Amazing Facts about Andamans “Kaala Pani”
The Cellular Jail where Indian freedom fighters were imprisoned as a punishment for fighting the British rule is also located in Port Blair. This punishment was considered so harsh that these islands earned the notorious designation of being called “Kaala pani” (black water). This was the second concentration camp in the world, the first being in South Africa after the Boer war.
The only Viceroy to ever been murdered in India was in these very islands. The Viceroy, the Earl of Mayo, when on a visit to the settlement on 8 February 1872, was murdered by a Muslim convict.
Bio- Diversity Hotspots
Andamans have near about 94 islands which are designated as National Parks (30 islands being turtle nesting sites) and 8 National Sea Parks. These islands are also the nesting grounds for the endangered Leatherback turtles and are one of the four places in the world where more than 1,000 Leatherback turtles come to nest each year. Leatherback turtles can grow up to two meters in length and one meter in breadth and weigh around 500 kilos. The leatherback turtles (Dermochelys Coriacea) are the largest of all living turtles of the world.
In March 2002, 62 marine scientists met in Hanoi under UNESCO and identified the Andaman & Nicobar Islands as Bio Diversity Hotspots and potential candidates for World Heritage Sites.
• 40% of the 244 species and sub species of plants found in the emerald isles are endemic.
• 60% of 58 species of animals found on these stunning islands are endemic.
• 50% of butterflies that live in the Andamans are endemic.
The Millennium Sunrise
The place to get the first rays of the millennium sunrise was Katchal Island in Nicobars.
The Only Active Volcano
Barren Island is the only active volcano not just in India but the whole of South Asia. It is located approx 135 kms north east of Port Blair.
“The Invisible Islands”
Jacques Yves Cousteau – considered the Father of Scuba diving and God of underwater film-making, visited these islands in 1990 and shot a 45 minute documentary called “The Invisible Islands”. A number of the dive sites featured in this film are still dived today. It is believed that these islands are the only place where “fish die of old age” due to lack of commercial fishing.
The largest land-living arthropod
The Robber crab (Birgus Latro) is the largest land-living arthropod in the world. They generally live on land, but at nights climb up the coconut trees and carve a hole into the tender coconuts to eat the soft kernel. They are found on South Sentinel Island as well as on some islands in Nicobar area.