Sunday, January 5, 2014

Andamans: The Heavenly Islands

While thinking of taking a holiday, one is always swayed by the beautiful pictures and tales of how some friend had enjoyed during their international vacations.

However, India too has a great deal to offer in terms of holiday destinations - snow-capped mountains, deserts of Rajasthan, great beaches, serene islands, jungle safaris, lot of historical monuments and a lot more. The destinations just need to be better promoted and they can compete with any global destination.

So, when in September of 2012, my family decided to go for a holiday, we were confused as to which part of this great country we wanted to pick. 

After some research and browsing the internet, we decided to travel to a place that people don't generally recall when they think of India - The Andaman islands. 

The Andaman and Nicobar islands is an archipelago in the Bay of Bengal with greater proximity to Myanmar and Thailand than India but a very important part of India. The British, during their rule used these islands as a place to deport political and criminal prisoners. The islands still retain a lot of their natural beauty because it still has not been over-exploited by the tourism industry.

Since my parents were also traveling who are not too comfortable with unplanned trips, my father decided to use a travel agent to plan out compete itinerary - my first such trip ever. 

Since there is no direct flight from Mumbai to Port Blair, the capital of the islands, I took a Jet Airways flight with a stopover at Chennai. After landing at Chennai airport at night and spending the night at my aunt's house, I caught a morning flight from Chennai to Port Blair. 

I had my brother and cousin sister for company and my parents were flying in from Delhi. We planned our flights in such a manner that all of us landed at approximately the same time. 

The airport is a nice, small and cozy airport nestled between the hills in the city. 

We landed at around lunch time and were taken to our hotel straight away. After having a nice lunch, we decided to head to the Corbyn's Cove beach. One of the first things we noticed after getting  there was a big signboard saying, " Beware of crocodiles". On inquiring, locals told us that a crocodile was spotted there a week before, hardly a comforting fact. 

View at Corbyn's Cove beach