My Andaman Diaries.

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#1 Jan 7th, 2015, 15:52
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#1
Well..as the name goes, this is more of recollecting and remembering my good old day at the Emerald Islands. I thought it would be good idea to share some beautiful sceneries and locations with all IMers with little information about the same. I would be relaying on my memory for all these are between 2005 to 2008.

Okey, let me give a brief introduction on my Andaman Diaries. I was one of the un-fortunate few to reach Andaman Island after the disastrous Tsunami ( 26th. Dec 2004 ), on a central government school & education rehab. project and then realized myself to be fortunate enough to spend 3long years in this marvelous place on earth.

I regret that I did not came upon IM at that point of time or immediate later. This has resulted in the loss of certain invaluable data and information and now have to dig and excavate as much as possible from my grey-matter. Anyway, much of them would be irrelevant and obsolete today.

Before I start relishing and cherishing my memories, let me post few teaser pics. for your visual pleasure..

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Last edited by Dave W; Jan 7th, 2015 at 17:54.. Reason: Date corrected
#2 Jan 7th, 2015, 15:58
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#2
Good photos, Suman .. Oh ! 3 long years in Andaman.. This could be an interesting journal .. Waiting
#3 Jan 7th, 2015, 17:37
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Part 1

It all happened one fine morning of early 2005, when I stumbbled upon a newspaper ad. seeking Professional for a massive Educational & Livelihood rehav. project post Tsunami. The project undertaken by the Minstry of HR alongwith several NGO and volenteer Organization, would enssentially encompass variety of livelyhood and psychometric development across South-eastern India and Andaman at large.

By this time we had been well aware and may many of us had already experienced the substantial damage and destruction caused with the earthquake intensity of 9.4 ric. in the Burma-Indian plate of the Indian Occean bed. Result was a massive Tsunami on the early hours post Christmas with a toll of over 2 lakh lives affecting 10+ countries.

Casually, without any knowledge of my near-&-dear ones, I applied for the same. My intution was that it may be a good chance to experience immense knowledge on rehav. and development programs with quite a good scope to interact with International delegates experienced in this field.

Ohhh !!! to my utter surprise I got a call from the relevant office of the MoHRD sometimes during May-June 2005 for discussion/shortlisting/screening. Days zoomed past and finally in August, I was handed-over with papers for relocating to Andamans alongwith a team of around 20 veterans.

Now this was the toughest time in my life when I came upon several hurdles from my family / relatives / friends & enemies and everyone else. I could recall that at that point of time many of us in rural areas was not must aware of Andamans..and our little knowledge revolved around “ Sabuj Deeper Raja “ the classic bengali film. Even some expressed their concern about it to be foreign land and that passport/visa etc. required as well as “Kala Jar” injection amputation.

Anyhow..overcome all these, had a month of formal induction and training session and finally set of to the Islands through Chennai via AI flight at 5 AM on 26th. Sept 2005. Between I had to promise my family that I would certainly be back by 6 months and would take them aback to the “Kala-pani”…..



I would try and consise my writing in the following manner :

1. Port Blair
2. Middle and North Andaman
3. Havlock / Neil Islands.
4. Nicobar, Cambell Bay and Little Andamans
5. Back to Port Blair with some events and festivals.

By the way, in this report I would emphasis that we, being non-government civilians, was the god blessed few to travel to all inhabited Islands of the beautiful place, through Govt. special permit, stay at Govt. Guest Houses and APWD Inspection bungalow and travel through Govt. vehicles and even chopper as the case may be.

This is my humble way to pay homage to all who lost their beloved and everything else in those killer waves and re-relish the un-forgettable days in The Emerald Islands.

I may take some time to complete this as I have to recapitulate, search all photos and may have to request my colleagues then, to send their collections…..

Sorry for the typo error… The year mentioned in Post 1# would be 26th. Decebmer 2004.

Mod note : the date in #1 has been corrected

Actually…just a couple of days back…while discussing with my wife D. for our planned short tour to Krishnanagar and surrounding.. and the help and advice I got from Asish Sir,…she insisted that I should put some effort to catalogue our days in this wonderful forum..

Some Pics. from Port Blair…

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#4 Jan 7th, 2015, 17:48
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#4
Thanks Mr. arupratan ghosh for the post...would like to continue further..
#5 Jan 7th, 2015, 18:24
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#5
Thank you, Suman, for sharing your experiences with us!

Great experiences unwinding! Will get to know a lot about the islands including life and cultures of the place.

It would be further great if you could share briefly about yourself and your backgrounds!
#6 Jan 7th, 2015, 18:34
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#6
Wonderful photos, Suman D. Thanks for sharing them and your experience with us!
#7 Jan 7th, 2015, 19:03
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#7
Thanks every body for your kind run through my article.. Thanks Prakaant for your encouraging comments..

Well for me, I'm in Education & Training Service Industry with exposure of 20+ years into Training ( mostly soft & life skill ) and Business Development. I was associated with several IT and Non-IT Companies in the past and had the privilege to travel a vast part of India mostly for professional reason.

Andaman, as I consider it, is the most bright stone among the lot. If permitted, I would also share my days ( more than 5 years ) at North-east ( stationed at Shillong ) and Goa / Punjab / Rajasthan / Hyderabad etc....

Coming back to Andaman.....

Once we reached Port Blair it was all new a place and was immensely surprised that this was no less than a rural Indian town with same people, as we see in Bengal & Southern India, all around.

A small market on our way to Jungli Ghat, Port Blair, where essentially our office was located and we had our accommodations nearby. I can remember, that day was all rest and in the evening I with 2 of my colleagues ventured into nearby market and shops to understand the place.

This was the view from the roof of my rented accommodation at Jungli ghat.

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Few Pics. from Cellular Jail...

My families joined me preciously after a couple of months and I would share some places of interest in Port Blair and Middle Andaman hereafter.

I would come back to Port Blair ( my forced bachelor days ) at the end …errrr..actually I need to find the Pics. for that time..mostly of our office surrounding, Barren Island etc..

Ohh..I, sorry We, were also lucky enough to witness live Volcano at Barren Island, some 130 km away of Port Blair during its eruption late 2005. Would surely post the pics..

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With junior..
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D. at the top of Cellular Jail..
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#8 Jan 7th, 2015, 19:11
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#8
Following with interest. I love the human touches in any journal. Please infuse as much details as possible. I am sure you have had some unique experiences which a passing traveller may not have. Do share them.

Thanks for sharing
regards
Somnath
#9 Jan 7th, 2015, 19:19
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#9
Quote:
Originally Posted by Suman D. View Post ... If permitted, I would also share my days ( more than 5 years ) at North-east ( stationed at Shillong ) and Goa / Punjab / Rajasthan / Hyderabad etc....
We'll love to hear your experiences about all the places.

Currently enjoying on the spot descriptions about Andaman!
#10 Jan 7th, 2015, 20:24
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#10
Very interesting Suman D. I look forward to more, and especially if you can tell us more about the work you were doing there.
#11 Jan 8th, 2015, 14:40
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#11
Thanks all for your encouraging comments and likings…

Surely this gives me passion to take the pain to pen down the journal. It’s also an internal urge to put things documented somewhere.. may be, I would again cherish it further down the time line…

Its more like ‘Cloud computing from Desktop computing’ as the IT guys may say.. I could even run through the days ..just in case the HARD DISC is CRASHED…

A big thanks to DaisyL, iamsomnath, Prakannt & JuliaF once again. Julia, as this is more my professional travel journal rather than vacation travel, a substantial amount will come in the way…

And again I start my story..

With a seer curiosity I Google-mapped the place of my accommodation …and OMG..I could easily locate it…

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It’s Mr. Sharma’s House, Dean Street, M.G.Road, Junglighat, Port Blair…a steep road beside the chai shop just opposite to Anmod Baker, Island Arcade.

Once our office was all set we had a meeting with the A&N Edu. Directorate and other officials as to get a detailed account on the damages, both physical and emotional and the breadth of coverage. It took few days and we were directed to have a personal, on the ground, physical assessment of 400 odd schools of Andaman Islands, and the neighboring town and villages they cater to.

The herculean task then, was to understand the actual location of the schools / villages at the remotest place of the islands. And there was no clear data available on how to reach at most of the places.

We settled into 6 teams and set our goals to covers the complete Islands within a mere 6 months and then sit again on the findings and remedial measures.

Work and play was going together..with each passing day I was falling in love with the place… the emerald green water..the stunning beaches..the lovely people..the stress free lifestyle and everything else. We got our lovely neighbor, an elderly uncle and aunty, originally from UP. We eventually got close to everyone..Samadji, living next to our place, who along with her daughters had a beautiful bangle shop at the Aberdeen Bazar…Sanjeev-bhai of the cable TV shop..Pandi of the chai shop..Masood bhai of Modern Bakery..Dutta-da of Dutta Enterprise.. Murugan-sab of the Grocery store and everyone else. Need to mention about Goswami-da who used to run a wonderful “Bengali Hotel” or "Bangali Hotel"near Golghar. He was our culinary savior in those days..with Goswami-boudi helping him and keep an eye on our individual preference and taste. We got some heart-warming stories from Goswami-da on the black day incidents..

Its also worth mentioning that there was no nuisance at the Islands..no chori..no dacoity..no cher-char..It was like we used to keep our empty Gas cylinders packed with the money and Gas book on the scheduled arrival day of the supply..and in the evening after returning took the Full Cylinder, replaced, and proper entry made on the book...Amazing....

During evening and on Sundays we used to just stroll across the Marine Drive, Phoni Bay Jetty, Aberdeen Bazar, Samudrika Museum and occasionally to Corbyn’s cove beach … a few pics…


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#12 Jan 8th, 2015, 15:48
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#12
Eventually as life rolled on, my first trip to another Island happened overnight.

One Mr. Phadke, Executive Director and a stalwart on Educational Assessment reached Port Blair to fine-tune the Program.. It happened that he wants me and my college Mr. Sayed, to accompany him to Neil Island, on a visit to Govt. Sr. Sec School, Neil Island.

We booked our tickets through the Directorate of Shipping to Neil, and on the very next day left for the destination from Huddo Jetty, though MV Long Island ( if I’m not wrong in recollecting the name of the Inter Island Ship ).

Soon after leaving Port Blair the crystal clear emerald blue water engulfed the small ship. We decked ourselves on the Upper Deck and started more on enjoying the voyage than discussing our job ( scheduled for the next day ).

We by-passed Havlock Island, the diamond of the crown., and I silently & solemnly took oath to visit Havlock with D. and junior.

A few pics towards Neil Island.

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We had our Car waiting at Neil Jetty ( Maruti Omnie ) and spend the rest of the day strolling at Bharatpur & Sitapur Beach and visiting few points like this one here..The Narural Bridge.. with Howrah Bridge as the touristy version..
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#13 Jan 8th, 2015, 16:41
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#13
Requested Dutta-da of Dutta Enterprise, Island Arcade Basement, for a car on one Sunday for a family trip to Mount Hariet, off Bamboo Flat.

This is one small hillock with a beautiful Park and View-Point on the top. There is also a small jungle trail, walking through which for around 45 min to 1 hr. one would reach Kala Pathar (local name ). Although we didn’t took the walk but enjoyed the day with a small picnic type outing.

One had to reach there by car only which could be hired Bamboo Flat or Port Blair. There is a small entry fee for Individual as well as car.

We got the car at Rs. 400/- ( most likely ) for half a day. Reached Chattam Jetty, took the Vehicle cum Passenger ferry, reached the other point Bamboo Flat and zoomed toward Mount Harriet. ( This is not a must visit for Casual Travellers and one should not spend half a day just for Mount Harriet ).

Junior was thrilled to see the fishes through clear water around Chattam and Bamboo Flat.
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#14 Jan 8th, 2015, 17:07
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As far our family outings was concerned, we were merely resolving around Port Blair for the first couple of months, due to my work pressure in office then.

However, we again managed to make a trip to Ross Island & Viper Island. We learned that damage at Port Blair was substantially minimized as Ross Island blocked the path of the waves towards Marine Drive.

This small island, un-inhabited, are generally a day voyage delight for tourist, through small motorized ferry from Phonix Bay Jetty. Both the Islands had offices of the then Britishers – specifically a bakery at Ross and a small prison / isolation centre at Viper. The small park and free roaming deer at Ross was also a travelers delight.

As much as I could remember, we took a ticket of Rs. 60/- from Phonix Bay and boarded the 2 – 3 hour ferry there.
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Junior enjoying the ride..
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Junior & D.
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On our way to Viper, we passed by the ship-yard, and found the Mainland bound ship MV-Akbar returning to Huddo Jetty for return voyage.

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A few more from Ross Island...

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Last edited by Suman D.; Jan 9th, 2015 at 11:41.. Reason: Adding Pics..
#15 Jan 12th, 2015, 13:56
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#15
Well…this looks that I’m getting boring with lots of unwanted details in a travel forum..

I think I should restrict myself in penning down the overview of each place / island visited and upload relevant photos, highlighting special events if any. Although most of the islands had been visited number of times during my tenure, I would restrict these place in a single travelogue – whether with colleagues or with family.

Well…then comes Havlock..the gem of the crown..

This Island is accessed by 2 -3 hours of sea voyage from Port Blair, Haddo Jetty. We had been there by the M.V. Ramanujan, a big ship with 3 deck levels. The cost of one way was Rs.90/-.

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The scenic beauty from the top deck was amazing and we were fortunate to see herds of flying fish and dolphins swimming in front of the vessel for almost an hour or so..

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The Radhanagar beach which was then considered as one of the best beach in the world, was the key attraction of the island. Although the rocky beach in front of the Guest House ( Dolphin Resort ) was good enough to keep tourist speech less over hours…idly siting at the view point..

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Anyway, during one of our trip ( official ) we also found a 3 day long Kirtan followed with Bhog at Gobindo Nagar ( Near Market ), Havlock. We also enjoyed with the fellow villagers then….most of whom are Bengali from Bangladesh....
A Journey declined is a Learning denied...
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My Andaman Diaries. | Amritsar – Wagha Border. | Krishnanagar-Mayapur-Murshidabad |
Rajasthan | Deoghar-Rajgir-Bodhgaya
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