Port Blair is the capital city of the Indian union territory of the Andaman and Nicobar Islands. Located in the Bay of Bengal, the Japanese occupied it during World War II. However, during the time when Lord Mountbatten was viceroy of India, it was returned to the British. In this blog, we present the details of the geography of Port Blair.
The capital city is nearly 1,255 kilometers from Kolkata and around 1,191 kilometers from Chennai. It is on the hilly southeastern Andaman Sea coast of South Andaman Island. Port Blair’s eastern, northern, and northeastern parts are over 100 feet above sea level. Sloping toward a fine natural harbour, the western part is comparatively lower. The town receives an average rainfall of about 3,180 millimeters. It has a mean temperature of about 30 °Celsius.
With a tropical monsoon climate, Port Blair has an area of 16.64 square kilometers. For the remaining year, it experiences a dry season and a heavy monsoon. There is no winter season here. The average temperature here is 26.2 degrees Celsius. Other weather aspects of Port Blair are the annual sunshine that averages 2405 hours and total annual precipitation that averages 2872 millimeters. Andaman and Nicobar Islands have a humidity of level of around 80 per cent. Its temperature varies between 23 degree Celsius and 31 degrees Celsius. Without extreme chilly winters or hot summers, it experiences a uniform climate throughout the year.
The geography of Port Blair is quite unique. The southwest monsoon commences at the end of May, while the northeast monsoon begins in November. From May to December, lush greenery and lovely waterfalls can be seen in the forest. That is why, nature lovers prefer this time to travel to Port Blair. The winter months, between December and April, are ideal for bird watchers and divers. Because of an almost steady climate throughout the year, the Andamans is perfect for different kinds of enthralling adventure activities such as snorkeling, boating, scuba diving, swimming, etc.
Speaking about the geography of Port Blair in detail, its soil and vegetation are appropriate for tropical evergreen and semi-evergreen forests. The thick forest grows here soon as rainfall is quite common here. Complementary to each other, vegetation and soil support the growth of epiphytic plants (plants growing on other plants). The vegetation of the Nicobar Islands is featured by grasslands and the absence of deciduous forests. Coconut trees are another crucial vegetation here. The coastline of the island is dotted by a long array of tall coconut trees. They outline the entire fringe. Mainly, paddy is cultivated in the Andaman Islands. The significant cash crops of these islands are areca nut and coconut. Some root crops along with a number of fruits (sapota, papaya, banana, mango, pineapple, orange, etc) are also grown here.
The capital town of one of the seven union territories of India, Port Blair is the tourist hub for all the people visiting the Andaman and Nicobar Islands. The islands were unknown until the eighteenth century. Also known as Kala Pani (translated as black water), it is a conglomeration of nearly 570 islands. Covering an overall area of 8249 square kilometers, Nicobar district has 1841 square kilometers and Andaman district has 6498 square kilometers. The union territory is 732 meters high from sea level, and Saddle peak and Mount Thullier are the highest points.
Andaman and Nicobar Islands is a group of as many as 3000 islands. These comprise islands, islets, and rocks. Ritchie Archipelago and Labyrinth Islands are the two main islets here. The topography of the Andamans includes a long range of hills with lush green forests. A series of mountains and ridges having moderate elevation is seen here. Only 36 islands are inhabited out of the 527 islands that are formed by submarine mountain range separating the Bay of Bengal from the Andaman Sea. A total of 26 are in the Andaman group out of them. The remaining are in the smaller Nicobar.
Port Blair is a market town that has a sawmill, several museums, and natural beauty. Tourism is quite important here. The central part of Port Blair is the Aberdeen Bazaar. A number of shops, hotels, and bus depots are located here. Around the central area, you can see older homes that are built with tin and timber, and are on raised platforms. Tourists from all over the world visiting Port Blair include the below-mentioned in their travel itinerary:
British developed the nearby Ross Island (renamed Netaji Subhas Chandra Bose Island in 2018). A marine engineering workshop is located at Phoenix Bay, and a matchstick factory is at Haddo. Port Blair is also home to coast guard and air force installations, and a naval base.
Port Blair can be reached via air or sea. Flight being the faster and more convenient option would be the best option though. Direct flights are available from Kolkata, Bangalore, Chennai, and Hyderabad. Depending on your departure location, you can reach there in around two to three hours. Whereas, three to four days are taken by the ships plying from Chennai, Kolkata, and Vizag. Tourists do not prefer this mode.
The best time period to travel to Port Blair is between October and May. Being the dry season, the weather is pleasant during this time and ideal for outdoor activities and water sports. June to September is the offseason in the Andaman and Nicobar Islands as it is the rainy season. Owing to heavy rainfall, cyclonic weather, and strong winds, you should avoid this period.