Apart from being a place of beaches and islands, Andaman and Nicobar Islands also have great religious sentiments. As it is a place where people of diverse cultures, religions, and castes reside, hence, every year it witnesses grand celebrations of a wide range of festivals.
In this post, we have listed down some of the important festivals, fairs, and events that are widely celebrated by the people of Andaman and Nicobar Islands.
1. Kali Pooja
Kali Pooja is celebrated by worshipping Goddess Maa Kali. Goddess Kali is considered as the Goddess of ruining the evil. She is worshipped with great dedication in the month of Aswin (October-November) every year.
During Kali Puja, Kali temple at premnagar is the main attraction, which is beautifully adorned with colored lamps. Locals and visitors from different regions visit the temple to attend the poojas and artis. They worship the Ma Kali idols placed inside the temple with sheer dedication.
Apart from the Kali Temple, other places with Kali’s idols also witness a huge crowd that pays a visit to offer their prayers to Maa Kali. Post Kali Pooja, a procession takes place by which the idols are carried out for immersion in the water.
A huge crowd consisting of Kali Maa’s devotees takes part in the procession with dance and songs to bid adieu to Maa Kali.
2. Durga Pooja
Maa Durga is widely celebrated in Andaman. It is one of the main festivals of the Hindus. It is also celebrated with the name “Navratri” for nine days during the month Sept-Oct.
Bengalis in the region are huge devotees of Maa Durga and make her idols with clay to worship the same. The localities get decorated with lights and Durga pooja pandals are placed at different regions with thousands of devotees visiting to offer their prayers.
3. Ganesh Pooja
As per the Hindu calendar, in the month of Bhadrapad Sudha Chaturthi, Ganesh Pooja is widely celebrated in the Andaman. It is also celebrated with the name “Vinayaka Chaturthi”. There are various Ganesh temples in Andaman that get decorated with flowers and diyas, with flocks of devotees visiting to offer their shraddhanjali and prayers to Lord Ganesha.
Then they offer dishes like "kozhukattai" and "Sundal", which later get distributed among the devotees as Prasad. The priests perform aartis and poojas. The Sri Lakshmi Vinayagar Temple at Aberdeen Bazaar and Shri Karpaga Vinyagar at Goal Ghar are must-visit during Ganesh Puja.
Apart from temples, many pandals are also placed in rural areas and villages with beautiful Ganesh idols erected in the middle with various decorations.
4. Ayappa Pooja
Ayappa pooja is celebrated to worship Lord Ayappan. According to Hindu mythology, he is the son of Shiva and Mohini. Ayyappan is also referred to as Ayyappa, Sastavu, and many other names. It is generally celebrated on 14th or 15th January.
All the devotees gather at ayappan temples to offer their prayers and worship the idols with bhajans and devotional songs.
Holi (festival of colors) is perhaps the most colorful and cheerful festival of the country widely celebrated in different regions. Andamanis also celebrate Holi with great enthusiasm.
People gather with friends and family to play with Colors and savories. As per the Hindu calendar, this festival falls on the day of phalguni poornima during the month of February-March. People of all caste and creed celebrate Holi without any discrimination. It indeed brings happiness to each and everyone soaking themselves in colorful hues.
6. Guru Nanak Jayanti
Gurunanak Jayanti is dedicatedly celebrated by Sikhs and Punjabi people on Kartik Poornima Day. Also known as Gokula Ashtami, it commemorates the birthday of Sikh Guru Nanak. All the Gurudwaras get beautifully decorated with fairy lights and lamps and welcome people of all religions to offer their prayers to Guru Nanak.
In Andaman, the Police Gurudwara in Aberdeen Bazar and Dr. Diwan Singh Gurudwara are main attractions where loads of devotees gather to celebrate with songs, prayers, bhajans followed by prasads.
Deepavali, the festival of lights is another important festival celebrated by Andamanis. It has been celebrated for ages during the month Oct to Nov, which signifies the victory of light over darkness/evil. The festival is also linked to Ramayana as on this day Ram, Sita, Laxman, and Hanuman return to Ayodhya after defeating Ravana.
People celebrate it by wearing new clothes, distributing sweets and gifts to dear and near ones. They clean their homes and decorate it with lights and diyas. Crackers are burst in different regions. However, cracker bursting should be avoided by people for the betterment of the environment and reduce pollution.
8. Saraswati Pooja
Saraswati pooja is celebrated to worship Maa araswati, the Goddess of education and Vidya. It is celebrated with great commitment in educational and vocational institutes. Continuous poojas and shraddhanjalis are performed during the day.
People wear traditional clothes and head out to offer their prayers and seek blessings of Maa Saraswati. It is widely celebrated by youngsters and students to excel in their education and professional career. It is celebrated during Feb-March.
9. Ram Navami
Ram Navami is celebrated during March-April in the month of Chaitra to celebrate Lord Ram's birthday. All the Ram temples in the region get decorated with lights and diyas and special poojas and aartis are performed by the priests.
All the Ram bhakts gather to offer prayer and seek Lord Ram’s blessings. Songs and bhajans on Lord Ram and Sita are performed. In Andaman, Ram Temples located in Haddo, Aberdeen Basthi, and Kumrakheti are the main attractions during Ram Navami.
10. Villakku Pooja
This Pooja has an interesting history. Earlier, this pooja was celebrated only by married women at their homes. Nowadays, it is celebrated by all people with sheer dedication to worship Goddess Maa Maha Lakshmi. All the temples of the region get beautifully decorated.
All the married women (also known as Sumangalis) gather at the temples with flowers, turmeric, kumkum, sugar candy and recite verses with the priests and offer their prayers. The pooja continues for about 3 hours and Prasad is distributed among the devotees later.
Ramzan, also known as Ramadan is observed by Muslim people in Andaman. As a part of the celebration, people fast from dawn to sunset. Before dawn, they observe a pre-fast meal called suhur, and then fast for the whole day.
In the evening they break the fast and consume the meal known as iftar. They also offer charity to the poor. The whole celebration continues till 30 days and the entire Quran is read during these 30 days.
12. Pradosha Pooja
Pradosha Pooja is celebrated two times in a month in honor of Lord Shiva. One is celebrated during the period of the waxing moon and the other during the period of depreciation moon. The idols of Lord Pooja and Goddess Parvati are decorated beautifully to offer poojas and aartis. The idol of Nandi Dev is also decorated and offered with rice.
As a part of the celebration, devotees whisper their wishes to Nandi Dev after the poojas and aartis. It is believed that Nandi Dev passes on the wishes to Lord Shiva.
13. Nag Panchami
Nag Panchami is celebrated on the fifth day after Amavasya in the holy month of Shraavana. Nag, the Indian cobra is regarded as sacred in many religions in India.
The festival is widely celebrated in Andaman in the honor of Serpent God or Nag Devata. People worship snakes and offer milk to them. The Indian cobra is worshipped because Lord Shiva holds an Indian Cobra around his neck. He is the only deity who holds an Indian cobra.
14. Vasant Panchami
Vasant Panchami is a festival that marks the preliminary preparations before the onset of the spring (Basant) season. It also marks the beginning of the preparation of Holika and Holi. The festival celebrates the harvests of agricultural fields' of mustard crops. People get dressed in new clothes and enjoy great feasts together.
15. Marriamman Festival
This is one of the biggest festivals of Hindus celebrated to worship Goddess Arulmigu Sri Mariamman. A popular and old temple is situated in Astinabad village, which is at a distance of six kms from Port Blair.
The devotees of Maa Mariamman greatly believe that Maa is guarding the Chidyatapu islands of Andaman. This festival is celebrated every year during the month of February. the devotees gather to perform pooja and aartis.
People irrespective of all regions visit the temple to offer their prayers. This has also become a famous tourist attraction of Andaman.
16. Panguni Uttiram
This festival is celebrated in honor of God Sri VetrimalaiMurugan also popularly known as Lord Karthika. The Sri Vetrimalai (Victroy hill) Murugan temple is one of the oldest temples in these islands, which attracts flocks of visitors every day.
People have a strong feeling that their prayers are fulfilled by God Murugan.
During the festival, this temple is a prime attraction with colorful lights and banners throughout. As a part of the celebration, "Anna Dhanam" ids performed i.e. full meals are provided to the visitors.
Tourists also actively take part in the celebrations. The devotees of god murugan walk on fire to reach the moolasthanam where the GodMurugan’s statute is placed.
17. Sankatahara Chaturthi Pooja
This pooja is performed to worship Lord Sri Ganesh. The term “sankata” means difficulties. Lord Ganesha is known to be the destroyer of difficulties. People worship Shri Ganesha to put an end to their difficulties.
All the Ganesh temples get beautifully decorated and devotees flock in large numbers to seek Ganesha’s blessings. The pooja is performed on the fourth day from the day of the full moon. Some also celebrate it at the time of the rising moon.
Christmas is widely celebrated among the Christian community of Andaman on 25th December every year to commemorate the birth of Jesus Christ. All the churches get decorated with lamps and other decorations and people gather in large numbers to offer prayers.
People decorate their homes with beautiful lights and decorative items and prepare savories at their homes and invite friends and family to enjoy a sumptuous meal together.
Another significant festival celebrated in Andaman and Nicobar islands is Shivaratri. As per the Hindu calendar, it falls in the month of Magha, during February-March in the honor of Lord Shiva.
All the Shiva temples get decorated with flowers and diyas and poojas are performed by the devotees. They perform songs and bhajans in the name of Lord Shiva and later prasads are offered to the visitors. People also consume bhang in the name of Lord Shiva and indulge in dances and dramas.
The main attractions during this pooja are the Lord Shiva Temples in Delanipur, Pahar Goan, and Garacharma. The popular Sri Vetrimalai Murugan Temple also has a Shiva Lingam, which is adorned with colorful flowers meant for Lord Shiva. The Shiva Linga is also offered with milk by devotees.
20. Island Tourism Festival
The Island Tourism Festival held in Andaman is among the biggest festivals held in the Archipelago, which is worldwide popular for its majestic celebrations. It is a 15-days festival held every year in the month of January in Port Blair and different parts of various islands like Havelock, Neil, Diglipur, Rangat and so on. The worldwide popularity attracts thousands of tourists every year.
The Island Tourism festival hosts a plethora of events for its visitors. You are guaranteed to have a row of magical cultural nights with live music concerts, dance performances, theatres and plays, and other entertaining events.
As a part of the Festival, a fair is held in Port Blair, which exhibits handicraft and handloom stalls, food stalls serving varied cuisines, games for adults and children, kids’ contests, kite playing events, flower, and plant shows, and many more.
21. Beach Festival
In the month of April, a grand beach festival is organized across different beaches in Andaman. Selected beaches take the responsibility of hosting different events designated under the Beach Festival by the Directorate of tourism.
Main attractions of the Beach Festival.
The prime intention behind organizing the beach festival is to promote shoreline exercises along with providing a magical nightlife experience to the islanders and visitors. Water sports activities are a major part of this festival, which are organized on select beaches. Sand sculpture rivalry and fisherman dinghy race are always the main attractions of this festival.
Other fun activities involve games like volleyball, kabaddi, tree climbing, tug of war, musical chair and much more.
On the cultural front, many crafted worked stalls are placed at different places. To provide a nightlife experience to the spectators, musical concerts and dance shows are organized.
22. Film Festivals
Andaman and Nicobar Islands host numerous prestigious film festivals every year. One of the greatest film festivals held here in Port Blair is the Panorama Film Festival. This is also the first-ever film festival of Andaman, which was first held in 2011.
Every year the film screens notable feature films and documentariesfrom across the world. It also invites renowned film personalities for panel discussions.
The DBRAIT Auditorium of Port Blair hosts various other film festivals every year including children’s film festivals, centenary celebration of the Film Festival, etc.
A Patriotic Film Festival is also organized by the Directorate of Information, Publicity, and Tourism to foster the spirit of patriotism.
23. Monsoon Festival
The Monsoon Festival is organized every year by the Directorate of Tourism in collaboration with every single nearby Department under the A&N Administration and tourism administration suppliers of the Islands. It is generally held in the month of June-July.
The Monsoon festival is held for both entertainment and business purposes. On the business front, business shows, work deals, and diversion programs are organized.
For the entertainment of islanders and visitors, games, culinary shows, and traditional exhibitionsare organized. Live music performance, DJ music, and other music projects are the main attractions.
24. Food Festival
Andaman’s annual Food Festival is a paradise for food lovers. Held every year in the month of September in ITF ground Port Blair, it offers a mouth-watering range of culinary delights to the visitors. Travellers from across the world mandatorily pay a visit to this 5-day long food festival to tantalize their taste buds.
The Festival is organized by the Tourism Department of the A&N Administration every year to promote and popularize Indian traditional cuisines and cultures of different states and communities. Every year, food stalls with cuisines of different states such as Tamil Nadu, UP, Punjab, Gujarat, Maharashtra and so on. Apart from food stalls, many cultural programs are also organized to entertain the visitors.
25. World Tourism Day
World tourism day in Andaman is a glitzy affair. For the year 2019, it was celebrated in Port Blair, which was attended by various travels and tourism fraternity members. It began with members of the Andaman Association of Tour Operators (AATO) greeting its tourists with flowers at the airport.
The same day, a beach cleaning drive with a motto ‘Swatch Bharat Swatch Paryatan’ was held at Marina Park, Corbyn’s Cove, Chidiyatapu beach, and North Bay.
As the prime attraction of the day, a “Flea Market” was also made a part of it. A wide range of programs was organized to promote the local culture, cuisine, arts & handicrafts.
Other entertainment events like mini-golf, roller skaters and various other fun activities were conducted. The prime motto of the celebration is to educate and encourage the participation of islanders to promote tourism in the islands.