The Andaman: Rendezvous with Indian Archipelago

Tripoto
Photo of The Andaman: Rendezvous with Indian Archipelago 1/3 by Madhuree
Tranquil blue water with lush green forest
Photo of The Andaman: Rendezvous with Indian Archipelago 2/3 by Madhuree
Pristine beach of The Andaman
Photo of The Andaman: Rendezvous with Indian Archipelago 3/3 by Madhuree
Sunrise in Havelock Island

The Andaman, an Indian archipelago in the Bay of Bengal, is a group of almost 300 islands blessed with tranquil beaches, pristine water with a diverse marine life. With white sand beaches, crystal clear water, amazing coral reefs, limestone caves, mangrove and tropical rain forest, the Andaman has the bag full of solace and adventure. It also hosts the only mud volcano and only active volcano (Barren Island) of India. To add to its glory, it has witnessed the sacrifice of our freedom fighters during their ‘Kalapani ki Saja’.

Andaman is divided into north, middle and south Andaman. Port Blair, Havelock, Neil Island and other major travel destination falls in south Andaman where as Diglipur, limestone caves and mud volcano is hosted by middle and north Andaman.

How to reach

Most common and easy route to reach Port Blair, the capital of A& N is by air.

Port Blair is well connected to Kolkata and Chennai by air. Most of the flights operate early in the morning as the airport is shared with Indian Navy as well.

Travel time

Chennai- Port Blair- 2.30 hours

Kolkata- Port Blair- 2.30 hours

Things to keep in mind while planning the tour

• Start planning early so that you have enough time to book cheap flight tickets.

• Do check for weather conditions prevailing there, before starting your journey.

• Do take insect repellents, torch, sunscreen, and goggles with you to enjoy to the fullest.

• Hindi, English, Bengali and Tamil are well spoken here, so don’t worry about the language issues.

Best Time to Visit

October-March

What to Eat

Indian cuisines are available everywhere but prawn, crab, fishes and variety of other sea foods are preferred.

Now the journey starts

Day 1

Veer Savarkar International Airport, Port Blair

We boarded the Air India flight from Chennai at 5 am and reached Port Blair by 8 am in morning. The first aerial view of the Andaman will leave you mesmerized. Blue water with dense forest looks like a beautiful painting on nature’s canvas.

First aerial view of the Andaman

Photo of Veer Savarkar International Airport, Nayagaon, Port Blair, Andaman and Nicobar Islands, India by Madhuree

Port Blair

We quickly reached to our guest house which was booked prior. After quick refreshment, we rushed to the office of ‘Experience Andaman’. They were a bunch of nice guys, from whom we hired Scooty for Port Blair and Havelock, and booked tickets for the cruise from port Blair to Havelock and Neil. You can organize your whole trip to the Andaman with this group.

Roaming in Port Blair

Photo of Port Blair, Andaman and Nicobar Islands, India by Madhuree

Corbyn’s Cove Beach

When you are in the Andaman, the first thing comes in your mind is the beautiful beach. After hiring Scooty, we headed towards the nearest, Corbyn’s Cove Beach. You can stop here for some fun and frolic.

Rajiv Gandhi Water Sports complex

This is a pure delight to water sports lovers. You can enjoy jet- ski, banana ride, kayaking, thrill ride here. This also serves as a jetty for transit to Ross, Viper and North Bay Islands.

jet ski

Photo of Rajiv Gandhi Water Sports Complex, Port Blair, Andaman and Nicobar Islands, India by Madhuree

Enjoying Water Sports

Photo of Rajiv Gandhi Water Sports Complex, Port Blair, Andaman and Nicobar Islands, India by Madhuree

Samudrika Naval Marine Museum

After water sports, it was time to explore the history of the Andaman, so we headed towards Samudrika museum. Here, you can have a glimpse of life inside the ocean and aboriginal tribes of Andaman and Nicobar.

Cellular Jail

Timings:

Visiting hours: 9:00 am to 5:00 pm

Light and Sound show timings: 5:30 pm – 6:30 pm (Hindi)

6:45 pm – 7:45 pm (English)

Admission cost is Rs.10.

The jail remains closed on Monday and during Public Holidays.

No introduction is needed for cellular jail. This star shaped jail has witnessed sacrifices of our freedom fighters, serving as a national memorial monument today. The story told during ‘Light and sound show’ will surely give you goose bumps.

Important: First day is very crucial to plan your trip further. Book tickets for the Cruise, Scooty, Scuba diving, Sea walking in advance to avoid confusion and save money and time.

Photo of Cellular Jail - National Memorial, Atlanta Point, Port Blair, Andaman and Nicobar Islands, India by Madhuree

Light and Sound Show at Cellular Jail

Photo of Cellular Jail - National Memorial, Atlanta Point, Port Blair, Andaman and Nicobar Islands, India by Madhuree

Day 2

Phoenix Bay Jetty

A 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.

Makruzz

Photo of Phoenix Bay, Port Blair, Andaman and Nicobar Islands, India by Madhuree

Havelock Islands

We were welcomed by pristine crystal blue water in Havelock. As Scooty was pre-booked, it was given to us on Jetty itself. Havelock is a small island of 92 km2 which can be experienced nicely with Scooty. We reached to our hotel, kept our luggage and drove to ‘Dive India’, company operating scuba diving in Havelock, where my dream was waiting to be fulfilled.

Photo of Havelock Island, South Andaman, Andaman and Nicobar Islands, India by Madhuree

Scuba Diving

Crystal clear water and coral ecosystem beneath, makes Havelock perfect destination for Scuba, Sea walk, and Snorkelling to explore unexplored marine life.

At ‘Dive India’, we were provided dive suit and transported further to the boat, which took us to our scuba instructor in between the ocean. We learned the basics of sign language (thumbs up, all well, not well etc.) and breathing from mouth using oxygen cylinder, which we have to use under water. After practicing for 15 -20 min, we were under water.

The most peaceful environment witnessed by me ever. Corals and beautiful marine creatures will leave you mesmerized. The experience of flying underwater is just beyond words.

And the most important part of scuba diving was that you don’t have to be a swimmer to experience this. Though you may face some difficulty, but very skilled instructors are there to take good care of you.

After 20 minutes of ultimate experience of our life underwater, we came out and moved to our next destination.

A sign of "All is Well"

Photo of The Andaman: Rendezvous with Indian Archipelago by Madhuree

Marine Ecosystem: Coral Reefs

Photo of The Andaman: Rendezvous with Indian Archipelago by Madhuree

Kaala Pathar Beach

Paradise of a photographer!!!

Breathtaking views of tranquil water, serene atmosphere, and a dramatic photographic background. A perfect heaven for peace lovers and photographers.

Still awestruck, we moved further to explore unknown beaches near to our hotel. You can save the evening to roam around the little market of Havelock.

Wow!!!

Photo of Kala Pathar Beach, South Andaman, Andaman and Nicobar Islands, India by Madhuree

Sholay ka Veeru at Havelock...;)

Photo of Kala Pathar Beach, South Andaman, Andaman and Nicobar Islands, India by Madhuree

Day 3

Radhanagar Beach

Early in the morning, by 5 am, we reached the best beach of India, Radhanagar beach. Long stretches of fine white sand and no one around, only you and nature’s leap, is a great experience to have. The loudest sound, you will hear here is of roaring waves. This beach is a very beautiful site for sunset as well.

Photo of Radhanagar Beach, Andaman and Nicobar Islands, India by Madhuree
Photo of Radhanagar Beach, Andaman and Nicobar Islands, India by Madhuree

A beautiful morning at Radhanagar Beach

Photo of Radhanagar Beach, Andaman and Nicobar Islands, India by Madhuree

Elephant beach

Next, we moved to elephant beach. Here, you can experience sea walk, snorkelling, and other water activities.

Snorkeling

Photo of Elephant Beach, South Andaman, Andaman and Nicobar Islands, India by Madhuree

Neil Island

We boarded ‘Makruzz’ at 10 am and reached Neil Island at 11.30 am.

Bharatpur Beach

Photo of Neil Island, South Andaman, Andaman and Nicobar Islands, India by Madhuree

Neil Island is known as the ‘vegetable bowl’ of the Andaman. The unexplored beauty of Neil makes it a must visit place in Andaman. The beaches here are named after the epic Ramayana characters (Bharatpur, Laxmanpur and Sitapur beach). All of the beaches are very serene and much lesser crowded than Havelock. This place is also very suitable for water activities. We enjoyed glass boat ride to experience the marine life again here in Bharatpur beach.

Sitapur beach

Photo of The Andaman: Rendezvous with Indian Archipelago by Madhuree

Don’t be surprised if you find ‘Howrah Bridge’, here in Neil Islands. Yes, you read it right.

A natural bridge made by geographical activities of nature commonly known as ‘Howrah Bridge’ will just give you a glance of shear forces of Earth. Requiring a small trek, this place should be visited in low tide to observe this natural wonder.

Finally, we went back to Port Blair by Government ferry, where another exciting trip was waiting for us.

Way to Howrah Bridge

Photo of The Andaman: Rendezvous with Indian Archipelago by Madhuree

Howrah Bridge

Photo of The Andaman: Rendezvous with Indian Archipelago by Madhuree

Day4

We were very excited to explore another side of Andaman on day 4. Three days, we were smitten by the pristine beaches but, now it is time to fall in love with mangrove forests, aboriginal tribes, caves, and volcanoes.

This trip needs a little attention as you are going to cross reserved forest area, rivers, and mangrove forests. You should start early from Port Blair as you have to cross the Jarawa reserve forest in convoy.

Photo of The Andaman: Rendezvous with Indian Archipelago by Madhuree

Jarawa Forest Reserve

We started as early as 4 am in morning. After 2 hours drive, we reached to check post of Jarawa reserve forest. This was the starting point of our beautiful journey ahead. Vehicles ply in the group only through this forest. If you miss one convoy, you have to wait for another, which will start after 2 h of the departure of the first. Here, while crossing the deep, dense forest, you have to follow the strict instruction of forest officers.

Photo of The Andaman: Rendezvous with Indian Archipelago by Madhuree

Jarawas are one of the aboriginal tribes of Andaman which are very less in number. They are one of the most primitive human populations in the world. If you become a witness of their presence, you are a lucky one!!!

Baratang Jetty

Here, you will load your car with yourself on a ferry. After experiencing tropical forests, now it is time to have a talk with mangroves and backwaters of Andaman. Now, you will get down at Baratang. Here you can have your lunch to replenish your strength. From here, a speed boat journey will start amidst the mangrove forest.

Backwaters of Andaman

Photo of Baratang, North and Middle Andaman, Andaman and Nicobar Islands, India by Madhuree
Photo of Baratang, North and Middle Andaman, Andaman and Nicobar Islands, India by Madhuree

Believe me, when we reached there, near the limestone caves, I felt like being a part of movie ‘Anaconda’. Deep mangrove forest, sluggish rivers, and remote location make a complete aura of Amazon forests.

Mangrove Forest

Photo of The Andaman: Rendezvous with Indian Archipelago by Madhuree
Photo of The Andaman: Rendezvous with Indian Archipelago by Madhuree

On the Way to Limestone caves

Photo of The Andaman: Rendezvous with Indian Archipelago by Madhuree

Limestone caves

Inside the caves

Photo of The Andaman: Rendezvous with Indian Archipelago by Madhuree

After trekking of 1.5 Km further, finally, we saw another wonder of nature- Limestone caves. The stalagmites and stalactites formations will enhance your curiosity about nature.

Trekking to Limestone Caves

Photo of Baratang Lime Stone Caves, South Andaman, Andaman and Nicobar Islands, India by Madhuree

Limestone Caves

Photo of Baratang Lime Stone Caves, South Andaman, Andaman and Nicobar Islands, India by Madhuree

Mud Volcano

The more you wander, the more you wonder. How powerful nature is!!! Today, we are getting some glimpses. Mud volcano is another marvel of nature, being the only one in India, and one of a kind in the world. Now, you won’t be able to see the muddy eruption, but locals told us that after the tsunami, the eruption was furious.

Mud Volcano

Photo of The Andaman: Rendezvous with Indian Archipelago by Madhuree

Trekking to Mud Volcano

Photo of The Andaman: Rendezvous with Indian Archipelago by Madhuree

Mud Eruption

Photo of The Andaman: Rendezvous with Indian Archipelago by Madhuree

While returning to Port Blair, again you have to follow the same route. The convoy will start at around 2 pm, dropping you back to Port Blair at around 6 pm.

After this exhaustive yet beautiful journey, if you have still energy left, you can explore Aberdeen bazaar, the MG road of Port Blair.

Day 5

Wandoor

Wandoor, around 30 Km from Port Blair is the gateway to Mahatma Gandhi Marine National Park. The signature crystal clear blue water of Andaman is witnessed here also.

Way to Wandoor

Photo of Wandoor, Andaman and Nicobar Islands, India by Madhuree

Mahatma Gandhi Marine National Park

Mahatma Gandhi Marine National Park is a labyrinth of 15 islands and several islets in south Andaman. The most famous islands here are Jolly buoy and Red skin Island. Both open alternatively for six months each. Amazing coral reefs and diverse marine life are the lime lights of this park.

Marine Life

Photo of Mahatma Gandhi Marine National Park, South Andaman, Andaman and Nicobar Islands, India by Madhuree

Marine Flora and Coral Reefs

Photo of Mahatma Gandhi Marine National Park, South Andaman, Andaman and Nicobar Islands, India by Madhuree

Chidiya Tapu

A picture perfect place amidst the jungles is the best place for bird lovers. Though there are no restaurants or food stalls available here, reminiscent of the tsunami, uprooted trees will be enough to give you chills.

Return to Port Blair

After collecting memories of the life time, we returned back to Port Blair and next morning departed to Chennai.

If you plan for 10 days to spend in Andaman, following modification in itinerary can be planned.

Explore North Bay Island, Viper Island and Ross Island to add to your cherished memory of this Indian Archipelago.

• Spend one more day in Havelock.

• Plan a trip to serene and undiscovered north Andaman.

• Explore Diglipur, nesting turtles and twin Ross and Smith islands.

With several natural wonders of nature, and divine underwater life, the Andaman has so much to offer that you will never get tired of exploring. Have a rendezvous with this off beat India to gather around experience of a life time.

Adieu Andaman

Photo of Chidiya Tapu, South Andaman, Andaman and Nicobar Islands, India by Madhuree
1 Comment(s)
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loved this article.. madhuree.. definitely planning to go there
Sun 05 14 17, 06:16 · Reply (1) · Report
thanks dear
Sun 05 14 17, 06:22 · Report