Top 10 Notable Indian Islands
India has a total of more than 600individual islands spread over Bay of Bengal, Arabian Seas and other parts of India, but a few of them deserve a special mention. Here is a list of Top 10 Notable Indian Islands.
Mumbai was a group of many islands in the Arabian Sea that over a span of centuries were connected to form the modern city of Mumbai that we know of today. The map shown above is the map of Mumbai in 1893. Originally, Mumbai consisted of seven islands that over a period of time were physical united through various land reclamation projects. The original seven islands consisted of isle of Bombay, Mahim, Parel, Colaba, Little Colaba, Worli and Mazagaon. Later the islands of Trombay and Salsette were merged to form the Greater Mumbai. Due to environmental concerns and a series of injunctions issued by Supreme Court, the magnitude and the number of land reclamation projects have decreased in recent years.
9. Great Nicobar Island
Great Nicobar Island located in the Bay of Bengal is the southernmost Island of the Andaman & Nicobar group of islands. The island covers an area of 1045 sq. km and is sparsely populated. It is mostly covered by rainforest and is known for its diverse wildlife. Indira Point located at its southern tip is also the southernmost tip of India. Indira point has a cast iron light house. The island was severely affected by the 2004 Tsunami resulting in numerous deaths and communications were cut off from the rest of the world for a whole day. The tsunami subsided the light house by 4.25 m.
8. New Moore Island (Submerged Island)
New Moore Island (South Talpatti) was a small uninhibited island in Sunderbands off the coast of Ganga-Brahmaputra Delta region. It emerged in the aftermath of Bhola cyclone in 1970. This island covered an area of 2500 sq. meters. Both India and Bangladesh argued over the claim over this small sandbar in the Bay of Bengal. In 2010, it was discovered that the island had completely submerged possibly due to global warming, but the exact reason behind this is still unknown as there could have been multiple factors which could have led to its submergence.
7. Willingdon Island (Artificial Island)
Willingdon Island in the state of Kerala forms a part of the city of Kochi. Much of the present Willingdon Island was claimed from the Lake of Kochi, filling dredged soil around a previously existing tiny island in 1936 during the construction of Kochi Port. The Willingdon Island holds significance because it is home to Port of Kochi, Kochi Naval Base and Central Institute of Fisheries Technology. This island is a very popular tourist attraction. The island has a naval airport, naval golf course, school, hotel and a casino with the airport covering most of the area on island. The airport is no longer in use. Next time you are in Kochi don’t miss to visit this island.
6. Dhanushkodi Island (India’s Ghost Town)
Dhanushkodi was a small island at the southern tip of Rameshwaram in Tamil Nadu. Dhanushkodi has the only land border between India and Sri Lanka. The island was completely washed out in the cyclone of 17 December, 1964. Before the cyclone, Dhanushkodi was a popular tourist spot and a pilgrimage town. There were hotels, shops, dharamshalas serving pilgrims, railway station, higher secondary school, post office, customs and port offices. During the cyclone a train carrying 115 passengers was washed away killing everyone onboard. Following the aftermath of the disaster, government declared Dhanushkodi a ghost town and unfit for living.
5. Loktak Lake Islands (Floating Islands)
Loktak Lake located in the state of Manipur is the largest freshwater lake in northeast India. It is also called the only floating lake in the world due to the floating phumdis. Phumdis are a mass of vegetation, soil and other organic matter that accumulate over a period of time that resemble a landmass that float freely in the lake. The largest floating island covers an area of 40 sq. km. and constitutes the world’s largest floating park, Keibul Lamjao National Park. The lake is a very unique tourist destination. There is also a tourist home built on top of a floating island.
Sriharikota is an island in the Bay of Bengal 17 km off the coast of Orissa. It is the house to India’s only satellite lanch center in Satish Dhawan Space Centre and is used by ISRO to launch multi-stage PSLV and GSLV rockets. The island was chosen in 1969 as a satellite launching station due to a good launch azimuth corridor for various missions, ability to utilize Earth’s rotation for eastward launchings, nearness to the equator, and a large uninhabited area offering a safety zone. The island was originally home to a tribal community, Yanadis, which has since been resettled within the island and rehabilitated by providing educational and employment opportunities.
3. Majuli Island (India’s largest river island).
Majuli Island located in Brahmaputra river in Assam is India’s largest river island. The island covered a total area of 1250 sq. km., but has been reduced to an area of less than 450 sq. km in recent years, largely due to floods and erosion. It is located 200 km east of Guwahati. The island houses many east Indian Tribes with villages numbering 144 and a population of 1,50,000. The island is connected to mainland only with a ferry operating twice daily. The island is believed to be a cultural capital of Assam since 16th century based on written records describing the visit of Srimanta Sankardeva, a 16th century reformer, who established many monasteries and hermitages in the islet. Though this island is considered by many to be the world’s largest river island, this is not true. The top 2 largest river islands in the world are located in Brazil and Majuli Island does not even make to the top 10 list of the largest river islands in the world.
2. Barren Island
Barren island located in Bay of Bengal is the most easterly island of Andaman. It is the only active volcano in South Asia. The island is located 135 km northeast of the capital of Andaman, Port Blair. The first recorded eruption of the volcano dates back to 1787. Since then the volcano has erupted more than 10 times, the most recent of which was in September 2010 that continued through January 2011 spewing lava and ash. Approximately 150 km northeast ofBarren Island is Narcondum, another volcanic island, which was classified as a dormant volcano until it began spewing mud and smoke in 2005. As the name suggests, the island is uninhibited by humans though it has a small population of goats, birds, bats and rodents that have survived its harsh conditions.
1. North Sentinel Island
North Sentinel Island located in the Bay of Bengal lies west to the archipelago of Andaman Islands. Most of the island is heavily forested, surrounded by coral reefs and it lacks a natural harbor. The island is popular due to the Sentinelse people, who inhabit the island. They reject any contact with any outsider to the island and are among the last people to remain virtually untouched by modern civilization. The islanders survived the 2004 Indian Ocean earthquake and tsunami that led to uplifting of the island. Various expeditions have been ordered to establish friendly contact with the tribe by presenting them with coconuts, buckets, dolls, pigs and metal pots. The pigs and dolls were shot with arrows, repeatedly stabbed and buried, while the coconuts and pots were accepted. Many fishermen and shipwreck survivors have been killed by the sentinelese. Anyone who tries to approach the island by boats or helicopters have been attacked with spears, arrows and stones. The islands exists in a curious state of limbo under established international law and is a sovereign entity under Indian protection making it one of the de facto autonomous regions of India.