A Trip For Everyone, A Trip To Remember Forever: Andaman & Nicobar Islands

Tripoto
9th Nov 2016
Photo of A Trip For Everyone, A Trip To Remember Forever: Andaman & Nicobar Islands by Sidhant Joshi

The most fascinating tourist destination in India, one that everyone must visit at least once in their life, is the islands of Andaman and Nicobar. My family and I, thus, made a plan to visit the islands for 5 days, during the end of May. Andaman and Nicobar Islands have numerous kinds of places for all kinds of travelers to experience; sports activities for the adventure junkies, Kala Paani Jail for the history buffs, and exotic beaches for the light travelers.

Photo of A Trip For Everyone, A Trip To Remember Forever: Andaman & Nicobar Islands 1/17 by Sidhant Joshi

My family is, somewhat, a mixture of all these kinds of travelers; so we decided to do all of these things. We reached Veer Savarkar International Airport after a pretty turbulent flight. Port Blair, the capital of Andaman and Nicobar Islands, had a hint of freshness that we felt in the air as soon as we got out of the aircraft. Very soon, our lungs got used to this fresh, unpolluted air.

Photo of A Trip For Everyone, A Trip To Remember Forever: Andaman & Nicobar Islands 2/17 by Sidhant Joshi
Photo of A Trip For Everyone, A Trip To Remember Forever: Andaman & Nicobar Islands 3/17 by Sidhant Joshi

We first rested in our hotel, which was in the centre of the city, making it convenient to hop in a taxi and set off for any place we wanted to go to. In the evening, we left for Cellular Jail (also known as Kala Pani Jail).

The aura in and around the place was eerie, and a feeling of sadness engulfed me. Looking at the tiny compartments big enough to fit only a few rats, I felt nauseous. Even outside the prisons, the prisoners were treated with utmost contempt and derision; they were tethered and whipped, made to work for hours in extreme conditions.

Photo of A Trip For Everyone, A Trip To Remember Forever: Andaman & Nicobar Islands 4/17 by Sidhant Joshi
Photo of A Trip For Everyone, A Trip To Remember Forever: Andaman & Nicobar Islands 5/17 by Sidhant Joshi

I tried to imagine how much struggle our brave freedom fighters must’ve endured to finally free India of the British. I couldn’t bring myself to peace that night. The Cellular Jail, I feel, is the single most important place every person must visit (specially Indians!).

Photo of A Trip For Everyone, A Trip To Remember Forever: Andaman & Nicobar Islands 6/17 by Sidhant Joshi
Photo of A Trip For Everyone, A Trip To Remember Forever: Andaman & Nicobar Islands 7/17 by Sidhant Joshi

The next day, we left for that part of Andaman where the tribe of Jarawa has its roots. It was a long drive by a cab that we had booked in advance. When we finally reached there, we were extremely eager to catch a glimpse of the Jarawa people, as were all other tourists present there.

Photo of A Trip For Everyone, A Trip To Remember Forever: Andaman & Nicobar Islands 8/17 by Sidhant Joshi

Making our way into the woods, listening to Bollywood music at full blast, my brother spotted a man who looked like the Jarawas, as described by the taxi driver. A peculiar thing about Jarawas is that they don’t wear clothes; they live completely naturally. It came as a shock to us, of course, but we hid our astonishment in order to not scare the Jarawa. In no time, we saw a whole family of Jarawas making their way into the interiors of the region, with logs of wood on their heads. Needless to say, we saw it as a truly radical way of living; something that normal city-dwellers won’t digest very quickly.

Soon, it started pouring heavily. We boarded a ship that cruised across the waterbody, leading us to the Baratang Island. Surprisingly, the cruise ran despite the rain.

Photo of A Trip For Everyone, A Trip To Remember Forever: Andaman & Nicobar Islands 9/17 by Sidhant Joshi

We, earlier, had decided to go further to the famous limestone caves of Baratang. But the downpour was so intense that my parents decided to stay back at a waiting room on Baratang. The three of us; I, my brother and my sister decided to have a little adventure. We set off for a boat ride that took us through the dense mangrove forests of Baratang, and dropped us at a narrow path that we had to tread on foot.

Photo of A Trip For Everyone, A Trip To Remember Forever: Andaman & Nicobar Islands 10/17 by Sidhant Joshi

In all, there were around 15 of us on the boat, mostly youngsters, who set off towards the caves, watching our feet, trying not to trip or slip on the wet mud and leaves. On the way, we saw beautiful orange mushrooms, nothing like we had ever seen before, growing on rocks.

After about 40 minutes of careful treading, we finally reached the limestone caves. It was dark inside, and the cave-guide used his torch light to show us around the beautiful, but damp caves. He explained a little about Stalagmites and Stalactites, and the different shapes and patterns the limestone makes in the caves. The shapes were really amazing! This was one of the most remarkable parts of my trip.

Photo of A Trip For Everyone, A Trip To Remember Forever: Andaman & Nicobar Islands 11/17 by Sidhant Joshi

The next day, we left for that part of Andaman where the tribe of Jarawa has its roots. It was a long drive by a cab that we had booked in advance. When we finally reached there, we were extremely eager to catch a glimpse of the Jarawa people, as were all other tourists present there.

Photo of A Trip For Everyone, A Trip To Remember Forever: Andaman & Nicobar Islands 12/17 by Sidhant Joshi

The drive to our resort was refreshing; the cool wind blowing against my face with a slight smell of the seawater; the lush green trees of Havelock shining bright under the sun; the cows grazing on the roadside without turning a hair to the noise of our jeep! The whole setting was exhilarating!

The resort we were going to live in was exquisite; a long walk from the entrance took us slightly uphill to the green bushes and trees, among which stood cottages, like stones on a river bed.

Photo of A Trip For Everyone, A Trip To Remember Forever: Andaman & Nicobar Islands 13/17 by Sidhant Joshi

We had booked two cottages side by side, which were pretty big from the inside. We rested there that evening, and after dinner, walked to the market and bought fresh fruits.

The next morning was one of the most important days of my life; it gave me the most precious memory that I will hold on to forever - that of scuba diving. 5 of us took a taxi and visited the Andaman Bubbles - a PADI rated organization, where a group of scuba-diving instructors help you with your diving experience. PADI is the world’s leading scuba-diver-instructing organization. My parents were reluctant to dive, so they stayed back on the speedboat that took us to the centre of the Andaman Sea.

Photo of A Trip For Everyone, A Trip To Remember Forever: Andaman & Nicobar Islands 14/17 by Sidhant Joshi

The instructors first made us comfortable with the outfit (which was very tight, by the way) and the extremely heavy oxygen cylinder, in the shallow part of the sea. And when it was time to dive, I was nervous to the core. One of the instructors asked me to make a dolphin-like posture, and pushed me into the sea. That moment felt like the world had turned upside down. I was inside the Andaman Sea, getting sucked further down into the deep waters, that at first, seemed sinister.

Photo of A Trip For Everyone, A Trip To Remember Forever: Andaman & Nicobar Islands 15/17 by Sidhant Joshi

An instructor was with me at all times, so I didn’t worry too much. He had told me that if I have any problem inside the water, I can make a gesture to him to bring me up by showing a thumbs-up sign. Keeping this in mind, I floated and swam with all the strength I could muster. Slowly, I got used to it. The snorkel, which is used to suck in air through the mouth, was a little uncomfortable, but I could manage.

I captured glimpses of beautiful corals, plants I had never seen before, and peaceful schools of goldfish swimming like I had once seen in ‘Finding Nemo’. The beauty of that whole new world, uncontaminated by the filthy touch of humans, cannot be explained in words. Those were the most blissful moments of my life.

Photo of A Trip For Everyone, A Trip To Remember Forever: Andaman & Nicobar Islands 16/17 by Sidhant Joshi

We needed a lot of rest that night, and so we slept for hours. The next day was light; we visited Radhanagar Beach in the morning, after breakfast. After playing on the beach for about an hour, we changed and set off for the glass-boat ride. Through the glass floor of the boat, we could see aquatic life thriving in the sea.

In the afternoon, we rushed to catch our flight back to Mumbai. The sky, beautified by the silver-lined clouds, looked magnificent. This was one hell of a trip, one that I’ll cherish for years to come, maybe even for the rest of my life.

Photo of A Trip For Everyone, A Trip To Remember Forever: Andaman & Nicobar Islands 17/17 by Sidhant Joshi
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