Pages

Thursday, July 19, 2012

Excursion along the Andaman Trunk Road - Mayabunder & Diglipur


Andaman & Nicobar - The Enchanting Coral Islands of India
(Excursion along the Andaman Trunk Road)
Part-II – Mayabunder & Diglipur

Deer found in Baratang jungles

Racket tailed Drongo


Andaman Woodpecker

Austin Creek

Day 2 (Day 5 since we arrived in Andaman)
            The next day, we again started early at around 6.00 A.M. in the morning as we had to visit Mayabunder, which is situated about 72 Kms. from Rangat and about 242 Kms. from Port Blair and thereafter head for the Ross & Smith Island during the day, before retiring for the night at Diglipur, which is further 70 odd Kms. from Mayabunder and 328 Kms. from Port Blair.  This part of the Andaman Island constitutes the North Andaman or North District.  It is sparsely populated and has some virgin, pristine forest cover and home to plethora of endemic birds, some of which I photographed during my trip.  As we headed towards Diglipur, the driver wanted us to reach there directly and visit the Karmateng beach at Mayabunder during the return leg of our journey.  But we insisted to visit Mayabunder first, as we were to stop by at Baratang during the return leg for seeing the Mud Volcano & Parrot Island and time would become a constraint.  He turned the vehicle, albeit a bit reluctantly and we crossed Pahalgaon village and reached the tri-junction of Danapur village, wherefrom the road towards bifurcates towards the right heading to Mayabunder.  We saw a few eating joints here at Danapur and decided to give it a try, as it was almost  8.00 A.M and we had not partaken our Breakfast till then.  The shop chosen by us was a small joint run by a Bengali chap, who was yet to christen his shop, but he was enthusiastic and he offered us thali comprising of two paranthas (kind of Indian oil tossed bread), a small bowl of channa/lentils (ghugni in Bengali), some fish/chicken curry (fish one piece or chicken one piece) and Coconut chuttni and this a la carte cost us a princely sum of Rs.15/- per plate.  I reconfirmed the price before tendering the payment to him, as I could not believe my ears at the paltry sum being charged by him and promised to have Breakfast at his joint during the return journey as well.  The area around Karmateng Beach is inhabited by the Karen refugees from Burma and their dress & houses are quite distinct from the other communities living nearby.  Karmateng beach is also famous for turtle breeding during December to February and also offers accommodation at the Swiftlet Nest Resort run by the tourism department.  The beach is said to have been damaged by the tsunami in 2004 but is pristine and has big stretches of shades to protect oneself from the blazing sun.  Having visited the Karmateng beach, we headed towards Diglipur and as we progressed, going past nondescript villages named Ramkrishna Nagar, Mohanpur et al, I could sense that we were heading into an area where Bengali settlers are pre-dominant.  The rain clouds were by now taking an ominous shape and by the time we reached the Aerial Bay jetty for visiting the Ross & Smith Island, it was almost 12.00 Noon and it had also started drizzling.

The food stall at Danapur

View of Karmateng Beach at Mayabunder


             I was apprehensive that the drizzle may turn into an outpour from the sky above and thus, refrained from taking any of my expensive cameras and headed for the Ross & Smith Island with a small digital video camera.  There was another family from Chennai, who had were also lodged at the Guest House at Rangat and we came to know later that our driver had already tied up with him for hiring a boat on sharing basis.  We had paid @ Rs.400/- per person for the return trip from Aerial Bay Jetty to Ross & Smith Island and back.  But apart from us, there were a few freeloaders i.e Policemen from Baratang named Mr.Vikas Singh, Sub-Inspector (on 18th May, 2012).  This group of Police persons were the real spoil sport for us, who comprised of another Constable called Mr.Mandal from the Diglipur P.S and another ASI, as they delayed the return back on their own whims and fancies, it was only on my strict posturing that they took off after half an hour of scheduled departure, else they would have delayed us further.  I was in a mood to file a written complaint against these free loaders, who bring in a bad name for government officials but on insistence of my family dropped the idea of fouling up my holiday. 

Distant view of Ross & Smith Island in Diglipur

View of Beach in Ross & Smith Island

            It takes about 20-25 minutes of ride in the boat to reach Ross & Smith Island from Aerial Bay jetty in Diglipur and one is allowed to spend about 1½ to 2 Hours by the boat operators on the Island.  Moreover, one has to seek permission from the forest department to visit these islands and this can be obtained on the spot also, on payment of a fee @Rs.50/- per head.  These two islands, namely Ross & Smith are two separate islands connected by a 50 meter wide sand bar, which is totally submerged during high tides and this separates these two Islands.  Whereas, the smaller one is the Ross Island and is totally uninhabited, it can only be explored with prior permission of forest department, the other bigger one is called the Smith Island is inhabited, but tourists are not allowed to stay back.  The place with clear blue waters is of bewitching beauty and is very picturesque and I rued my luck of not taking the chance of brining in my DSLR.  Another piece of advice for the tourists is that one should carry ones own food & water from Diglipur, as nothing is available on the islands.  Having visited these enchanting islands, the return marred by the police wallahs behavior as mentioned hereinabove, we headed for Kalipur to the Turtle Resort, where we had booked our stay.  There were some geologists staying at the resort, carrying out some research in the region and I chatted up with them and had an intense evening of discussions with them.  At night, we had another round of sumptuous dinner comprising of local Chicken et al and retired for the night thereafter.

Turtle Resort in Kalipur - Diglipur

View of Sunset from Kalipur

WATCH A VIDEO OF THE DESTINATION

4 comments:

  1. HI, We are also looking for a similar trip but no Travel Agent is ready to take us to diglipur, rangath & mayabunder. Can you help with some local contact or recommend a tour organizer?

    Please help & mail me at : manchanda.nitin@gmail.com

    ReplyDelete
  2. Hello, This is a really good post. Must admit that you are amongst the best bloggers I have read. Thanks for posting this informative article.
    Havelock Island Accommodations

    ReplyDelete
  3. Very useful post. Thanks for sharing. I would also like to share something. Check out all details about Capital Express also,a popular Siliguri to Patna train.

    ReplyDelete
  4. I read your full blog and it was very informative, and helped me a lot. I always look for blog like this on the internet with which I can enhance my skills, Travel Agents in Delhi

    ReplyDelete