This is the only city in the A & N Islands. Port Blair is the nerve centre of the economy of the Islands. Port Blair is located in the south-east potion of south Andaman division. The city derives its name from Archibald Blair, brilliant surveyor who was commissioned by the British Government in the 18th century for a penal settlement. It is the capital of A & N Islands, handling most of their cargo & passenger traffic. The city has airport which receives passengers by Boeing 737 of Indian airlines. Now the fight is operated by Alliance Ltd, a subsidiary company of Indian airlines. The total geographical area of the town is 7.9 sq.kms. it has 57 revenue villages with a population of 74,955 as 1991 census. About 26.7% of total population of A & N Islands is living in the city. The occupational aspect of the city is divided into five categories namely government employees, school and college teachers’ owner of small scale industrial unit’s trades, skilled worker and labourers etc. Taxis government transport buses are the only modes of travel. The port blair city has a number of tourist attractions and place of historic interest and significance; its scenic beauty attract alarge number of tourists both from mainland and abroad.
The mini india (Andaman & nicobar islands):
In Andaman & nicobar island 85% of the population is made up of settlers from the mainland giving it a highly cosmopolitan character. That is why many describe Andamans as a Little india or A mini india. The linguistic break-up of present population as per 1981 data and estimates is:
Through one hears a variety of India language spoken by people working or moving around here yet everyone speaks Hindi no matter which part of the mainland he comes from.
The deep blue sea Andaman & Nicobar islands:
The union territory of Andaman and Nicobar islands often described as green islands in marigold sun on which the horizons are fixed, were known throughout the country as “kalapani” because of their having been a penal settlement under the British rule, a notoriety that is fast changing since Independence.
The Islands in along Andaman narrow broken chain approximately north-south sprawling like an are. It is logical to presume a former land connection from cape Nergis at the southern end of Burma to Cape Pedro in Sumatra.
The flora and fauna of these islands, however, indicate that this land connection if it existed should have been prior to the development of their present life.
This islands, some of which are large such as North Andaman,Andaman group and car Nicobar.
This is a group of big and small picturesque islands forming a narrow broken chain in the form of a north –south are and are situated at 16* N latitude and 92* E & 94* E longitude. The total geographical area is 8,293 sq. KM. More than 80% land is under forest.
The southern most island ( great Nicobar) is only about 150 Km. form Sumatra ( landfall) about 190 KM form Burma. Port Blair the capital is 1,255 kms from Calcutta and Chennai (Tamil Nadu) is 1,133 kms away. The territory consists of two distinct group of islands Andaman ( Area of 6,340 sq. kms) and Nicobar (area of 1,953 sq. kms). There are more than 572 islands islets and rock in the archipelago, while only about 38 islands of then are of appreciable size.
Generally mountainous with long range of hills enclosing narrow valleys. Mountains of these islands, saddle peak in north Andaman at a height of 732 meters (2,400 feet) above sea level is the highest point in these islands. In the middle Andaman mount Diavolo behind curthbert bay 511m ( 1678 feet), in the south Andaman koiob 459m (1505 feet), Mount Harriet 364m (1193 feet), and the chlunga range 324m (1063 feet), in Rutland island Ford’s peak 434m (1422 feet), Little Andaman, with the exception of the extreme north is practically flat.
The climate of the islands is generally describe as tropical and warm but temperature is pleasant by sea breeze. The islands are exposed to both the monsoon and to north-easterly gale from November to December and north westerly gale from may to October. The weather is calm only from January to April and to some extent in October. The average annual rainfall is 318 cm. and t=at the change of monsoon. The average temperature range between 22:5 and 29:9 Extremes of summer and winter do not exist. The relative humidity is an high as high as about 79%. The annual rainfall is about 2450 mm.
The total geographical area of the territory is about 8293 sq. kms of which 7144 sq. kms is under forest. Reserved forest is 2912 sq. kms and protected forest 4232 sq. kms.
The forest come under the general equatorial belt of tropical evergreen, moist deciduous and mangrove forest. There are about 200 species but only 44 are harvested of which only 29 are used for industrial purpose. The typical Andaman forest are filled with evergreen trees. The forest department started functioning in 1883. Isolation and remoteness from the constraint. In timber was confirmed to a few specie namely Padauk, silvergrey and Koko.
Climate is a factor that vitally affects tourism industry particularly in A & N Islands.. The best climate/season to visit A & N Islands is from October to may. Approximately, these islands get rainfall for a minimum of five months and a maximum of six months. The south west monsoons commence in beginning of May and continue till mid-October. Then, from mid-October, north east monsoon starts and continues till the mid December. When compared with south west monsoon, north east monsoon brings less rain. The period between January and April is full of sunlight and warmth. Foreign tourists like this climate and during this season/climate, the foreigners enjoy sunbath on the sea shore for some time and they go for sea bath. Of course, the Indian tourists like the climate of cloud-less sunlight, pleasant cool weather which prevails generally during the time between Octobers to December. During the period, the tourists need not worry about rain; weather is very pleasant, cool breeze blows and sea remains very calm. Visiting Inter islands by boat/ship during this season/climate is really wonderful. Tourists can witness the friendly fish (human brained), dolphins coming in group and their beautiful swimming, jumping and other naughty activities they accompany the boat to some distance.
The hills, ups and downs of these Islands carry greater part of the scenic beauty. They have superlatives, peaks, swifts, living species of plants and birds and animals like crabs. The golden sandy beaches, sparkling crystal clear sea, surrounded by beautiful mangrove forests, thick rainy forests are the nature’s gift to these islands. Once a tourist goes into the forest (not reserved one) he will forget himself and can enjoy the taste of peace. The coral reefs, underwater marine life, multicolour fishes, seaweed’s plants and flowers make these islands as dreamland and facility is provided by administration as a way to reach this dreamland. Tourists from different parts of the country enjoy the scenic beauty of the lush green forests. Another attraction of the place lies with its creeks and sanctuaries. Travelling through the creeks, surrounded by the thick mangrove forests, really make the tourists happy and cheerful. These creeks are suitably located for film shooting. The scenic views from one end to another with some Island/Islands are background has its own beauty, which cannot be seen elsewhere in world. As a resource, this scenic resource (natural resource) has not at all been touched for exploitation for any commercially productive purposes. This area is open to the researchers as well.
The important creeks are:
- Wright Myo in South Andaman
- Baratang in South Andaman
- Uttara in Middle Andaman
- Yeratta in Middle Andaman
- Kalighat in North Andaman
- Parangara in North Andaman
Next to the creeks, sanctuaries draw a lot of tourists. Sanctuaries are vital for preservation of its fragile eco-system. In A & N Islands there are 94 sanctuaries. Some sanctuaries are inhabited and the other uninhabited. The songs of different birds, beauty of their structure, their way of life which can be seen in these sanctuaries is all really worth watching.
The original people who lived here are the great Andamanes, Jarawas, Sentinelese and Onges in Andaman group, and the Nicobarese and Shompens in the Nicobar group. They were mostly nomadic, living on fish, wild pigs, wild tubers and berries without, however, causing any damages to the forests around them.
The population of tribal people as per 1981 census was :
History of the Settlement
In 1858 when the settlement at Port Blair was established the settlers naturally came into conflict with the Negrito Tribes, that lived in and around the place and all over south Andaman. The negrito in south Andaman , at the time were the great andamanese tribes and the jarawas. The settlers cunningly exploiting the old differences over the territory between the great andamanese tribes and the jarawas, succeeded in turning the form themselves and towards and jarawa. The jarawa were faced with dire danger from both sides Fight a defensive battle on two fronts they gradually migrated from the eastern parts to the southern and western parts of south Andaman.
Ultimately they had to find out to the western region of Andaman. Most probably they would have been smoked out from they also but for the fact that also but for the fact that the great andamanese were in the meantime paying a very heavy pride for friendship with the settlers. In a few decades their numbers had dwindled to a fraction of their original strength of about 4,000 or more. Now hardly 28 of this tribe survive in a specially reserved area on strait island.