Mysterious even to Indians are the brilliantly unspoiled islands off the West and East Coast of India.
The Andamans have an ancient history dating back to the Ramayana, the venerated Hindu legend and scripture. Isolated till the beginning of the 18th century, the islands were home to tribes of Mongoloid and Negrito descent. Dominated by the Marathas, the British and the Japanese, the Islands became a part of India after independence in 1947.
The Andaman and Nicobar islands, are famous for their long clear beaches great for sunbathing and water sports including scuba-diving and snorkeling off the capital of Port Blair, and also off Jolly Buoy and Redskin. The coral reefs around the area can keep you spellbound even through the glass bottom boats if you don’t want to get into the water.
Besides the Marine National and Marina Park, the sound and light show at the Cellular Jail is fascinating – this is where prisoners from India were exiled and sent to the gallows!
The highlight of your travel are the dazzling beaches of the many islands that have regular boat service from Port Blair – Havelock Island, Long Island, Neil Island, Mayabunder, North Passage Island, Baratang, Diglipur, Cinque Island, Rangat, and Chiriya Tapoo. You will need special permits to visit the Middle Islands, North Andaman, Little Andaman and Nicobar Islands which are out of bounds for visitors.
The Lakhswadeep Islands are a stunning archipelago, set like gems of brilliant coral reefs well off the coast of Kerala. About 50,000 people live here, and they survive mainly on fishing and coir making. 5 islands are open to tourists and only 2 to foreigners. Special permits are required and group travel is the way to go, the best months being between November to May.
Snorkeling, deep sea diving, rafting and kayaking are reasons to get here. TCI will book you at the resorts and give you the do’s and don’ts if you want to make this amazing journey.
To visit the islands around India, October to May is the best season. The Monsoon that lasts from June to September and has its own charm but is recommended for the more adventurous traveler.