The Islands of India

India has 615 islands/islets. The majority of them, around 572 islands/islets are located in the Bay of Bengal and remaining 43 islands/islets are located in the Arabian Sea. Apart from these, there are some coral islands in the Gulf of Mannar and Khambat regions and there are some offshore islands along the mouth of the Ganga river.

Islands of India

The Indian Island groups are generally grouped into two:

  1. The Andaman and Nicobar Islands located in the Bay of Bengal
  2. The Lakshadweep and Minicoy Islands located in the Arabian Sea (adjacent to Kerala coast)

The Andaman & Nicobar Islands

Andaman and Nicobar Islands situated in the Bay of Bengal, run like a narrow chain in the north-south direction extending between 6 39 N and 14 34 N.

The main islands under the Andaman and Nicobar Islands group are:

  • North Andaman
  • Middle Andaman
  • South Andaman
  • Little Andaman
  • Car Nicobar
  • Little Nicobar
  • Great Nicobar

Figure showing Andaman and Nicobar group of Islands

 

  1. These islands are separated from one another by very narrow straits.
  2. Andamans are separated from Nicobar by 10-degree channel (10-degree latitude).
  3. South Andaman and Little Andaman are separated by Duncan Passage.
  4. The Grand Channel is between the Great Nicobar islands and the Sumatra islands of Indonesia.
  5. The Coco Strait is between the North Andaman islands and the Coco Islands of Myanmar.
  6. Andaman and Nicobar Islands group is a Union Territory administered by the President through a Lt. Governor.
  7. Port Blair, located in South Andaman is the administrative capital of the Andaman and Nicobar Islands.
  8. The southernmost point of India is The Indira Point, (formerly known as Pygmalion Point and Parsons Point) which is the southern point of the Great Nicobar Islands.
  9. The Andaman and Nicobar Islands are part of the submarine tertiary fold mountains which are protruding out of the sea. These mountains form a link with Arakan Yoma and Sumatra.
  10. The highest peak of the Andaman and Nicobar Islands is Saddle Peak, located in the North Andaman.
  11. The Andaman and Nicobar Island has a tropical marine climate influenced by the seasonal flow of monsoon winds.
  12. The region is under dense tropical rain forests. The coastal regions have mangrove forests.
  13. Coconut fruit is the staple food of the people. Fisheries, piggery is also followed.
  14. The Islands are also famous for the largest and rarest species of crab, the Giant Robber Crab. It can climb the coconut trees and break the hard shell of the fruit.
  15. Many islands are uninhabited. The inhabited islands are also sparsely populated.
  16. The entire region is vulnerable to earthquakes as it is in the major earthquake zone.
  17. The Andaman and Nicobar Islands are also known as the Emerald Islands.
  18. Barren Island, located in the east of Middle Andaman is India s only active volcano.
  19. The Narcondam Island, located in the north-east of North Andaman is also a volcanic island.

 

Figure showing volcanoes of Andaman and Nicobar Islands. Source: USGS

Lakshadweep Islands

Lakshadweep Islands situated in the Arabian Sea is a group of 36 islands having an area of 32 square kilometers and extending between 8 N and 12 N latitude.

The main islands under the Lakshadweep Islands group are:

  • Kavaratti
  • Agatti
  • Minicoy
  • Amini

Figure showing Lakshadweep Islands

 

  1. These islands were earlier known as Laccadive, Minicoy and Amindivi Islands.
  2. The name Lakshadweep was adopted on 1 November 1973
  3. These islands are separated from one another by very narrow straits.
  4. The Lakshadweep Islands group is a Union Territory administered by the President through a Lt. Governor.
  5. It is the smallest Union Territory of India.
  6. Kavaratti is the administrative capital of the Lakshadweep Islands. It is also the principal town of the Union Territory.
  7. It is a uni-district Union Territory and is comprised of 12 atolls, three reefs, five submerged banks, and ten inhabited islands.
  8. The name Lakshadweep in Malayalam and Sanskrit means 'a hundred thousand islands'.
  9. The Lakshadweep Islands are located at a distance of 280 km to 480 km off the Kerala coast.
  10. These islands are a part of Reunion Hotspot volcanism.
  11. The entire Lakshadweep islands group is made up of coral deposits.
  12. Fishing is the main occupation on which livelihoods of many people depend.
  13. The Lakshadweep islands have storm beaches consisting of unconsolidated pebbles, shingles, cobbles, and boulders.
  14. Minicoy Island, located to the south of the nine-degree channel is the largest island among the Lakshadweep group.
  15. 8 Degree Channel ( 8 degrees north latitude) separates islands of Minicoy and Maldives.
  16. 9 Degree Channel ( 9 degrees north latitude) separates the island of Minicoy from the main Lakshadweep archipelago.
  17. In the Lakshadweep region, there is an absence of forests.
  18. Pitti Island is an important breeding place for sea turtles and for a number of pelagic birds such as the brown noddy, lesser crested tern and greater crested tern. The Pitti island has been declared a bird sanctuary.

Other Important Islands of India

  1. Sriharikota Island- It is located between Pulicat Lake and the Bay of Bengal in the Nellore district of the state of Andhra Pradesh. Sriharikota is one of the satellite launching stations of the Indian Space Research Organisation.
  2. Abdul Kalam Island/ Wheeler Island- The Abdul Kalam Island is located off the Odisha coast. It is India's most advanced missile testing site. The island was earlier named after an English commandant Lieutenant Wheeler.
  3. Pamban Island- It is located between India and Sri Lanka in the Gulf of Mannar and in the Ramanathapuram district of the state of Tamil Nadu. It is also known as Rameswaram Island. Most of Pamban Island is covered with white sand and hence is not suitable for
  4. Majuli Island- It is located in the state of Assam. It is a large river island in the Brahmaputra river. It is the world s largest river island. The livelihoods of people on the island are dependent on agriculture. The island is under severe ecological threat due to the extensive soil erosion on its banks.
  5. Diu Island-It is located off the south coast of Kathiawar. Diu Island is famous for the historical Diu fort and beautiful beaches.
  6. Sagar Island-It is located in the Ganga delta in the Bay of Bengal. It is a large island. It is also an important place of Hindu pilgrimage.
  7. Halliday Island-It is located in the state of West Bengal and is part of the Sunderbans region. It is located in the river Malta. It is also designated as a wildlife sanctuary.
  8. Phumdis/Floating Islands-They is located in the state of Manipur. It is part of the Keibul Lamjao National Park. It is famous for the Eld's deer/ Sangai.

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