Experiencing past & present of Port Blair

Are you a mountain or a beach person? All of us have encountered this cliché question one or the other time. There are numerous options if you are the former one. But if you are in love with the sea waves, Andaman is a must-visit. Port Blair, the capital city, known for serene beaches, adventure water activities & its historic significance, attracts a huge number of sea lovers every year.

Ok, now how to reach Port Blair?

You can reach Port Blair either by airways or waterways. Veer Savarkar Airport, the international airport in the islands, is well connected with the major cities of India. If you want to explore a 3-4 days’ journey by the sea, you can travel through ships that sail to Port Blair from Kolkata, Chennai & Visakhapatnam a few times every month.

View from flight

The advantage of a flight journey is the exciting view of the islands, which look like green patches surrounded by the infinite blue ocean.

As you land at the Port Blair Airport, you will find a counter of Andaman Tourism. They provide pamphlets with details of tourist places, transportation, stays, water sports, hotels & contact details, which turns out to be quite helpful in exploring the city.

Sunset at Corbyn’s Cove beach

Corbyn’s Cove Beach

I reached Port Blair around mid-noon, so the evening was reserved  for the Corbyn’s Cove beach. You can reach the beach by personal vehicle or use easily available autorickshaws. The beach entrance & pathways were decorated with shimmering lights. I settled down on the pavement to enjoy the serene sunset. The presence of a large number of folks on the beach indicated the onset of the tourist season. 

Few kids were dancing on a trampoline nearby, young folks carving their names on the sand & old people sharing laughter with their comrade, was it the magical effect of the sea breeze?

A trip to Corbyn’s Cove is incomplete without exploring the delicious seafood. Food stalls at the entrance of the beach are waiting to fulfill this desire with a wide variety of seafood.

Stories of Indian freedom fighters at Cellular Jail

Cellular Jail

Cellular jail reveals the story of our country’s struggle for Independence. A national memorial now & a colonial jail in the past, it was the home of exiled political prisoners. I had read numerous stories about the atrocities committed on the freedom fighters in the jail. While it’s difficult to imagine the life of the fighters in the confined cells, a visit to the same will give you a glimpse of their struggle. 

Life of freedom fighters

The galleries, small cells make you filled with utter respect for the people who sacrificed their entire lives to win the freedom we enjoy today.

The three warriors

A light and sound show reveals the story of hardships as seen by the trees & cells of the jail. A journey to the past in the presence of glittering stars in the night sky made me wonder how I take the free gifts of my life for granted.

Love water sports? Rajiv Gandhi Water Sports Complex is for you!

If you love the adrenaline rush, you must not miss adventure water sports in Andaman. Rajiv Gandhi Water Sports Complex in Port Blair is the go-to for every adventure lover. From jet skiing, parasailing to a banana boat ride, you can experience a wide range of water sports at the complex. I chose jet skiing & the thrill while gliding over the sea waves was unparalleled. 

Strolling on the pathways of the complex in the evening, the music & lights from a remote place caught my attention. Driven by curiosity, I landed up in the flea market. It was a weekend market with local handicrafts, produce & cuisine. Searching for perfect gifts for family & friends, I ended up near a stage where a little girl was singing Bollywood songs. Irrespective of where you go in India, some things unite us.

British architecture & wildlife at Ross Island

Water filtration plant

A 15 minutes ride from the sports complex takes you to Ross Island (Now known as Netaji Subash Chandra Bose Dweep). Known for its diverse wildlife, beautiful beach & ruins from the British era which take you to another time, Ross Island is a feast to the eyes. The splashing ride from the complex to the island gives you memories for a lifetime. 

Ross Island

The ruins of past architecture, which includes a church, swimming pool, government office, water treatment plant, give you a sense of the majestic life led by Britishers there. A small sanctuary, green lush pond, man caves & the green tropical trees are other catchy jewels of the island.

The unique thing about the island is it not being open to civil settlements. While you may be disappointed as the wish to spend a beautiful night on Ross island can not be fulfilled, it has helped in preserving it to its natural state. The impact is clearly visible in the form of freely roaming deers, peacocks & clean surroundings.

Beach at Ross Island

While roaming on the island, I found the cleanest & most beautiful beach I had ever seen. The water was crystal clear blue with no signs of human intrusion in the form of garbage cans.

Ruins of past at Ross Island

You can either walk on your own, which is convenient given the informational boards put up near every important site, or take a ride in an electric cart, available at the entrance.

You can book a public boat or a private ferry to the islands & combo trip packages with North Bay island are also available.

With the benefits of the combo pack, next, I was on my way to the North Bay island.

The lighthouse on twenty rupees note in North Bay

North Bay Island

The north bay island is known for water sports activities, its greenery & a lighthouse that marks its presence on the twenty rupees Indian currency note! Surprised? Well, I was too, for how we miss the small details & for the significance of the island.

As you reach North Bay, numerous stalls providing water sports facilities & some selling food & craft items are visible. Scuba diving, snorkeling, and glass-bottom rides are a few of the underwater sports available.

Lighthouse at North Bay

Owing to my curious nature, I started following the pathway leading to the lighthouse. It takes you to the base of the lighthouse, sadly which is now closed for tourists. The view of the sea, beach, and the horizon from the base is beautiful. Rejoicing the cool sea breeze, “I would die for” view & colorful memories, I started my journey back.

Some tips:

How to reach Port Blair

Airways: Veer Savarkar International Airport (Port Blair) is connected to major cities in India. 

Waterways: 3-4 sailings from Kolkata, Chennai & 1 from Visakhapatnam to Port Blair happens every month. It is a 3-4 days journey & bookings can be done at the Shipping Corporation Offices in these cities.

Best Time to visit: October – May

Must Carry:

Sunscreen, Identity proof, Sufficient Cash (Only cash is accepted for on spot ferry booking), Swimwear

Water Sports available:

Scuba Diving, Sea Walk, Sea Kart, Snorkeling, Jet Skiing, Glass Bottom Ride, Banana Ride, Parasailing

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