Jewels of Sea ( Andaman)

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A three-day break from routine… and when we shortlisted places, our holiday planner gave us the option of Andamans… but this was right low in our options as everyone said, the only thing we could do in Andamans is Scuba Diving! As we began our flight journey into Andamans, the expectations were real low. The tourist season is October to March and we were travelling in January – during the Pongal Break. The first surprise hit us as we neared Port Blair airport – the beauty of unadulterated nature astonished us… as many as 572 islands, and each with a different shore line, different colour of sand, and different flora on the shore… No wonder, Andamans was called the Jewels of the Sea!!! What we saw is beyond description – one has to experience the same to feel it. The airport was small – only two flights and some Navy helicopters. We were taken straight to Ross Island… the only way to travel was to hop on and off from one island to another!!! Ross Islands was the Capital while the British ruled Andaman and Nicobar Islands. You can imagine the facilities they would have built. It was the artistic European buildings for the Governors and their families to stay and enjoy the beauty – bungalows, Church, clubs, offices and canteens. I heard that 300 privileged families had loved living in this serene part of the world. They had vacated in 1947, and now it is all in ruins!!! Only the ruins remain as a proof of their enriched living. There was also a Japanese bunker there! The first evening consisted of a light stroll in the beach, and then the sound and light show in the Cellular Jail. The show spoke about the history behind the jail and the freedom fighters. Those freedom fighters who worked relentlessly were kept under arrest here. Ironically, I understood that people who had a free mind had been physically jailed by people with very small minds. But in the end, the free minds won and the small and cruel minds left the place. The torture places were a pain to see, and imagining people being physically tortured there was unbearable. Our stay was in a resort, Sea Princess. It was a complete wooden structure with relaxed lighting and very good food and sevice. There was no internet or Wi-Fi but it was right on the shore. Waking up each day with the sound of waves and birds humming – it was like coming out of deep meditation and in complete peace. The next day, we went to Havelock from Port Blair and reached our destination in 90 minutes. This journey was by sea and it was very comfortable. Havelock has many beaches and each one is different from the other. We went to Radha beach. It was a bright and sunny day, but the water was very cold. It was a great day for a bath in the sea. Facilities like toilets, bathrooms, changing rooms, etc was available. There were good wooden recliners to sit and relax on the beach. The crowd was approximately only around 100 people. So it was very good and relaxing. The second beach we visited was Kala Pather. There were hardly any people around, and all we saw was beautiful sand and the colour of the sea was also different here. It was a great sight and we were amazed and thrilled with the same. We had to come back the same day to Port Blair, but my recommendation is that any one visiting Andamans should stay in Havelock rather than Port Blair. The third day also began with a 40-minute boat ride to Jolly Bouy beach. This was one place which had a mind-boggling effect. We went in a glass boat to see varieties of fish and corals. I was so drunk in the experience that I wanted to experience more. So I went snorkelling and saw the beautiful sea world. It was a tranquillising experience – colours of nature, bright and beautiful – colourful fish going around even more colourful corals. I just did not feel like coming back, but had to return by 2 pm to the resort. I wanted to know more about the history of India and the cellular jail, so I continued my exploration there. The stories of torture was depressing, but the names of freedom fighters who have occupied these cells instilled patriotic feelings too. Today, the jail is called the “Temple Of Freedom ” Basic Facts about A&N islands • The total population of Andaman and Nicobar islands is only 4 Lakhs, and it got freedom in the year 1943. • There is no religion and anyone can marry anyone – no caste or creed. • No crime • Out of the four lakhs, 80,000 are govt employees • People are very friendly • Out of 572 Islands 38 are habitable • Other beautiful sites are the mangrove forests and rain forests • The Forest department controls most of the places. • Plastic is banned in most islands, and in fact, even a water bottle was banned in some of the islands. • The expenditure per person approximately ₹ 50 k, and if you book your tickets in advance it will be much lesser. My holiday planner Foot Print http://www.footprintholidays.com

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