Andaman and Nicobar Islands Art

The Andaman and Nicobar Islands is the best place for those who love to collect different handicraft items from different places to decorate their interior or to keep them as a treasure. The specialty of the Andaman and Nicobar Islands not only can be seen in their scenic beauty but also could be found in the crafted items made by the local peasants.

Designed materials made of crafted shells comprise the major portion of Andaman and Nicobar Islands art. This art of Andaman and Nicobar Islands have given birth to shell made classic ornaments and other wooden materials which are the main attractions of this place.

The art of the Andaman and Nicobar Islands could be best seen in their crafts made of shells. These shells are used for making beautiful and colorful designing ornaments. A wide range of decorative shells are there in this island. Thus it attracted many people to indulge themselves in this work.

But the huge popularity of the arts and crafts of Andaman and Nicobar Islandsresulted in the exploitation of the natural resources as this art brought a new wave in the export business and many people started engaging themselves in this unit.

Small scale handicraft units in different corners of this land have grew up who were actively oriented in making shell and wooden craft items. Due to the fear of a big loss of the natural resources the Government brought restrictions on the export trade of these beautiful items.

This art of shell crafting of Andaman and Nicobar Islands are very fascinating and beautiful.


Though Andaman and Nicobar Islands is present since time immemorial, but it was brought mainly by the British. It was an important seat of administration for the British during their rule in India. To meet their purpose, they had built various monuments and today Andaman and Nicobar Islands Architecture is comprised mainly of the ruins of those creations.

The most prominent monument of Andaman and Nicobar Islands is the Cellular Jail. But except for the central tower, the prison has hardly anything to influence the architecture of Andaman and Nicobar Islands. After all, days of isolated imprisonment are bygones now. The local inhabitants of Andaman and Nicobar Islands of these days, though have a good artistic sense, are hardly any way innovative in their architecture. The architects of Andaman and Nicobar Islands are far behind the other Indian places. They follow the urban mode of living and the ethnicity of the place is fast evaporating.

But the true inhabitants of the place, the tribes have their very own mode of living. The Great Andamanese, too low in count, are rehabilitated in Strait Island and having got the taste of civilization, they now live in huts with thatched roofs. The Onges also do live in 'pucca hut type houses', and also developed sense of crafts and artistry. The other three tribes - Jarawas, Sentinelese and the Shompens are still far away from civilization. They live in caves, tree - houses or even in trees. In fact, they have not yet developed a sense of housing.

So Andaman and Nicobar Islands Architecture, that is, architecture of the indigenous inhabitants of the place has still a long way to go.


Andaman and Nicobar Islands has got recognition as the land of exile for the Indian freedom fighters. Even today, bulk of the islands' population is comprised of the descendants of the prisoners of the Cellular Jail during the British Raj. By hereditary instincts, they are hard working and innovative. They believe in the preservation of their possessions and culture. The islands are resided mostly by primitive natives, but Andaman and Nicobar Islands Handicrafts have developed in the hands of these natives itself.

Some of the major Handicrafts of Andaman and Nicobar Islands are:

Palm Mats

The twin islands of Andaman and Nicobar are bequeathed with many marvels among which handicrafts like palm mats have gained nationwide recognition owing to their scintillating design and unparalleled durability. If you get an opportunity to pay a brief visit to the mesmerizing locales of the Andaman and Nicobar Islands, do not miss shopping in its spectacularly adorned markets which are jam-packed with all sorts mind-boggling goods. The palm mats of Andaman and Nicobar islands can be easily retrieved from the markets that are positioned at the venue known as Port Blair.

At a basic level, Andaman and Nicobar islands palm mats are pieces of artistic material that lie flat on the ground and can be utilized to serve a variety of purposes. For example they can be used as a doormat which either finds its place within the premises of the house or just at the entrance point of the house. Individuals entering the house can scrub the soles of their shoes on their way inside the house.

Generally the fiber that is employed in the manufacture of the palm mats from Andaman and Nicobar islands are materials extracted from the palm trees. The palm trees can be easily witnessed in rain forests as well as under the scorching sun in the deserts. The climates that best suits the confluent growth of the palm trees are temperate, subtropical and tropical. The palm mats are truly a wok of art and will beyond a shadow of a doubt augment the grandeur of your house.


Endowed with wide variety of vegetation, Mother Nature has been generous to Andaman and Nicobar Islands. As much as 86% of the total land of the islands is occupied with deciduous and rain forests. And Andaman and Nicobar Islands Wood Crafts industry has performed well enough to make use of this wealth inherited by them. Woods are generally used by the locals to construct houses, make canoes, furnitures or fence plantations. But it is also used for domestic and decorative purposes. Ornamental woods of Andaman and Nicobar Islands such as Paduak, Chui, marble wood are used to make show-pieces, human or animal figures or other items which have high creative values. One of such popular item is table-tops made of paduak tress. Crossbow of Andaman and Nicobar Islands, with its grooved central beam and iron loops, is yet another popular memento among the tourists. Another attractive artifacts mostly adored by the tourists is the miniature model of a wooden canoe. Shaped by the currents of the sea, Driftwood of Andaman and Nicobar Islands are also widely used to produce various artifacts.

Cane and Bamboo Work of Andaman and Nicobar Islands also deserve mention under Andaman and Nicobar Islands Wood Crafts.Innovative baskets, furnitures and wall-hangings are made of the canes and bamboos imported from Kerala and Andhra Pradesh.

Under the industries department, a production center and Chatham Saw Mill are responsible for majority of the production. Incidentally,Chatham Saw Mill is the biggest of the type in South Asia.

In recent years, the administration of Andaman and Nicobar Islands has become strict to combat illegal poaching of trees since it is highly affecting the biodiversity. But Andaman and Nicobar Islands Wood Crafts is always flourishing with the timber imported from Thailand.


The dazzlingly gorgeous islands of Andaman and Nicobar are home to many skilled artists who manufacture many scintillating pieces of jewelry which women absolutely adore. Among them the ones that are constructed from the lavish use of shells are the most coveted.

Shell jewelry of Andaman and Nicobar islands are very popular with the tourists. Other than precious jewelry of Andaman and Nicobar islands, shells are also utilized in the manufacture of other exquisite items that include musical instruments, table lamps, finger bowls and other mind-blowing items.

While shopping on the islands of Andaman and Nicobar make it a point to purchase some scintillating pieces of jewelry that can be principally obtained in the form of intricately carved earrings, spectacular necklaces of all sizes and shapes and many more that will surely augment your beauty and earn you some sincere appreciation from near and dear ones.

Jewelry at Andaman and Nicobar islands also comes in the traditional incarnation of being studded with precious stones like ruby, diamond, emerald and many more which are equally sought-after by the locals as well as by the visitants.Shopping in Andaman and Nicobar must include buying some jewelry items of the place especially those made from the sea shells.

Furniture Making

Amidst the vast stretch of water-body, Andaman and Nicobar Islands has thick growth of deciduous and rain forests. The locals of the place have taken this gift of Mother Nature and transformed in to an important source of income, a means of survival.Andaman and Nicobar Islands Furniture Making has been a huge determining factor of the economy of the union territory.

Andaman and Nicobar Islands has a plethora of timber producing trees-Padauk, Gurjan, Marble Wood, Kokko, Chooi to name a few. With such a storehouse of raw materials, it is obvious that Andaman and Nicobar Islands carpentry and woodwork in Andaman and Nicobar Islands is a booming industry of recent days. To top them all, the administration of Andaman and Nicobar Islands has also provided active support by arranging training sessions in this line. The inhabitants of the islands use timber for making canoes, fencing plantations and constructing houses.

But Andaman and Nicobar Islands Furniture Making now-a-days is famous for making table-tops, black-boards for schools, carom boards, utensils and also decorative items. Items like finger bowls, table-lamps and also jeweleries are made of coconut shells in Andaman and Nicobar Islands.Cane and bamboo imported from Kerala and Andhra Pradesh is also extensively used to manufacture furnitures and other articles with great utility value.Mats of Andaman and Nicobar Islands, made of Pandanus leaves and coconut stems, is also famous round the world.

Shell Crafts

Andaman and Nicobar Islands Shell Crafts is a booming industry of the islands. Besides agriculture, fishing and wooden crafts,Shell Crafts in Andaman and Nicobar Islands is a major source of employment and income to the locals. Nature has bestowed Andaman and Nicobar Islands with a rich variety of shells and the inhabitants make good use of it to pull up their economic condition.

A wide variety of shells in Andaman and Nicobar Islands has been the lifeline of the place. There are almost every sorts of shells found on the shores of the islands - from Turbo to Nautilus, Murex to Trochus. There are also Green Mussel, Giant Clam, Oysters, Scallop, Cockle and also from the Cephalopoda species like Squid or Octopus. So not only the tourists, but also the biologists find the place interesting to explore. Consequently, the rich shell-content of Andaman and Nicobar Islands contributes to the tourism industry as well. The shells of Andaman and Nicobar Islands have enormous usage - values. The shells found on the shores are used to make decorative artifacts like bangles, table lamps, show pieces, ashtrays or decorative boxes. Shells of Andaman and Nicobar Islands are also used for making jeweleries like rings and bangles. The shells also support "edible shell fishery" and some are also burnt in kilns to manufacture edible lime.

Conch Shell and Tortoise shell of Andaman and Nicobar Islands are the most important and valued shells. Both of them have high market value. While the former is primarily used for religious purpose, the latter with its beautiful shades are highly demanded in the West, where they put them in many imaginative ways, providing a strong impetus to the Andaman and Nicobar Islands Shell Crafts industry.

Last Updated on: 2nd April 2013