Just 15 minutes away from the capital of Port Blair, Ross Island used to be the capital and served as the same from 1858 to 1941 until it was hit by a massive earthquake and attacked by the Japanese. It stands today are an important tourist destination in the archipelago and some attractions are the ruins of the Chief Commissioners house and the church. There are a number of machine gun nests that have been left behind by the Japanese who took over the island during World War II.
Located in the Nicobar Islands, this jail rose to prominence during the British Raj in India. Many a social activist have spent days and months in this jail as a result of protests against the British rule. The building of this prison started in the year 1896 and was completed in 1906, The other name of this place is the Kala Pani Jail. During the British rule, any person who used to raise their voices against the British used to be trapped punished and imprisoned in the Viper Jail or the Andaman Cellular Jail and were tortured till death. Many brave men perished due to the intolerable pain.
The driver timed the return journey is such a way, that we could be at the sunset point on the dot. By the time, we reached there, a lot of tourist buses had unloaded their tourists who were eagerly waiting for that moment of golden rays to fall on the water. The rays were so golden, that even the gleam of the real gold was less shiny. My picture which I posted below would vouch for that.
North Bay Island Andaman
Take a ferry from Port Blair for a days trip to the beautiful North Bay Beach. The North Bay Beach organizes a great number of water based sports and activities like walking underwater and snorkeling, However, the star attractions here are the glass bat riding that comes at INR 300.00 per head and scuba diving at INR 4000.00 per head. There is a huge coral reef that is home to many marine species that put on a colorful display. The beach has a lighthouse that one can visit. They view from the top of the lighthouse leaves one in awe.
Jolly Buoy Island
One of the 15 islands that is a part of Wandoor, Jolly Buoy is famous for its clear beaches and corals. About an hour away from Wandoor, the island forms a part of the Mahatma Gandhi National Park. Visitors to the island are not allowed to carry any plastic item and must deposit them at Wandoor with an amount of INR 100.00 which is returned. Snorkeling and scuba diving are what one should try here apart from the glass-bottomed boat rides. Do keep in mind that one needs a permit to visit Jolly Buoy and these are available at the Wandoor Jetty.
Chatham Saw Mill
This mill, owned by the Forest department, is credited as one of the biggest and oldest saw mills all through Asia. It dates back to 1836 and is a big store house for different varieties of wood, including Marble, Padauk, Gurjan and Satinwood. This mill processes many types of ornamental wood suitable for making furniture and handicrafts.
Named after the vessel by the name of Viper who carried Lieutenant Archibald Blair to this island in the year of 1789, this island, though beautiful, has a dark past. The palace was used to imprison political prisoners and torture them till they were hung at the gallows. The place was abandoned when the Cellular Jail was established. Those dilapidated; the jail still stands here to remind one of the past glory and torture faced by the Indian freedom fighters. This place should be included on your list of things to do when one is in Andaman and Nicobar Islands. The place is beautiful and is many tourists pay it a visit.
Veer Savarkar International Airport
We left the Guest House and reached the Airport. Bidding Bye is really the toughest part of any journey, but we had to. You start belonging to the place you visit. You feel a strange bonding. As our Air India flight took off, and we touched the clouds, we left the lovely islands below, wondering if we would be able to make it again. But the sweet memories shall always remain etched in our hearts.And before I wind up, this sojourn, I would like to reproduce a beautiful quote which I read:“Travel is fatal to prejudice, bigotry, and narrow-mindedness, and many of our people need it sorely on these accounts. Broad, wholesome, charitable views of men and things cannot be acquired by vegetating in one little corner of the earth all one's lifetime.” ― Mark Twain, The Innocents Abroad/Roughing It.
Shopping at Aberdeen BazaarThere is no nightlife in Andaman and very few pubs. Therefore go for shopping in Aberdeen Market. You can get yourself souvenirs for memory. If you love pearls then get yourself a pearl necklace. When you are tired of shopping pamper your tastebuds with some delicious food at Lighthouse Restaurant.
A lovely museum, this works with the aim of conserving the tribal culture and heritage of the islands. Also, they have different sections for different types and the most attractive is that of the Jarawas. The simple décor of the place might not seem to be very attractive but the way they work shows how passionate they are about their place and do love their heritage.
Mahatma Gandhi Marine National Park
The Mahatma Gandhi Marine National Park is located at Wandoor and was established n the year of 1983 which the aim to protect and preserve the ecosystem here. Out of the 15 islands that comprise the park, only two are open to the public. They are Jolly Buoy and Red Skin for a period of six months each on an alternative basis. A 10-minute ride in a glass bottomed boat provides tourist with a glimpse of the coral reef that surrounds Wandoor. Swimming and snorkeling apart from enjoying a picnic is what this place allows one to do. There are a number of tour packages that one can avail of but do so in advance to avoid disappointment.
Samudrika Marine Museum
Another wonderful museum run by the Indian Navy, this is themed on the seas and life around it. They have various sections in this museum for a particular subject. There are divisions for exhibiting marine life, tribal life, lifestyle, culture, occupations. There is a separate gallery dedicated to the naval forces and there is a small aquarium too.
Rajiv Gandhi Water Sports Complex
We went to the Rajiv Gandhi Water Sports Complex. It was a lovely place. The view of the surrounding city lit in lights was a beautiful sight. Every Sunday evening, the local police conduct a Band Music there. They played lovely old songs on the flute. It was sheer magic in the air. We sat there looking in wonder and amazement. We spent the evening in complete bliss. And around 09.00 PM we left the place with heavy hearts that from tomorrow we shall miss all the serenity and beauty of these lovely islands.I must tell you once again about our Driver, Mr Dilip, a young chap who showed us around during our Trip, with so much of patience and perseverance. He deserves special thanks from us for his dedicated service. I wish I had taken his picture to post it here. Goodness, kindness and patience should always be rewarded. God bless him and his family.There were still many islands which we could not see, because of paucity of time. I wish we had seen them all. But we wish to plan another trip to see the Islands which we could not see during this trip.Early next morning, our Air India flight was scheduled at 08.00 AM from Veer Savarkar International Airport. So we had to check in at 07.00 AM.
Mount Harriet National Park
Visited this place on our way back from Baratang Island. Got some lunch packed from a hotel enroute and headed to Mt Harriet National Park. It is the highest point in Port Blair and the view from the top is magnificent.They have made a couple of huts and watchtowers sort of structures which apart from giving a good view also enhance the beauty of the park.There is a 2km trek as well leading to Kalapatthar beach for all the adventure enthusiasts.We enjoyed our packed lunch with strong winds blowing on our faces and later had a long walk on the premises.PS: The image on the INR 20 note is from a point on the road leading to Mt Harriet.
30 kms from Port Blair, Wandoor has become a sought after place in Andamans because of the nearby located Mahatma Gandhi Marine National Park and also is the boarding point of thousands of tourists who flock here for jetties to the serene and tranquil islands of Jolly Buoy. It is basically a small village with couple of beaches and hence, suitable for relaxation, far from the crowded cities & towns. It is also well known for sea water fish including the very popular Dollar Fish (a red coloured fish), most of which are exported at premium rates.
Phoenix Bay Jetty
Phoenix Bay JettyA beautiful place itself, serving as a transit point for Havelock. It is always better and wise to arrive early as there may be a long queue waiting for boarding. Don’t forget to have your identity card with you. Here, we had a nice experience of cruising with ‘Makruzz’. Around 2 hours journey from Port Blair to Havelock was a visual delight. Around 10 am, we reached Havelock.
Water Sports Complex
This is a well-known sports complex in India. The unique sports complex offers many adventurous water sports activities. Sail boats, para sailing, water scooters, rowing boats, kayaks, paddle boats, scuba diving and water skiing facilities are available in plenty here in this complex.
Our next visit was to the Science Centre on Corbyn's Cove Road. It was more of a student affair, but worth visiting. For a while, we felt as if we were some school students, curiously looking, reading and knowing about each exhibit. But, there were some interesting facts about these islands, its history and its anthropology that we learnt through the displays, especially, about the Jharawa Tribe. About the total number of islands in this archipelago, how many were inhabited and how many were still Virgin Islands, far away from human settlement.