THE ANDAMAN DREAMS

I am not going to bore you by giving the encyclopedical information like "Andaman & Nicobar is a string of 400 odd islands located between 92 to 94 degrees East and 6 to 14 degrees North in Bay of Bengal, the climate is tropical, always warm with sea-breezes having a maximum temperature of 30 degrees Centigrade, rainfall is irregular, but usually dry during the north-east, and very wet during the south-west, monsoons".

Andaman islands fantasizes my dreams right from my childhood and hence there is no wonder that we chose it as our honey-moon destination. Surprisingly, my girl-friend turned wife agreed with my decision for the first time.

We initially planned the onward journey by sea and return journey by air. But (un)fortunately, the belated announcement of ship schedules and relatively low fares of Air-Deccan made us to travel both ways by air.


Even, the preparatory works we did at Chennai for the tour was back-braking. We bought a bino
cular [from Allikulam Bussiness Complex Rs.250 after my wife's fierce bargaining], swim suits, rubber slippers and arranged for a 7.1 Megapixel Canon digicam.

2 hours 15 minutes is more than enough to understand the warmth of help and care catered by the Air-Deccan hostess Archana while traveling 1330 km distance between Chennai and Port Blair. Another honey-moon couple traveled with us and the girl smiled at my wife [usually girls become friends to each other easily than boys].


We stayed nearly 100 hours [4 nights and 5 days] at Andaman. Our tour
itinerary was well organised by Andaman Island Travels run by Ajay Kumar and we stayed at Hotel TSG Emerald View at Phoenix Bay, Port Blair.

Port Blair, the capital city looks similar to any tourist spots in the mainland ["like Ooty" in my wife's words]. Main language is Hindi and many speak Tamil. Tourism is the main industry being the bread-winner of the entire islands.

Foreigners require permit to visit Andamans which can be easily obtained free of cost from the immigration counter at airport or harbour upon arrival on production of their passports containing a valid Indian Visa. Indian nationals need no permit to visit Andamans. However, permits are required to visit Nicobar Islands and other tribal areas.


The travels arranged a dedicated non-A/C car and a Tamil speaking driver-cum-guide for us for all the pick-ups and drops to the tourist spots, beaches, boat houses and airport too.

The very first day, we went to Corbyn's Cove Beach, a photogenic spot where I took a good snap of a dog and few of my wife. Then we went to Viper Island. A cocunut tree of height 60 metres was found ruined because of Tsumai attack.

A Hindi guide explained in a loud and speed voice that the island derives its name from the vessel ‘Viper’ which is believed, met with an accident and its wreckage was abandoned near the island. A Tamil guy working in the Harbour Cruise translated a part of the guide's oration to us. The guide also shown the Viper Chain Gang Jail where prisoners deported from the mainland were confined.

An old man named "Mayaandi" (Tamilian) is living alone in the island for past 45 years running a snack shop. At last, the guide asked Rs.10 from each of the tourists, complaining about the very low wages of government. But, my wife gave Rs.10 to the Tamil guy by compelling which explained her IT industry background.

We had a city tour at Port Blair to all the museums and monuments. The
Samudrika Naval Marine Museum has a good collection of shells, corals and a few species of colourful fishes. Fisheries Museum depicts the species of marine life peculiar to the islands.

Anthropological Museum depicts the life of the Island tribes and houses the models of the aborigines and their tools. We also visited the famous Saw Mill at Chatham Island which is the biggest and oldest in Asia.

Cellular Jail, the National Memorial has the collections on freedom struggle events and portrays the life at cellular jail. The Jail acquired the name, ‘cellular’ because it is entirely made up of individual cells for the solitary confinement of the prisoners. It originally was a seven pronged, three-storeyed, puce-coloured building with central tower acting as its fulcrum. The building was subsequently damaged and presently three out of the seven prongs are intact.

Savarkar was prisoned here from 1921 to 1931 in Cell No.123. A tree stood inside this colossal edifice stood as a silent observer of the painful history of the prison. I took a lot of JPEGs there. My wife commented that its me after Santosh Sivan (Kalapaani) who viewed Andaman a lot through Camera lens.

The permission to visit
Jolly Buoy is obtained at Mahatma Gandhi Marine National Park. They are not allowing the plastic bags to the islands and provide jute bags for carrying food and other items. There is nobody living in the island except an old scavenger (speaking Tamil) appointed by the government.

We floated/ immersed in the beach more than 2 hours. My wife went for snorkeling to see the corals and marine life. It is a lovely and very beautiful beach, ideal for a honey-moon couple to stay alone. But We were not alone and crowded with our tourist colleagues.

Ross Island
(the smallest island in the gang) which was once the seat of British power and capital of the islands, stands now as a ruin. Few deers are found and there is a small but good beach at Ross Islands. There, I consumed Kulfi ice [with the scoldings of my wife] which brought me a severe cold when I was back.

North Bay Island is much polluted compared to Jolly Buoy Island due to more human access. In the evening we went to sound and light show in English version conducted at Cellular Jail. A foreign couple stood before us in the show kissed twice every minute and we looked at each other and sometimes, the show too.

In general, the waves in the all the beaches of Andaman are very low compared to the ones in Tamil Nadu. There are few schools in Port Blair till higher secondary and there is no college except a distance education center of Pondichery University. There are no cinema theatres.

The helmets of two-wheeler riders is very peculiar looks like the ones used by civil engineers.
Autos are running at a minimum rate of Rs.10. South Indian food is available in all hotels and there famous one is Hotel Annapoorna. Tourist crowd is queueing there.

Tender Cocunut tastes as same as here. Surprisingly, in this big islands, there is no fishery food item shops near any of the beaches. All Real estates are sold with a clause in the agreement stating that government will take back the land at any point of time giving the "appropriate" land value.

Vinayak Damodar Savarkar who is exonerated from the case of Gandhi's assasination citing insufficient evidence is being exaggerated as a great freedom fighter at Andamans. There is a park named after him, Cellular jail speaks his fame and even the airport is in his name [Future generations may think that Savarkar did some good for Andamans just as Kamarajar did for Tamil Nadu if they travel from "Kamarajar" domestic airport in Chennai to "Veer Savarkar" domestic airport in Port Blair].

Manier places in Andaman hold the portrait of Kamarajar (behind autos, few on walls and a statue) proves that many Tamilians are residing there and Congress is representing the island in the parliament. Few hoardings of Mata Amritanandhamayi were also there for her visit to Port Blair. Sun TV's "Asatha Povadhu Yaaru" programme was conducted at Port Blair when we were there.

We purchased a lot of shell and wooden made things from Andaman and the amount crossed Rs.2000 as my wife is the key player in shopping [A sales girl in one of the shops became first sight friend of my wife and presented her a shell key chain].

While returning back, we met the same honey-moon couple in the airport whom we met on onward journey (they were also returning back on the same day in the same flight). The salutation error in my wifes name in the boarding pass created a minor issue in the airport security check which was resolved soon by the officials.


We took a comb in the room provided by the hotel for memory. While returning to Chennai in air, lying her head in my shoulders and holding my hand within hers' my wife told "Memories in the heart is the more powerful than any other physical stuff and stood forever". I smiled and have no other words to say except "I love you".

Our honey-moon trip is enjoyable to the core, throughout except for the lack of sleep.

4 comments:

ts said...

Nice writeup. Send a link to your picasa album to web_spiders da.

Vinodh.. said...

Nice narration da! Congratulations!
Best Wishes for a very happy married life :)

dheepan said...

Dei, By your writing, you took us all on a journey to those Islands. Am confident that you have great screenplay skills. Do still you visit places like devanayapaavanar library?? [dunno whether the spelling is correct but I mean the one which is near British council.]

andaman islands said...

Very informative post. Andaman and Nicobar islands comprises of 572 bright emerald islands, atolls and rocks.Mahatma Gandhi Marine National Park is one of the unique place to be visited. visit madhuban to experience the most diverse forms of unusual birds, butterflies and animals.Ramnagar beach is one of the beautiful beach.You can view the secluded islands from Chidiya Tapu.