I could give you the wikipedia version of how the islands are more than 900 kms from closest point of mainland India and how the word Nicobar came from the chola empire word Ma-Nakkavaram (“great open/naked land”). Or I could give you the Lonely Planet version of how the way to find the best fish curry and rice in the island of Neil is to travel 53 meters inland from hotel Exotica squares and knock on a rickety pink door clinging on to hatched roof and request “Amma” 3 hours in advance of dinner time. But you have already been to the wiki leaks site of mass graves of martyrs of “Kalapaani” and cursed through the overcrowded pages of this lonely planet. Isolated , they may be, but lonely they are not. Apart from the locals who must have come here thousands of years ago and the Bangladeshi Hindus who were resettled here after the ’71 war, there is a corresponding influx of “mainland people” to cater to the influx of tourists, both international and domestic.
So if the “Top 5 reasons to visit Andaman Islands this year” list does not float your boat, so to speak, let us speak to you about the 6th, 7th 8th reason to give Andaman a try. But first, lets get the first 5 reasons out of the way.
Reason no 1 to 5:-
1. The crystal clear waters of the islands, which you will completely forgo for the swimming pool in the hotel.
2. The secluded and exotic islands, you want to go there because none of your friends have been there.
3. You get to ride in a “Catamaran” filled with Bengalis and Tamilians listening Punjabi pop playing on the common TV screens.
4. The breathtaking pristine beauty of the beaches, similar to the ones you had in Kolkata, Chennai, Mumbai but you f*cked those up with sh*it and plastic..and now you are here!
5.Last but not the least , Every inch of the place is an Instagram worthy selfie taking spot. After all if you couldn’t show it off to your friends then what was the point?
Reason no: 6th- a few nautical miles off the coast of Havelock, now remained “Swaraj dweep”, is a dive sight named “The Wreck”. Even divers with a simple open water dive license can go there. As the name suggests, it is a wreckage of a small ship that drowned in there crystal clear waters a few years back and as all iron gets, the hull of this ship has also been reclaimed by the sea. If you are an expert diver you can also make your way into what would have been the bunks of the sailors and find hundreds of small and medium size fish in each of those “rooms”. They look at you as if to say “Hey, this is taken!” The entire hull of the ship is covered in coral and the make for a great hang out place for fish of all sorts and size. You could get more fish in even if you gave out free liquor.
Reason no 7:- Ah! Radhanagar beach, in Havelock, is considered to be one of the prettiest beaches in Asia. But did you know that a saltwater crocodile, that usually lives near mangroves, swam well into the sea and ate a tourist? The fiancé was jailed for suspected murder, until one day an arm of the poor girl washed ashore and the guy was released. Yeah, so that happened. But back to being dead serious, if beaches is what you want then Neil isn’t such a good choice, most of the beaches are very rocky. Havelock is good place to go..there are only a couple of sandy shores but they are worth dying for! Neil’s Sitapur beach, though to rocky to wade in, is great to look at. Besides that the eatery by the beach , named Fat Martin, has good food and free Wi-Fi! Call us and we’ll give you the password before hand…wink, wink!
Reason no 8:- Ok, Ok, so if you cannot ignore it any longer then lets talk about the elephant in the…ah well, island. Elephant beach, Havelock, no sizeism intended, is a great place for a little bit of excursion and adventure. A trek through 3-4 kms of forest and marshes gets you to this rather charming beach which is not frequented by people much. Carry your own water and food since there is no shop, shack to replenish you. I mean, there is fish in the sea and gazillions of liters of water in the ocean but it’s no use to you, is it?