The Andaman and Nicobar Islands, surrounded by a wealth of flora and fauna as well as an enthralling history, are becoming one of India's most popular tourist destinations. Beyond the breathtaking landscapes, this Union Territory is renowned for hosting various tourism-centric events, enhancing its allure. Among these, the Island Tourism Festival, celebrated in January, steals the spotlight. A coveted occasion for both locals and global visitors, this festival doubles as a local New Year celebration.
Inaugurated by the Honourable Lieutenant Governor at the ITF Ground in Port Blair, the festival offers a mosaic of cultural performances, music concerts, and culinary delights, ensuring an immersive experience for attendees. While Port Blair takes centre stage, other towns like Wimberlygunj, Shaheed Dweep, Swaraj Dweep, Mayabunder, Diglipur, Hut Bay, Car Nicobar, Kamorta, and Wandoor radiate equal enthusiasm, making the festival a vibrant celebration across the Andaman and Nicobar Islands.
Date & Venue for Island Tourism Festival
The Island Tourism Festival is a cultural event which is held in the month of January in Port Blair in Andaman and Nicobar Islands. This 10 day event is held every year from January 5th to January 15th.
Major Attractions of Island Tourism Festival
1. Traditional Sports
During the festival, several sports competitions are organised to entertain the audience. Fun activities like Cock Fight, Marble, Sack Race, Mock Canoe Race, and Musical Chairs are definitely going to cheer you up.
2. Kite-Flying Competition
The famous Kite Flying Competition is absolutely the best thing one can experience here. Various types of sizes, designs, and colourful kites add a beautiful and vibrant look to the sky.
3. Art and Handicraft Exhibition
Are you a shopaholic? Well, you will also fall in love with this festival equally. While you will come across several vendors selling almost everything right from home decor to branded clothes, you will also come across several traditional stalls with items made by artistic and handcrafted skills. Shell accessories, bamboo furniture, wooden goods, coconut lamps. Also, don’t forget to visit Queen Seashell Craft and Aberdeen Bazaar.
4. Music Extravaganza
Get ready to enjoy several musical art forms performed by locals, national and international artists. Tribal musical troops, world-renowned musical troops, national and international artists perform at the musical extravaganza. Also, you will love to enjoy cultural dance performances, live music orchestra, etc.
5. Floating Restaurants
You will get to try some local and international cuisines at popular floating restaurants at the festival with soulful music. Different kinds of seafood will really make your day at the festival.
The stunning blue waters, the long and calm stretches of white sands laid quietly beneath the immense sky is what attracts the tourists to Radhanagar Beach. It was even awarded with the title of ‘Asia’s Best Beach’ by the Times Magazine in 2004. While exploring the Andaman Islands, a visit here becomes a must.
Also known as the Kala Pani, this is an old colonial prison situated in Port Blair; the capital of the Andaman and Nicobar Islands. This prison was constructed by the Britishers for imprisoning Indian freedom fighters during their colonial rule in India. Although, today it stands as a tourist attraction, it still holds that pre-colonial charm.
There was a time when this island was used to be the headquarters of the British but today, it only stands as an uninhabited island. If you want to experience that pre-colonial vibe with the exotic natural views, then this island is a must visit.
4. Elephant Beach
The elephant beach is one of the best places to visit in Andaman and Nicobar Islands. If you love water sports then, it is one of the best places to go and have fun. Here you can experience everything from snorkelling, swimming, to banana boat rides.
How to Reach Andaman & Nicobar Islands
Port Blair is the capital city of Andaman and Nicobar Island. This place is an extraordinary combination of nature's beauty and urban living. If you want to explore this combination, then you cannot afford to miss this place. If you are looking for an opportunity to celebrate the Island Tourism Festival then, here is how you can reach Port Blair by the following means of transportation.
Nearest Major City. Port Blair
Nearest Airbase. Veer Savarkar International Airport, Port Blair
Nearest Railhead. No connectivity via rail network
The closest airport is Veer Savarkar International Airport, also known as the Port Blair Airport (IXZ). It is a custom airport and is located at a distance of 2 km from Port Blair. This airport was renamed in 2002 after the freedom fighter Veer Damodar Savarkar. Veer Damodar Savarkar was kept in the cellular jail for 10 years.
Distance from Veer Savarkar Airport. 75 kms
This airport has a single runway of 3,290 m. Except for the civilian terminal which is specifically operated by the Airports Authority of India, all the other traffic operations of this airport are undertaken by the Indian Navy.
There is no rail connectivity to the Andaman Islands. However, within the islands, a railway route between Diglipur to Port Blair will soon become a reality.
Ships are available from Chennai, Kolkata, and Visakhapatnam. One can easily find 3 to 4 ships on a monthly basis from Kolkata, Chennai, and Visakhapatnam. The voyage from the sea would take an average time frame of 3-4 days and the sailing schedules for which are announced a good month beforehand. The ships normally berth at Port Blair for a period of two to four days. It is to be noted that the bookings for the same can be done only at the corporate office physically which might prove to be a little tiring process for some people.
As Port Blair is situated right in the middle of the ocean, you cannot reach here by roads. However, within the islands, the overall road connectivity is very convenient. Several buses connect Port Blair to different Destinations in Andaman.
The Island Tourism Festival in the Andaman and Nicobar Islands stands as a testament to the region's cultural richness and natural beauty. Beyond its captivating landscapes, this annual celebration becomes a mosaic of diverse experiences, from cultural showcases to musical delights and gastronomic adventures. The festival not only marks the beginning of the year locally but also serves as a unifying platform, welcoming visitors from across the globe. As the Island Tourism Festival continues to evolve, it remains an indispensable chapter in the cultural tapestry of the Andaman and Nicobar Islands, beckoning travellers to immerse themselves in its unique charm year after year.
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Frequently Asked Questions About Island Tourism Festival
Q1. When does the Island Tourism Festival take place?
A1. The Island Tourism Festival is celebrated in the month of January every year.
Q2. Where is the festival inaugurated, and by whom?
A2. The festival is inaugurated at the ITF Ground in Port Blair, and the Honourable Lieutenant Governor officiates the opening ceremony.
Q3. What can visitors expect at the Island Tourism Festival?
A3. Visitors can anticipate a vibrant mix of cultural programs, music concerts, and food fiestas, creating a festive atmosphere for tourists to enjoy.
Q4. In addition to Port Blair, where else does the festival take place?
A4. The festival extends its celebrations to various towns across the Andaman and Nicobar Islands, including Wimberlygunj, Shaheed Dweep, Swaraj Dweep, Mayabunder, Diglipur, Hut Bay, Car Nicobar, Kamorta, and Wandoor.
Q5. Is the Island Tourism Festival only for locals, or can tourists participate?
A5. The Island Tourism Festival is open to both locals and tourists, providing an inclusive and immersive experience for visitors from around the world.