Remember the dots you guys drew during your geography classes? We, residents of Andaman & Nicobar islands are more than that. We are ignored not just by the people, but also the center. We neither have any impact on India’s GDP nor we can offer much resources except for Peace of mind and unparalleled natural beauty. We receive negligible funding from center. No proper educational institution, lack of internet connectivity, lack of proper health services and least development. We are basically on our own in the middle of nowhere. We don’t expect favors, but please do spread awareness among your friends to improve influx of tourists in our islands. Also, China’s 80% sea trade passes through Andaman’s south. A strategic advantage which the govt is yet to realize. People here are friendly and helpful, roads are smooth, pollution free, pristine nature, rich cultural heritage, Negligible crime rate, No history of communal tension though all the religions exist here and last but very important, Peace!
I would like to share what my friend Rahul Rao, a resident of Andaman & Nicobar islands shared with me :
- Technically, India’s southern most tip is Indira Point. Below is the image after the 2004 Tsunami.
- The National memorial, infamous cellular jail from Port Blair behind 1 Rupee coin. Out of the 7 wings, 4 were demolished.
- The scenery behind 20 Rupee note is of North bay, Andamans.
- Andaman and Nicobar is home to India’s only Tri Command.
- These islands were the only Indian territory which came under Japanese occupation during world war. People can see Japanese bunkers all around the islands.
- These islands are closer to Myanmar and Indonesia than Indian mainland.
- India’s only active volcano, that is Barren Island, is in Andamans.
- World’s most Isolated people, are the North Sentinelese. Living there since 60,000 years, with no trace of fire are the only Paleolithic people in the world. They are hostile to outsiders. We don’t even know their exact numbers.
- Radhanagar Beach, Havelock Island was rated as best beach in Asia and is among world’s top 25.
- On December 30, 1943, Netaji Subhash Chandra Bose hoisted the National Flag of India for the first time at the Gymkhana Ground (now Netaji Stadium) in Port Blair, Andaman Island. Netaji was the first Indian to reclaim a British-governed land of India.
- Once in every 2 years, Milan Naval Exercise is conducted on these islands where Navies from many South Asian countries participate.
- Port Blair airport is considered one of the toughest airport to land by civil pilots.
- Chatham Island is Asia’s largest sawmill. Yes, the entire island.
- Rajan, the world’s last and only ocean swimming elephant was from Andamans. Sadly, he is no more.
- The first Sea plane service in India started in Andamans.
- My favorite, Apart from Lakshadweep, Andamans is the only place in India where you can witness Bioluminescence!
- Andamans is one of the few places in the world where commercial fishing is prohibited. That means fish die of old age.
- Andamans received Millennium’s first sunrise.
- The largest sea turtles in the world, the Leatherback nest here.
- Dugong, the sea cow, is the state animal of Andaman and Nicobar Islands. Cute? Isn’t it?
Adding few more points as requested,
- Baratang contains the only known examples of mud volcanoes in India.
- There are regular ship services to Port Blair from Kolkata, Vizag and Chennai. Please note that, these are not cruise ships but mere a passenger vessel. Below is one of such vessel.
- Nicobar was known as “New Denmark” during 1756 as it was under Danish rule. Due to the outbreak of malaria, the island was abandoned multiple times. Denmark’s presence in the territory ended formally on 16 October 1868 when it sold the rights to the Nicobar Islands to Britain.
- Cinque island is famous for its sand bar. Many movies were shot here, specially tamil ones.
- We were worst affected compared to any other Indian states during 2004 Tsunami. Both in terms of lives and environment. I lost few friends too.
- Rajendra Chola (1014 to 1042 CE), one of the Tamil Chola dynasty kings, conquered the Andaman and Nicobar Islands to use them as a strategic naval base to launch a naval expedition against the Sriwijaya Empire (a Buddhist empire based in the island of Sumatra, Indonesia). They called the islands Tinmaittivu (“impure islands” in Tamil).
- During 1971 war, INS Vikrant was moved to A&N Command to protect it from PNS Ghazi.
- On a contrary, Port Blair, the capital city is pretty developed is among one of the cleanest cities in India. Also a part of smart city initiative.
- Interested in Island Camping? Then this is where you belong. Andamans is the only place in India to provide this. Uninhabited island, white sand beach, crystal clear water, starry nights, just you and your friends or spouse. Sounds like perfect honeymoon, doesn’t it?
- After India’s independence, British proposed to make Andamans a separate country to settle Anglo Indians.
- 92% Land area is covered by dense tropical forest. Remember those humongous trees from that movie Avatar? Quite like those.
- Known as the Land of Butterflies, Land of Parrots, Not to forget the famous Kala Pani and Iron Curtains ( Among defense officials ).
- Bengali is the widely spoken language, however Hindi is the official one.
- These islands have 197 different species of coral out of which 111 are newly identified. (Well, this is the only picture i have in my office laptop that i clicked)
- Andaman is considered as one of the safest place for women in India. Solo traveler? No issues.
- There are five major groups of Andamanese, Great Andamanese, Jarawas, Jangil (Extinct), Onge and the famous Sentinelese.
- Love reading? Don’t forget to visit ANET library.
The heritage of these islands are quite rich and old. Experience it once, you’ll know why. 🙂
Picture credit: Google
Irrespective of the ground realities, we are proud of our country and still have hopes on our people. They just need our support. Pay a visit, we’ll be happy to be a part of your memories 🙂