Tucked away in the midst of Bay Of Bengal and the Indian Ocean, Andaman is a paradise waiting to be explored. Once a British colony, The Island now stands as one of the poster boys of Indian Tourism. Attracting thousands of tourists every year from different parts of the globe, Andaman is one of the best beach-holiday destinations on this planet.
One chilly winter evening, while sipping on my coffee and reading a book on The Jarawas, I decided to pay a visit to this island territory.
And so a month, a bumpy cab ride and a two-hour flight later, I landed at the Veer Savarkar International Airport,Port Blair.
Day 1 is best spent exploring the lovely city of Port Blair. A British colony in the past, the present city of Port Blair is a quaint mixture of modern construction coupled with Raj-era architecture. Port Blair also happens to be the provincial capital of The Andamans.
- Cellular Jail - The once dreaded prison now stands as a testament to the British atrocity the Nation was subjected to. The building has been essentially converted into a museum. Catch the colorful Light And Sound Show in the evening that aptly brings out the history of the prison.
Day 2 and 3:
After a brisk nights sleep, I took the cruise from Phoenix Bay Jetty and set sail for The Havelock Islands. Makruzz (the cruise I travelled in) provided us with a magical 2 hour sailing. Comfy seats, in-house cafe, large viewing windows and a lovely decor ensured an engaging and pleasant experience. The cruise completed the journey within the stipulated time.
For the uninitiated, Havelock Island is arguably one of the most romantic destinations in India. Pearl white beaches, cerulean water, picturesque sun-sets, beach-side huts and viridescent fauna simply make this place stand out of the crowd. Take pictures, explore the beaches, have a drink or better yet, do nothing but marveling at the beauty of this island.
For the adventurer in you, Havelock offers plenty of adrenaline driven experiences - Snorkeling, Glass-bottom Boat, Scuba Diving etc.
- Radhanagar Beach (rated "Best Beach in Asia" by Time Magazine in 2004)
- Kalapathar Beach
- Trekking: Mount Harriet
Day 4 and 5 :
After a happening 2 day stay in Havelock, I embarked for another scenic isle - The Neil Islands. An hour's boat ride away, Neil is not very different from Havelock except that, it is much less populated. ATMs are almost non-existent, hence it is advisable to fill up your wallet before setting sail. Also, the only two mobile networks that work here are - BSNL and Airtel.
- Natural Bridge - Amidst a rocky terrain, Natural Bridge is a mountainous bridge-type structure formed by the silt, rocks and naturally occurring phenomenons. A pretty-as-a-picture-view, do visit the Natural bridge for its innate beauty and the dense outgrowth of trees.
- Sitapur Beach
Back to Port Blair. The entire morning spent at leisure. Roaming the city streets , eating out at the Famous Bakery and buying some souvenirs. Also visited the Marine Museum and the Chatham Saw Mill.
If you have another day or two to spare, there are two great isles you can travel to from Port Blair - The North Bay Island and The Ross Island. However due to time constraints I couldn't visit these places.
Also do visit the Rajiv Gandhi Water Sports Complex. The place provides a great platform for trying different water sports. Partake in the magical Sea Walk at the water sports complex (Try it, you won't be disappointed).
It's time to bid adieu to an incredible week spent at the Amazing Andamans. The place rejuvenates you and fills you up with renewed vigor and vitality. The mellow heart wants to breathe in the isles one last time. It's okay to be sad. Because at the end of the day, life is all about exploring, travelling and discovering yourself.