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 572, are covered with dense rain-fed, damp and evergreen forests and endless varieties of exotic flora and fauna. Most of these islands (about 550) are in the Andaman Group, 28 of which are inhabited. The smaller Nicobars, comprise some 22 main islands (10 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, Netaji Subhas Chandra Bose 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. These islands are blessed with the bounties of both south-west and north-east monsoons. The islands have a tropical climate. The South-west Monsoon sets in Andaman Nicobar islands towards the end of May and the North-east Monsoon in November. There is no fury of hot summer, no chilling winter, no water clogging or traffic jams. For those who want to enjoy boating, swimming, snorkeling, sightseeing all 12 months is season.
Indian nationals needs no permit to visit the Andamans. However, visiting to tribal reserved areas in the Andaman and Nicobar Islands is prohibited. All foreign nationals required a permit (RAP - Restricted Area Permit) to visit the Andaman Nicobar Islands, which is easily available on arrival at Port Blair by flight or ship from the Immigration Authorities for 30 days subject to availability of valid visa. This is extendable for another 15 days in certain cases with permission and the delegated authority to extend permission is the Superintendent of Police, FRO/CID, Port Blair. The Restricted Area Permit can also be obtained from the Indian Missions overseas and also from the Foreigners Registration Offices at New Delhi, Mumbai, Chennai and Kolkata and from the Immigration Authorities at the Airport of New Delhi, Mumbai, Chennai and Kolkata.