Tunnel of Love - From Andamans

16th Dec 2014
Photo of Tunnel of Love - From Andamans 1/1 by srishti jugran

Andamans and Nicobar islands-the beach capital of India was once used as penal punishment and is now a perfect location for a serene beach vacation. With fascinating marine life, lovely tranquil flat stretches of beaches fringed with coconut palm and tropical jungles, these islands celebrate a unique culture and arehome to aboriginal tribes.

We had our evening flight booked for pre independence day from Delhi to Portblair via Hyderabad. We were lucky enough to get backside window of the flight booked to have the best and amazing view of the islands from above. We landed at Port Blair around 11 in the morning on 15th Aug- Independence Day.

Our cottage was half an hour drive from Airport. We got ourselves ready, had an amazing brunch and sweet coconut water at a café [inside Rajiv Gandhi Water Sports Complex] bounding the turquoise waters of Andamans facing Ross on one hand and North Bay on the other with cool breezes gushing across. First glance and we have fallen in love with clear blue waters and the numerous islands embracing the pristine blue sky with their beauty and tranquility. I wanna scream-shout-sing-dance-hug- dive in and soak myself in the silent sound of the waves.

Tried hard to get the ferry ticket to Neil/Havelock/Ross but no luck. Once we were done and settled with island visits enquiry, we decided to explore Port Blair at first and finally made our way to Andamans Water and Sports Complex to try Aqua Sports like Water-skiing, Windsurfing, Speed Boats, Paddle Boats, Row Boats etc. One may also pool in a sea shore swimming pool on the inner side of the complex. Nearby is a Memorial, Amusement Park and Aquarium too.We then took a city tour to Chatham Saw Mill (one of the oldest and largest in Asia), the Cottage Industries Emporium (Sagarika), Anthropological Museum, Naval Marine Museum (Samudrika) and Forest Museum. All of them can be covered in a days time.We then headed forth for Cellular Jail/Kala Pani.

Apart from the government ferries, catamarans also run between the islands. Makkruzz runs between Havelock and Port Blair whereas Coastal Cruise, on the other hand connects Neil with Port Blair and Havelock. In the peak season they make two rounds a day.One look at the glimmering waters makes you realize why Andaman stands true to its name- the ‘Emerald Islands’. As soon as we reached Havelock, we headed straight to Radhanagar beach- hailed as Asia’s best beach by TIME magazine. We freshened up in a beach side resort, had a quick bite and rented a bike to explore the idyllic bliss of the loving land. Resting in a shade with benches, sitting back and relaxing after we have soaked ourselves in the frothy waves of aqua green waters; we spotted number of dead corals in the silver white sands of Radhanagar. We spent the evening sitting by the beach, inhaling the fresh breeze blowing over the sea and watching the sunset. We then headed towards Kalapathar to treat ourselves with an exotic and exquisite experience of a late night walk strolling alongside the beach for long.There are other pleasant beaches too to explore like Elephant beach, Govindnagar and Vijaynagar beach. We then buzzed back to Radhanagar after having delicacies at German Bakery.

Photo of Havelock Island, South Andaman, Andaman and Nicobar Islands, India by srishti jugran

Early morning after we have enjoyed lying on a sandy beach watching early morning sunrise and the pristine beauty of seaside walk strolling hands in hands with my best friend; we boarded 9 am ferry to Port Blair. Once we reached Port blair, we got our tickets booked from Rajiv Gandhi Water Sports Complex at Port Blair for scuba activity at North Bay for Day 4.We then headed forth in a ferry for Ross Islands-the place from where the British governed the entire Andaman and Nicobar lslands, prior to India’s Independence. The place also has a Japanese bunker. We had a fun time clicking wild deers, peacocks, local flora and fauna of the place. We did soak ourselves in the crystal clear beaches of Ross. We had to make it fast as the ferries return back to Port blair by 3 pm.We then hired a cab from Port Blair to pay a quick visit to Chidiya Tapu - one of the best places to see breath taking sunset in Port Blair with a fabulous view of lush green mangroves, forest cover with numerous chirping birds and Munda Pahar beaches, and other isolated islands. After we were done with Chidiya Tapu- we nestled towards Corbyn’s Cove Beach, had a pleasant walk late night along the sea and settled for a chic resort close to the beach.

Photo of Ross Island by srishti jugran

We woke up at 2:30 am to catch our early morning bus at 3 am for a long 5 hour trip to Baratang village. A military convoy of 6 am takes visitors to cross the dense forest inhabited by Jarva Tribes. The military convoy operates every 3 hrs which takes all the tourist vehicles safely through the forest with them. Its is a 90 mins trip through the forest. Photographing or interacting with the Jarva Tribes is prohibited and is life threatening. Once we reached the Baratang village we took a ferry to the Lime stone caves through the dense mangroves forest. After our way back to Baratang we headed for Mud volcano-15 min journey by road. The journey to the caves and Mud volcano was pretty adventurous and worth the day spent.

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We woke up early and arrived at Rajiv Gandhi Sports Complex to gear ourselves for scuba diving at North Bay Island (about 20 mins ferry ride away). Once we had our Scuba Diving Swimsuit on, we were taken to the Diving Spot by a small boat. We were then trained individually for 30 min before the activity actually began. If you wish, you can opt for photography for which you will be charged Rs. 500 extra. You are then taken inside the water through a small rope stair case with your helmet on. There are guards accompanying you so it is very safe. Once inside the water, the experience is divinely magical, you can see marine life to its purest form, various types of corals and fishes. After the heavenly experience to the North Bay we returned Port Blair by noon.We then fastened ourselves for Wandoor Beach, around 25 kms from Port Blair- famous for rubber plantations and fabulous rides to Jolly Buoy island. After relaxing ourselves for the day at lovely beaches went back to the resort to gear up for next day stride to Baratang for Limestone caves, Mud Volcanoes and aboriginal tribes of the island.

Photo of North Bay Beach, South Andaman, Andaman and Nicobar Islands, India by srishti jugran