Saturday 15 April 2017

Postcards from Andaman : Baratang Caves

During my trip to Andaman in 2014, I (with my family) had a chance to go to the Baratang caves. We were staying in Port Blair, and from there, we took a cab before even dawn broke, to Jirkatang, about 40 kms away. It was kind of a checkpost where a lot of other cars and trucks and buses and the sort were already there, all parked to the side of the road in a long queue. Many others kept coming and they all kept parking one behind the other. 

At about 6 AM (or was it 7?), we set out like a convoy in the same formation, one behind the other, accompanied by armed forces to the front and back. The reason for this is that we had a 50 km drive ahead of us through the 'Jarwa reserved forest' in order to reach Baratang. This area is inhabited by the locals, who do not like interacting with the outside world. Photography and overtaking is strictly prohibited during the entire journey. Unlike smoking in public places, it is actually 'very strictly' prohibited.

After we crossed the forest, we had to take a 30 minute speedboat ride to the island where the limestone caves are. Following are some of the pictures I took during this visit.

A 30 minute speedboat ride to the island

In order to reach the island, we need to pass through dense, mangrove forests

After the ferry dropped us off at a jetty, we had to walk a further 1.7 kms to reach the caves

Cave entrance

The naturally formed limestone deposits form beautiful patterns

A narrow gap on top is the only source of light inside the caves

We were really tired after we got back at around 3-4 PM to Port Blair. This was a good experience, but it might not be everyone's cup of tea. The cave itself is good, but honestly, not extraordinary. I enjoyed the journey though, but some might argue that it is not worth the effort. My opinion? Go if you have a day to spare, and are alright to walk the extra mile (quite literally). It might be a little difficult for elders though, so do keep that in mind.

I only posted once last week, but I'll make sure I get back in the groove and post this Wednesday. Have a great day and a great weekend!