Andaman Beckons You
| IOP Desk - 25 Oct 2020

Andaman is Presumed to be Derived from Hanuman

Andaman Islands, an archipelago of about 572 islands of which only 36 are open to tourists are one of the must see tourist destinations in India. The name Andaman is presumed to be derived from Hanuman, who was known to the Malays as Handuman. It has preserved a forest cover of about 87% of the land area. So you see eye soothing lush green forests everywhere.

By Rajan Kuttamath

Port Blair (Andman-Nicobar Islands), Oct 25, 2020:  

Andaman Islands, an archipelago of about 572 islands of which only 36 are open to tourists are one of the must see tourist destinations in India. The name Andaman is presumed to be derived from Hanuman, who was known to the Malays as Handuman.

The Andaman Islands are home to gorgeous beaches, underwater wonders and an enviable location in the middle of nowhere, the Andaman Islands are the ideal destination to get away from it all.

The azure sea that embraces the long, unspoilt sand beaches and the pristine mangrove forests will never fade away from your mind. The soothing quietude and the eagerness to confront one of the world’s most primitive tribes will entice you to Andaman Islands.

The Andaman Islands are home to rich and unique tribes not found anywhere else on the planet. However, the Indian government is extremely careful to not endanger the tribes especially those who don’t seek to interact.

Jarawas are the indigenous tribal people of Andaman who are protected under Andaman & Nicobar Islands (Protection of Aboriginal Tribes) Regulation and Scheduled Castes and Scheduled Tribes (Prevention of Atrocity) Act.

The government has, in fact, introduced a buffer zone to protect the threatened Jarawa tribe on the Andaman and Nicobar Islands. This included enforcing the closure of an expensive beach resort in an attempt to save the tribe from being driven into extinction.

Offering any eatables, tobacco products or photographing Jarawas are offences under these acts which will attract imprisonment up to seven years.

Relatively calm sea and the pollution-free environment nourish your body and mind. It is a time for you to escape from the madding streets and chockablock concrete structures and explore a world of mangroves, lime stone caves, mud volcanoes, astonishing corals and many other items on the platter to satisfy the tourist in you.

Andaman Islands have preserved a forest cover of about 87% of the land area. So you see eye soothing lush green forests everywhere.

Perhaps, Port Blair is a familiar name to many because of the cellular jail that evokes the sad memories of freedom fighters who were incarcerated there and also being the capital city of the Union Territory.

But places in the Middle Andaman and South Andaman Islands may be yet to be explored. The NH4 , known as Andaman Trunk Road; the only lifeline for the islanders, traverses through the three large Islands from Port Blair to Diglipur over a distance of 230 km.

The journey through the ATR is exciting because of the two large straits on the way. While you cross the straits on barges a vista of mangrove forests opens up before you.  

From Jirkatang check post, vehicles are permitted to proceed only in convoy escorted by police. From there, you have to pass through the Jarawa reserve forests to reach Middle Strait.

Middle Andaman gives you exciting and memorable experiences. Rangat town is the major market place and headquarters of the revenue division. Some nearby tourist attractions are the Amkunj Beach, Raman Bagicha beach, Morice Dera , Long Island and Dhani Nallah.

Dhani Nallah is the most alluring place as it gives a totally different experience. It is located 20km away from Rangat town and on the way to Mayabunder.

You can a take detour from ATR at the gate at Padmanabhapuram to reach Dhani Nallah’s entrance to the walk way. At the entrance you can get any assistance. It will fascinate ordinary tourists, wildlife enthusiasts and biologist alike.

Dhani Nallah is the longest natural mangrove walk in the country. It meanders through a creek for a length of 713 m.

The mangrove walk is built on a wooden platform without disturbing the ecosystem. It extends through the thick growth of mangrove trees and mangrove palms known as Dhani patti (Nypa fruitican) in local parlance.

You get a feel of having been lost in time and abruptly dropped in an earlier geological era. There are about 33 major species and hundreds of associate species of mangrove plants are reported in Andaman many of which can be seen in Dhani Nallah.

The Blind-your-eye mangrove, scientifically known as Excoecaria Agallocha, produces milky latex which is very poisonous and a powerful irritant.

A contact with skin causes irritation and rapid blistering. A slight contact with the eye can cause irritation and temporary blindness.

The mangrove walk way has intermittently built resting huts. The railings on the sides of the walkways make it a safe pathway for children.

When the water recedes during low tides innumerable crab burrows are exposed.

The intertwined roots of the mangrove trees give an enhancing effect to the already strange picture.

Dhani nallah also harbours crocodiles. When you come out of the walkway, you are welcomed by a golden sand beach.

The clean beach extends over a length of 5 km. There are small huts where you can sit and enjoy the calm turquoise blue sea and the cool breeze.

Though wind surfing facilities are not provided here, the place is very suitable for it. Absence of huge waves makes it safe for swimming. The settings make it a great picnic spot.

The most interesting aspect of Dhani Nallah is the turtle hatchery. The long sandy beaches of Dhani Nallah and Cuthbert bay have long been known as important nesting sites for olive ridley sea turtles.

Mass nesting of turtles has been observed in this area usually during December-January months. Dhani Nalla is conjoined with the famous Cuthbert Bay wildlife sanctuary which has an 8km stretch of beautiful sandy beach.

The turtles arrive here especially during no moon nights. The field staff of the forest department collects the turtle eggs and keeps them for hatching. Green sea turtles, hawksbill and leatherback turtles also have been reported in these areas.

Releasing the little ones of the turtles into the sea is a wonderful experience, especially for children.

A government guest house, named as Hawksbill Nest run by the department of tourism is also available in this area.

Image -1 - Shlong Island

Image -2 - Cellular Jail

Image -3 - Dhani Nallah

All Photos by Rajan Kuttamath 


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