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Andaman and Nicobar Islands

These islands lying in the Bay of Bengal were once a hill range stretching from Sumatra, 120 kms to the south of Burma. Many of these islands are still covered with rich tropical evergreen and tropical moist deciduous forests and are home to many endemic birds and reptiles. Most of the mammals are introduced species. Not only is the bird and forest life fascinating, but many islands are refuges for ancient and highly threatened indigenous people struggling to maintain their tradition and identify despite the pressures of the 21st century.

The temperature of the islands ranges from 20-30 C with the rainy season from June to December. Most of the areas are established for plants, birds and marine life. Most mammals are rodents and bats although introduced species include Andaman pig, chital, hogdeer, elephant and palm civet. Of the indigenous mammals the crab-eating or Nicobar macaque, the Nicobar tree shrew and the dugong are significant. Of the 255 bird species, 112 are endemic to the islands and many are highly endangered.

The best time to visit is from January to March. There are several wildlife sanctuaries .Barren Island is located approx 60 kms east of the main Andaman group of islands. It is about 125 kms north-east of Port Blair. The waters around the island are home to dolphin and dugongs. Marine National Park is situated about 30 kms west of Port Blair. Bird life includes white-bellied sea eagle, Andaman wood pigeon and Andaman teal. This sanctuary is home to an important range of marine reptiles including green sea leather backed Olive Ridley turtles, hawk billed turtles and salt water crocodiles. Middle Button Island National Park was established in 1979.These small island parks have few mammals. The dolphin and dugongs are often sighted near the coast; the water monitor lizard is also found.Narcondum Island Sanctuary is located about 260kms north east of Port Blair. This sanctuary protects the sole habitat of the Narcondum hornbill. South Sentinel Sanctuary is located about 125 kms south of Port Blair. Olive Ridley turtles and leather backed turtles all lay eggs here and the white bellied sea eagle hunts in the surrounding waters. There may still be some robber crabs.

How to Reach
Port Blair is connected with Chennai and Calcutta by air. Presently flights are operated by Alliance Air/Indian Airlines and Jet Airways.
Alliance Air: City Office: Middle Point, Port Blair, Tel: 233108 Airport: 232983 Jet Airways flights are operating every day on Chennai - Port Blair - Chennai sector.
Jet Airways: City Office: Junglighat, Port Blair, Tel: 236922/236933 Fax: 236944

By Sea
Regular passenger ship services are available to Port Blair from Chennai, Calcutta and Regular passenger ship services are available to Port Blair from Chennai, Vishakhapatnam and back. There are three to four sailings every month from Calcutta and Chennai to Port Blair and vice-versa. There is one sailing from Vishakhapatnam in a month. The voyage takes about 50 to 60 hours and the ship normally berths at Port Blair for about two to four days.