The word Andaman itself makes you feel like you are already amusing yourself merrily in a cool island vacation. The word derived from the ancient mythological name Andoman meaning Lord Hanuman in a variant form.
View from my window.
What was more fascinating about this trip was also the thought that we were centrally located between India and Thailand. Flying from namma Bengaluru to Port Blair towards Veer Sawarkar International Airport, the classic name started giving us deep chills of landing in a far location where our brave patriots were imprisoned, punished and hanged to death.
Our flight stretched around 2.30 PM and we were gotten to our Blue Marline Hotel in the focal piece of the city, with sweltering climate. When we reached our lodging, we were so eager and nearly hauled ourselves to the kitchen cellar to help feed our guts. Our tour operator educated us tranquilly to prepare inside 10 mins as sun sets sooner and we wont have the capacity to appreciate the view. I always held yakking to my other buddies that there is a time contrast here and none of them relied calling attention to we belonged to GMT +5.30.
We left to this beautiful beach called Corbyn’s Cove. This was that type of “what we saw and what we expected” moment. It was completely filled with travelers, speaking so loud that we couldn’t hear even the sound waves. Sunset at 4.45 PM was an unexpected turn of the day.
After this satisfying sight we cleared out to the fundamental famous “CELLULAR JAIL” which has now been transformed into a commemoration . We could scarcely observe anything inside like the lights were lit to have a night Sound and light show portraying lives of detainees and a dim tree living since 100 years talking about the whole story in Om Puri’s voice.
The next day we were shipped to Neil Island. Not far from the city stretch but the journey in a Govt. ship took us 2 hours to reach this tiny blue island. Neil as its called had nothing much to offer other than pretty under construction resorts still waiting for its true beauty to bloom. Chuckling…
Quaint island with beach resorts & coral reefs, additionally a natural rock arch & other picturesque sights holds a most tremendous beauty to the eyes. Unless you visit on a non rainy day.
Map of Neil Island in our resort, showing mainly Sitapur beach, Bharatpur beach. All names which hold an importance in Ramayana.
All the outdoor activities available at this Bharatpur beach were good enough to spend additional 500 Rs/- for a glass boat ride watching deep corals from a narrow glass sheet to look for Brain corals, jack-fruit corals, moon corals and many colored fishes.
Shade and sunshine with rains in between, sheds with meows and moos, chirpy kids and noisy hotel. This place served some amazing fish curry as told by my friends who enjoyed like a happy fella. Home cooked food is what few vegans wanted to relish on and Hola, we literally found our peace of joy; Dal Rice with Potato curry. An overnight stay at the Pearl Park beach resort which was under construction as good as a home stay.
Next day at 6.30 AM we left to the Havelock Island, this time thru a non-public deliver. The costs of paying a private ferry vs Govt. changed into genuinely was seen off right here. Well controlled service, who took care of our baggage and helped us climb the huge “green ocean cruise”, unlike the latter, where we needed to rush in speeding, hitting ourselves with out a steerage and directions. Tip: Please try to e book private ferry as opposed to juggle with your bags for a seat.
Havelock Island: The most famous island with silky beaches, smooth white sands, teal blue waters, a paradise for travelers. We were staying at a resort named TSL, it was so calm, a real heaven on earth, located near Radhanagar beach. A street filled with local eateries and shops with handmade crafts.
A coastline wide enough for a chilling walk in the evening. Apart from the best sunset view, scuba diving and snorkeling are the highlights of this gorgeous island. Gears available at the diving centers who train you minutes before the dive. Other important beaches are Elephant Beach, Vijay Nagar Beach and Kalapathar.
Our resort held a cute library for nerds like me and a special spa like treatment at every corner.
Who doesn’t love it: )
Shipping back to Port Blair was again interesting this time, as locals kept talking about a near coming Tsunami and we were frightened enough to land back to the city. In the morning, we once again booked our tickets to CELLULAR JAIL. We hired a guide who could enchant us with freedom struggle stories. As a history buff i was totally lost listening to his words.
He stated that “There is a two hour time difference here, as sun rises at 4.30 AM in the morning that makes people be active right from there until wrapping up at 4.45 PM in the evening. You all know that Bhagat Singh was the only Singh who was hanged to death but here you will see so many more brave-hearts who fought the freedom struggle for Indian Independence.
This jail was called as Saza-e-Kalapani which meant Kaal until death. This was used by Britishers to exile political prisoners to this remote island surrounded by black waters with no escape. Many great personalities were imprisoned here among them were Veer Sawarkar, Batukeshwar Dutt etc. The whole jail consisted of 7 wings like an inside of a bicycle. Unfortunately, during the second world war, the four spokes were destroyed by an atom bomb destroying the parts that connected a central dome with walk lifts.
Only 3 of them accessible leading to different cells. Each cell with a width and height of 14.8 ft × 8.9 ft long and a facade ventilator facing lower down so that the prisoner would never see nor try to communicate with the opposite cell member. It was designed in such a way that between each spoke was a oil mil alternate with a loo.
As we walked past this iconic and legendary monument, our guide continued with his stories how each prisoners spirit was demoralised as soon they were transported here by small ships from India. Ideally, they were tortured to death by giving them food in a plate container which was supposed to be used for squatting also. On strike they were hurdled with still more worst conditions of chaining them with large cuffs, making them impossible to walk. On spirits shattered they were loosely unchained. Those who sustained with rebel spirit were given jute dress as prison code smeared inside with termite itching powder. Those who could not push and pull more oil were beaten blue. Those lives were seriously tortured to such an extent that at last they had to surrender to their patriotic crime. Initially these islands were inhabitable and large troops of ships were sent here posting Ads in newspapers of having sent men to serve India. Spirited men came off to this Island and were forced to build colonies here. Later, women were sent to nurse these prisoners inside the jail. The total population grew over lakhs and families started expanding. He also mentioned that there was no crime in this city as their ancestors have gone thru so much pain that most of the police stations and courts were empty.
“Mera Rang De Basanti Chola” moment –
Cellular as it means solitary confinement. The entire building held 657 cells, now only few can be seen from the 3 wings standing tall. Traversing this entire location, viewing inside the kitchen which was locked however. Before a prisoner was to be hanged he would be washed and embalmed with pure water. Three knots of death as spoken around. The gallow room needed threads to make hence gave a kind of occupation to these prisoners to use the oil machine to fetch oil and other machines to make threads for the “FaasiGhar”. Those who were hanged were never cremated and their dead bodies were tied to heavy stones and were thrown into the sea. He said that during the night, weird sounds of hand cuffs were heard. That does not make this place ghostly, but yes it’s a different feeling altogether to be here and listening to these sagas makes one feel depressed.
The walls of the cells were painted white and hence we could not really see the depictions painted by legends. Lastly, we visited the museum which showcased all the memorabilia of Pre-independence pictures, coins, stamps, utensils used by prisoners, clothes, locks, keys and other iconic items. Miniature models of the jail, paintings from various artists, before and after construction sights, views of different angles from the jail across the hill top and more.”
There is so much more in this place, actually a temple that mere writing wont portray all the stories, i believe every Indian should visit in his lifetime.
Our last hop was this famous Chidiya Tapu known as bird island, which we probably missed reaching due to traffic jam and we kind of jumped from our SUV s to click pictures before we bid adieu to our Sun God.
True Kala Paani
The best time to visit Andaman is during the summer and winter months of October to May. This is the perfect time to enjoy water sports and mild temperatures.
Bangalore to Port Blair via major flights operating daily. Prior booking is necessary as this is the major tourist destination now. Nothing much with Do’s and Don’ts as this city is travel friendly with slightly less options roaming in a bikini if left with. You will end up eating every item on the menu; Of course veg for me. BSNL and Airtel works OK in the city but not in the islands, forget about the internet. ATM’s are slow and carrying enough cash is always better. What you can carry back home? few handmade jewelry, show pieces(quite expensive) as compared to island shops. Hell ya, there were no fridge magnets available for collectors, finding one costed me 250 Rs/-
I shall update my picks from Andaman soon :0