Tuesday, 1 April 2014

Baratang Island In The Andamans





                We had decided to tackle the Baratang Island on the second day of our trip to the Andaman Islands.  Advised on an early start if we were to make a day trip to the Baratang Island, we kicked off from Portblair at daybreak so as to reach Jirkatang police outpost in time, to join one of the early convoys that cruise through the Jarawa Reserve Forest. The journey to Baratang is a thrilling one especially with all the dos and don'ts it entails. It is essential to impose certain restrictions because a good part of the trip is through this forest that is home to the elusive Jarawa tribe. In a bid to control the tourist movement and check the interaction of the  modern man and the tribes people, tourists are parceled through the forest in convoys of four wheel vehicles without any halts in between.

                             These people are untouched by modern civilization and are said to have their own systems in place that have taken them through the centuries. Any kind of interaction and photography of these people are strictly prohibited. There are various opinions regarding their assimilation into the modern world. Popular among them,  is the justification that interaction with the modern world may wipe out these people since they may get afflicted with  modern diseases they are not immune to. And so it was decided to keep them in isolation to protect and preserve them. We did pass by a couple of Jarawas collecting wood. But that's about all. The journey through the forest was peaceful and refreshing with no frills that usually accompany 'developed' tourist spots.

             A little more than an hour's drive through the forest brought us to the Middle Strait jetty that would take us to Baratang Island. We boarded a boat leaving the vehicle behind to be ferried across in a launch later. Pristine little islands with dense mangroves dotted the strait. this was one of the best parts of the day. Gaping at the beauty of the nimbly stilted mangroves we made our way to the Baratang jetty.






Through The Mangroves




We walked down some paddy fields and thickets  to the limestone caves that is one of the main attractions of this island. There are small stalls selling lemonade and cool cucumbers before you enter the protected area of the limestone caves. These caves are truly marvels of nature and we spent some time trying to give a relevant shape to those stalactites and stalagmites. It got pretty warm and sultry inside them.  Since it was  a day trip we decided to move ahead to the mud volcanoes, the only ones in India.






       Limestone Caves


           

         

       
                 Retracing our track to the jetty and finding the vehicle ferried across, mud volcano it was next! And what an arduous climb it was from the foot of the hill! We walked and climbed. A group of four kids getting cranky by now and four adults trying to maintain sanity. And once at the top, after all that huffing and puffing, it was interesting to see these mounds of clay - the mud volcanoes.
                                                 
                                                   
Mud Volcano


              It was already late afternoon and we had to be reminded of the trip back through the Jarawa forest. That however did not stop us from having a leisurely picnic in the lovely countryside. A relief for the kids to monkey around and for us to stretch ourselves. We managed to catch the last convoy back from the Middle strait jetty ending a thrilling experience beyond our expectations.

         
This post was written for the A To Z Challenge 2014    

8 comments:

  1. Looks very exciting. Cranky kids & adults trying to keep their sanity. that made me laugh. Have had several vacations with kids. :)

    ReplyDelete
  2. What an amazing story! I can't help wondering how the Jarawas react to seeing the occasional vehicle drive through. They must notice. BTW I see in your "Live Traffic Feed" that someone in the the suburb next to mine visited your website 5 minutes ago - that's Plymouth, in the same county I am in.
    Mary at Variety, the Spice of Life

    ReplyDelete
  3. Thanks Cathy for the good words and also for stopping by.

    ReplyDelete
  4. Mary,The ones we crossed were pretty nonchalant about it. Am sure they have also been issued with the dos and the don'ts by the clan. And thanks for pointing out about the other visitor.

    ReplyDelete
  5. That was very engagingly narrated Ilakshee and I do envy you for having run your eyes through all these wonderful things

    ReplyDelete
  6. Thank you Ritesh! I was fortunate to have visited some places but those are just a few drops in the ocean.

    ReplyDelete
  7. May I know the travel distance, time and mode of travel from port Blair please.

    ReplyDelete
  8. Hi, That must have been an amazing experience for your tour, As a traveler, I find your recommendations very useful. Many of them I try to put into practice always, Thank you Travel Agent in Delhi

    ReplyDelete

Your words keep me going :)