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ITF 2019 – Island Tourism Festival of the Andamans!

There is an abstract, almost magnetic charm to islands which attracts people; an ethereal beauty that cannot be explained in words. Serene beaches, and the soothing sound of ocean waves dissolving into foam always make islands one of the most preferred tourist destinations.

The Tourism Ministry of India organizes an annual festival at the Andaman Islands to promote island culture and to encourage tourists to visit the place more often. The festival brings out a lot of cultural activities from the island folklore, which tourists do not get to witness often. The purpose of Island Tourism Festival is to show people that island tourism is much more than just beaches. This festival holds a very important place in the heart of local folk and tourists alike.

Where is it Celebrated?

Main events of the Annual Island Tourism Festival are held at Port Blair, which is the capital of Andaman Islands. Celebrations comence on an open ground, reserved exclusively for this Festival. Some small-scale programs are also organized in other areas of Andaman Islands. Read on to know the festivities to watch out for during this festival.

Festivities to Watch For:

Dance and Music:

Cultural events are arranged to display the importance of dance and music in this island state of India. The melodious tunes of local folk music never fail to enthrall patrons. Several celebrity Indian artists who are experts in the art of music and dance, perform at the annual Island Tourism Festival.

Floating Restaurant:

The floating restaurant in Port Blair grabs a lot of eyeballs during Island Tourism Festival. Get an opportunity to dine on a cruise while you take a tour of some amazing sites Andaman has to offer, in a floating restaurant. Appropriately named ‘Afloat,’ this restaurant offers a range of lip smacking cuisine and an amazing dining experience enriched with cultural performances by entertainers.

Poetry Recital:

The festival organizers arrange a ‘Hasya Kavi Sammelan’ for entertaining audience. It is a humorous take on poetry recitals and offers a dose of laughter to one and all without hurting any sentiments. It is a great way to enhance your good mood and enjoy the annual Island Tourism Festival even more.

Cultural Exhibits:

Cultural exhibits like local art and crafts, local cuisines, jewelry and clothing native to the island, are displayed for sale during the annual Island Tourism Festival. The idea is to promote tourism in Andaman & Nicobar.

There are many other fun things to do, once the celebrations begin. This is a festival that one simply cannot afford to miss.

Nearby Site Seeing Options:

It is not every day that you wake up to find yourself at one of the most popular beach destinations in the world. So while you are in Andaman for the Island Festival, indulge in some local sightseeing and soak in the delights this place has to offer.

Havelock Island:

Want to satisfy your thirst for adventure sports while enjoying the Island Tourism Festival? Make space in your travel plans and head straight to Havelock Island. After you recover from being spellbound by the serene beauty of this destination, you will find a number of activities to do around.

haveloack-island-image
By Vikramjit Kakati Own work, CC BY-SA 3.0, Link

Havelock is one of the most popular tourist destinations in Andaman, so expect some crowd. An array of water sports options like kayaking, para-sailing, motor-boat riding, are available here. Take a snorkeling tutorial before embarking on this thrilling journey of water sports..

If these adrenaline pumping activities do not interest you, there are other ways to have fun too! Just sit back and take in the breathtaking view of white stretches of sand against a back drop of forest green dense foliage.

Havelock island has been renamed as “Swaraj Dweep” by honourable prime minister Narendra Modi ji; along with two other islands as well. Read the full story here.

Neil Island:

For those who prefer to stay away from crowded areas, skip Havelock Island and head straight to Neil Island. A lesser visited place in Andaman, Neil Island is a pleasurable visit for all nature lovers.

With several coral reefs present here, tourists can spend their time hiking around the island or simply relaxing. Known as the ‘vegetable bowl‘ of Andaman, the entire sandy stretch of Neil Island can be explored in about 2 hours. If you are looking forward to doing absolutely nothing, head to the peaceful Neil Island and laze around reading a book, chit chatting with your travel mates, playing games and much more!

Rangat:

Rangat is a tiny Island village falling under the jurisdiction of Andaman. It is the perfect tourist spot if tranquility is your best friend. Clear stretches of white sand being gently seduced by the oceanic waves, make for one of the best sceneries for that perfect holiday experience.

Being a lesser visited tourist spot, Rangat is ideal for those who are looking to spend some private time with their partner, or even by themselves. You will enjoy interacting with locals and get to know more about their customs, food habits and traditions. Spend your day doing these fun filled activities; or have fun without doing absolutely nothing! Simply plonking yourself on a mat right on the beach seems fun too, right?!

Cellular Jail:

Traversing corridors lined with tiny prison cells while imagining the dark torture lashed out on its inhabitants is not at all an ideal way to spennd your vacation. But, Cellular Jail is a place one must visit while in Andaman. This prison was infamous for the harsh treatment meted out to prisoners. Several noted Indian freedom fighters have seen the interiors of this dark place. Honor their memories and sacrifices by paying a visit to this prison.

kaala-pani-cellular-jail-at-andaman-nicobar
By Aliven SarkarOwn work, CC BY-SA 3.0, Link

Veer Savarkar, a well-known Indian freedom fighter was imprisoned in the Cellular Jail. Today, the Cellular Jail is a hot spot for students of history and tourists. The place that witnessed inhuman treatment given to prisoners on daily basis,has now been declared a National Memorial.

Mahatma Gandhi National Marine Park, Samudrika Naval Marine Museum, Chidiya Taapu, are some other places that can be visited in Andaman.

This holiday season, do not take home just bags full of local shopping, but some beautiful memories as well.

Travel Options:

Air Travel:

Despite being part of India, Andaman is removed from the mainland. This necessitates air travel to reach the island. Regular flight services are operated from several international airports like Mumbai, Chennai, Kolkata, and Delhi, to reach Port Blair. Port Blair houses the only airport of this island.

Flight services may be irregular at times due to unpredictable weather conditions in Andaman. However, prior notice is given to passengers in such cases. Upon arrival at Port Blair, tourists can continue their further journey by cabs or buses.

Boat Travel:

What is the point of visiting an island and not traveling by water-ways? Cruise trips from Indian mainland to Andaman have been a hit with tourists visiting this island. Kolkata, Chennai and Visakhapatnam are the 3 cities on Indian mainland from which these cruise services operate.

Boat rides are available locally as well, for tourists who wish to visit neighboring islands. Confirm your bookings in advance to avoid last minute rush and confusion.

Road Travel:

Upon reaching Andaman, get into the mood for some exciting road trips as you traverse the picturesque surroundings of the island. Cab and bus services are available for tourists’ convenience. Tourists traveling in a large group may avail exciting offers on group bookings.

So these are your travel options for reaching Andaman. Which one is your most favorite?

Andaman is a paradise for those looking to have a good time with their loved ones. From water sports, shopping and beach activities for the adventurous traveler, to serene islands for people who crave peace , Andaman has something to satiate every tourist’s thirst. Make merry this holiday season with your loved ones, only in Andaman Islands!

Update: PM Narendra Modi has announced new names for 3 islands in Andaman & Nicobar, honouring Netaji Bose and his Indian National Army. Ross Island is now Netaji Subhas Chandra Bose Dweep, Neil Island is Shaheed Dweep, Havelock Island is Swaraj Dweep. Read the full story here.

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