Andamans Trip – Blog 01

Andaman Islands is one of the most beautiful travel and holiday destinations in India. We spent 6 days and 7 nights in Andamans. Exploring beautiful beaches, scuba diving, sea food, bird watching, snorkelling, photography, stay at hotel, sailing in ships & ferries and what not, we did it all. This blog is focused on first two days in which we covered Cellular Jail and Ross, North Bay and Viper Islands (also called as Triple Islands).

It was a pleasant break from our hectic routine lives. Watching sun setting at the far end of the ocean, enjoying soothing sound of water sitting at the jetty till our eyes were filled with sleep and chatting till the time we fell short of stories…what else one can ask being on vacations.

Andamans is something which can hardly be described in black and white, but only felt. It offers a pause in life, a pause to breathe and repair your universe and then proceed. In Andamans, you have not bought any vacation package but time to do nothing which often brings perspective in life.

We had planned this vacation after a long while and wanted to explore most of the Andamans. Before coming to Andamans, we did our home work and our ‘To-Do List’ was ready to be ticked. 

Take care of your Camera

  1. Protect your camera from Rain/Moisture. Use proper rain gear for camera. I got one from eBay.
  2. Using a Rubber Band. Tying a rubber band at place where lens gets attached in the camera gives an extra layer of protection and prevents dust, dirt and moisture from seeping inside.
  3. Minimise lens change. It is advised to reduce the number of lens changes when you are clicking around water.
  4. Clean the camera throughly.  It is strongly recommended that camera should be cleaned throughly at the end of the day. 
  5. Clean & dry hands. Don’t be enemy of your own camera. Clean & dry your hands before operating one.
  6. Spacious & handy camera bag. Camera bags should be spacious yet not that bulky that it spoils your trip. I personally recommend ‘Hiking bag for reflex cameras’ from Quechua.
  7. Sealed bags for battling temperature changes. Many a times, due to frequent change in temperature and moisture, for example, in and out of the air conditioned hotels, it is found that moisture gets condensed over lenses. It is advised that in those situations, lenses can be kept in air tight bags and let cameras get acclimatised for some time before you start clicking.

Day 01: Exploring Andamans

We landed at Andamans Airport (Veer Savarkar International Airport) at around 11 am. So, we had just half a day with us and to make the best our of it, we went to see the Cellular Jail but before that we had to find a suitable hotel. 

Booking Hotel

There are few good deals available at Goibibo & Make My Trip but before you end up choosing any hotel please decide whether you want to explore more outside or want a comfy hotel to relax being inside the room. If you are from the latter group, you can do so in your own city. You don’t need to be here in Andamans. I recommend to go for such a hotel which just meets your requirements. I believe complementary meals, for which you pay indirectly, should not be sort for… I mean, it’s better to enjoy local cuisines at shacks or local restaurants. After all, this is the main essence of the trip… Explore and Eat!

Moreover, if you fail to find any suitable hotel package, don’t worry. In Andamans, there are so many hotels which are not listed online. You can definitely find one there.

I also recommend to stay in Port Blair for maximum duration and lesser days on Havelock Island.

Most of the destinations can be reached from Port Blair as compared to when one is staying at Havelock Island. 

Restaurants & Night Life

Although there are many restaurants in Andamans but my wife being a vegan, I had to look for such a restaurants where she could eat without getting fragrance of sea food being cooked. Well, I found one – Annapurna. Its clean & has good variety too.
 
Night life in Andamans: forget it! 🙁 May be some pubs or local wine shop from where you can satisfy your quench but no disc at all!

Cellular Jail

As mentioned above, we decided to visit the historical Cellular Jail, also called ‘Kala Pani’. Although very crowded destination, yet is carries its own historical charisma and enigma which pulls you towards itself. 
 

Timings & Fees

  1. Timings: 9am to 12:30pm & 01:30pm to 04:45pm. The monument remains closed on National Holidays.
  2. Entry fees:            Rs30
  3. Camera fees:         Rs 200
  4. Video camera fees: Rs 1000
  5. Filming permission: Rs 10000 (Ph: 03192-230117)

Light & Sound Show :  Son-et-Lumiere

Every evening in Cellular Jail, special light and sound show is organised illustrating the heroic freedom struggle of great freedom fighters inside this Jail.

There are two screenings of the show in Hindi at 6pm & 07:15pm except on Mondays when second show is screened in English. DO NOT MISS THIS SHOW!!! Fees for this show is Rs50 per person.

Cell in Cellular Jail

Architecture

The construction of this jail started in 1896 & was completed in 1906.   The building has 7 wings and at the centre of these wings, a watch tower was made. This type of structure is called a Panopticon in which inmates always feel that they are being watched by guards although they could not see the guards.

This structure was helpful in controlling the behaviours of inmates and hence controlling rebellion.

Day 02: Triple Island Trip

Boarding point:Aberdeen Jetty

 

Our Day 02 started from this point. We hired an auto rickshaw to reach Aberdeen Jetty. We reached at around 6am at Jetty. It was really beautiful to be there early in the morning. We clicked some photographs and enjoyed awesome tea at local tapari. 

From ticket counter we took two tickets for triple island trip. There were many people selling tickets for scuba but we decided not to take any! Price for per person is Rs 150 which includes ticket for Ross Island, North Bay Island & Viper Island. 

 

The ferry waited till the time it was full comfortably. We were briefed by a local guide in the ship. Certainly it was thrilling and exciting. 

Do forget to carry

  1. Water
  2. Some snacks
  3. Sun screen & moisturiser 
  4. Camera & accessorise
  5. Shades & umbrella (may be)
  6. Towel & extra pair of clothings
 

Ross Island

Ross Island is really beautiful. It took us nearly 20 minutes to sail from Aberdeen Jetty to Ross Island. It was a beautiful short sailing experience. It is strongly recommended to carry water with you. 

Historical Background

Earlier in 1788, British established themselves at Port Blair which got shifted to Diglipur in 1792. But due to high mortality rate the settlement had to be abandoned. Later on, a hospital and a sanatorium was established in 1789-92 at Ross Island and island was rehabilitated. 

North Bay Island

Next in line was North Bay Island. This is the most exciting of all the three Island. One can enjoy scuba and snorkelling here. Although it is slightly crowded but its fun and beautiful to be here.

To save the coral reef from damage, the ferry was anchored at a distance from main Island per se and a small transparent glass bottom ferry was used for commuting to Island. We were seeing corals for the first time in our lives. I must admit that this was one of most beautiful and colourful sites that I’d ever seen. Seeing corals from the transparent bottom of ferry was something different. I really liked that people was so much concerned about the corals underneath water and  such glass ferries are being used.

Rates of most of the things in Andamans is negotiable. We enjoyed scuba for an hour or so in Rs 5000 for two. You can definitely strike a better deal. (Mob: Dev 095319 48166‬) Don’t give my reference. He will not give you any further discount on acquaintance 😉 he also gave us a certificate of this Scuba experience…something that we can cherish and boast life long!

Viper Island

Moving on, the next destination was Viper Island. In 1789, Lt Archibald Blair reached Andaman and Nicobar Islands. It is believed that his ship H.M.S Viper met with an accident and the wreckage remains of the ship was found near the island.

Viper Island was site of jail for political prisoners to inflict the worst form of torture and hardship during British Era which was later abandoned after Cellular Jail was built in 1906. 

The remnants of haunted Hilltop Gallows on the Viper Island had witnessed the barbaric torture on prisoners serves to be a tourist attraction today with a beautiful picturesque surrounding. Trip to Viper Island definitely makes us realise that our freedom struggle was never a cake walk!

After completing two days in Andamans, we started liking it. We had tied up with an auto driver who used to pick us up whenever we called him (Mob: Ashim 09476045345). Its a really good place to explore…inner selves!  

Official website of Andaman & Nicobar Islands:   http://www.andamans.gov.in/html/cellular.html

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