India’s answer to Thailand’s and Maldives’ white sand beaches

23rd Nov 2016
Photo of Havelock Island, South Andaman, Andaman and Nicobar Islands, India by Jahnabi Borgohain

My friend was very excited to tell me about a new place she spotted for our next trip. In one of our conversation, she mentioned that she getting a deal on Andaman through Barefoot Holidays. For some reason, I was not very enthusiastic. Not that I did not want to travel but I was looking for some exotic international destination.

However, after months of planning and several calls with the Barefoot team, we took the flight to Port Blair in the first week of November 2016. We dropped our luggage in the homestay organized by Barefoot in Port Blair and then headed to the infamously famous Cellular Jail. It was also known as Kalapani during the freedom struggle of India. Again my expectations were not so high there as I heard that it was a light and laser show. But, the show was not about the expectations, it was about our roots, our struggle for independence. I just told myself, “What a price these legends had to pay for our freedom! It would have been the far worst punishment to them if they were alive to see the Modern India. An India, where we are constantly at a battle with corruption, terrorism, capitalists, communal fascists.” With heavy hearts, we headed back to the homestay.

Next day morning, we were all set to reach Havelock Island. We boarded a Makruzz- a high speed Catamaran passenger ferry. With 2 decks it could carry upto 280 passengers. One can also opt for an helicopter service provided you are cautious enough on your luggage. After sailing for two and half hours we are in our next destination. It was a hot and humid day and it was such a relief when our Barefoot team offered us cold wipes and refreshing tender coconut. We checked into Havelock Beach resort. We wanted to rest a bit but our next destination was was way too inviting.

Photo of Radhanagar Beach, Andaman and Nicobar Islands, India by Jahnabi Borgohain

It is Radha Nagar beach in Havlock which is apparently Asia’s the 7th cleanest beach. From our resort, it was hardly 10 minute in vehicle. Once we reached there, we realized what would have we missed, if we gave it a miss. It was splendid view of white sand beach and dense green forest in the background. A totally unexplored beach in the western coach of Havelock. That’s what stands it apart from other white sand beaches in Maldives and Thailand. It is far away from human cacophony.

Havelock is an island of 41 Km, everything is neighboring. There are clean roads with separations for pedestrians and cyclists. One can have the freshest and the yummiest seafood here. Squid and Golden Spoon were the two small places where you can have some of the best sea food with complementary wifi. Getting complementary wifi is really a big thing in Havelock as in most of the places you will not find any mobile network. So one can keep the fanciest gadgets at home or can find a place where you could get a compliantly wifi. This is also because, there are no towers by any telecom company in entire Andaman. They share network from mainland (Kolkata).

We had also found an unnamed place where we tasted some authentic Bengali sweets. The localities consists here are mainly Bengali settlers. Many of these settlers have Bangladeshi origin as these people were given settlement by the Indian government after the 1971 war between India and Pakistan.

Well, in our 3rd day of travel, we decided explore elephant beach which was hustling and bustling with tourist and water activities. The water sports here are pretty economical compared to Goa, Maldives or Thailand. We also explored places for ‘scuba diving’. Finally we settled with a place which was nearer to our resort. The instructors were from Bangalore and it made us little less nervous. But some days, you have less control on your mind and that day was one of them. We were nervous and about to collapse before going inside the water. We took feedback from the people who just did the scuba. Nothing was comforting. Then an elderly lady came back and she could not go for scuba because of her age. That moment, we just decided whatever happens, we would go for it. I am glad that we did that. It was like an opportunity of life time – had seen a world that I never imagined. The corals, red, green, blue fishes and many other creatures made the underwater even more beautiful.

Day 5
Photo of Cellular Jail - National Memorial, Atlanta Point, Port Blair, Andaman and Nicobar Islands, India by Jahnabi Borgohain

With a fulfilling heart, we left Havlock next day. Due to some technical difficulties, the Makruzz left late, hence we reached Port Blair little late. On our fifth day, we had a flight to catch to Bangalore. So for last time, we decided to pay a visit to Cellular Jail in day lights. Once we reached there, we were speechless again. The same thought from first time visit occupied my thoughts, “ Are we doing justice to the freedom given to us ???” We paid a quite homage and started to the airport.