When one hears of Andaman and Nicobar Islands the only few things that comes in ones mind are Beaches, Cellular Jail and Water sports. But each and every time these islands prove everyone wrong and leaves one with surprise. One such out of the ordinary phenomenon one can witness are the famous LIMESTONE CAVES, yes the ones which form naturally.
Baratang is an island situated in the middle Andaman and probably the gateway to many other amazing places these islands hold. Covered with rain forests and surrounded by the mangroves situated almost in the middle of the island chain at about 100 km from Port Blair are these islands. The thick forests of these islands is the home to the famous JARAWA tribes and have been declared as a protected zone by the government.
With only few attractions open to public the journey to this place in itself will give your adrenaline a rush. From a trip in a police protected convoy through the Jarawa Reserve Forest, then your vehicle being transported on a vehicle ferry, a small boat usually called the dingue ride through the thick mangrove swamps and finally a trek in the jungle to reach the Limestone Caves is an adventure in itself.
Apart from the famous Limestone caves, you can also visit the Parrot islands, the blue beach at Baludera and the only mud volcano in south Asia which i had mentioned in my previous post also.
Visiting Baratang is a unique experience in itself, an enthralling journey that awakens deep-seated feelings of wonder wisdom and Knowledge .
Limestone Caves in Baratang Island
A Limestone in simple science is just calcium carbonate. Limestone cave is a natural cavity that is formed underneath the Earth’s surface that can range from a few meters to many kilometers in length and depth. This is generally formed when water containing dissolved carbon dioxide (carbonic acid) seeps into rock crevices and joints. The carbon dioxide comes from decaying organic matter in the soil, and also directly from the atmosphere.
To brief it up its sedimentary rocks formed under the sea due to compression over a million years which give birth to limestone caves. And such a wonder can be found, half an hour from Baratang. A little boat ride and few miles on a walk will bring you to the enthralling limestone caves. Not only are these historic they are also very beautiful. Visitors would need a good torch to make sure the soak in every detail of this place .The most amazing phenomenon is entering the cave and exploring it. It is also recommended that you wear a good quality shoe and brace yourself, for the caves are slippery and dark.
These caves are said to be ever evolving, the patterns on them keep changing over the years. The ride back on the dinghy boat is very rewarding. For the sight of mangrove trees subdues every thrill and sweeps in a tranquil and serene aura. The tall magnificent trees, which weirdly enough have their roots above the water level is a must watch. These trees grow in saline water and are a rarity in any other place.
Mud Volcano and Jarawa
A mud volcano is formed by any geo-excreted gasses and liquids. This type of volcano is usually found in subduction zones. Most of the gasses that are released from a mud volcano are methane although they also release much smaller quantities of nitrogen and carbon dioxide. Generally, the ejections from these volcanoes will be fine solids which are suspended in liquids that can include acidic water. Scientists think there may even be a few on Mars.
Astonishingly, the only active mud volcano in the south Asia lies in Baratang. The road to Mud volcano is covered around an hour.
But you will have to pass by the Jarawa creek to get here. The Famous Jarawa creek is a lonely planet in itself.
It is the dwelling place of the oldest tribes found in these islands. The tribes known as Jarawas (more on them on a post i missed 🙁 which i would publish soon), are aloof from the civilized world. They are the wonder of the modern world, for they feed on raw pigs, fruits, and vegetables. They don’t speak any language known to general public. Their pitch black skin and red eyes will leave you dazzled in case you happen to meet them.
It is recommended that you do not talk or interact with them, without a guide. These tribes are incapable of comprehending and adopting the modern lifestyle. It is said that they have suffered illness and even death due to the food offered by the tourists.
The dream destination of any heart is the Parrot Island. The luxurious sight of millions of parrots and parakeets at the sun dawn is not exclusive to any other place in the world. But the only rule is, you must stay the night in Baratang to experience this wonder.
It’s at sunset, that, a group of parrots comes and hovers over the skies, then they invite their fellow beings to follow. The heart-stopping sight of thousands of parrots and parakeets together in the crimson sky is beyond real. The golden sky with red-blue birds will steal every beat. This island with its beautiful beach and wondrous wildlife is a must visit.
I never got a chance to visit the Limestone Caves and missed it even this time since we couldn’t extend our vacations. Though i have seen the Jarawas when one of them was brought to the main hospital in the capital and were admitted in a room next to my mother’s. It was back in 2004 when i was in my 10th standard, so got lucky to see them a family.
Content from my friend Vivek’s travel website – Tropical Andamans. Please feel free to reach out to him if you ever plan on a vacation to the islands 🙂 or Barefoot Resorts where my brother Sanjay, is the Operational Manager. #happytohelp <3
Happy Blogging!!! Live.Love.Laugh <3 <3 <3