Bye Bye Bangaram

18.01.2017:

We woke up before sunrise and refreshed ourselves and headed towards the eastern side of the island to get a glimpse of the sunrise. The beach is full of activity. People are cleaning the left-overs on the dining tables, clearing off the vessels, arranging tables etc; the fisher-folk and the divers are getting their equipment and boats ready to take the tourists for deep sea diving, fishing and angling; the locals were pulling out the fishes stuck to their nets in the lagoons and the tourists are lazing on the chairs waiting for the sun to rise from the horizon!

Bangaram is every photographer’s wet dream and yet, I find myself taking far fewer pictures than I usually do while travelling. Every where we can find a standard-issue desktop wallpaper ๐Ÿ™‚ The island is a paradise, a tropical heaven on earth. It’s a piece of the planet that’s as manicured as it is naturally stunning. It draws divers, leisure swimmers, and beach bums. It does its best to soothe one’s soul with blushing sunsets, shallow ocean sightings and by sheathing us in luxury.

Though the process of getting permits is frustrating and the cost of the packages is high, it’s seems so justifying when we visit these islands. From a conservation point of view, the pressure of tourism isn’t yet visible on the reef. In other island destinations like Havelock, one see broken coral and the impact of pollution, but not so much in Lakshadweep. And that’s because tourism is so heavily regulated and in that sense, the regulation is a blessing. Perhaps this is one of the reasons, why these islands are still so stunningly beautiful!

While watching the sunrise, we sent Jaleel to give a word to our boat’s captain that we would be leaving in another 30 minutes. We headed back to our room and packed our luggage, prepared ourselves some instant noodles for our breakfast and left for the boat. Our next destination is another small island near to Bangaram. The word ‘Bangaram’ in Telugu language literally means ‘Gold’. And this ‘Bangaram Island’ is truly bangaram for me as it left me with some of the golden memories which I can cherish throughout my life ๐Ÿ™‚

Bye Bye Bangaram.. ๐Ÿ™‚ ๐Ÿ™‚

Time for some more adventure…

17.01.2016:

After the diving session, we spent some more time swimming in the lagoon and lazing around. Time to move. While we were coming to this island, we saw a piece of land at the end of the lagoon and made a point that we should go to that piece of land. So, lets go there now ๐Ÿ˜‰ . We started walking through the coconut groves and made our way towards the Helipad. We didn’t have a solid breakfast and it started taking it’s toll on us! We are too tired and exhausted when Jaleel came like an angel with some fresh coconuts. We finished off some coconuts and moved towards the lagoon!

I think the sight of the lagoon and that small patch of land itself has made uncle a bit nervous ๐Ÿ˜€ . Again he denied coming with us even after Imran telling him that it won’t be that deep and not at all risky! Leaving uncle behind, we, Imran, Jaleel, Aunty and I got into the lagoon. The water was lukewarm, not so deep, turquoise blue in color and mild in currents – a good thing. It was almost as if we were walking on a road chit-chatting with each other. While Imran was explaining about the islanders and their lifestyle, aunty listening to him keenly while Jaleel was having a lazy swim every now and then and I was so curious to see what’s there on that land!

The distance from the island to this patch of land is around 800 metres. After a stressful walk through the waters for about 600 meters, we got the first real sight of it. There might be around 500 seagulls taking rest and chirping among them. That was a postcard pic with the deep blue sea behind them, the white silvery sand patch of land, the turquoise blue lagoon infront and the white seagulls ๐Ÿ™‚ . While we were nearing the land, they sensed the alien presence of ours and started flying away and that gave me a reason to regret for not having a camera with me to capture those moments! ๐Ÿ˜ฆ

The scene found it’s place in the memories of my heart and mind. The vivid colors of all the elements around me and the various reflections of the water on the plumage of those tiny sea-gulls when they started flying off from the land is an enticing scene! Thanks to Bangaram for such wonderful eye feasts ๐Ÿ™‚ The moment we touched the land, Jaleel and Imran went in search of the eggs of those seagulls, while aunty went for some coral remains and shells and I asusual walking along the stretch. After their futile attempts, Imran came up with an idea of a running race and started running followed by aunty and me. After having enough fun, I laid down there with my entire body into the water and just the head out into the sun!

I was not worried about getting tanned anymore. I was there to enjoy each and absorb each and every moment into my mind. After all, this is not a common place which we can visit whenever we like ๐Ÿ™‚ . After a while, we started walking back to the island, but this time time currents were not mild and it took a lot of effort to overcome them and walk or swim at times. Once out of the waters, we ventured again into the lagoon for snorkeling with the snorkeling gear brought by Jaleel from Agatti. There was a small rock with a passage and I was able to find a fish in that narrow passage. And I went around to find some more, but I could find nothing! ๐Ÿ˜ฆ

But so far it was good!

Kaalapaani & The Sylvan Sands of Chidiyatapu..

Day 2:

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The day starts quite early in Andamans as there is almost a time lag of 1 hour from the mainland. The dazzling sun is up in the sky by 4.30 am itself. Mounica and I were up, while rest of our friends was still tossing in their beds. We just went down the lane for a quick jog which turned out to be refreshing. The houses beautifully lined; the clean and calm roads and the cool breeze from the sea were so rejuvenating.

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By the time we were back from the jog, everyone is up. We quickly got ready for our next move. Whenever there is a mention of Andaman Islands, the first thing that hits every mind is the Cellular Jail, mostly remembered as โ€œKaala Paaniโ€ (Black waters). Thanks to the film Kaala Paani which made it so famous! So our first plan is to go and have a glimpse of what exactly the Cellular Jail looks like.

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The first thing that welcomes us is the Swatantrya Jyothi (Freedom Flame and Torch). An iconic symbol of Indiaโ€™s struggle for independence from colonial rule, the Cellular Jail takes one back to British-era, wherein the jail imprisoned freedom fighters. Once known as the โ€œhell on the earthโ€ , this jail was built in between 1857 and 1906 by the British, acquired the name โ€˜Cellularโ€™ because it is entirely made up of individual cells for the solitary confinement of the prisoners.

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It was originally a seven pronged structure almost representing spikes of a wheel. A puce-colored three storied building with the central tower acting as its fulcrum is an architectural marvel. As of now, three of the seven prongs were intact and the museum here relates the history of this place, the convicts, photographs and more. One can get a clear view of the Ross Island from the top of this jail. The blue waters and the tiny ferries on the sea are worth watching!

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It was almost mid of the day by the time we completed our tour around the Cellular Jail. We were back home for lunch. Aunty has prepared us some Rajma Chaawal. The Bengali Rosagullas which we brought with us back from Kolkata and the fresh litchis at the end of our lunch made it perfect ๐Ÿ™‚ We soon grabbed a nap, as we were tired because of the blazing summer sun.

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It was around 3.30 pm when we started to our next destination โ€œChidiya Tapuโ€. Chidiya tapu is the southernmost tip of South Andaman. It almost reminds me of Kerala when I think about the road leading to Chidiya Tapu, as one side of the road has got coconut grooves and the other side has the mighty Andaman Sea. We halted for a while along a broken fence wall, where we got to know that the wall was damaged by the mighty Tsunami waves and the sea has come forward a few miles.

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It was around 4.30 by the time we reached Chidiya Tapu. The beach was quite and calm. There were not many visitors, in fact very few were there. While most of them were sitting and watching the sunset, few kids were playing in the sea. What I could see is that it is an ideal picnic spot. The white sands with clear waters surrounded by mangroves and chirping birds from the forest cover simply makes it ideal. Soon we ventured out into the sea, playing, diving and even swimming ๐Ÿ™‚ . We all were children again ๐Ÿ˜‰

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Soon, the sun started setting. As the sun started to set, we just climbed up a huge tree trunk that was protruding into the sea and started to watch it silently. The orange colored sun-set with a foreground of golden colored waters is simply breathtaking. A great evening ๐Ÿ™‚

Time to go back home! ย Stay tuned!!!