Area – Stretched over 8,249 sq. km
Administrative Capital – Port Blair
Airport – Veer Savarkar International Airport in Port Blair
Languages Spoken – Hindi, Telugu, Tamil, Nicobarese, and Malayalam
Humidity – 70-90%M
Highest Mountain – Saddle Peak (at 732m)
Climate – 23o min, 31o max
Tribes – Jarawa, Onge, Sentinelese and Andamanese, Shompen, and Nicobarese
Currency – INR
Forest Cover – 86% of reserve forest and 92% of conserved forest
Andaman & Nicobar Islands are known to have a rich history which dates back to over 800 BC. These are some of the world’s most famous island with India’s best beaches. There is no lack of Andaman tourist places to visit for tourists of all ages. These islands are inhabited by the indigenous population of Nicobarese and Andamanese tribes. There are five indigenous tribes living in the islands of Andaman and Nicobar, such as Onges, Jharwas (Jarawas), Shompens, The Great Andamanese, and Sentinelese. They usually speak languages like Nicobarese, Sentinelese, Jarawa, Onge, and Andamanese.
The successors of African slaves also inhabit the Andaman Islands along with other tribes. Those African slaves are believed to be the ones who entered by a wreck of a Portuguese ship. However, many anthropologists claim that they are Negritos, not Negros.
Andaman and Nicobar Islands have seen a lot of faces for years from the First War of Independence of India, which started in 1857 during World War II against the Japanese invasion. After the independence of the country in 1947, the Andaman & Nicobar Islands became united with the Indian mainland. You can spot the artifacts, past relics, and ruins across the island these days in the Cellular Jail museum in Andaman. The Cellular Jail was designed to name Andamans as “Kala Pani” over the years. Andaman was used as a central prison to keep prisoners far away from the mainland. Today, the Cellular Jail serves as a major tourist attraction.
Geography and Landmarks
Andaman & Nicobar Islands are known to have the longest coastline of over 2000 km. In 1956, Andaman & Nicobar Islands turned union territory with a total of 572 islands and 32 of those islands are inhabited. Tourists from every nooks and corner of the world visit the Andaman Islands. These islands are located close to mainland India stretching around 800km in length from North to South.
The Nicobar Islands are mostly restricted for tourists as they are mostly inhabited by tribal people and the only Andaman Islands are open for tourism. The Andaman & Nicobar Islands are stretched from the longitude of 92° to 94° in the east and latitude of 6° to 14° in the north and the islands are separated by 150km wide channel.
The 750m high Saddle Peak is the highest peak in Andaman & Nicobar Islands when measuring from the sea level. When it comes to the distance between the islands and mainland India, Chennai is located around 1190 km and Kolkata is 1255 km.
The major island here is North Andaman, which consists of islands, such as Sound Island, Landfall Island, and Narcondam Island. The middle Andaman houses the islands like Interview Island and South Andaman houses Baratang Island, Ritchie’s Archipelago, Neil Island, Ross Island, and Rutland Island. Little Andaman consists of the hilly part of the island. Along with it, Barren Island is India’s only island with an active volcano.
Andaman and Nicobar Islands are known to have a tropical climate which is usually warm and humid. These islands don’t get freezing winter or extreme summer. Instead, they get the balmy climate all year round. Even though the best time to visit these islands is from November to February, you can still enjoy amazing water sports like swimming, boating, sea walking, snorkeling, parasailing, and others all year round, except during monsoons.
May to December is the best month for nature lovers as they can enjoy sightseeing and bird watching. The Andaman Islands normally receive around 3000mm of rainfall. The humidity remains at 80% and the minimum temperature is 23.2oC and maximum 31oC.
Language and Tribes
A lot of Andamanese and Nicobarese tribes maintained their isolated presence in the Andaman & Nicobar Islands over a long period of time and changing generations into various cultural, linguistic and territorial groups. Some of the common tribes in the Andaman Islands are Jarawa, Onge, and Sentinelese who belong to Negroid descents.
On the other side, Nicobarese tribes like Shompen belong to Mongoloid descent. These tribes are known to have arrived around 60000 years ago from Africa to these islands. They basically hunt animals and they collect roots, honey, and berries from the forest. These tribes also speak different languages like Andamanese, Onge, Sentinelese, Nicobarese, and Jarawa.
All in all, Mongoloid and Negrito tribes mostly inhabit the Andaman and Nicobar Islands, including Sentinelese, Great Andamanese, Onge, and Jarawas. Andaman and Nicobar Islands are union territory and many tribes of Nicobarese and Andamanese call it their home. They are well renowned as Adivasi groups of India. Here are some other details of common tribes in Andaman & Nicobar Islands –
- Jarawas – This tribe belongs to the southern parts of Andaman and they are known as Adivasi groups. Around 250 to 400 people belong to this group in the Andaman Islands. These Andamanese residents are connected to the modern world but still isolated by the rest of the world.
- Onge – These Andamanese people are spread around little Andaman Island and they rely on gathering and hunting for survival.
- Shompen – These are basically the indigenous tribes of Nicobar Islands and they usually live in the inner parts of Great Nicobar Island.
- Jangil – Also called as Rutland Jarawa tribe, Jangil is known to be extinct but they were spread around the internal parts of Rutland Island.
- Sentinelese – These people are known as Paleolithic groups of Andaman Islands who are completely isolated from the outside world without any contact. These are indigenous individuals who are almost untouched with no influence on the modern world. They are also declared as Scheduled Tribes in India. These are the world’s most isolated tribes and most dangerous of all.