The words 'Andaman' and 'Nicobar' are taken from the Malay language. The Andaman Islands are an Indian archipelago in the Bay of Bengal. These roughly 300 islands are known for their palm-lined, white-sand beaches, mangroves and tropical rainforests. Coral reefs supporting marine life such as sharks and rays make for popular diving and snorkeling sites. Indigenous Andaman Islanders inhabit the more remote islands, many of which are off limits to visitors.
The majority of people of the Andaman and Nicobar Islands are Hindus (69.44%), with Christians forming a large minority of 21.7% of the population, according to the 2011 census of India. There is a small but significant Muslim (8.51%) minority.
Andaman and Nicobar Islands are developing into a major tourism hub with exotic-looking beaches and pristine islands having equally exotic names, wonderful opportunities for adventure sports like Scuba, snorkelling and sea-walking.
In Port Blair, the main places to visit are the Cellular Jail, Mahatma Gandhi Marine National Park, Andaman Water sports complex, Chatham Saw Mill, Mini Zoo, Corbyn's cove, Chidiya Tapu, Wandoor Beach, Forest Museum, Anthropological Museum, Fisheries Museum, Naval Museum (Samudrika), Ross Island and Viper Island. Other places include Havelock island famous for Radhanagar Beach, Neil Island for Scuba diving/snorkelling, Cinque island, Saddle peak, Mt Harriet and Mud Volcano. The southern group (Nicobar islands) is mostly inaccessible to tourists. Indian tourists do not require a permit to visit the Andaman islands but if they wish to visit any tribal areas they need a special permit from the Deputy Commissioner, Port Blair. Permits are required for foreign nationals. For foreign nationals arriving by air, these are granted upon arrival at Port Blair. According to official estimates, the flow of tourists doubled to nearly 300,000 in 2012 from 130,000 in 2008–09. The Radha Nagar beach of Andaman’s was chosen as Asia’s best Beach in 2004.