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Trip to Andaman with Friends!

Travelling to scenic & adventurous places is the source of energy one needs for fighting off the Monday blues and the dust of everyday life, at least for me! A trip to the Andaman Islands with five of my college friends was a long holiday that we enjoyed after 4-5 years since graduation.

We covered three Islands, a cave, 2 places of historic importance, water sports activities and many beach visits. Not to mention the 3-4 hours of ‘sound’ sleep we had on all of the days. The game of “Black Queen” was the main culprit of keeping us awake, game by game, extending the sleeping time hour by hour.


Our first day was relaxed. We visited the Cellular Jail. A light & sound show in the evening portrayed the horrifying acts/punishments by the British officers practiced on the inmates. These acts were the reason Andaman became infamous as “Kala Pani” at that time. Then we went for a sunset visit to the Corbyn’s Cove Beach, wherein we relaxed under the palm trees drinking coconut water.

We took a cruise to Havelock Island the next day i.e. the second day of our trip. The clean and clear shades of blue water at Elephant Beach is something one should experience at least once. This beach gets its name from the wild elephants that live in the adjoining jungle. One can see chirping birds, relaxed tourists, amazing fishes that are visible even at the shore at times and people shouting with joy while enjoying the water sports activities. We ended our day with lots of photo sessions at the beautiful beach!

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The next was the Makruzz Luxury Cruise, which took us to Neil Island where one goes for delightful beaches such as Bharatpur, Laxmanpur and Sitapur. Locals say that the beaches got their names as Lord Ram had planned to attack Lanka from there. The water being clear and shallow at the shore, you can easily go barefoot for a distance of 30-40 metres while being immersed in the water from feet to knees.

Scuba diving is something you must try in Andaman, at Havelock or Neil. Our experience at Neil Island was delightful, as we loved the colourful fishes and octopuses relaxing on the top of the corals. Water had a clear visibility of about 10-20 metres, with corals all around. There was a fear of touching the corals as it costs you 24,000 Indian Rupees if you do so. With a bit of water pressure on the ears, this diving experience is something which we described as “thodishi fatli, pan maja ali”.

Day 4 was a visit to Ross Island, which was the capital of Andaman Islands during the British regime, before Port Blair. Remains of the British officers’ offices and quarters is an attraction here along with a church and again, a serene beach. If you are lucky, then you may spot a deer with three antlers and peacocks.

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Day 5 was the day we travelled for almost 12 hours to have a 15-minute glimpse of the limestone caves at Baratang Island. You have to take a roadway, followed by a ferry to the caves and back. The stimulating part (or you can call it boring because of the time it takes to cross the road) of the road is that it opens up only thrice a day, to protect the local ‘Jarawa’ tribes residing there. The disconnected community has a very different lifestyle from the rest of the world. Cars cannot stop after entering the 80-100 km stretch where they reside, with other restrictions such as no photography or talking to them. We spotted around 9-10 of them on our way and back.

The limestone structures were shining in the dark, with several live stones still under formation (a stone is live and growing as long as it is in the dark, away from sunlight and from human touch).

This pretty much sums up the trip and the time we had at the Islands! All of the nights on our trip were made more interesting by the “Black Queen” game of cards, which is also the reason our sleep was slashed to a mere 3-4 hours every night. A rather complicated game I was not much a pro at in the beginning, brought me to a fair level by the end, enough to win the bid a couple of times. Our trip ended with long connecting flights to our way back home in Mumbai.