The inhabitants live on 12 of the islands,
particularly Car Nicobar in the north. Great Nicobar,
the largest and southernmost island in the group, is virtually
Discovered by Arab merchants in the 9th century and the
first western visitor was Marco Polo who called it the
land of the headhunters.
Annexed by the Marathas in the late 17th
century, from18th century it was base for Maratha admiral
Kanhoji Angre, whose navy frequently captured British,
Dutch and Portuguese merchant ships and remained undefeated
right up to his death in 1729. Finally annexed by the
British in the 19th century and used as a penal colony
for Indian freedom fighters. The penal settlement known
as Kala Pani or Black Water where the most criminals were
sent. In the notorious 'Cellular Jail' many of the inmates
were executed, either judicially or clandestinely.
8293 Sq Km on 139 islands
Nicobari, Bengali, Tamil, Telegu, Malayalam, Hindi, English.
People Per Sq. km:
October to April
70% To 90%
Cottons throughout the year
from sea-level to 732 meters. (Highest Point- Saddle Peak).
minimum 23 deg C, maximum 30 deg C.
3000 mms (May to Mid-Sep.& Nov. to Jan).
How to reach
Port Blair is connected by air with Madras, Calcutta and
There are 2 sailings in a month each from Calcutta (1255
km) and Madras (1190 km) to Port Blair & vice versa.
There is one sailing from Vishakhapatnam (1200 km) every
3 months. The voyage takes about 3 / 4 days and the ships
normally berth at Port Blair for three days.
Fairs and Festivals
Island Tourism Festival December –
The Andaman and Nicobar Administration organize this festival
every year during the months of December – January.
It is the main festival of the islands. The festival comprises
an exhibition, cultural programs, competitions, etc. The
exhibition highlights the developmental aspects of these
islands. Cultural troupes and artistes of national and
international fame are invited to perform during the festival
apart from performances by the talents of the islands
Vivekananda Mela January
Vivekananda Mela is organized at Neil Island to celebrate
the birth anniversary of Swami Vivekananda.
Block Mela January – February
This festival held at Diglipur, highlights the developments
that have taken place in the rural areas and displays
the typical rural life of these islands.
Shubash Mela January
This festival is organized in Havelock Island every year
on the birth anniversary of Netaji Subhash Chandra Bose.
It’s a weeklong festival filled with cultural programs.
Art and Handicraft
Carpentry and woodwork are native to the Andaman, and
the Administration provides training in this line. Several
units are engaged in making furniture and other articles
out of ornamental woods such as Paduak, marble wood, Chui,
etc. Tabletops made of Paduak burr are a novel item produced.
A production centre under the industries
department and a workshop of the Government saw mill at
Chatham are the two large units responsible for the bulk
of the produce. There is enormous scope for improvement
in the furniture industry of the Andamans, especially
with regards to construction, design and finish.
Cane And Bamboo
Beautiful hole cane baskets made out of thin cane twigs
that are not split, are used by women for carrying market
produce and for storage. Mention may also be made of the
cane work done in the cellular jail. This is mostly furniture
made to order. The total number of artisans engaged in
cane and bamboo work in the Andaman is estimated at about
These products extend from cleaned and polished decorative
shells to table lamps, ashtrays, jewelery and buttons.
An interesting resource material is Tortoise Shell; large
shells in beautiful shades are available here, and could
be put to very imaginative use.
The local industries department at Port Blair initiated
training in making articles out of coconut shells. The
items include table lamps, finger bowls and other objects,
have become quite popular. Jewellery made of coconut shell
is another possibility, which may find an export market.
Crafts Of Nicobar
The most important craft of the people is carpentry-constructing
houses, fencing plantations and making canoes of various
types. There is very little wood carving or sculpting
in Car Nicobar. In the other islands, however, certain
wooden statues such as a male and female pair, as well
as figures of birds and animals are made as house deities
toward off evil spirits. These wooden figures are well
crafted and painted with bright colors.
Basketry and Mat Making
The two important traditional crafts of the Nicobarese,
usually carried on by women in their leisure time. Mats
are made from coconut stems and Pandanus leaves. They
are used for sitting, sleeping and making huts. In the
mats, very often light and dark leaves are interwoven
to make an effective pattern. These mats are soft light,
and cool, and have a glossy surface.
Another functional craft is the making of crossbows which
consist of a central beam of wood with grooves and iron
loops to hold arrows and quiver, and a bow shaped arc
made of thinner and lighter wood, its ends joined with
a string. A trigger made of wood or bone is fixed to the
lower portion of the beam. The cross how is used with
one hand and can shoot up to 150 yards. Its novel design
and trigger system make it a prized handicraft article
In and around
The capital town of this Union Territory is situated about
1200 km from the east coast of the mainland. It is connected
to Madras and Calcutta by flight and by sea it takes about
The residence of Chief Commissioner during the British
rule, now entrails tourists with its ruins of the printing
press, church, bakery, tennis courts, swimming pool, and
the cemetery. Ross island abounds in friendly spotted
deer that nibbles at any kind of tid-bit held out to them.
It was used to harbor convicts before the construction
of the cellular jail evokes similar emotions. It had gallows
on the top of a hillock where condemned prisoners were