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Katchal, formerly Tihnyu, is one of the nineteen islands of the Nicobar group of islands. It is about 300 km south of Port Blair. The island is accessible by sea and has a safe berthing place for boats of substantial size.

The island has 35 villages of which 6 are major. People in Katchal speak Nicobari, Hindi, Tamil, Telugu, Bengali, Santhali and English.

Indigenous people of Katchal are known as ‘Som eta’. They are aware of the importance of the sun. Sun images, called Heng, are seen in their worshipping places. The Katchali tribes also believe that the Universe is sitting on the back of a pig.

Spread over an area of 174 sq km, Katchal has the most suitable soil for paddy cultivation. The people depend upon coconut and arecanut trade for their livelihood. The island also has the biggest rubber plantation in the region.

The island is blanketed with hillocks, composed of calcareous sandstone and marble slates, and dense forests. Pythons, black monkeys and pigs are spotted frequently.

Best time to visit here is from December to April. PWD guesthouses offer comfortable accommodation in the island.

Updated on 7th June, 2005
District: Nicobar

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