The Andaman and Nicobar Islands, located in the east of the Indian mainland geographically, float in splendid isolation in the Bay of Bengal. Once a hill range extending from Myanmar to Indonesia, these picturesque undulating islands, islets numbering around 556, are covered with dense damp and evergreen forests and endless varieties of exotic flora and fauna. Most of these islands are in the Andaman Group, 24 of which are inhabited. In the Nicobar group 13 islands are inhabited. The Andaman and Nicobars are separated by the Ten Degree Channel which is 150 Kms. wide.These islands also boast of freedom fighting days, historically significant landmarks viz. Cellular Jail, Ross Island, Viper Island, Hopetown and Mount Harriet. The Andaman and Nicobar Islands have been declared as two of the 218 endemic bird area of the world. As many as 270 species and sub-species of birds have been reported existing in these islands, 106 of them being endemic. The Andaman Wood Pigeon, Andaman Padauk and Dugong are declared as State Bird, State Tree and State Animal respectively. There are about 96 Wildlife Sanctuaries, nine National Parks and one Biosphere Reserve in the islands. Mahatma Gandhi Marine National Park is the best known sanctuary. These islands are blessed with the bounties of both south-west and north-east monsoons.
The gateway to Andaman and Nicobar Islands is the Capital city Port Blair. However it is also possible to land at Mayabunder or Campbell Bay if approached by ship. Andaman, being an island, is accessible in only two ways – By air or by sea. At present there are only 3 routes available from Indian Mainland to reach the capital city of Port Blair. International flights from nearby countries like Indonesia and Thailand are not operating from Port Blair Airport although the distance from Andaman to these destinations is much less than the distance from the available routes. Flights are certainly faster, more comfortable and therefore the preferred option. Ships, although seem cheaper, are general passenger ships and are more troublesome than they initially seem.