EXPLORING ANDAMAN ...ITS HISTORY, EVOLUTION & BEAUTY
On July I had a sudden proposal for visiting Andaman and I accept it in no time since I have a childhood crush about this island. Its not like exploring an unknown beautiful place of interest but its like a mythical place to me. when I was in primary school one of my aunty (Kalyani Dasgupta) , my mother's senior colleague influenced me a lot about Indian National Movement , Swadeshi movement, Patriotic revolt in Bengal against the then British Raj and I was thrilled. So its a natural enthusiasm from the core of my heart that fuels to accept the chance of exploring 'The Island' of my childhood Story/ fantacy rather, specially the Cellular Jail and its pathetic history.
There are 574 islands in entire Andaman, 36 islands r allowed to visit. Total 6 tribes are there :- Jarwas , Onge, Sentinelis Mongoloid , Sampens, Nicobaries, Great Andamanies. According to latest sensus of tribal population there are 240 Jarwas, 99 Onge , 32 Great Andamanies, 200 Sampens, 250 Sentinelies mongoloid and 30,000 Nicobaries.
There are 3 Drinking (sweet)water rivers :- Alexzandria , Galtiya and Kalong. The Oldest Saw mill in Asia is Chatham Saw mill.
On 11.10.13 we (Namita masi, Shanta masi, Bidhan kaku with his family , Mampi and her father , my mother and Me ) 8 members of 'Dishari Tours and Travel' set off on kolkata-Port Blair boarding SpiceJet flight at 11.45am. After recahing Vinayak Damodar Savarkar International Airport ,Port Blair on 2 pm we found cloudy atmosphere there and then reached Hotel A.G around 3 pm . We were told to be ready within 4.30 pm to go to Corvyn Cove Beach and then t Cellular Jail for its evening Light and sound show. Corvyn Cove beach is really exotic. I took some evening snap from a watch tower. The setting Sun made the entire scenery awesome. Then at 6.30 we reached Cellular Jail and I was spell bound to see the place of my interest. The show started at 7.15 pm after much hue and cry in line for ticket. The show was about the foundation of the jail to the post British condition. The old Peepul tree was the Story teller and when it spoke about the history and our martyrs pathetic life in Jail I couldn't help weeping. On 12.10.13 our journey was started at 6.30 am towards Baratang. After checking at Jirkatang post we got permission to enter in the Jarwa area of 51 km. Its really a suspense to go amidst the deep dark rain forest on both side and in the middle runs our convoy ! On the way we found 6 Jarwas ( 1couple, 1 old man with 1 child, 2 youths with bows and arrows) and their huts in the far deep jungle. We were fortunate enough to see them closely. They are not savage now, they are adapted enough to the civilized society. In Baratang we were off on an adventuraous journey towards the Lime-Stone cave amidst the Rain forest .The path was slippery and rough full of many poisonous insects and reptiles and we kept walking.. 3km walking distance is not a joke ! Many imaginary statues were built naturally by the chemical reaction of lime-stone and water. We got bak to the jetty in the afternoon we had our lunch.13.10.13 we left hotel at 6am for Havlock island through M.V Coastal Cruize ship. It was an exciting experience on the cruize and seeing Fling fish , Dolphins and many other marine beauties. Radhanagar beach is famous for its beauty and sun bath. Its one of the best sun-kissed beach & I had a sea bath there. the water was clearer beyond imagination. The we went Niel island and stay for one night. Nile is famous for glass boating for visiting beautiful coral and snorkelling. Seeing Coral was a thrilling experience.
On 14.10.13 7.30am M.V Coastal Cruize departed from Niel Old jetty and off for Port Blair . On the way we saw North bay island and its light house , behind it stands the Mout Harriot ( 2nd highest peak in Andaman, 1st is Saddle peak). Bharat pur beach in Niel island was greatly blown away by setting sun and its yellowish light.the Sun set point beauty is unforgettable.
On 15.10.13 we visited Cellular Jail. A pathetic yet thrilling experience that I had while listening the story from our guide. 1hr was not sufficient to explore that myth. When I touched the bars, locks and the name plates of the convicts, tears trickled down from my eyes with out my knowledge. The feeling was beyond description. We searched for the name Nagen Dasgupta ( elder brother of my aunt Kalyani Dasgupta) who was one of the 692 convicts and an active freedom fighter and at last we found his name with cell no.and his photo in the Jail museum . At noon we went to Samudrika Museum, Anthropology Museum and Sagarika market complex.. In the afternoon we went to Ross island to see debrish of British colony, printing press, power house, Church , cemetry, water purifier and lotus pond. Ross island is full of deers, peacocks and rabbits. Rajib Gandhi water complex jetty was neat and clen with exotic view of sea.
On 16.10.13 at 8.30am we set out for Red Skin / Jolly bouy island. its famous for red corals, yellow corals and other marine beauty. there we had a panoramic experience to fetch the yellow and red coral by glass boating.
17.10.13 was our day of saying goodbye to Andaman. We were asked to check out at 10am but I and mother secretly left hotel at 7.30am again for Cellular Jail. The previous day we missed to visit Art gallery and Netaji Gallery in h entrance of the jail. For 1.30hr I roamed around all the gallery , took various snap and then came out with heavy and pinching heart.
Our return flight was at 1.45pm . Thought out the way I kept memorising about the spectacular view of the land of my dream. Its a packaged land that are cordially connected with our independence history, our boilogical forfathers and the human evolution and marine beauty of colourful corals...To me, Visiting Andaman is a Bliss of Solitude !
The Cellular Jail
The two wings of the Jail and the chairs are for light-n-sound show
panoramic view from the roof of the Jail
replica of convicts with different types of chains
The nocturnal view of jail during light-n-sound show