Andaman and Nicobar Islands

It is an absolute pleasure to spend a few days in the gorgeous Islands of Andaman and Nicobar which are silhouetted against the background of immense blue seas of the Bay of Bengal. These islands showcase some of natures wonders like the mud volcanoes in Baratang, and the Barren Island volcano which is the only active volcano in South Asia. They are also home to a number of aboriginal tribes.

The capital city of Port Blair can be reached through ship and by air from Chennai or Kolkata. Taxis, autos and buses can be used for local travelling, on roads that are relatively clean and not very crowded. Ferries can be taken for trips to other islands and these need to be pre-planned.

A visit to the Andaman and Nicobar islands is incomplete without a visit to the Cellular Jail and the accompanying sound and light show. Havelock Island and Neil Island are famous for their corals viewed through glass boats, scuba diving and snorkelling. Viper Island and Ross Island house the ruins of the old buildings of the British regime and Japanese bunkers that narrate stories better than any history lesson.

Best time to visit: January to April

Languages Spoken: Due to the cosmopolitan nature of these Islands many of the Indian languages are spoken here. Hindi is a common language and a large number of people speak Bengali.

Climate: The Islands have only two seasons. Hot and humid tropical summer lasts from January to April and heavy rains characterise the monsoon months from May to December.
Places of interest: Cellular Jail, Gandhi Park, Water Sports Complex, Wandoor beach, Mini zoo, Corbyns cove, Marina Park, Chatham Saw Mill, Mount Harriet, Chidiyatapu Forest

Islands: Baratang Island, Barren Island, Havelock Island, Neil Island, Ross Island, Viper Island, Cinque Island, Long Island

Museums: Forest museum, Samudrika museum, Anthropological Museum, Fisheries Museum

Setting Sail to the Three Islands

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Always remember to carry your ID Card along with you as it is need at almost every tourist spot in the Andamans. The ferries depart every hour and we were to go by the 0930 one. We were not offered any lifejackets and the ferry setup made me worry. Safety was on compromise but yet again one doesn’t have any another option. Recently, a ferry sailing from North Bay to Ross Island sunk and as many as 21 people died. Why can’t we follow safety guidelines rather than waiting for accidents to take place? As soon as the boarding began, I was the first one to step in and occupy the seat ahead of the wheel room.

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Welcome to Andamans!

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The pilot announced “Crew, Ready for takeoff!” The flight from Chennai took off sharp at 0500 hours. It is advisable to opt for a windows seat as on the approach towards the beautiful Islands, one gets a visual treat offered by Andamans.

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Andaman – An unforgettable vacation

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It is my advice, don’t book any package from any travel agent they never give you such accommodation, & still charge heftily. Transport here is not a problem, Auto at quite affordable & ubiquitously available.
Many things here are waiting to explore like tribal’s areas, uninhabited beauty of sand & sea , history related to our freedom fighters , Japanese cruelty, & last but most important adventurous water sports & beautiful corals under the sea.

In Andman now I am ready for many adventures in store for me. As port blair is only connected to main land so you need to check in port blair minimum for last night of tour otherwise in case of bad weather you might miss your flight or cruise, though port blair deserve minimum 3 night stay .

After check in, we took taxi to wandoor (28 km from port Blair) here we got jetty for Joly Buoy Island, a wonder island. It opens for 6 months in a year, red skin island opens for another 6 months. The Islands full of beautiful corals, ideal for snorkeling. A/c taxi charged 1200/- plus jetty charges 540/- per head including one time snorkeling. But you should pay 300 bucks more to trainer if you want good & fruitful snorkeling. You can go chidiya tapu while coming back, taxi would charge 1000/- more, here you can enjoy beautiful beach & awesome sunset, though a national park of animals is also here but it opens only up to 4 o’clock.

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The retreat of the tide

The Emerald Islands of Andaman and Nicobar-II

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Our plan was to take a government ferry to Havelock and halt there for two days. For our return journey we planned to take the Makruzz back to Port Blair. We had to wake up at 5 in the morning to catch the ferry which leaves at  6:30 am. The harbour at Port Blair is lively even at these early hours as it caters to to the goods coming in from the mainland, as well as from nearby countries like Thailand. The ferry which we were to travel on, was operated by the Shipping Corporation of India. Our reserved seats in the first class compartment akin to the Indian Railways chair car coaches made our travel comfortable. During the journey to Havelock, you are free to go on deck. Travelers can hear the soothing sound of the waves hitting the craft and enjoy the vast expanse of the ocean. The blue sea, and the green emeralds dotting them, complement each other, and add to the experience. After standing on deck for 15 minutes, we decided to get a quick nap. When we woke up, the ferry was docking at the Havelock Jetty. After getting off the ship, we were picked up by a taxi our friends had arranged.  We were dropped at our hotel, a government enterprise called the “Dolphin Hotel”. There are various grades of rooms available and it is important to reserve the rooms early.You may reserve the rooms through online payment on the website. Make sure to get a sea facing cottage. The drawback about Dolphin Hotel was  that though it was set in a nice sea-facing location, it did not have a beach.There are a multitude of options to stay at in at Havelock, which suit all budgets.

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A Trip to Port Blair

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I was out with the thought of getting on one of those short and lazy holidays. But beaches have something enigmatic about them. They mesmerize me and that panorama inspires in me all the energy that the city depilates. It happened this time too… If u have liked Kerala you’ll love Port Blair….This place is the capital of the Andaman and Nicobar
Islands, a union territory of India. As soon as you step on the Veer Sarvarkar Airport you can feel the freshness in the air. The city greets you with its pure and invigorating air. Even the sun light felt so fresh.

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Kalaa Paani – The Cellular Jail

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Kalapani, Cellular Jail are names which inspire visions  of the freedom struggle and the tortures faced by the Indian freedom fighters immortalized by the 1958 and the 1996 movies of the same name. No visit to the Islands of the Andaman and Nicobar are complete without a visit to the jail and the accompanying sound and light show. History tells us that the construction of the jail was started in 1896 and completed in 1906 with seven wings shaped like spokes of a wheel radiating from a central column.

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