The Nicobar Islands are further south of the Andaman Islands and together they comprise of the Union Territory of the Andaman and Nicobar Islands. The Nicobar Islands can be roughly seen as an amalgamation of northern, central and southern islands. Car Nicobar is part of the northern group of islands whereas, Greater Nicobar and Little Nicobar are part of the southern group of islands. The central groups comprises of Chowra, Teressa, Trinket, Nancowrie and more.
Places to visit in the Andaman Islands alone have been spoken about a few articles back. Here, we shall try and concentrate on the Nicobar Islands and look at its beauty and tourism. Unlike the islands north of the Andaman Sea or also known as the Andaman Islands where there are amazing tourist attractions and water sporting activities, the Nicobar Islands are far quieter and untouched by commercialisation. Most of these islands, such as Car Nicobar, Chowtha, Teressa and Trinket had been severely affected by the 2004 tsunami and are not open to tourists. However, one particular island, the Greater Nicobar, famous for the Indira Gandhi Point, the southernmost tip of India, is a place one should visit.
The Greater Nicobar Biosphere Reserve covers almost three fourth of the island. It consists of two national parks of India, the Campbell Bay National Park and the Galathea National Park. Both these parks are separated from each other by a 12km forest buffer zone.
The Campbell Bay National Park is undoubtedly one of a kind. Situated on a beautiful island it is home to species of all kinds. An absolute delight for tourists of all professions and ages, the national park is a stunner in more than one ways.
First of all, the journey undertaken to reach the Campbell Bay is in itself one of the best rides you will ever take in your life. You can board boats or ferries available from Port Blair from the Director at the Shipping Services (Phoenix Bay Jetty) or can also avail of the Pawan Hans helicopter services on contact with the Director of Aviation.
Note: Visiting the Nicobar Islands takes a more cautious approach and therefore if you plan a trip to the national parks and Indira Point, make sure you contact concerned authorities and book yourself on boats or ferries or the helicopter, as per your wish.
The terrain of the national park is covered with lush green tropical evergreen forests and mangroves also add their unique touch to the landscape. It is usually best to visit anytime between March to October, since the orchids and other flowers are in bloom. The beauty of the park rises by notches with the colourful flowers mesmerizing and dancing in the wind.
Since it is a national park, the wildlife at Campbell Bay is one of its major attractions. For nature and animal lovers this certainly is almost like a slice of heaven. Extremely rich in marine and aquatic life the park is also renowned for its unique and splendid flora and fauna. To name a few, the Nicobar Pigeon, Macaque, Megapode, Olive Ridley turtles, deer, wild boar, civet and Fruit Bat are some of the species that have their homes here.
The Galathea National Park, like the Campbell Bay Park is also magnificent with diverse flora and fauna.
For accommodation and bookings, it is advisable to get in touch with the Directorate of Tourism, Andaman Nicobar Islands.
Apart from the two national parks, Greater Nicobar also boasts of the location of the southernmost tip of land of the Indian Territory, the Indira Point, formerly known as Pygmalion Point. However, post the 2004 tsunami the southernmost tip has been submerged though scientists are hopeful that the waters are receding. The iconic lighthouse of the Indira Point was also submerged in the tsunami.
The Andaman and Nicobar Islands are a delight and one of those untouched, pristine landscapes that are definitely worth a visit. The beauty, the waters, the flora and fauna, ecosystems, tribes and more recently, resorts and water sports are more than a few reasons why the Andaman and Nicobar Islands should be on your list of vacations to take.
Photo by Ankur P