“Imagine yourself walking along the coast. A gentle breeze brushes your hair and the wayward memory of a song long ceased flows through your heart. The rumbling of the receding waves clashes with laughter ahead. You look up just in time to catch a bunch of half naked kids throw a stone at the waves, which splashes once, twice, no, more than five times! By the time you turn back, the little hooligans are almost around the bend. One of them, the shortest guy, turns around to give you a full-mouthed cheeky grin and sprints away to catch up with the others, the moonlight playing sonata on his features. With the barest hint of a smile, you bend down and grab the first stone you see: knowing that whatever has happened or might happen, you have lived in that instance for an infinitesimal moment.”
That is what it means to live in the Andaman Island: a place where time suspends and listens to your heart.
The Insider’s Guide
Comprising on 572 islands, the Andamans look like little specks on the world map. Don’t be misled by the size, for an abundant sanctuary of pristine beaches, soulful people and the incredible world of underwater coral life awaits your every step. Being secluded from the ‘mainland’ (a term locally used to describe the Indian subcontinent), they provide the perfect getaway for those willing to take a break from the rat race that city life has become and take a moment to introspect and reconnect with nature.
Here is a list of ten noteworthy activities to do when you are in the Andaman Islands, especially for those keen on moving off the beaten path:
- Take a walk along the Phoenix Bay coastline: Situated next to Phoenix Bay Jetty, the place recognized for being the starting point to Havelock and other islands, the well paved road is bracketed by lush, evergreens on one side and the ocean on the other. Walking along this road, especially in the evening, gives you a splendid view of anchoring ships, tourists embarking from cruises and locals unloading their wares. A must for anyone wanting to experience island life at its grass root level.
- Travel overnight by ship to Hut-Bay: Ship journeys always make up a part of the top priorities in anyone’s list. Once you are done with travelling in style to Havelock, you should take a couple of days out to check out the inter-island ships, especially the ones to Hut Bay, Little Andaman. If you are lucky, you might even chance upon Dolphins swimming along your ship.
- Have Panipuri at a road-side shop: While this authentic Indian street food might not be indigenous to the islands, there’s always something special about taking in its spicy, tangy flavor against salty backdrop. One can find these shops at most corners.
- Learn scuba diving: Topping the list of adventure enthusiasts across the world, there is no better place to learn SCUBA diving, especially in India. With crystal clear ocean, warm tropical weather and clusters of underwater corals, the world below will mesmerize you and leave you breathless. On a lesser extent, one can check out snorkeling and other related activities.
- Hire and ride a bicycle in Havelock: Being one the few islands with a relatively flat terrain, there is no greater pleasure than spending your stay in Havelock with a bicycle in hand. It gives you greater freedom to move around as well as provide the perfect change from fast cars and faster lifestyles.
- Go for a mid-night dip and star gazing: Lack of pollution is best noticed by the ways the stars shimmer every night. There is no better way to stargaze than while in the ocean. You might even chance upon more than one shooting stars in the same night.
- Check out turtle nesting at Diglipur: Observing the nesting of adult turtles can be a life-changing experience. As they are very sensitive to disturbances, the trained guide will take you along pre-planned routes and destinations along the coast during the early months. One can also observe the hatching of young turtles and their subsequent passage to the ocean waters.
- Have tender coconut water: One of the most nutritious drinks native to the tropics, the tender coconuts offer absolute relief from the sultry heat. They make the perfect substitute for canned drinks and provide ample opportunity to interact with local sellers.
- Visit Ross and Smith Twin Islands: Located near the North Andaman, these two islands have a sand bar between. During low tide, the water recedes and the sand joining the two islands comes into play, facilitating movement across from one island to the other. During high tides, the water rises up and covers it completely, making it dangerous for everyone but the most experienced of us to swim across. A very unique phenomenon, Ross and Smith are part of the same island half the day, only to split into two for the other half.
- Drop in on the light and sound show in Cellular jail: The breathtaking narrative of the life of the heroic freedom fighters in India is brought to life every evening in the Cellular jail. An old tree standing amidst the courtyard is given a voice as the narrator and provides a heart-wrenching tale of those whole fought the Colonial rule and in turn sacrificed their lives. A very popular yet must see event, it is usually in English and Hindi (the most widespread language in the Indian subcontinent.)
Although the places are a marvel to visit, the people are even more beautiful in their outlook and supreme compassionate character. As the islands rely on tourism for its survival, the safety, comfort and ultimate pleasure of its tourists are giving utmost importance.
Overall, the Andaman Islands provide the ideal location for those trying to take a break from city life, for those wanting an adventure filled holiday or even for those aiming at a laid back, peaceful stay, making it a must visit place in all your bucket lists.
For further details, visit:
[single_map_place]Port Blair, Andaman and Nicobar Islands