Limestone Cave of Baratang Island
It was this trip to Andaman that made me realize that I don't want to be a tourist but rather a traveler. I had visited the beautiful islands surrounded by turquoise water with my parents and while we were sitting in the bus as a part of the convoy that was crossing the dense forest on the way to Baratang Island, I felt this strange excitement in me. So the government rule is that no vehicle or any individual can cross the forest on their free will because the area is the primary habitat of the Jarwas – the local tribe. There had been incidents in the past when apparently some modern-day humans fell prey to their ultra-backdated mentality and had abused few Jarwas. Thus the new rule, where a time is set by the government and all the vehicles that need to cross the woods are escorted by a police troop. While all other co-passengers were looking out to spot a Jarwa, I was super curious to know what kind of lifestyle they might have – the way they live, what do they eat and how do they react when they see a dressed up so-called civilized men? I remember telling my mom that someday I would revisit the place, but not as a tourist.
Post, hours of travelling through the woods and another half-an-hour boat ride amidst dense mangrove forest, we reached Baratang Island. The green hue around was sinking real deep in my soul and before I would just mistake it for a dream, we entered a limestone cave – a magical creation of Mother Nature. The formation by numerous stalactite and stalagmite inside the limestone cave is bound to tickle the imagination power in you, only to make you say, "damn, this looks exactly like…". I spotted the paw of a tiger, lotus, Ganesh and many more. It's completely dark inside the cave, so don't forget your torches or headlights. Also, carry a pair of waterproof boots for a comfortable walk through the swamp. Another boat ride of a few minutes from Baratang Island will take you to another magical tourist attraction- the Mud Volcano. Like literally! You can see the mud oozing out of the ground like a volcano.