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A trip I'd like to go to again

By Mr. Soumik - 2nd Position

The term "Island" itself makes us ecstatic. And this itinerary is about our own "most visited" island in Andaman-the one and only "Havelock Island". Andaman and Nicobar Islands even though geographically isolated, is an integral part of our country. It's like a beautiful princess kept secured and hidden from the eyes of the rivals. Its exquisite beauty is beyond comparison and still unexplored.

Travelling is my passion and I had a craving for visiting this place from the day I learnt about it. I had started my journey to this celestial abode during the fall considering the favourable weather in that latitude at that time. And the day I landed there, it was one of the happiest moments of my life. The island was by far more beautiful than my fantastical imagination.

We took our flights from Chennai to Andaman. The bird's eye view was the first glimpse which was itself so enticing. The small groups of Green Islands forming an archipelago amidst the blue Indian Ocean is a picture of eternal tranquility. The only airport was in its capital, Port Blair. The simple quiet airport was named Vir Savarkar International Airport after the great freedom fighter of Indian independence. The small town had roads with lots of roundabouts and squares, besides lady traffic police in every signal and crossing. The town was buzzed with beautiful resorts, luxury hotels, and fine restaurants for the best hospitality of the flocking tourist every year. The capital city is the central point of the island from where sea vessels flee to various wonderful islands therein.


The very next morning we started our tour to Havelock Island around 5am. While travelling, early rise does not seem much an annoying task, overwhelmed by the excitement .The vehicle to the Jetty was arranged by our Hotel manager. In fact the whole package trip with tickets from here and there was provided by them. Our driver Pandey took us to the Phoenix Bay Jetty which was teeming with Government - Operated ferries, sea-vessels, yacht, ships etc.

Our sea vessel's name was Rani Laxmi Bai. It was a long queue to the deck with tourist both Indian and foreigners, creating an aura of gala. The long queue provided ample time to indulge in my other obsession i.e. photography. I captured whole of the jetty with different vessels, ships, the crowd and the deep blue ocean in my new canon digicam. We boarded the vessel around 5.45 am. The journey started at sharp scheduled time i.e. 6 am. We sat in our seats for only a few minutes as it felt drowsy inside. So we went upstairs and the sight of the blue water all around was both thrilling and soothing. West winds were blowing across our faces.

My brother and I enjoyed to our fullest. Soon one by one most of the people came upstairs to feel the natural breeze. My mother was scarred at first but seeing everyone, she too started enjoying. Best thing to do there was to stand in the trailing edge of the boat and watch the water patterns we were leaving behind. We had a glimpse of the cockpit with the pilot. On the midway, the crew members requested everyone to leave upstairs as the waves were rising high and the jerks were felt. Downstairs we dozed off sometime and soon reached the Havelock Jetty. It was a long two hour trip.

Havelock Island, an area of around 100 sq km, about 50km northeast of Port Blair,is the largest of the islands. The island is named after Sir Henry Havelock, a British Major General .It is inhabited mainly by Bengali settlers. It is said that during East Pakistan War, Indian Govt. gave shelter to many refugee in this island who later settled down here. Each area here has a specific number like ferries port at No 1 Beach, the main bazaar is at No 3 Beach and so on.


A private taxi was waiting for us as arranged by our Hotel. We headed to our destination which is a 30 minutes way from the east to the west of the island, to the famous Radhanagar Beach. Passing through Govindnagar, we moved on our way through villages and then dense forest. Havelock is rich in flora and fauna. On the way we could see tall betel nut trees. The roads were very narrow and zig-zag all the way. The island is very sparsely populated except the bazaar area. At last we reached the entrance to the once best rated beach of Asia, Beach number 7, Radhanagar.

The narrow path through the deep green forest to the beach is very tempting. Before entering, there were rows of food shacks and shops that rent swim suits, snorkels, fins etc. We had our breakfast there; bought some T-shirts tagged Andaman and ran through the woods to the clear blue green water. Dad ordered lunch for us in a nearby food shack which we would enjoy right after our dive. Clad in our swimsuits, hat and sunglasses we ran towards the silky white powdery beach. The beach stretched a long way on both directions. We took a long walk along the sea shore. The trunks of fallen trees lying at the beach added to its beauty. Mom and I took lots of clicks over there. It was a sunny day but a mild breeze flowing had a soothing effect. The reflections of the green wood gave the water a turquoise appearance which was very appealing.

We then jumped into the inviting waters with a clear sandy bottom. It felt heavenly. We played with the waves as the tides were rising being midday. The beach was full of activity from swimming, sunbathing, diving, snorkeling, boat riding, beach camping to scuba diving, all were engaged in one or the other. The beautiful coral reefs in the white sandy bottom were good for both snorkeling and scuba diving. We tried snorkeling which was one of the best experiences I ever had. The red star fish, variety of corals from small too big and all the aquatic fauna were glimpses not to be missed.


It was late and we were tired and hungry by now. We had our appetizing lunch with sea fish cooked in Bengali style. We relaxed on the beach under the beach bamboo umbrella contemplating the turquoise water of the great Indian ocean whereas my brother taking delight in beachcombing.

Our driver was waiting for us. We drove back to beach no 1 with mixed feelings-happy to think about our next travelling destination and sad to leave this green-blue water island.

Havelock Island is known for its pristine beaches. Besides Radhanagar, other famous beaches are Elephant Beach on the North West coast, Vijaynagar (Beach No.5), Beach No.3 and Beach No.1 on the east coast. The market teemed with tourist busy buying various artifacts like trays, pen stands, hats, mats etc which were made locally .Jewelleries and souvenirs made from shells, coral of different colours and Nicobari mats were available in these souvenir shops. We too bought some mementos.

Beach No.3 is famous for its cuisine with a variety of sea foods like crabs, prawns, lobsters, squibs prepared in different culinary styles-Bengali, Punjabi, Chinese, Continental, Italian, Spanish and South Indian cuisines. Vijaynagar beach is another option where both good vegetarian as well as non-vegetarian dishes are available. While our parents stayed behind at beach no.1, my brother and I thought of strolling at the market place, Govind nagar. Then we took an auto rickshaw to Vijaynagar Beach where we spent quite a time. A soothing beach with mangrove trees, the water there were all blue. The colourful bunch of yacht on the shore was worth watching.


The resorts and sea side accommodation mainly lie along the east coast between beach No 3 and No 5. Seeing these resorts another trip was already planned back somewhere in our mind that next time we will have to stay a night here.

Even after being the most visited island in Andaman, Havelock has still preserved its pristine beauty. The administration of the Andaman and Nicobar Islands has promoted eco-tourism by preventing plastic packages in beaches. As a matter of fact in some parts of the island like Jolly Buoy Island, Wandoor, etc plastics are totally prohibited. This protects the aquatic life mainly coral reefs which are the main source of attraction for foreign tourists thereby enhancing tourism.

Our return journey was in an air-conditioned catamaran ferry MV Makruzz .With a capacity of about 280 passengers seated on two decks in three classes, it seemed more of a sailing plane. We had booked four seats in a row for the premium class. I sat next to the window seat, munching chips; brother took juice whereas dad and mom sipped hot coffee. There was a central kiosk where all kinds of fast foods are available to pass the ninety minutes journey. It was a panoramic view seeing the islands playing hide and seek all the way.

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