lies in the Middle Andaman’s. Island is very less explored as many tourist are not really aware of this. This was the best part of my trip and is highly recommended to anyone going. Island is characterized by virgin beauty and natural wonders.
How to Reach
One can do a days trip to Baratang island. Island itself is nearly 100kms from Port Blair. It is preferable to take a cab from Port Blair itself. Bus service is also available but frequency is less. The journey is in 2 parts
– Port Blair to Jirkatang nearly 40 kms by road
– Jirkatang to Baratang nearly 60 kms (Through Jarwah Reserve Forest)
Second part of journey is through a dense tropical rain forest. Inhabited by tribal people called Jarawahs. Vehicles are allowed to cross on specific times only through this part. All vehicles are made to move in convoys. First and probably last vehicles are local police jeeps. This is a strict no stopping and no overtake zone through Jarwah Reserve Forest. Cab/bus drops you to Nilambur. From Nilambur Jetty at middle strait, ferry services are available for Baratang Island. Ferry takes about 15 – 20 minutes to reach Baratang from Nilambur Jetty.
These tropical rain forest are so dense that roads remains mostly dark even in day time. And it rains very frequently. If you are lucky you may spot a few Jarawahs roaming around road side. We spotted a few adults and a kid crossing the roads. Cab driver slowed a bit but by the time we took out our camera they disappeared. These tribal people are very shy and interacting with them can be dangerous.
Roads through dense forests
Pictures and Video of tribal shared by my guide. Not clicked by me.
From Baratag island we have to take a small motor boat. This motor boat will take us around the Mangroves. Mangroves were very dense and at times scary because your boat will pass right under the dense web of Mangroves.
This boat will take us to Limestone caves. Very intrinsic work by nature. Some shapes resemble like Conch Shell (Shankh in Hindi), Lord Ganesha, rose etc so I should its upto your imagination. Local tourism has installed small light bulbs inside the caves, as its pretty dark inside. Water keeps seeping inside these caves so nature is still working on its big 3D canvas.
Bamboo bridge over sea marshes, in mid of mangroves.
Lime Stone Caves
Environment is very humid due to frequent rain showers and dense forests. Be prepared to get wet and soil your shoes. Bamboo trees can also be found in abundance on this island. Coconut water is pretty cheap and easy way of keeping hydrated. It costed not more than 7-8 INR (Same costs 3.5SGD = 168INR in Singapore)
Next we went to Mud volcano. The way to mud volcano passes again through dense forest. Thankfully there is a marked trail, though we had guide with us. We got to see some mud/sand erupting out from volcano. Its did not look fierce though.
There are few road side make shift stalls for food and water. After having plain rice with curry over banana leaves we left back for Port Blair.