Andaman and Nicobar Islands, an archipelago of 572 tropical islands of which only 36 are inhabited by the indigenous tribes - Onge, Sentinelese, Admanese, Jarawa, Shompen, Nicorbarese and migrating mainlanders, is home to India's only active volcano. While the Andaman Islands are open to tourists for relaxation on pristine white beaches and palm-frilled coasts overlooking sprawling coral reefs, the Nicobar Islands are not open to tourists.
Easily accessible from Chennai, Kolkata and Visakhapatnam, it offers adventure opportunities in the form water sports (snorkeling, scuba diving), trekking and sights seeing.
The Andaman and Nicobar Islands have a spine-chilling history of the pre-independence day. Marathas ruled the island in the late 17th century that turned into a penal colony under the British rule. The infamous Cellular Jail has been the subject of many films and literary works of art where the Indian freedom fighters dubbed political dissidents were tortured in unimaginable ways. WWII saw the atrocities at the hands of the Japanese that captured the islands.
As a part of the Indian Territory, the southernmost tip of India that experiences two monsoons a year, the places of interest on the tour to Andaman and Nicobar Islands are :
Port Blair -
The capital of Andaman and Nicobar Islands, located about a harbor on the east coast of the South Andaman Island, has some interesting and historical significant places on offer.
Cellular Jail National Memorial -
A memorabilia of the atrocities endured by the Indian freedom fighters at the hands of the British rulers, Cellular Jail is a cold crumbling edifice of three wings (initially seven) radiating from the central tower. Built by the British over a period of 18 years to carry out atrocities for the next 30, still houses the original gallows and the new additions - museums, martyr's memorial.
Island Tourism Festival -
a 10-day fest with an itinerary that will enthrall and amuse you. Dance groups from neighboring islands and mainland perform rarely seen and barely documented ethnic dances. Dog shows add amusement to this fest held from December to January.
Samudrika Marine Museum -
In the competent hands of the Indian Navy, this well maintained museum boasts of an impressive insight into the indigenous tribal communities' daily routine; a small aquarium and a collection of the island's tropical vegetation and sea life.
Viper Island -
as the name inspires fear, the spectacular view from the brick jails breathes horror into the strongest of hearts. Being named after a wrecked ship only adds to its foreboding charms.
Mt. Harriet -
A trek on a naturally engraved trail to the top of Mt. Harriet, north of Port Blair offers exhilarating view of the capital, the Mt. Harriet National Park and Madhuban.
Ross Island -
Visit this sinister island on your tour to the Andaman and Nicobar islands to witness the remains of the end of the once powerful British Empire being swallowed alive by the local vegetation.
Neil Island -
If you're a snorkeling enthusiast, the shallow beaches with a variety of coral reefs are a must to visit, on your tour to the Andaman and Nicobar Islands.
Chirya Tapu -
Another haven for the amateur and professional snorkelers alike, it is a tiny fishing village with beaches and mangroves at 30 km distance from the capital.
Long Island -
Located in the southeast coast of Middle Andaman, a small village and numerous white sand beaches and terrific fishing grounds, the island offers a spectacular camping site for families and groups alike.