The Andaman Islands are a Union Territory spread over a distance about 800 Kms with 38 inhabited islands and are one of the most unexplored territories in India. These magestic islands which emerge from a hill range extending frm Burma to Indonesia are covered with beautiful dense forests with an infinite variety of exotic flora & fauna and crystal clear blue waters. The Islands have been recognized as an eco-tourist destination that is one of most beautiful and diverse ways to discover the under-water treasures of marine life. I visited the islands this year in April for a month and was immersed in an experience that I will always fall back on to invoke memories of extreme pleasure running through me.
Before these islands were discovered they were home to aboriginal tribes. The tribes of the Andaman group of islands are the great Andamanese, Onges, Jarawas and Sentinalese which are all on the verge of extinction. Their numbers as well as their natural instinctive knowledge of the forest have reduced to less than half due to the negative impact of the destruction and renovation of their natural forest habitat as well as infiltrating substances from modern civilization, such as tobacco and alcohol which is poisonous and alien to their system. Through contact with new culture and ways of life, these small indegenius tribes have lost their cultural identity as well as knowledge and lifestyle of the forest.
Aerial view of Port Blair Island. Natural habitat of the indegenious Andamanese
I sat on the first seat of the bus driver who has driven down the Andaman Trunk Road across Port Blair for 13 years. He spoke of his encounters with the tribe. and spoke of their impeccable and extremely sharp memory. 2 Jarwa women remembered his name 6 months after a momentary encounter in the forest and also told me of the cures they have from the plants of the forest for all kinds of ailments. Visit paragon of beauty at Andaman Islands. The Andaman and Nicobar Islands were shrouded in mystery for centuries because of their inaccessibility. (For example, they tie a big leaf around their waist which heats up the skin naturally to alleviate backpain). They have been subject to diseases and death due to new foods, additives like salt, sugar and spices introduced into their system which is only accustomed to simple roots, plants, fish and wild boar of the forest. Although it is illeagle to photograph them I was able to look into the eyes of a Jarwa woman wide eyed and unblinking with a red lion cloth squatting in the bushes, her homeground, while I tresspassed on a noisy bus to Baratang through her sacred territory. Although my activities were touristic in nature I find it necessary to mention the original people of the Andamans in hope to invoke a respect for their lifestyle and natural intelligence for future travelers.
Tourism is the backbone of Andaman Islands. The government has provided many ways to boost eco-tourism in Andaman Islands and travelers are mostly concerned with Scuba Diving, Snorkelling, Trekking, Fishing, Kayaking around the Islands.
Cove in Havelock