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jorgesanchez Port Blair - A travel report by jorge
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Port Blair,  India - flag India -  Andaman and Nicobar Islands
18326 readers

jorgesanchez's travel reports

Andaman and Nicobar plus Lakshadweep Islands

  19 votes
Page: 1 2 3 4
In Andaman and Nicobar Islands live several aboriginal tribes without contact with the external world. While in Lakshadweep, you will feel a discoverer in an island rarely visited by tourists.

Jarawa people
Jarawa people
To get to Andaman there are boats from Calcutta and Madras, and flights as well. If you take the boat to Andaman then you need a permit before embarking, which will be issued to you in Calcutta or in Madras, but if you fly it will be given to you at the airport, in Port Blair. The air pass of Indian Airlines includes Andaman (but not Lakshasweep). For your guidance, Nicobar Islands, famous for the elephants working together with the locals, are, unfortunately, off limits to the tourists. The airport is just in the town. Do not take a taxi; just walk until the seaside for about fifteen minutes. To travel outside of Port Blair you pass through several check points where the soldiers will register your name in a notebook. The buses leave very early, at about 4.30 AM and a soldier with a rifle always board every bus. Practically there are no beggars in Port Blair. I met a few sadhus in an Indian temple besides the port. I did not see Buddhists or Sikhs or Jainists in Andaman, only Hindus and some Muslims. Indians from the mainland need a permit to visit or to migrate there.

Favourite spots:
Cellular jail in Port Blair
Cellular jail in Port Blair
I visited the infamous jail constructed by the English colonialists in the upper side of Port Blair. It looked much more sinister than the one in Devil Island, in French Guyana. In the evenings there is a show of light and sound, the type like in the Pyramids of Egypt. Inside the cellular jail there are many pictures of the Indian Fighters for Freedom. It is a kind of patriotic pilgrimage for Indians. There are many tourists’ resorts with nice beaches in the small islands near Port Blair, where you can travel by boat.

What's really great:
Jarawa young people
Jarawa young people
The best was the aboriginal people that I met in my way to the north of Andaman Island. Since there are no bridges between the Islands forming Andaman, we had to wait for the ferries. Then, in the small island on Baratang, suddenly appeared from the jungle about forty natives of the tribe Jarawa practically naked, with their arrows. They did not make any difference between me and the Indians travelling in my bus (well, I have black hair, like the Indians; maybe if I had Scandinavian features would have been different). They do not speak Hindi or any other language apart from theirs. For them everybody was a foreigner. They where curious and touched the hands, arms and hair of some people. We stayed quiet. Then one of them asked a tea shirt to an Indian and he gave it away. Everybody laughed, aborigines and us, because he did not know how to put it on.

Jarawa men fishing
Jarawa men fishing
There are many small hotels around Port Blair. Some of them cost only a few rupees.

There are many small restaurants in Port Blair. I liked specially one besides the stadium, in a kind of summerhouse, in the second floor, with an extraordinary view of the sea, where I ordered delicious fresh fish.
In India, being a cheap country, it is better to pay a little more and chose a good restaurant.

Other recommendations:
You need an authorization to get there, easy to obtain in Cochin or in Goa travel agencies, which will sell you a hotel, the only one in Agatti island, called AGATTI ISLAND BEACH RESORT, just at a few metres from the airport, for 30 US Dollars a night, full pension, in comfortable bungalows with large beds and hammocks besides the beach and the coconut trees. Even Indian tourists need a permission to travel to these islands.
Lakshadweep is an archipelago of 20 atolls, of which half of them are inhabited. The capital is Kavaratti, in the island of the same name. Tourists are only allowed to visit Agatti and three more islands nearby uninhabited. The only activities are swimming, diving, snorkelling, fishing and sleeping siesta.
Lakshadweep archipelago is like Maldives for the poor, but without tourists. You can walk to the centre of the island, where you will find internet and post office.

Published on Tuesday June 21th, 2005

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Tue, Jun 28 2005 - 02:43 PM rating by magsalex

Well written and informative!

Mon, Jun 27 2005 - 06:54 AM rating by britman

Brilliant! A well written and illustrated article - thank you for sharing it!

Thu, Jun 23 2005 - 10:47 PM rating by kandath

Stunning report. Wonderful indeed !! Port Blair is one place I want to hop accross once my Kerala fever is under control. Thanks for diverting my attention to the Bay of Bengal from Arabian Sea !
Kris Kandath

Thu, Jun 23 2005 - 03:11 AM rating by fieryfox

Its very interesting to read about the native people. Another well written report.

Wed, Jun 22 2005 - 11:26 AM rating by rangutan

Very interesting. I have learnt so much NEW from your reports...

Wed, Jun 22 2005 - 05:42 AM rating by gloriajames

hiya... nice report... just curious, was it before or after the tsunami? any idea how the place is now? perhaps you want to include that in your report? thanks. GJ

Wed, Jun 22 2005 - 01:50 AM rating by davidx

You really have brought a breeze of fresh air with your reports on adventuous trips. I'm afraid neither of our countries have a colonial record that bears too much scrutiny but that prison sounds a bit beyond that.

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