Thursday, December 8, 2011

The Enchanted Isle of Andaman

Pristine waters, picturesque panorama, profusion of coconut trees, bravura rainbows and infinite exquisiteness - nothing but that can describe the enchanted isle of Andaman. Eight days of pure bliss, kept me captivated eternally. Rapt with the expectations, I didn’t know what quite to expect.

I read about Havelock Island being one of the chief attractions of Andaman; once I got there I knew why. Gorgeous white sand beaches (Kala Patthar, Elephant and Radhanagar – one of Asia’s best beaches), sea breeze in our face and infinite expanse of unblemished waters dazzling in bright sunshine until rain came down hard and disturbed their serenity were a sight to see. Along with that, exotic shells and corals scattered along the beach, it was a perfect place to unwind; doesn’t get better than that. The Elephant beach is where my affair with the waters began. That, coming from someone like me who ‘was’ (might I add, before this trip) hydrophobic, is a great deal. The waters beckoned me in with every surge of their existence. We jet-skied, snorkeled and watched schools of gorgeous fish, and corals in a glass-bottom boat; we exceeded our own expectations. We felt like we belonged there.
On returning to Port Blair from Havelock, local sightseeing was quite a brilliant experience - in climate as unpredictable as the British weather. Visits to the Anthropological Museum, where we had a sneak-peak into tribal artifacts, their habitats and way of life, arsenal etc, The Cellular Jail National Memorial, where Vir Savarkar was imprisoned for 10 years, The Forest Museum, The Chatham Saw Mill, Samudrika Naval Marine Museum and Aquarium where we saw exquisite fish and corals. But, having an affinity towards the al fresco, I enjoyed unwinding at the beaches a tad more.

Heading to the Corbyn Beach, I hoped that the beach was as elegant as its name. It turned out to be one of the quaintest beaches I have seen; like a Google-image of a perfect, scenic beach that sprung to life. White, marshy, sand with a string of coconut trees, gentle waves engulfing your feet, the sun boring down on you  was as close to perfection as it could get.

Ross Island, was the residential and administrative island of the British during their rule. Marred by an earthquake in 1941, the remains of an opulent past bear a haunted look today. What made that island special were the Bulbuls, Squirrels, The Deer and Peacocks that flocked the island, that nobody could get enough of.

As fantastic the prospect of spotting some natives of the islands, converse was the weather while we headed to Baratang; an island 100 kms from Port Blair. It poured incessantly, with no respite. We drove through a forest area inhabited by local tribes, known as the Jarawas. When we spotted a few of them, the first thought that ran through my mind was, how lucky I was. Away from all the evolution of the world, they live in oblivion, in their own world, still living, still content and what you don’t know of, if you don’t have, doesn’t hurt one bit.

Bordered by Mangroves, a speed boat transported us to trek through a leech infested route, leading to the wondrous limestone caves. The stalactites formed were in a few fascinating (not that I agree) shapes. That was our last day on the island, after which we would be heading back to the monotone.

One may have numerous friends and acquaintances, but at the end of the day, family is family; nothing precedes it. Sometimes you just need to remind yourself how fantastic spending time with family can be. I’m glad we reinforced the bond that has existed since before I was born.

Love and inspiration is found in the most unforeseen places and times; I found them igniting for me the moment I lay my eyes on the flawless waters of the island along with the people that mean much to me.
To the week that helped us rediscover ourselves, cheers!

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