|Location ||: ||Bay of Bengal, 92° to 94° East Longitude, 6° to 14° North Latitude |
|Area||: ||8,249 Sq. kms |
|Capital||: ||Port Blair |
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|: ||Varies from sea level to 732 metres |
|Maximum Temperature||: ||31°C |
|Minimum Temperature||: ||23°C |
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|: ||92%, Forest Area = 86% |
|Average Annual Rainfall||: ||3180.0 mm |
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|: ||Tropical throughout the year. Humidity is relatively high – 70% to 90% |
|Population||: ||280,661 (1991) |
|Languages||: ||Bengali, Hindi, Tamil, Malayalam, Nicobarese, Telugu |
|Urbanization Ratio||: ||26.80% |
|Religion||: ||Hinduism (67.52%), Christianity (23.94%), Islam (7.60%), Others (0.94%) |
|Literacy Rate||: ||73% |
|Best Time to Visit||: ||October to May |
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|: ||Cottons throughout the year |
Andaman Islands are located in the Bay of Bengal. Andaman Islands are actually a group of 572 islands, lies 193 km away from Cape Negrais in Myanmar, 1255 km from Calcutta, and 1190 km from Chennai. Ritchie's Archipelago and Labyrinth Islands are the two important groups of islets. The Nicobar Islands are located to the south of the Andamans, 121 km from the Little Andaman Island. Of the total 572 islands, only 36 islands are inhabited. The Islands are located between the latitudes 6° to 14° North and longitudes 92° to 94° East.
The Andaman and Nicobar Islands consist of around 572 islands that are formed by a submarine mountain range that separates the Bay of Bengal from the Andaman Sea. The islands attain maximum altitude at (730 m), formed mainly of limestone, sandstone, and clay.
The Andaman and Nicobar Islands are known for their pleasant tropical climate with medium to heavy rain during the monsoon (from May to mid September and November to mid December). Further, these islands do not witness any extreme climate change other than rains. But, the tropical storms (in late summer) often cause heavy damage.
Flora and Fauna
The canopied rain forests of the Andaman Islands have around 3,000 species of plants including woody climbers, mangroves, palms, epiphytes (130 ferns, 100 orchids), timbers (teak, mahogany, Andaman paduk). Also, the islands have different types of tropical fruits.
On the other hand, the marine fauna of the islands has vast varieties of corals and tropical fishes. With such diverse species of flora and fauna, the Andaman has total of 96 sanctuaries, which are spread across the area of 466.218 square kilometer. Also, it has nine National Parks that are widely spread over an area of 1153.938 square kilometer.
Stretching from the southern tip of Burma all the way down south till Sumatra in Indonesia, Andaman and Nicobar has 572 islands and out of these only less than 50 are populated. It’s a belief that Marco Polo was the first person to settle in one of the islands of Andaman and Nicobar. In the early 18th century, Kanhoji Angre (a Maratha admiral) formed his base on the island. He attacked every passing English, Portuguese, Dutch merchant vessels way to or from their various Asian colonies.
Further, in the year 1713, the navy of Angre captured the yacht of the British Governor of Bombay. Later, he joined the military force of British and Portuguese naval forces. Died in the year 1729, Kanhoji Angre never got defeated. The First British Colony was incorporated in 1789 and got abandoned in the year 1796. In the 19th century, the British captured the islands and turned them into Indian Freedom Fighters’ Penal Colony.
Endless number of anti-British Indians were tormented to death and/or executed in the Cellular Jail, whose final construction was completed in 1908. The Japanese troops captured the islands during or after the Second World War. The local tribes of Andaman then started with the guerrilla activities so that they leave the islands. In 1947, after independence, the Andaman and Nicobar Islands were finally included into the Indian Union.
The local tribes of Andaman and Nicobar have become a minority and are on the verge of extinction, because the government emphasized them to settle there for the overall progress of the state. There are two types of groups of the native groups namely the Sentinelese, Onge, Andamanese (30 number) and Jarawa of Negroid descent living on the Andaman Islands and the Nicobarese and Shompen of Mongoloid descent living in the Nicobar Islands. The estimated count Sentinelese is 250, settled on North Sentinel Island in isolation living a distinguished life in harmony with nature. It is said that they drive away any outsider with the help of arrows and bows.
Arts and Crafts
Some of the primary craft items of the Andaman & Nicobar Islands include palm mats, exotic crafted woods and pretty natural shells. But some of these products are banned, due to the over exploitation of the natural resources.
Many of the tribes do not wear clothes at all from centuries, like the Sentinelese and the Jarawas (only use adornments). On the other hand, the Shompens, being semi-nomadic, only cover their bodies below the waist. Moving forward, the Car Nicobar Island people now wear completely modern clothes and the Onges have also adapted the dress code of the mainland. The traditional adornments, such as waistbands & headbands of bark fiber and shell necklaces, are restricted to ceremonial occasions only.
Andaman and Nicobar Islands’ Union Territory is backed with enormous forest resource base of 7,171 square kilometer. These forests are rich source of varied types of timbers and gold, nickel, limestone, sulphur, and selenite. Further, the Oil and Natural Gas Commission is doing consistent efforts to explore the oil and gas reserves there. Also, the Union Territory has several village, small-scale, and handicrafts units and with time the export-oriented units in agro-processing sectors are also increasing. The Andaman and Nicobar Integrated Development Corporation has presence in industrial financing activities, fisheries, civil supplies, industries, and tourism.
Andaman & Nicobar Islands have around 50,000 hectares of cultivated land. Paddy, being the staple food crop, is generally cultivated in the Andaman Islands. On the other hand, areca nut and coconut are the main cash crops of the Nicobar Islands. Other than these, varied types of root crops and fruits are also cultivated there, like orange, mango, banana, sapota, pineapple, papaya, etc.