Limestone CavesAndaman & Nicobar
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If you’re a beach person and looking for serene white sand beaches to laze around and enjoy some exclusive time with yourself and your loved ones, head toward Andaman & Nicobar Islands this holiday! A territory once inhabited by indigenous tribes, is now one of the most sought-after places for honeymooners and leisure travelers! Spread across 8073 sq kms of land, Andaman & Nicobar Islands is a compilation of six hundred islands and one of the preferred union territories of India.
This archipelago at the meeting point of Andaman Sea and Bay of Bengal was declared by TIME magazine as the 7th most spectacular beaches in the world in 2004. Tourism is one of the main industries of Andaman & Nicobar Islands offering whole lot of attractions and exciting activities to explore! Sprawling beaches, witnessing breathtaking sunrise and sunset, magnificent forts, historical landmarks, museums and water sports make this holiday destination one of the chosen sites for holidaymakers who loves to mix leisure with adventure!
Indian nationals do not require any permit to enter this region. But to explore Nicobar Islands, a prior permission of the Deputy Commissioner Andaman District is essential. All foreign tourists require obtaining a 30 day permit from the immigration office in all the main metros in India.
This melting pot of Indian culture is heavily influenced by different religions and their way of cooking. Mainly one will find south Indian and north Indian cuisines in this union territory. Majorly rice eaters, the islands boast of some of the finest cuisines of Indian culture strongly rooted in history. Cuisine here is exotic, tropical and refreshing, reflecting the island’s livelihood and tradition. The sea all around has a profound and prominent effect on food here, especially seafood, which is something you cannot afford to miss. The fish curries, crabs, sardines, prawns and lobsters and other fresh catches are must tries. Since the Andamans are a popular destination for Indian and foreign tourists around the year, you will find Indian, Chinese and other continental cuisines galore. Also, fruits like coconuts, bananas, pineapples, guavas and others abound in the islands. Most hotels here have their own restaurants, or else, you can try local food joints.
The culture of Andaman & Nicobar Islands is a blend of different religions and communities. As a result, their festivals are equally colorful and vivacious. Mongoloids, Negroid settlers and migrants have contributed a lot to the society of this region. Some of the popular festivals include:
Beach Festival: An ideal celebration for beach lovers, Beach Festival has different exciting sports and other activities like kabaddi, volley ball, tug of war and other fun filled actions. Besides, travelers can indulge in delectable sea food and participate in different entertainment programs in Beach Festival.
Island Tourism Festival: One of the major festivals of this union territory, Island Tourism Festival in Port Blair continues for fifteen days. Attracting large number of travelers across the globe, this mega event is a must watch! Children from different schools participate in this festival to put up remarkable performances. Organized by the Tourism department, this festival also allows different indigenous craftsmen to showcase their handiworks. Besides, magic shows, water sports, puppet shows, baby shows and other activities mark the festival.
Film Festival: The annual film festival is a favorite event of this place organized by the Information and Publicity Division of the Directorate. Free of cost movie buffs can watch Indian films in different regional languages being displayed in this festival. It takes place in Port Blair and starts from November onwards every year.
Food Festival: This four daylong celebration is an ultimate event for all connoisseur of food to splurge on. Takes place in September; this food festival is an exhibition of ethnic delicacies of this region.
Music festival: Organized somewhere between May to June, this festival mainly highlights tourism and its fortification in Andamans. Followed by food stalls, music events and other activities, Music festival is also called monsoon festival by many.
In addition, world tourism day, block mela, Subhash mela etc. are other festivals of Andaman which are observed with equal fanfare.
Indians, mainly from West Bengal, Tamil Nadu and Punjab and natives constitute the main culture of this enigmatic land! The natives comprise Jarawa, Sentinalese, Onge and Andamanese tribes. The Nicobar Island is mainly inhabited by Shompen and Nicobarese tribes.
These native tribes dress differently. Sentinalese prefer not to wear any clothes on the other hand Jarawa community wear shell and bark made necklaces with traditional clothing. Shompens wear clothes only below their waistline. Car Nicobarese and Onge Tribe are the only communities to follow modern lifestyle and clothing unlike other aboriginals.
Known for their love for dance and music, the native residents of this island participate in different dance forms that truly reflect their culture and lifestyle. Nicobari dance is the main dance style of Nicobarese tribe. Observed during pig festival, the dancers wearing coconut leaves perform under full moon. Among the Onge tribes, male and female sing together while dancing.
Wood craft and shell are the principal art forms of this region. Mat making and basketry are associated with Andaman culture in an intricate manner. Sea food is one of the key attractions of Andamans. Moreover, one needs to visit Bharatpur Beach, the famous Limestone Caves, Viper Island, Cellular Jail and Marina Park & Aquarium to understand the real way of life of this exotic Island!
The availability of bamboo in abundance has made cane and bamboo work to be one of its primary art forms. Cane baskets and other exquisite items are made of bamboo. Wood work and carpentry is also famous in Andamans. Table tops, canoes, wooden statues and other home décor are made of wood work.
Basketry and mat making is yet another conventional art form of Nicobars. Shell craft is equally famous here. Ashtrays, jewelries, lamps, boxes and other items of daily necessity are made of tortoise shell. Coconut shell is also used in making finger bowls and other different eye-catching stuffs. Cross bows is one more unique art form that’s quite popular among tourists!
Port Blair has emporiums and many curio shops from where one can easily collect any of these exclusive local handiworks of this region.
Tamil and Bengali are the most oft spoken languages of Andamans. Besides, Hindi, Malayali, Punjabi, Telegu and Nicobari is also spoken and understood here. Tribal languages like Onge, Jarawa, Andamanese and Sentinalese are also spoken among the aboriginals. People mostly residing in Port Blair speak and understand English also.
By Road: One has to take bus from Aberdeen Bazar to Baratang jetty via Jarawa Tribal Reserve.
By Train: There is no rail facility available to reach this cave.
By Air: Veer Savarkar International Airport is the nearest airport located in Port Blair. It has connecting flights to Chennai, New Delhi, Kolkata, Pune and other cities within India.
By Ship: From Baratang Jetty fiber boat ride takes one to the limestone caves through breathtaking mangrove drive.GET DIRECTION
Baratang Island Dew Dale Resort. Otherwise, stay at Port Blair as the city has many hotels and guest houses to choose from.
Enough drinking water and snacks are must carry essentials as one won’t find any provisions for food and water in and around. Only near the jetty there are few restaurants selling mackerel fish.
Boats are the only local transports available to explore the place in and out.
From November till March are the ideal months to visit this place.
Exciting stalagmites and stalactites resembling like different animals are the main attractions of this cave! Besides the journey to this natural splendor is even more thrilling! From the jetty one has to trek 2 kms amidst lush greenery and tall trees to reach the cave area.
Parrot Island – A mesmerizing place to be, this island is a must see for nay bird lover!