History, Culture & People
This little yet very peaceful Island was named after James George Smith Neil, a British soldier, for honouring his stern dealings during 1857 Mutiny. Spanning across 18.9 square kilometres, this Island is the southernmost of Ritchie’s Archipelago, the world famous cluster of Islands comprising of 4 big and 7 small Islands altogether. It is located around 40 kilometres North-East of Port Blair, which makes this peaceful Island an easy connect from the latter.
Population & People:
The Island is comparatively small with less than 5000 people distributed among 5 of its villages. The 5 villages are Sitapur, Bharatpur, Neil Kendra, Lakshmanpur and Ram Nagar. The sole entry and exit point for the Island is the single jetty in Bharatpur. This place is the prime vegetable supplier for the rest of Andaman, agriculture being the main occupation of the residents here.
The calm and quiet life in this Island called ‘Vegetable Bowl’ moves at its own pace. People are either busy with agricultural or tourism related activities. The culture is a mix of rural and semi-urban, with the tropical living witnessed at its best. The friendly culture encourages the visitors to stay in Neil Island, which signifies the warmth and friendliness that lingers in this part of Andaman.
The lifestyle here at Neil Island is not ultra-advanced. Nor is it purely tribal. There is a sort of semi-developed flair that dominates this small Island. The population is decent and welcoming. Attire does not include anything specific that can be tagged with Neil Island in particular, but this place has been borrowing the fashion trends from Port Blair and Havelock Islands lately.