Havelock Island or Havelock, situated in Ritchie's Archipelago, belongs to the Indian Union Territory of Andaman & Nicobar. Havelock Island is the largest among all the islands in Ritchie's Archipelago. Havelock is a major tourist destination owing to its rich marine life, white sand beaches and dense evergreen forests.
Havelock Island, consisting of several small villages, comprises an area of about 113.93 sq. km. and it lies towards the east of Great Andaman of the Andaman Islands, at a distance of about 57 km north-east to the capital city, Port Blair. Havelock belongs to the Andaman district and it is governed by the tehsil of Port Blair.
History of Havelock Island
Havelock Island is one among the few inhabited islands of Andaman & Nicobar. The Island is named after Mr. Henry Havelock, a British General who was based in India. Havelock Island was once home to the indigenous tribes who spoke Aka-Bale language. The tribal population of Havelock Island declined greatly during the era of colonisation of Andaman & Nicobar by the British. The original natives of Havelock Island have gone extinct and the Island is now occupied mostly by Bengali and Myanmar immigrants.
The administrative body of the Union Territory of Andaman & Nicobar has greatly promoted tourism in Havelock Island. The special features of the hilly island of Havelock like lush greenery, palm fringed sea beaches stretching along the Bay of Bengal, vast array of marine species, dense forests, etc. were helpful to provide special emphasis on eco ľ tourism.
People & Culture of Havelock Island
The island has two distinct occupants ľ with one group consisting of people from the states of West Bengal, Punjab, Tamil Nadu in the mainland and the other one consisting of the natives or the Aborigines. The tribes in Havelock Island are of Negroid descent and belong to the Onge, Sentalese and Jarawa groups.
Things to do in Havelock Island
Havelock celebrates its rustic style and has earned a great place in the pages of the history of Indian Tourism. Some of the main attractions of Havelock Island are Vijay Nagar Beach
or Beach No. 5 and Radha Nagar Beach
or Beach No. 7. Both Vijay Nagar Beach and Radha Nagar Beach are recipients of A rating from the World Tourism Organization (WTO). Elephant Beach
is famous for its coral reefs and rich aquatic life.
Havelock Island is also a popular spot for activities like scuba diving, snorkelling, trekking, island camping, kayaking, sailing, etc. There are several Havelock Island packages
which cater to people interested in such activities as well as others. The beaches, crystal clear waters and rustic atmosphere with its relaxing ambience attract tourists to Havelock Island all round the year.
Food & Shopping in Havelock Island
The Island is also well known for fresh sea foodwhich includes prawn, lobster and several other fish dishes. Dishes made using fish as the main ingredient are also popular in the island. The eateries are located along the beaches of the region as these are occupied by large number of travellers. Beach #1, Beach#3 and Beach #7 are the places where most of the eateries are located.
Shopping options in Havelock Island are limited. Tourists can shop for traditional island crafts in Havelock Island like shell jewellery, which include bracelets, earrings and necklaces, seashell souvenirs and multihued corals in different sizes. Also available are woodcraft like bowls, trays, walking sticks, coconut shell lamp shades, Nicobaree mats and bamboo cane craft.
Travelling to Havelock Island
Port Blair serves as the closest airport to Havelock Island; from there tourists can board a ferry, which is the best way to reach Havelock Island
. It is suggested to enquire about the timings of ferries locally as they differ from season to season.
Direct flights are available from Kolkata and Chennai to Veer Savarkar International Airport, while indirect flights to this airport are available from cities like Pune, Bangalore and Mumbai. Tourists travelling from the places like Chennai, Visakhapatnam and Kolkata can also reach the destination by boats and ferries.
Travelling within Havelock Island
Getting around Havelock Island is not much of a hassle. The modes of transportation available include buses, shared jeeps and taxis. Buses mainly operate between Beach # 1, Beach #5 and Beach #7 (Radhanagar Beach). Tourists can also hire bicycles, scooters or private cabs to roam around the Island. The scenic beauty of Island can be enjoyed by walking along the beaches.
Travel tips for Havelock Island
The best time to visit Havelock Island is between December and April as
it is best suited for diving. People with certain medical conditions
like heart disease, asthma, diabetes etc. should avoid this activity.
Divers need to spend a minimum amount of time on land before and after
diving. This varies with the time and depth spent underwater. It is best
to contact the dive sites directly to obtain up-to-date information.
Accommodation options in Havelock Island
Havelock Island has plenty of accommodation options as it is among the top tourist destinations in the Union Territory. Hotel options in Havelock Island
comprise primarily of palm-thatched beach huts in addition to hotels, resorts, cottages and bungalows. Island camping is also an option. Most of the accommodation is located around and between Beach #3 and Beach #5.