28 islands, with an area of 1,841-sq-kms, the Nicobar group of islands is
separated from Andamans by the Ten-Degree
Channel. The Nicobars abound in coconut palms, casuarinas and Pandanus.
The Nicobar Islands can be divided in three groups - Northern Most Group,
Central Group and Southern Group.
Great and Little Nicobar have dark crab eating monkeys with long tails. Nicobare Pigeons are found on these islands in plenty. Magapode, a rare bird, is found in Great Nicobar. The southern most tip of India, "Indira Point" is in Great Nicobar Island.
Due to absence of collective memory it is not possible to trace Nicobarese past link, both ethnic and cultural. "Bonington" (1932) referred to them as a branch of the Mon race. They are believed to have been living in the Archipelago of Nicobar from time immemorial. Later migrating people from Malaysia, Indonesia, Burma, greater India and China in ancient days settled there and they integrated with the indigenous people they found on the island. But with regard to the origin of the Nicobarese, each island possesses folklore of its own.
Since time immemorial these beautiful Islands have been part of India. Scholars connect early history of Andaman and Nicobar as the land of Ramayan's Hanuman. Lord Ram, the hero of the epic Ramayana is believed to have passed through these islands during his period of exile. Many of the Voyagers referred Nicobar Islands as the 'Land of the Naked'. In Indian term it was called 'Nakkavar'.
In recent Indian history, an archeological inscription dated AD 1059 says that Nicobar was part of overseas kingdom of Tamil Chola Kings of Tanjore. In 1869, British took possession of the Nicobar Islands from the Danes and they became part of modern India.
The Isolated Land
According to history Nicobar Islands have experienced all kinds of external influences for centuries, because they are located along an ancient international trade sea route and have been known to voyagers and scholars from ancient times. So it proves they have been witness to fusion of blood and fusion of culture as well.
It was on 2nd April 1957 for some practical reasons to stop economic exploitation of the islanders that the Government of India declared Nicobar Islands as Aboriginal Tribal Reserve Area and Nicobar Islands became inaccessible to the people. Even Indian people from the mainland need a special tribal pass to land on different islands.
The Great Nicobar (Distance 540-km. By Sea From Port Blair)
The Great Nicobar is 865-sq-kms in area and is the largest of the Nicobar group. Its southern most point, the Indira Point (Formerly known as Pygmallion Point) is also the southern most point of India. The northern half of the Great Nicobar Island has hills and mountain ranges while the rest of the Island is fairly flat. The Great Nicobar is the only Island in Andaman and Nicobars, which has perennial rivers - the Galathea, Alexandria, and Doyma. The beach near Galathia is the nesting ground for Giant Leather Back Turtles. The island also houses the biosphere reserve area.
Great Nicobar is a 60-hour journey by ship from Port Blair. One has to rely on government guesthouses at the Great Nicobar Island and reservations should be made well in advance.
Car Nicobar (Distance 270-km. By Sea From Port Blair)
A flat fertile Island, the Car Nicobar is covered with a cluster of coconut palms and some enchanting beaches with a roaring sea all around. It is also the headquarters of Nicobar district. The houses in the Island are especially unique and fascinating. The Nicobarese built their houses on stilts about 2m off the ground, which have entrances through the floor. Some of these huts look like beehives.
Car Nicobar is a 16-hour journey from Port Blair by sea. One can check out the Ship Schedules available at the Shipping Office at Port Blair. One has to rely on government guesthouses at Car Nicobar and reservations should be made well in advance before starting from Port Blair.
Nancowry Group Of Islands
Nancowry Group of Islands are considered to be the most beautiful islands in the Nicobar group. There are no hotels to stay and one has to make one's own arrangements at the circuit house or village schools present over here.
Katchal Island (425-km. By Sea From Port Blair)
Katchal is a tiny island in the Nicobar group. It was this island, which heralded the new millennium with the first sunrise on 1st January 2000. This island has beautiful beaches at East Bay Jhula and West Bay. more...
Nicobar group of islands is out of bounds for tourists at present.
Sea: Ferries are available to reach Nicobar Islands via sea from Port Blair, Car Nicobar And Katchal Island.
Government guesthouses and circuit houses are avilable at Great Nicobar, Car Nicobar and Katchal Island, but one has to make reservations in advance.
Chennai - 1190 Km
Calcutta - 1255 Km
Vishakapatnam - 1200 Km