Friday, February 7, 2014

Amazing Andaman - Travelogue 1

Hi! I am back with the travelogue.
First let me tell you that I am deeply saddened by the recent boat accident in Port Blair.RIP innocent souls.
Now back to Travelogue.Andaman is blessed with beautiful landscape,Turquoise blue waters,natural wealth is abundant and it has lovely unspoilt  pristine beaches.This may sound like usual customary words written in all travelogues.But what impressed me more is the nature of people.They are wonderful and very helpful.This is a unique place in India where birth of girl child is celebrated.True hospitality is found in every nook and corner of Andaman.People belonging to different religions and who speak different languages like Bengali,Telugu and Tamil live here in complete harmony.Sometimes I feel that the positive vibrations of its good people echoes all over Andaman to make it a more beautiful land.
This time we had booked our Trip with Owee tours.Mr.Sarang Gosavi of owee tours accompanied us.They had booked Hotel Rhishabh for our stay in Port Blair.After landing in Veer Savarkar Airport,Port Blair,We reached Hotel Rhishabh by cabs arranged by our local tour operator Mukund.Roads were clean.We checked in the rooms promptly, inspected  the cleanliness of toilet first.Cleanliness was good but the ventilator was opening into the room.So the stinky fragrance ;-) inside the room was quite different.I was really surprised by this unique ? ;-) design.In Positive side,rooms were spacious.AC was working properly.Room service was very good.Food in their restaurant was also nice.Staff were very courteous and friendly.One more negative point was,there was no open balcony to dry clothes.So after coming back from beach,it is difficult to dry clothes.

I would like to remind you that, being a typical Indian tourist,even if I go to moon, I will search for a good place for drying clothes.:-) and tie a rope between 2 poles ,dry the clothes and clip them;-) :-).This was Andaman trip(very much in India), so I had packed 10 mtrs nylon rope and a dozen clips for this purpose in spite of Rajendra giving me an annoyed look ;-) :-).Let me not digress from our main topic.Hotel Rhishabh.Overall a good budget hotel for middle class.
Hotel Rhishabh,Port Blair,Andaman.
It is located in a slightly raised Marine Hill near the city.
We had our lunch in Annapurna hotel which is located in the main city of Port blair.South Indian food,vegetarian thalis(South Indian and Bombay),Punjabi,chinese are available.Food quality is good.
In the evening we went to cellular jail to see the light and sound show.Struggle of our freedom fighters kindled  the latent patriotic feelings in us.
Cellular jail complex,port blair,Andaman
Narration of the show is centered around the peepal tree shown in this photo.We chose last rows to have a better  glimpse of the show.

Next morning we reached Rajiv gandhi sports complex at 8.45 am.Our operators had already purchased the tickets for boat ride.It was utter chaos in the jetty area.Four boats for different destination combos were parked one after another.Our combination was North Bay + Ross Island day trip and ours was the fourth boat, so we had to cross three boats to reach our boat Nandini.Boat operators were friendly in helping us jump across the boats.Since all four boats leave the jetty around same time lots of confusion prevails.Authorities can manage in a better way.
We reached North Bay Island.Sea is fringed with pebbles,rocks.Beach is not sandy.Water is clear.Due to rich corals ,this place is also good for adventure sports like Scuba,Snorkeling and Sea walk.
North Bay,Andaman

Divers and guides are available for these activities.Bargain well before fixing them.We bargained and fixed the rate for scuba as 2300/- per person.I did not do Scuba diving  :-(  but  Rajen,Adi,Ravin and MIL dived into the sea and had a good time watching corals and fishes.Divers are helpful and teach signs before they take you underwater.Must do activity in Andaman.Next time I will. :-)
Scuba Diving,North Bay,Andaman.
There are lots of shops and small eateries in North Bay.Our operator arranged Veg Biryani from one of the Eatery for lunch.Quality was OK.
Next was Ross Island.Erstwhile Capital of Andaman during British rule.
Ross Island ,Andaman
Ross Island is maintained very well.It is a ruined city and many parts of land in this Island were swallowed by sea during Tsunami.Guide Anuradha was an excellent and entertaining narrator.She was a true Animal lover.She explained on each and every ruined remnants of Ross.Environment vigilance is strict and fines are levied on defaulters.So entire island is clean.
Inside Ross Island,Andaman
We returned back to our hotel in Port Blair at 6 pm.Sun sets early in Andaman.
Some repacking was done for our next 2 days stay in Havelock Islands.We had taken some small bags apart from our monstrous suitcases for this short trip.Back packs are best for one day trips.It is advisable to carry caps(preferably hats),water bottles,medicines and sunscreen lotions.
Next morning we reached phoenix bay jetty in port blair to board Makkruz luxury boat.After ID cards check,we boarded the cruise.It was a speed boat and sea was quite rough.So it was a very turbulent journey.I started sweating profusely.Staff in the boat were quite helpful in offering required assistance.Many passengers were running amok due to nausea and other typical sea sickness problems.Reached Havelock Island in 2 hours.Our operators had booked Hotel Holiday Inn for us.Holiday inn  is located in the Vijay nagar beach.Scores full marks for the location.From the resort you can have a lovely view of the turquoise blue sea.
View from the Holiday inn resort,Havelock Island,Andaman
Rooms are quite small.Toilet is also small.AC was working properly.In some of our rooms commode seats were loosely fitted.Cleanliness is good.Staff are very helpful.Food in the resort is superb.The main attraction was Sea.So after checking into our rooms we rushed to the sea.Vijay nagar beach is rocky.So cannot venture into sea for swimming.While playing in water we have to keep an eye on rocks.
Vijaynagar Beach ,Havelock Island,Andaman
This photo was taken during low tide when water had ebbed.So the rocks are visible.During high tide water covers all these rocks and if you try to swim without knowing this,you may emerge out of Sea with lots of bruises ;-) :-)
We played cricket , and tried javelin throw with a long stick which we found in the beach and as usual my sporting talent?  failed me ;-) :-) Anyway,we had a lovely time.After  lunch we went to Radha nagar beach,pitched our beach cabana and ventured into sea. Radha nagar beach is shallow,good for playing and swimming in water.But have to be careful by not venturing too far into the sea due to deceptive under currents.
The vast expanse of the white sand beach attracts lots of tourists.

Radhanagar Beach,Havelock Island,Andaman
Since Radha nagar beach is located in the western coast of havelock,we visited it post noon and waited till sunset.Hues in the evening sky were stunning and magical.Sea also concerted in tune with the sky by reflecting all the tones and shades to make the scene more spectacular.                     After enjoying sunset we returned to our resort,took rest for sometime,had dinner and went to the beach which was now dark.We could see the white surfing borders of the black roaring waves.We sat on the wooden benches which were placed to have the beach view.It was a beautiful experience,which words cannot express.We counted the twinkling stars which were chatting with the lonely crescent moon in the dark sky.Breeze was cool.We spent more than an hour in that enchanting environment and returned to our rooms.Still living in those lovely memories. Now I am winding up this first part and will continue our experiences in my second part.Cu soon.
Sunset at Radha nagar Beach,Havelock Island,Andaman

5 comments:

Raja said...

Andaman looks wonderful Padma. Definitely adding this to my bucket list..

Hope I can do it with you all during my next trip there..

Padma said...

Thanks Raja for ur comment and offer.I would luv to visit Andaman once again.

Anupriyaa Sharma said...

padma
awesomely written
been to adman already and it was like a flash back to my memories by reading ur blog
*thumbs up :)

Padma said...

Thanks Anupriya!Ur words are encouraging.

Sheetal Tambe said...

Andaman islands is surely a heaven and thanks for covering such in-depth analysis about your trip to Andaman Islands. I also had a chance to visit Andaman Andaman recently and it was just amazing. I stayed in Hotel J in Port Blair, Hotel Cross Bill in Havelock Island and Pearl Park beach resort in Neil Island. The trip was organized nicely and I got a chance to do scuba diving in Havelock Island in Dive India, possibly the best dive shop in Andaman Island. I got a flat 20% of on scuba diving in havelock island through my tour package organizer Experience Andamans(http://www.experienceandamans.com/)
In general this was my tour itinerary
Day 1 - Airport Pick up and CHidiatapu Sunset
Day 2 - Port to Neil Island and all neil beaches
Day 3 - Neil Island to Havelock Island and radhangar beach
Day 4 - Snorkeling and sea walk in elephant beach
Day 5 - scuba diving with dive india and evening return to port blair
Day 6 - Departure