THE ENCHANTING ISLANDS

By: Mousumi Biswas

THE ENCHANTING ISLANDS
The Andaman and Nicobar Islands located in the Bay of Bengal are famous for coral reefs , golden beaches , mangrove forests and much more . Tribes  still live in a primitive way in many parts of the island .  The breathtaking  islands  with their historical past, surreal beauty, tranquil clear seas, spectacular sunsets and bewitching beaches attract hordes of tourists from all over the globe. Having all the colours of the nature , these enchanting islands are a must visit for any true  and hard-core travel  freak .
          

        The Rajiv Gandhi Sports complex offers a wide array of aqua sports . There is also a Tsunami memorial built to commemorate the heroes of the 2004 tsunami which caused wide spread devastation in the islands . The uprooted trees are a pathetic sign of this . 
      The Corbyn Beach and Munda pahar are small beaches  and not ideal for swimming . A few colourful birds can be spotted at  Chiryatapu or island of birds . As the sun descends into the bluish green water of the sea , the quiet sea becomes  quieter with a halo watching over it . 
          
        The Cellular Jail in Port Blair, is one of the major landmarks of the island. It bears testimony to the grave atrocities meted out to our freedom fighters at the hands of the British . The light and sound show highlighting the gory tale of our freedom struggle  is held in the jail premises .
          There are a number of smaller islands surrounding Port Blair . These can be accessed by steamer rides , starting from Rajiv Gandhi Sports complex . Delicious vegetarian and non-vegetarian lunch was provided on board . 
     The political prisoners were confined by the British in the viper islands . The Ross Islands , meant for the women prisoners of the freedom   struggle   and once  a flourishing township,  is in shambles today . A ruined church ,bakery , secretariat and cemetery are the major highlights of this Island .  One can spot a few deer , peacocks and colourful birds flitting in and out of the thorny bushes and ruins. 
        The Neil Islands with its white sands ,calm beaches and unexplored coral reefs have a laid back charm and serene vibe . It's an amazing place for a quiet vacation far away  from the  maddening crowd of the city . 
           The Chatham Saw Mill , is one of the oldest and largest in Asia . A visit to the rubber plantation and factory gives  an insight into the way rubber is tapped and processed 
              The other places of tourist interest here are  forest  museum, naval marine museum, anthropological museum and aquarium . 
               The serenity of Havelock Island is alluring . The crystal clear blue water rolling to and forth over the silver sand , the sun going down the sea in the evening , leaving a trail of orange streaks is a sight to behold . 
         Seeing the colourful corals ,jelly fish brushing past, through the glass bottom boats , during the motorboat ride and snokling in the Elephant  Beach is mesmerizing and memorable experience . 
         Delicious  vegetarian and non-vegetarian cuisines are available at pocket friendly prices.
          Language is no problem in the islands . The extremely courteous and helpful locals can speak and understand English, Bengali, Hindi , Malyalam and Tamil fluently.
             
           Andamans being a coastal area, doesn't  experience harsh climatic conditions . So  pack your bags with  light cottons . 
            Suprisingly , the beaches are clean . Hope the tourists visiting them keep it that way . 

Mousumi Biswas

Delhi