Andaman – Nature’s Own Paradise…

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For those who want to escape the boring city life, the Andaman Islands are an excellent holiday destination. Tucked in the deep blue waters of the Bay of Bengal, and covered by lush green mangroves, the Andaman Islands promise to give the best experience especially to the ardent lovers of nature. They are equidistant from Chennai and Kolkata and thus flights from both the places take you to port Blair its capital. The chief islands include Ross, Viper and the North Bay. Ross Island was a British port years ago and witnessed splendid architecture during the British regime. A pleasant boat ride of an hour and a half takes us to the Ross Island. Also it is a home to many deer and bird species.

The North Bay is full of underwater corals and exotic marine and aquatic species.

Snorkelling or scuba diving in the transparent blue waters is a life time experience. Many major beaches in Andaman including the Havelock provide trainers for scuba diving and snorkeling. For those who fear the water, there are special glass bottom boats to see underwater corals. Contrary to this, the Viper Island have more than just the scenic beauty. It has witnessed the dictatorial rule of the British while they ruled India and has been a constant observer of the pain and torture the prisoners went through before they were shifted to the cellular jail in Andaman. One can see the gallows or the ‘phaasi ghar’ that killed thousands of Indian political prisoners and freedom fighters.

Another historic monument which is a must see for every Indian is the cellular jail. Constructed under the British regime to exile political prisoners, this jail is more of a life episode than a monument bearing witness to the pain inflicted upon the revolutionaries. One of the murkiest chapters in the history of India, the jail was a house to the great freedom fighter Mr. Vinayak Damodar Savarkar and several hundred Indians. This place is now a historic monument and something that makes us think of what it took to give us the life we have today. Close to the jail is the Gandhi Park bearing statues of some great sacrifices.
The Andamans are a home to 5 major adivasi groups namely the Andamanese, the Onge, Sentinelese and the Jarawas. Out of which the Jarawas are the most primitive adivasis. Visiting the Baratang area and the dense forests which is a home to the Jarawas helps us see them from the vehicle. Development hasn’t touched the area, so things like education and hospitals are some things we can’t expect. But the real joy lies in hearing the birds chirping all the way from Port Blair to Baratang.Nearly 60 kms. away is a naturally formed limestone cave. The way to the cave is full of dense mangroves and is an ultimate man vs. wild experience.

For all nature lovers and those who have a great understanding and enthusiasm about the rich Indian history, Andaman is the place to be.

Ankita Bhatkhande

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