About Andaman

The Andaman and Nicobar Islands is one of the seven union territories of India, are a group of islands at the juncture of the Bay of Bengal and Andaman Sea.

The territory is 150 km (93 mi) north of Aceh in Indonesia and separated from Thailand and Myanmar (Burma) by the Andaman Sea. It comprises two island groups, the Andaman Islands and the Nicobar Islands, separated by the 10°N parallel, with the Andamans to the north of this latitude, and the Nicobars to the south (or by 179 km). The Andaman Sea lies to the east and the Bay of Bengal to the west.

The territory’s capital is the Andamanese town of Port Blair. The total land area of these islands is approximately 8,249 km2(3,185 sq mi). The capital of Nicobar Islands is Car Nicobar. The islands host the Andaman and Nicobar Command, the only tri-service geographical command of the Indian Armed Forces.

The Andaman Islands are home to the only known Paleolithic people, the Sentinelese people, who have no contact with any other people till date.

Hindi and English are the official languages of the islands. Bengali is the dominant and most spoken language, with 26% of the population speaking Bengali. The other major languages spoken in the islands are Hindi (18.23%), Tamil (17.68%), Telugu (12.81%), Malayalam (8.11%) and Nicobarese (8.05%) according to 2001 Census of India.

Area: 8,249 km²

Population: 380,500 (2012)

State Animal: Dugong

State Bird: Andaman wood pigeon

Languages: Hindi, Bengali, Tamil, Telugu, Malayalam, Nicobarese, English

The History of Island

First inhabitants

The earliest archaeological evidence yet documented goes back some 2,200 years. However, genetic and cultural studies suggest that the indigenous Andamanese people may have been isolated from other populations since some time during the Middle Paleolithic, which ended 30,000 years ago.

Since that time, the Andamanese have diversified into distinct linguistic, cultural and territorial groups.

The Nicobar Islands appear to have been populated by people of various backgrounds. At the time of the European contact, the indigenous inhabitants were the Nicobarese people, speaking a Mon-Khmer language; and the Shompen, whose language is of uncertain affiliation. Both are unrelated to the Andamanese, but being closely related to the Austroasiatic languages in mainland Southeast Asia.

Chola empire period

Rajendra Chola I (1014 to 1042 AD), a chola emperor used the Andaman and Nicobar Islands as a strategic naval base to launch an expedition against the Sriwijaya Empire (Indonesia). The chola empire called the island as Ma-Nakkavaram[great open/naked land] which is also found in the Thanjavur[Tamil Nadu] inscription of 1050 AD. European traveller Marco Polo (12th-13th century) also referred to this island as ‘Necuverann’ and a corrupted form of Tamil name Nakkavaram would have led to modern name Nicobar during British colonial period.

Later the Maratha empire, Danish colonial period and British Raj, Japanese and finally INDIA

The Geography

There are 572 Islands in the territory having an area of 8,249 km2 (3,185 sq mi). Of these, about 38 are permanently inhabited. The islands extend from 6° to 14° North latitudes and from 92° to 94° East longitudes. The Andamans are separated from the Nicobar group by a channel (the Ten Degree Channel) some 150 km (93 mi) wide. The highest point is located in North Andaman Island (Saddle Peak at 732 m (2,402 ft)).

The Andaman group has 325 Islands which cover an area of 6,170 km2 (2,382 sq mi) while the Nicobar group has only 24 islands with an area of 1,765 km2 (681 sq mi)

The capital of the union territory, Port Blair, is located 1,255 km (780 mi) from Kolkata, 1,200 km (750 mi) from Visakhapatnam and 1,190 km (740 mi) from Chennai. The northernmost point of the Andaman and Nicobars group is 901 km (560 mi) away from the mouth of the Hooghly River and 190 km (120 mi) from Myanmar.

Indira Point at 6°45’10″N and 93°49’36″E at the southern tip of the southernmost island, Great Nicobar, is the southernmost point of India and lies only 150 km (93 mi) from Sumatra in Indonesia.

The only volcano in India, Barren Island, is located in Andaman and Nicobar. It is an active volcano and last erupted in April 2017.

Population (Cencus 2011)

South Andaman : 238,142

North and Middle : 105,597

Nicobar : 36,842

Religion

The majority of people of the Andaman and Nicobar Islands are Hindus (69.44%), with Christians forming a large minority of 21.7% of the population, according to the 2011 census of India. There is also a small but significant Muslim (8.51%) minority.

Power Generation

Power Generation in Andaman is by Diesel Gensets, Now with Japanese assistance, Southern Andaman Island will now have a 15-Megawatt Diesel power plant. This would be the first foreign investment of any kind allowed at this strategically significant island chain. This is believed to be an Indo-Japanese strategic initiative to strengthen civilian infrastructure in the vicinity of the Strait of Malacca – a strategically important choke-point for the Chinese oil supply.

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