This is my first attempt to write an article and Gourab, my best friend who has already authored one on Agra (do check out his interesting article on http://www.inspiredspirits.net/agra/agra.php) insisted that I share my experience with everyone.

So, here’s an attempt to write about my trip to Andaman Islands. Since this was my first visit to any island – it was a dream-come-true.

And hey, I’m Giritika :)

Andaman Islands – Jewel of Bay of Bengal

It’s a 2 hour flight from Kolkata to Port Blair. The view of the group of islands from the top is just outstanding.

At 8 am, we reached Veer Savarkar International Airport, Port Blair. While landing it felt the green fields were welcoming the visitors – the plane was almost lost in the arms of nature. The moment one steps out of the plane, the feel of fresh air and breathtaking beauty welcomes its spectators.



We checked in the circuit house. At ports, one can always experience smell of fish. I guess this is more to do with the beach as well.

It was a journey of four days and everything was pre-planned with the exploration of new places.

Day 1 – Trip to Ross Island

The Ross Island was a fully functional city during the British Raj. The British built homes, offices, play areas, markets etc. in the port area.
After sometime, Russians captured the island destroying almost all of that. Their army flag can still be seen on the port. One can still see the remains of houses, offices etc. – small museums areas are maintained to revive old memories of this once habitable place.

The sea-side –

Thrill of watching the sea increases when you manage to get a glimpse of marine life. Seeing a jelly fish triggers the child in you.



Day 2 – Trip to Central Jail

The Central Jail was known as ‘Kaalapaani’. The word Kalapani is itself so emotionally attached to every Indian that the word evokes out the memories of our timeless and brave freedom fighters who fought against the British to let us live in a free world today.



The entry is adorned by the Amar Jyoti in the honor of our heroes. Ambience includes courtyard, workshop area, watch tower and prisoners’ cells, & the ‘faasi ghar’ (place where they hanged ‘convicts’ to death). They all together narrate the story of bravery of our nation’s freedom fighters.



The courtyard is well-landscaped. Workshop area is built in a hut shape in which various machines are kept – oil making machine etc.


The ‘faasi ghar’ (hanging area) is the most deadly part of the prison. Three ‘fassies’ (hanging) were given at a time. The area in front of the fassi ghar is for offering prayer to the almighty and bathing before being hanged.



The prisoner block has a watch tower in the middle with six prisoner blocks. Only 4 exisit now though and 2 have been destroyed over time.



The prison has been maintained and changed into a museum. The light and sound show in the evening glorifies the events and recites the brave tales of our superheroes.


The two blocks at the entrance of the jail are converted to a display mannequins of the freedom fighters, a picture gallery, a model section and uniform & furniture section.


HAVELOCK ISLAND



Havelock Island is another place to be. Ship to Havelock Island leaves Port Blair in the morning and the journey takes two hours. The ocean seems to be ruling everything and anything around with no defined boundary.

People usually enjoy scuba diving near Havelock. It has various beaches that offer an enormous experience. Visit to sea side is incomplete without collecting shells. We returned to Port Blair by evening. The sunset is an awesome view and a priceless moment.


Day 3 – Trip to Jarawa land and Baratang Island

Next day we set out to Jarawa Tribal Area. ‘Tribal’ – everyone have seen or at least heard as the progressive community. We started at the toll gate. A permission letter from the government is required to enter the Jarawa land – this is to control trespassing in this region else it’s threat to one’s life. Pamphlets defining strict guidelines are handed to every visitor. Total of 40-50 cars and buses enter there in one trip as a lone vehicle can be attacked by the tribes. Speed limit is 40 kmph in order to avoid any accidents. One can catch a glimpse of the tribal folks as they gather by the roadside when they see vehicles. None of the vehicles is allowed to stop in middle of the journey as it is quite risky.

You must be wondering why am I saying it’s a ‘life risk’ over every thing. The fact is that being there indeed is a risk to life as this tribal group is so primitive that they don’t even wear clothes properly. We always hear and most of us have also seen different tribal groups of various regions who are progressing with the times, however Jarawa tribal group is not progressing at the same pace. When I saw them on the roadside it seemed strange – on one hand the whole world is progressing towards and on the other is a community for whom we would be aliens. The forest authority takes care of their needs and supplies clothes, medical facilities and other essential things. Though they did not want any kind of interference in their lives, we are thankful that they allowed us to catch a glimpse.

After crossing Jarawa land, the Baratang Island is another tourist point. It has a mud volcano which is 150 mts above ground level.



Reserved forest and limestone caves are other tourist spots. Various shapes that are formed because of limestone deposits are referred to as images of Gods and Goddesses by the localites.



After capturing the surrounding islands and river in my camera, the eventful day came to an end.



Day 4 – Trip to Museums and Market

Last day’s plan included a visit to aquamarine museum, market and other museum that showcase all data related to the Andamans. It also had models that display the lifestyle of various tribal groups residing there.


We picked up a vide variety of gift items (gift items made up of shells, pearls, jute bags, models, jewellery etc.) from the government shop there.


Trip to Andaman Islands is a lifetime experience. The beauty and silence of the place cherish your senses. Lifestyle of various communities adds a different dimension to our vision towards society. The Andamans not offer a break from our routine but also excites with various attractions like marine life, tribal areas, sea, forests etc.

But as said – words are not enough to describe it’s breathtaking beauty, one should go their at least once to experience the splendor.

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