Port Blair which is about 1,200 km from Kolkata and Chennai is the capital of the 350- odd islands of Andaman and Nicobar. The breath-taking beaches and fascinating marine ecology on the reefs along with the scope for water sports, bird watching and fishing, make Port Blair one of the most enchanting tourist destinations in India. In 1789 Captain Archibald Blair belonging to the Navy of the East India Company, established a penal colony at this site and named it Port Cornwallis. The first European settlement was established here in 1858 near the site of this old penal colony. This colony was re-named Port Blair in honour of Captain Blair. The Andaman and Nicobar islands are home to some of the oldest tribes in the world. Though most of these tribes have modernized, some of them that still exist in the ‘primitive’ stage are hostile to any outside interference. The climate here is quite moderate with temperature ranging from 20-30ºC. South-west monsoons arrive here between the months of May and June and north-east monsoons between November and December.
Port Blair Facts:
• Population 240,089
• Altitude 79 metres above sea level
• Languages Nicobari, Bengali, Tamil, Malayalam, Hindi, English
• STD Code 03192
• Best time to visit December to April
Tourist Attractions in Port Blair
The list of places to visit is endless in Port Blair. Whether it is the virgin, unexplored beaches, the swarming marine life, the numerous tiny islands or the many water- sports, Port Blair has always remained a favourite destination. The Zoological Park with its distinctive collection of wildlife species; the Cellular Jail which is the major landmark of the island; the government-operated Chatham Saw Mill, the oldest and largest wood-processing unit here; and the anthropological museum are some of the sites here that must be visited. Besides, one can visit the marine museum, Samudrika, housing a huge collection of corals, shells and 350 kinds of marine species. The cottage-industries emporium, which is a storehouse of pearl artifacts as well as seashells and local wood products; and the Corbyns Cove, the nearest beach to Port Blair are also worth a visit.
Tourist Attractions around Port Blair
It is a one of its kind experience to,take some time off to explore the nearby islands while you are in Port Blair. The Ross Island, houses old British bungalows, which are now mostly in ruins. Wandoor is a group of 15 islands, all of which are equally stunning. The Jolly Buoy Island, Havelock Island, Cinque Island, Viper Island and Neil Island are other exciting places one can visit.