Nicobar Islands

The names given by travellers and sailors from the east and the west all referred to these islands as the 'Land of the Naked' (Nicobar is derived from the Tamil word nakkavaram). The islands, which lay on the trade route to the Far East, were visited in the 11th century by the seafaring Cholas during the rule of King Rajendra I who attempted to extend his rule here. Before the British used the Nicobars as a penal territory in the late 19th century, European missionaries (particularly the Danish) made converts during the 17th and 18th centuries but few survived the difficulties of the climate and most died of fever within a year.

The islands, including
with a large rubber plantation,
Indira Point
, India's southernmost tip and
Campbell Bay
(Great Nicobar), are closed to foreign visitors;
Car Nicobar
to the north can be visited by Indians with a permit. The significant tribal population live in distinctive huts, which look like large thatched domes that are raised on stilts about 2 m high and are entered through the floor. The Nicobarese enjoy wrestling, fishing, swimming and canoeing but are best known for their love of music. Villages still participate in competitions of traditional unaccompanied singing and dancing which mark every festivity.

This is edited copy from Footprint Handbooks. For comprehensive details (incl address, tel no, directions, opening times and prices) please refer to book or individual chapter PDF
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