Andamans Above The Water!


Andaman and not diving! Weird woman...what is she going to do there? So did me a plenty...! One of the most mesmerising trips I have ever taken. Spent in Portblair and Havelock. So what did I do there (since I did not dive in the waters)?


Photo of Andaman Islands, North and Middle Andaman, Andaman and Nicobar Islands, India by reachmonica

Andaman is a settlement created by the British. So there is nothing called as a local language or people. Earlier it was a land inhabited by the tribals and rich in nature. Mostly Bangla is what you hear. The original inhabitants are tribals - Jawaras, Onge, Sentinelese, Andamanese etc - and they lived off the land for ever. My hunt to meet the locals hence did not yield to anything, for the tribals are beyond our contact! The government protects them strictly for their own safety.

Photo of Andamans Above The Water! by reachmonica

Kaala Pani is how the British called the islands. Very briefly, the British brought in convicts from all over India and Burma and created a settlement on the islands. They also set up the cellular jail. They gave land to people to clear it of forests and settle there. For a long time there was hostility with the Jawaras, the tribals. At the moment it is peace! Today Andaman is like a mini India.

So basically there are 3 sections of the islands, the tribals (beyond our reach), the locals you meet everywhere and the 3 rd, the buffer zone where the tribals and locals interact! The Jawaras mingle with locals for food. The locals visit the jungles for wood and honey. (So hey say!) But the sentinels stay in their own world, separate. I found the stories of mingling most fascinating!

Here is an interesting book I found in a shop at Havelock and it gave a lot of information. The author used real life incidents to weave them into a story.

Photo of Andamans Above The Water! by reachmonica

What hits you in Portblair is the slow pace of life and people who do not scream for attention. Tourism is 1 industry but most of the people go for regular jobs, the island having so many government offices. It's a delight walking on the roads and mingling with locals for everyone is friendly!

Don't pass through Portblair. Explore!

Stay in Fortune ITC group hotel. The location and architecture are breath-taking!

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

Explore - Go to the Naval museum and Aberdeen market. But definitely go the Anthropological museum for understanding just how Andaman was created. It was an eye opener! Do go to Corbyn cove too and enjoy a beach that is clear, clean and free of too many shacks.

Wander - Wandering around I discovered some of the most friendly and open hearted people. Everyone ready to answer questions, give directions or simply - chat!

Wandered in a middle school on 26 th to participate in their flag hoisting ceremony. Not only did they invite me to join in, but also handed me a box of sweets!

Photo of Corbyns Cove Beach, Carbyns Cove, Port Blair, Andaman and Nicobar Islands, India by reachmonica

Wondered what was happening with boats and people! Was informed that this was the fishermen market being set up. The fishermen catch the fishes...sell them to the shopkeeers who then set up the market. Walked through the people with all smiles and patience.

Photo of Andamans Above The Water! by reachmonica

And of course! The cellular jail...the house of history. Emotional and informative. The sound and light show was informative, but not so hard hitting. What was hard hitting though were the stories and the structure of the prison. Can human beings treat other human beings this way?! Seems very much yes! You come back much grateful for the freedom earned for you!


One of the most beautiful places ever visited! I stayed in Barefoot scuba, a basic resort. I feel in places where only nature lovers come have a different feel. Professional yet very friendly, laidback and quiet place. The visitors were not tourists passing by, but lovers of the land. And, they made me vegan food!

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

Caught the sunrise every day! Walked on the low tide sea bed on the long of the quietest beaches ever seen!

Trekked through the rainforest and mangroves to reach elephant beach. during high tide you may have to wade through waist high waters...but it is worth it!

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

Walked from beach 3 to jetty by mangroves to have lunch at barefoot restaurant. And then walked back! This is a beautiful walk. On low tide time you walk on the sea bed. On high tide you wade through the waters. All along I met locals who assured me it was safe to walk along...and by what time I should head back. Helpful, courteous and friendly. And the sights were breathtaking!

Photo of Andamans Above The Water! by reachmonica

Meditated! What can you do faced with the view day in and day silently drop into meditation. Nature is such a powerful trigger to be quiet. I wasn't much aware of the excitement around...such was the silence of the land, nature kept safe by the government of India.


  1. Taken a cycle and wandered around Havelock.
  2. Spent few more days to do island hopping.
  3. Taken the BAratang bus to sight some tribals.
  4. Gone trekking atop a mountain!
  5. And of course diving ... which I could not do for medical reasons. 

This post was originally published on My Bug Stories.