Havelock Island – probably the most sought after location in Andaman. It’s a place with promise of undisturbed green water, blinding white sands and plenty of indulgence. A destination for a perfect vacation. It didn’t go missing from our itinerary either. On day five of our trip we finally headed for Havelock Islands (Now changed to Swaraj Dweep).
Reaching there was quite easy – easiest part of the trip in fact. The island is perched in the northern east corner of Port Blair around 50 km of oceans apart. The only method of transportation is ferry, which is available by various operators. The cheapest option is government boat with less than 500 Rs. per ticket. But based on advance ticket booking facility, we chose a private operator called Green Ocean. It was 1,250 per person and with that we had booked seats in their ‘Luxury’ class, middle slab of their three classes (Economy, Luxury & Royal). complete article
The day began bleakly, as I woke up inside the wooden cottage cooled by AC and oblivious to the outside world. The cottage was neatly decorated with wooden furniture, all in the shade of chestnut brown, which were gleaming by the dim light seeping in through cracks in the blackout curtains. The room, in general, reflected of adequacy and not luxury and gave an impression of a beach hut rather than a resort cottage. This surely didn’t nullify my gratitude for having a comfortable bed to sleep on after a long terrible journey, which was whole of yesterday.complete article
The room was mostly dark, except for one little light shining directly above the couch where we sat with our bags. At the other end of the room, a staff leaned over the reception desk trying his best to look awake and waited patiently. I felt a pang of guilt at that, somewhere probably in a deep untouched corner of my heart. But apart from that, I mostly felt worried and frustrated. Time was ticking away, quite literally and louder than usual, and the car was running late.
This was a day of travel for us. A long undesirable journey. The main island of Andaman stretched for a little over 300 km and we were going to travel the whole distance in a day. Months ago while planning, this didn’t seem much. I had travelled more than that in a day and with quite an ease. But only when we started to research on rental cars few weeks before the trip, did we realize how much time that meant in the island. With couple of boat rides across rivers, driving in a convoy through a reserve forest area and long patches of extremely poor and narrow roads, it was expected to take us around 15 hours. Lucky for us though, they were all ready to start early. Way too early.complete article
My heart sank as I looked out of the flight window towards the land that we were descending at slowly. It was a gloomy day with a shade of grey across every other colour. The morning sky was full of darkened clouds and the ocean below reflected the same dull mood. Where was the deep blue sea and the bright green lands bordered with white sand? Where was the sunny day that inspired tinted glasses and airy summer dress? Where was the magical land that I had been looking forward to for so long? Four months of anticipation, rigorous planning and this is where we ended! Talk about bad luck!complete article
Last night had been cold and painful. A chilly wind blew relentlessly across the field outside and poured inside through the countless holes of my bamboo cottage. On top of that, my leg muscles screamed their presence with rigorous aching, an aftereffect from the cycling earlier that day. My stuff were scattered across the room, some on the other bed, some hanging and some inside the almirah. I knew I had to pack. But neither getting out of bed, nor engaging my legs into any activity sounded appealing at that time. So I gave in and let myself fall asleep under two warm blankets. This morning, however, was sort of a miracle. I woke up feeling neither cold nor pain. I was as fit as I ever could be and the thick fog outside meant that the temperature had increased significantly. I got up, got ready, packed up and walked into the foggy morning outside to start off my long journey for Kohima.complete article
The first time I was introduced to Majuli, it was through a picture I saw somewhere. There was a local man standing with his oar on a small boat and driving it through a pond full of pondweeds. The plants were glossy green, the water reflected sunlight and the picture seemed just perfect. What I immediately found interesting about this place was how beautiful it was despite its simplicity. Or rather it was beautiful because of its simplicity. It was a village in India, it could be any village in India – almost untouched by tourism it flaunted a rural lifestyle wrapped inside its scenic beauty. And that’s what I wanted to find when I planned my trip. Needless to say, I was more than satisfied.complete article
Second destination on my north-east itinerary was Majuli, The large river island. I had to reach there on the same day after leaving Nameri, which meant travelling 230 km on land and 12 km in water. While this wasn’t my most tiring experience in this trip, it surely involved most number of vehicles. This is the route I took: Hotel – Nameri Bus stand – Charduar – Balipara – Tezpur – Jorhat – Nimati Ghat – Kamalabari Ghat (on boat) – Hotel at Majuli.
Here’s the full story…complete article