Looking Back: Our Trip to Andaman during 1998

#1 Mar 21st, 2013, 22:22
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We visited Andaman way back in 1998. While scanning my old Albums I came across a few of the photographs captured during our trip. May I take the liberty of sharing these photographs with my IM buddies! Trip report will be obsolete and will have no contemporary value. Hence, I post some of the pics with caption. Here it goes:

The following picture is of Radhanagar Beach of Havlock Island.
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#2 Mar 21st, 2013, 22:26
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Old is always gold ..... as we say, asishda. So keep posting. Many veteran IMers will be glad to recall with you, for sure.
aamar payer tolai sorshe...(I have wheels under my feet)
#3 Mar 21st, 2013, 22:43
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Some more pics:
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#4 Mar 21st, 2013, 22:53
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@ Sutapa

I hope you are still on line. I have a problem. Please help me.

I have few more pics. But somehow I am unable to post multiple photo. What are your tips, please?
#5 Mar 21st, 2013, 23:33
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dada, I also faced such problem sometimes. Do upload two each time [in attachment box] and continue uploading till it allows (8 to 10 pics. total it allow often, for 1 post). Hope this will help.
#6 Mar 22nd, 2013, 03:20
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Quote:
Originally Posted by asishdas View Post Trip report will be obsolete and will have no contemporary value.
It doesn't matter that your trip happened a long time ago - many of us would still like to read your stories and your impressions and your memories. Please do write a trip report for us too, to go with your lovely photos .
#7 Mar 22nd, 2013, 03:40
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These images indeed are very beautiful. Considering they are old, and the charm is very well reflected from the photographs.
Sunil
Flickr profile at flickr.com/photos/sunilgarg/
#8 Mar 22nd, 2013, 18:44
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Originally Posted by JuliaF View Post It doesn't matter that your trip happened a long time ago - many of us would still like to read your stories and your impressions and your memories. Please do write a trip report for us too, to go with your lovely photos .
Thanks Julia. I shall try.

Here it goes:

Looking Back : Our Trip to Andaman during 1998

We visited Andaman way back in 1998 and at that time IndiaMike was not in my scheme of things, never thought that someday I will be tempted or asked to narrate the story of our trip. I maintain Dairy containing the details of all our trips, but sadly the Diary pertaining to Andaman looks to be missing. My memory is not that sharp, and I cannot vouch the authenticity of whatever little that I can remember. Yet, somehow, I am feeling an inner urge now to try to recapitulate and narrate our trip in short with a few photographs on which I could lay my hands on.

It was March, 1998. Winter was fading out in Kolkata. We booked our tickets to Port Blair with Indian Airlines. Those days there was no Airlines other than Indian Airlines operating in this sector. Obviously, there appeared to be heavy rush all the time and it was extremely difficult to get confirmed booking in this sector if not booked fairly in advance. We booked 6 months in advance! Yes, now it may look ridiculous, but it was a norm those days. The flight was in very early morning, I think 5-30 AM or so. We used to reside quite far from the Dum Dum Airport and hence we decided to reach the Airport at the earlier evening prior to our departure day. We spent the night at the departure lounge in half-sleep-half awake-condition. All of us were very excited as this trip happens to be first trip for us (except me) which take us out of mainland India. It was almost a trip abroad. We were not alone in the Airport though, there were many other early morning passengers occupying the lounge and we had fairly large company.

During our flight the weather was nice and sky was blue, no trace of cloud. We can see the sea below with tiny dots, presumably signifying some unknown island. Most dramatic part was touching down at the Port Blair Airport. Those days, old Port Blair Airport was not renovated and the runway was rather small. Our Aircraft (a Jet) was looking too large for the tiny runway of Port Blair. We can see the runway, the Airport Buildings, nearby hillocks etc. very clearly and suddenly our Jet took a sharp nose dive kind of maneuvering and I distinctly remember we missed one or two of our heart beats. But nothing untoward happened and we landed safely at Port Blair Airport.

As per my usual practice, I did not engage any Travel Agent for our trip. I searched web, researched about availability of accommodation, manner by which it can be booked, local sightseeing options, sailing to Havlock Island together with available accommodation at the Island etc. etc. As a result of these activities, I had fairly good idea as to what is to be done on arrival. Now, just see what I did:

1. Reported to the Tourism Reception Counter at the Airport. Checked availability of Govt. run accommodation. Got booking at Teal House. A 3-bedded room @ Rs.250/-

2. Availed Tourism Mini Bus to reach Teal House - @ 10/- per head (had to wait for sometime)

There were lot of touts, so-called Agents etc. at the Airport and tried their best to persuade us to go with them. Some had even tried to scare us with some fictitious stories about Govt. run accommodation. We did not pay any heed to their postures and continued with our original plan.

The Teal House is a Hotel run by Tourism Department of Andaman & Nicober Administration. It is located on small hillock, beautifully located. The accommodation is nice, clean, ambiance is serene and is very reasonably priced. It has an attached Restaurant, and the Chef was a Bengali. We had no problem in having our choice of food during our stay over there. The greatest advantage of Teal House was that all the Govt organized conducted trips starts from this place only and the bookings are also controlled from here. Just after check in, our first duty was to check availability of conducted trips, book the trips of our choice and then look for food etc. Later we came to know that A & N Tourism organizes a complimentary screening of a film on A & A Island with special emphasis on indigenous tribes of this place. On a hindsight, we felt that we had done a great service to ourselves by selecting this place. It was really strategically located and best place for a tourist visiting Andaman. I don’t know whether this place is still there or not, but if it is there, I would suggest going for this place, if available.

We reached very early; I think by 9 AM, we were in the Hotel. So, we had nice Paratha-Sabji breakfast with Tea and went out for a stroll. Port Blair is a tiny place, one can see glimpse of sea from any place. The roads are little hilly type, but good one, not crowded. But the most striking feature of the Island is its people, very honest, very simple, always smiling and eager to help the tourists. Let me narrate a small story to exemplify my statement. I asked a passerby, a motorbike bourn young guy, the direction to go to Phoenix Bay Jetty . The guy got down from his bike, explained us and gave us direction how to reach that place. We started moving; soon we came to an intersection of two roads and were in two minds which road to take. We took a road, which we thought to be correct road, but the bike guy came rushing to us to tell that we had taken the wrong road and that we should have taken the other road. This means the guy was watching us whether we were taking the right road or not and when he saw that we had taken the wrong route, he came rushing to us and to guide us to the correct road. Tell me guys, how many of us in the cities would do this to a common pedestrian?

Well, this is the magic of Andaman. I have traveled a lot, both in our country as also abroad, I can tell you one thing that of all the places I had travelled, I had experienced most hassle free and tension free travel in two places only – one in Andaman and the other in Bhutan. Both these places, you don’t need to guard yourself against possible thefts, cheats, harassments, humiliation etc. etc. all the time. In my opinion, you can experience real hassle and tension free travel in these two places.

Coming back to main story, we had selected the following conducted trips:

1. Port Blair local;

2. Jolly buoy Island (for coral) together Spice Garden; &

3. Mount Harriett

Besides the above conducted trips, we also decided to take the following two trips on our own:

1. Nearby Islands trip (Ross, Viper and one more, the name of which I have forgotten)

2. Overnight Trip to Havelock Island

On the first day itself we visited Corbyon’s Cove Beach, the only Beach of Port Blair. We went there by Auto. Honestly, I was not that impressed with the beach. It was okay beach, but too much commercialized.

Of the three conducted trip mentioned above, first three trips were breeze, no hassle, we got in the Tourism Mini Bus from our Hotels, visited all the places with a Guide, no issues. We also attended the Light & Sound Show at Cellular Jail in the evening. It was awesome show, narrated by Om Puri (voice over, if my memory serves me right).There was huge banyan tree in the Jail Compound, which was conceived as mute spectator of all the gory incidents that took place in the Jail premises including hanging of freedom fighters. It was a really heart breaking experience, I could not hold my tears..so did other fellow spectators. Even the young boys and girls, who had not even heard about these freedom fighters, wept inconsolably after attending the show. There was one question that hovering around us – What we have done to repay the supreme sacrifice that these selfless people had made for our country?

I have two pictures of Cellular Jail, one Main Gate of Jail and the other is of inside Jail premises. Here are the pictures:

Cellular Jail : Main Gate


Cellular Jail : Inside Premises



I must mention here that I haven’t seen something like Jolly buoy corals. Pattaya Corals in Thailand is nothing compared to what we have seen at Jolly buoy. I understand that these corals were damaged during Tsunami and the visitors are not able to see this wonderful creation of Mother Nature in shallow water around Jolly buoy. I’m sorry I am unable to locate any pics in my Album.

Mount Harriett is presumably the highest peak in Andaman (I’m not sure though). Journey to Mt. Harriett from Port Blair is very scenic and the scene (180 degree of blue sea below) from the peak is simply out of the world. It reminded me of many Hollywood movies. I have a pic of the Watch Tower at the peak of Mt. Harriett. Here it is:



For the nearby Island trips, we were told that Shipping Corporation of India (SCI) organizes a trip to 3 nearby Islands, almost adjacent to Port Blair and is visible from the Phoenix Bay Jetty. It was a 3 hours trip by small boat (Launch?) without any Guide services. I remember it was very economical, don’t recollect exact fare, but it would be around Rs. 10/- or so per head. We ourselves went to the Jetty, booked the tickets directly from the counter, and sat in the Boat.

The first destination was Ross Island, it is very close to Port Blair, and it can be seen clearly from the Jetty. This Island is now deserted, there is no human habitation. But it used to be the first European habitation in the Andaman Group of Islands. You can find Church, Water treatment Plant, Graveyard, Club etc. etc. all in completely ruined conditions. It was told that when Andaman was captured by Japanese, Netaji Subhash Chandra Bose came to Ross Island and hoisted our national flag after naming the Island as “Swaraj Island”. I am trying to recollect from my memory and may be excused if I have quoted wrongly. There is small, but interesting Museum in this Island. There were large population of deer in the Island, and they were very friendly to the tourists. Some even came very close to us. But I’m again sorry, no pic of Ross Island, though I concede it was very interesting object of photography.

The next destination was Viper Island. This Island, we were told, were being used as concentration camp of condemned women prisoners. We were shown a Masjid-like structure, which was stated to have been used as gallows for hanging women, who were condemned to death. I have pic of the said structure, which is posted hereunder:



There is an interesting story in this Island. Like Ross, this Island is also without any habitation. The Island is full of huge sized Coconut Trees and it may so happen that my son got hold of a giant sized Coconut which was lying under one of the coconut trees. We told him to leave it as it is, but he wouldn’t listen. He hid the fruit in a bag to camouflage it and took it with him. But, while traveling back, he quietly took out the giant coconut and threw it in the sea!

There was one more point which we visited. Sorry, I am unable to recollect the place. Kindly excuse me. Was this North Bay? Not sure, though!

Those days, trip to Havlock was very tricky. There was only one accommodation in the Island, namely, Dolphin Resort, run by Tourism Department and I think there were only 8 to 10 cottages all together in that Resort. Accommodation in Havlock was a great problem. Shipping Corporation of India used to run a Ship (a multistoried Ship) once a day. While there was no restriction for the locals to get tickets, but tickets to tourists was available only production of proof of booking in Dolphin Resort. I have seen people used to stand in the Q in the Port Blair Tourism Deptt. to get booking slip and most of them returning to the hotel unable to get any booking. It is an interesting story how I could manage the booking at Dolphin Resort. Here is the story:

As apprehended I could not get the booking on my first attempt. I almost gave up, and then suddenly it reminded me that one of my neighbors was a teacher in Kendriya Vidyalaya, Port Blair and once she was casually telling me that one of her students is now a senior person in the Tourism Deptt. of A & N Administration. I just took a chance and phoned up my said neighbor to inquire about his student, who is presumably a senior guy in Tourism Deptt. She told me the name of her student and would say that she will try to talk to him also. Those days telephoning from mainland India to Port Blair was not that easy. She could not contact her student, but I had got him in the Tourism Deptt. He turns out to be the-then Dy Director of the Department, and when I introduced myself as elder brother (sorry, a fake identity, she was my neighbor only) of his Math Teacher, he stood up and started calling me (for whatever reason) as “Sir” and things were very smooth thereafter and needless to say I came out of the Office with board grin with Dolphin booking Slip in my hand.

I procured the Ship ticket from the SCI Counter at the Jetty on production of my booking slip of the Dolphin Resort. Ticket cost was around @ 25/- or may be even less. The ship itself is very interesting. It was three storied Ship, the ground floor is used for cargo, I have seen Jeeps, Cars etc. are being transported along with other goods. The most notable good was, however, heaps of banana, almost looked like a mini hill. 2nd floor was used for passengers. It had a few cabins as also a Restaurant. 3rd floor was mainly deck and Engine and navigation room. The ship was captained by a friendly naval Officer. My son was curious as to how the Ship moves in the Sea, and the Captain was gracious enough to take him to the Navigation Room and explains him everything. I have photographs of my son on the deck of our Ship. Here it goes:



The journey was enjoyable, it took appox. 3 or 4 hours to reach Havelock Island. We watched Dolphin, flying fish on our way. We met a few locals who had made Havlock their home. We came to know from them that Havelock Island is mainly inhabited by the-the East Pakistan (now Bangladesh) refugees and most of them landed here via Dandakaranya (now in Chhattisgarh State) Camp. They are now contended lot with acres of land of their own, free education to their children, no unemployment and they no longer feel sick of their home at the main land. These people were so large hearted, so pure, it looked to me that I had gone back good old days, when guests were considered to be God (Atithi deva bhabo). Can you imagine, within short span of our journey, we had got at least 3 invitations and these were not hollow invitations; all of them came to us in Dolphin Resort to take us to their home! It was such beautiful feeling.

They say that if there is heaven on earth, it is Kashmir and it is Kashmir only. But, to me, in a different context, Havlock Island is no less fascinating. My command on English language is not that great that I can do justice to the un-spoilt beauty of Havlock. Those days there was no commercial venture for so-called water sport like Snorkeling, walking on water etc. etc. It was pure, raw nature all through – no adulteration. The Dolphin Resort was a hidden gem, the beach in front to the cottages was just bliss, cool breeze of the sea, multi layered sea colours, white sand, and few dry branches of tree to break the monotony – its sheer ecstasy! Another beauty of the Island, completely hidden from public eye was Radhanagar Beach. I don’t know how to describe its beauty, but I must say that I have not seen more beautiful sea beach than Radhanagar Beach in my life. Fortunately, I have got some pictures of Havlock and here it goes:

Havlock Cottage:



Lonely morning Beach in front of Dolphin Cottage:



Can you see footprints of my wife on the white sand of virgin beach?

Radhanagar Beach ( 3 Pics)





Last edited by JuliaF; Mar 23rd, 2013 at 03:20..
#9 Mar 22nd, 2013, 18:50
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Wonderful trip report and photos, sir! Loved them.
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#10 Mar 22nd, 2013, 19:26
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My request to Mod (or someone knowledgeable... once Naveena had done this for me):

I wanted the pictures for which some links had appeared in my above TR to be seen in the TR itself. But somehow I am unable to achieve this. Only link had appeared (though the link does take to photographs), I want instead the Photographs are seen in the TR itself. Can you please do it for me? Thanks.
#11 Mar 22nd, 2013, 20:47
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Quote:
Originally Posted by asishdas View Post My request to Mod (or someone knowledgeable... once Naveena had done this for me):

I wanted the pictures for which some links had appeared in my above TR to be seen in the TR itself. But somehow I am unable to achieve this. Only link had appeared (though the link does take to photographs), I want instead the Photographs are seen in the TR itself. Can you please do it for me? Thanks.
Hi Asishdas, thanks for writing your report! . I'll read it later and will sort out your photos later too unless another mod has time to do it first.
#12 Mar 22nd, 2013, 21:08
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#12
Sir, are you wanting something like this?



If yes, then this is what you should do:

1. Copy the url of the photo (right click on the photo and click on the copy url option).
2. Click on the reply button, and then click the 'insert image' box (the small yellow box with the pic of the mountain).
3. A pop-up appears.
4. Paste the url that you've previously copied in the pop-up window and save.

Hope it will work. All the best.
#13 Mar 22nd, 2013, 21:20
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#13
Looks like Aarosh fixed them for you. Nice trip report!
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#14 Mar 22nd, 2013, 23:06
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#14
Nice trip report sir. Loved the way you had narrated the story. Amazing.
#15 Mar 23rd, 2013, 03:27
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Wonderful! Thank you so much for writing your report to accompany the photos. Your memory for detail is amazing and you tell the stories well. I liked the story of your son bringing back the coconut and I laughed at your story of using your contacts to get the booking at Dolphin Resort .

I had never heard before about Ross Island with church and graveyard etc but now deserted.

Would you like to change the title now that your thread is a complete trip report rather than just a few photos? If you would, just let us know what you would like and one of us will change it .

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