Floating in splendid isolation, cast of the Indian mainland is the archipelago of 572 emerald islands, islets and rocks known as Andaman & Nicobar Islands. This Union Territory is stretched over an area of more than 700 Km. from north to south with 36 inhabited islands.
The Andaman & Nicobar Islands are a veritable Garden of Eden and a naturalist's heaven. The clean environment, roads, greenery as well as unpolluted fresh air attract all nature lovers. The tropical rain forests and waters of Bay of Bengal are the home of a vast collection of plant, animal and marine life. Topographically the islands are hilly in places fringed with coconut palm, covered with tropical jungle and interspersed with flat stretches of crescent shaped beaches.
In these islands people of all faiths - Hindus, Muslims, Christians, Sikhs etc., and of all languages like Hindi, Bengali, Malayalam, Tamil, Telugu, Punjabi, Nicobari etc., live together in complete peace and harmony. Inter-religion and inter-regional marriages are common. This amazing racial and cultural mix is correctly described as Mini-India.
There are five Primitive Tribal Groups who have been identified in the Andaman & Nicobar Islands. They are: i) Great Andamanese of Strait Island
ii) Onges of Little Andaman
iii) Jarawas of South and Middle Andaman
iv) Sentinelese of Sentinel Islands, and
v) Shompens of Great Nicobar
The reserved and protected forests extend over 86% area of the territory and the forest cover is more than 92 %. About 50 % of the forests have been set aside as Tribal Reserves, National Parks and Wildlife Sanctuaries, which are inviolate. Luxuriant mangroves, perhaps the richest in the world, occupy nearly 11.5 % of the territory. More than 150 plant and animals species are endemic in nature. Mahatma Gandhi Marine National Park is rich in corals, varieties of colored fishes, sea turtles etc., besides other marine life. It is a bird’s paradise - more than 271...