from a distance.

Barren Island
Image Credit - Wikitravel











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About the Author: Sharanya Sunderamoorthy

I am Sharanya, a multitasking doctor. Apart from my profession I have many other passions and travelling tops the list. I have a huge fascination for unexplored small places, towns and villages in our country. I believe it is in these villages that the true color of India can be visualized. Apart from these small places I love visiting our heritage sites and hill stations. I am an amateur in travelling, but hope to travel and explore a lot in years to come.

Tags:

Andaman & Nicobar Islands, Jarawa, Tropical Paradise, Coral Reef, Scuba Diving, Turtles, Dugong