EP - 4 Neil Island to Port Blair | Bharatpur Beach, Samudrika museum Port Blair, Andaman Islands
Namaskar friends! Welcome to Visa2explore! This is your host, Harish Bali. Right now, I am on the Neil Island of the Andaman group of islands. We are beginning our day with a visit to the Sitapur beach. All these cars behind me belong to people who have come here to watch the sunrise.
Just look at this amazing view in front of me! Though the sun isn't yet visible, the sky has turned orange in colour. At this moment, there are at least a 100 people who've come here and... ...have occupied the small rocks around the beach. They are sitting thus and enjoying this sunrise view. It isn't safe to go into water on this beach, nor is this beach suitable for swimming.
People visit here to watch the sunrise only. Not many people visit here during the day or evening. It has been more than half an hour since the sunrise. But we couldn't watch a clear sunrise because of clouds in the sky.
Now, let us walk some distance along this beach. I took off my shoes. I've received a lot of comments from viewers saying that I don't dress for the occasion. Like I've come to the sea beach wearing trousers.
Anyways! Let us walk some more. Thereafter, we'll leave here. We walked for about half a kilometer to reach this point. I want to go upto that point where, you see, the greenery ends. Up to the last tree.
I want to go there and find out whether there is more beach or just ocean. This is what I want but now the scene is that... ...the way down from here is a bit slippery. Even if I get down, how will I proceed further. The water looks at least 4 feet deep. Right now it is time for high tide. I don't know whether it would right to go there or not. I was told just 10 minutes ago that during low tide, one can walk right up to that point.
And enjoy the view from there. There is also a cave at that point, I think. It would be better for us to return now. As I walk along this beach.... ..I feel this sand is next level. It feels good to walk here. Super! We've now decided to go back to hotel for breakfast & then leave for sightseeing.
So, we are back at Royal Neil Resort. I showed you the room in our last episode. We paid a tariff of Rs 3000 here on a double occupancy basis, including breakfast. We are having poha for breakfast.
We will leave here in another 15-20 minutes. Overall, this is a good accommodation. Right now, we are the Laxmanpur I Beach. So far, I've observed that this sand is different than the beach we visited this morning. We can see the Havelock island from here, beyond that ferry that you see.
I think that ferry is headed to Havelock. It is high tide time right now. So, the water level is rising now.
By the way, this beach is more famous for sunset. Perhaps that is the reason nobody is here at this time of the day. But during evening, a lot of tourists visit here. If someone would want to walk from here to Laxmanpur II... ...it is quite possible but would take at least 40 minutes. But this can be done only during low tide, not high tide. Let us go for a walk now.
Thereafter, we'll leave here. From here, we are going to the Bharatpur beach. Andamans cannot be enjoyed with a tight itinerary. We need to shoot videos so we are bound to follow an itinerary.
The mainland beaches are mostly touristy in nature. So, you don't get the feel of Andaman there, because only limited tourists visit here. If I talk of the Neil Island, only limited tourists visit here overall. Once here, I realized this place demands at least two days' stay. But we came only with a day at our disposal. We were on our way to Bharatpur Beach.
We saw a vegetable market here and we stopped. Let me show you while we visit this vegetable market. Which are the local vegetables and which ones do you get from Port Blair? In local vegetables, we have bhindi (okra), green chillies, pumpkin, and banana. These are local. From Port Blair, we get tomatoes, potatoes, onions, garlic, ginger, etc.
This cabbage also comes from Port Blair. Coming from Port Blair means it is coming from Kolkata or Chennai? This is what it means, right? Is there a difference in rates? For instance, what is the cost of this bhindi? If today it is Rs 100 per kilo, tomorrow it could also be Rs 80. Rs 100 per kilo? Hmm! When do you start this market in the morning? Morning at 6! 6 am! And we close at 12 pm. OK! Then, we open at 3 pm till 8 pm. We were told that the total population of Neil Island is 6,000.
So, is it correct or could it be more than 6,000? It should be more than that, most of which is made up of outsiders. Those who come here to work. We saw a school about half a kilometer from here. So, is that the only school on Neil Island or are there more? There are three schools, including that one.
Total three schools! Total three schools! Suppose someone faces a health-centered issue. We saw healthcare facilities in Havelock. A primary healthcare center. And here? There is a government medical center. For any health emergency, Port Blair is nearby. Alright! In Havelock, we also saw they have the facility to airlift patients to Port Blair.
Do you have a similar facility here? Do you take patients in a helicopter? Helicopter comes when it is emergency. It does come. And if it isn't an emergency, then we use the boat to travel.
It was a pleasure meeting you. Okay then. Thank you! I can see 25-30 shops right next to the vegetable market. Most of the shops are selling groceries and general merchandise. Some of the shops are selling readymade clothes like capris and swimsuits. You might want that since visiting a beach or the rainfall can wet your clothes.
So, you can purchase a change of clothes here. Now we are going to the Bharatpur beach from here. We will join you once we reach the beach. We have reached Bharatpur beach.
The first thing we wanted to do here is drink coconut water. Nice! Good! This is a huge parking space. Right in front of it is this restaurant named 'Kiran.' This is a nice space, where you can sit & enjoy this vast greenery at its back. And there is no dearth of coconut trees. There is one after the other.
Good! I can't believe this. Look at how clear this water is. And people are enjoying so much! I can see the last person in my line of sight is standing in 4-ft deep water. He must be at least 70-80 meters from here.
If I want to go to Sitapur beach from here during low tide.... ...I can walk along the ocean and reach Sitapur beach. During low tide! Alright! From there, I can walk back right up to the Bharatpur beach. Again, during low tide, you want to walk up to the beaches - Laxmanpur I and II. You can do that too while walking along the oceanside.
It might take you up to an hour to reach there, though. But, it is approachable. I mean you can go.
You can have a great time here while relaxing, sitting on a chair under a tree. Let us now walk up to a point from where we will go for jet-skiing. Here, you can enjoy the next-level experience of jet-ski.
The first thing I asked for was to go faster on the jet-ski, which we couldn't do on the... ...Elephant Beach on the Havelock island. When we clarified this thing at the beginning, the guy took us straight ahead at high speed. I don't know what speed we were going at but it was a terrific experience! The only thing I felt was as if we were travelling over a sheet of glass.
I am using the 'glass' word because that is what I felt. It didn't look like an ocean. The second reason why I called this glass is because I could see into the water clearly.
Like if you will see here, I can clearly see the sand below as well as the fish. So many fish! Deeper into the ocean, I could see up to 5-6 feet down the water. The only flip side to this experience is it lasts for just 2 minutes.
I mean just 1.5 to 2 minutes! This trip should be at least 3 to 3.5 minutes long. No worries! Yeh Dil Maange More! (The heart asks for more!) No problem! Our overall experience was good! However, all I can suggest is that you may or may not choose to go for jet-ski here...
...as that is your personal choice. But try to spend a good amount of time on this beach. I mean 2-4 hours of your time would go by in a jiffy! This is what I feel. It is a lovely beach! If I have to quickly summarize my experience of visiting all the beaches so far.... ...whether it is Havelock or Neil, this beach is No. 1. Bharatpur Beach rocks! We have now come to the Kiran restaurant near the beach. Earlier, I had placed my order for a Red Snapper tawa fry with them.
This restaurant opens at 12 PM. From 12 PM to 8 or 9 PM. But I requested them to prepare a Red Snapper tawa fry for me and they did! This fish tastes neither like a freshwater fish nor like a saltwater fish.
It is some third kind of taste. The preparation is good though. It has been cooked simply with just ginger-garlic paste applied to it...
...and I've added lemon juice to it, you saw that. The time is 10.15 AM. We have a ferry to catch at 11 PM. To be on the safe side, we must reach there at least half an hour ago. It means we must leave here maximum in another 10 minutes. The jetty point is just 5 minutes from here. In any case... ...Neil island isn't that large. From one end to another, it is just 8 km of distance you need to travel.
While travelling in the Andamans, I've noticed that point-to-point taxis are easily available. I've specially noticed this in case of Havelock and Neil islands. All the information about where we booked our taxi and how much we paid for it... ...is available on video on our other channel, Harish Bali Travels. We usually showcase a portion of a one-day journey on that channel. We show more elaborate points of a journey on that channel and...
...we also try to show our behind-the-scenes footage in those videos. We've reached the boarding point for Green Ocean ferry. In their system, luggage and passengers travel separately. In the government ferry, both go together.
Their staff is working here, transferring the luggage to the luggage hold. So, we've sent our large bags to the hold. And smaller ones, like this handbag, will go with me.
We will reach Port Blair in 1 hour and 50 minutes. They are simultaneously boarding passengers for two ferries. That is why this area is crowded right now.
Ticket Sir! Other passengers ahead of me must have shown you the ticket for a group of four. We have booked our tickets in the Premium Plus category. So, we've paid Rs 6800 for four tickets.
Now, the view that we're seeing is what makes this journey interesting. You see the open sea is something we've already been seeing for the past few days. But to watch the sea through tinted glass windows is an experience in itself. There are clouds above! Wow! Super! I had seen videos on YouTube where they said we could visit the deck on Green Ocean. But, while booking tickets, we were told that deck bookings hadn't been opened yet. There must be some reason behind that.
The deck is not open on this particular ferry as well so... ...we may be seated inside a closed compartment area but... ..the journey is interesting. We have come to visit the 'Samudrika' Museum. Do you see the Naval Marine Museum? Let us go inside. We've bought tickets for Rs 50 per person. Please come! I saw this anti-aircraft gun just as we entered the museum complex. It is a good thing that they have noted down all its specifications on this board here.
This is a whale skeleton. This is a beautiful display of a whale skeleton. With this, they have also informed us about how whales navigate through oceans.
This mighty mammal can grow so large that... ... 8 elephants can easily stand in a row on its back. The text is self-explanatory. Reading it and watching the skeleton will give you a good idea about whales. Nice! They have also put up information about the Jarava tribe. This text also refers to the weapons the tribe used like arrows and swords.
When we will go to Baratang, we'll pass the area of the Jarava tribe. So, we've been told that videography isn't allowed in that area. You can observe members of Jarava tribe if you come across them on the road. You can observe their dress and appearance but...
...you can neither shoot their videos nor talk to them. You will be taken through that area in a convoy system. The tourists can only visit the Andaman group of islands. They cannot visit all the islands in that area. Because there are many islands inhabited by various tribes and... ...several islands are totally uninhabited. Nobody is allowed to visit the Nicobar group of islands specifically.
They have beautifully displayed that the Nicobar tribes live in a hut like this. I've come here to visit the aquarium. I can see catfish here. This fish called 'Widow Tetra' has a beautiful skin colour. The key highlight of this museum, as per my understanding,....
...is the Star Fish. See, people like us can watch a Starfish only in a museum. As far as I know, a Starfish is without a brain or blood. It lives on seawater (which continuously passes through its body). There is a good thing they have done. Those who want to know in detail about a particular fish can read the text given here.
In this gallery, we can also see different varieties of coral. This one is called 'Brain Coral' because it is in the shape of a brain. Here...here...here...similar corals have been grouped as Brain Coral. Nice! This coral is shaped like fingers, so it is called 'Finger Coral.' First of all, this map tells us about the basics.
The top side of this map means you are up North and there is Burma beyond the tip. There is a Coco Channel here. Let me tell you two lines about this Coco Channel. As of now, that area has been occupied by the Chinese. You can read all about it on Google.
If we travel South, this is South Andaman, where we are in Port Blair. They have placed an aircraft sign here because this place has an airport. We are right now in Port Blair.
Now let us talk about the PVC (Param Vir Chakra) awardees... ...after whom the islands have been renamed. The islands have been numbered so that you can relate the names correctly. For instance, the first name on top is that of Albert Ekka. I remember visiting the 'Albert Ekka Chowk' during my recent visit to Ranchi, Jharkhand. The Chowk is named after him.
He was born in Ranchi. And a film has already been made on the life of Captain Vikram Batra. The movie's name is 'Shershaah' if I am not wrong. He was martyred during the Kargil War. The No. 7 island, identified on the map here, has been named after Captain Batra. Please come! Now, we've come to a gallery that has shells on display.
They have displayed basic information about shells in English and Hindi languages. There's also information about how shells were used as currency when and by whom. And this is the 'Mother of Pearls.' It has a clamp in the middle and pearl on the left and right-hand sides. They have also displayed large shells in the centre of the gallery, like these ones. Never before have I seen a shell this large.
It is the first time! Huge! Amazing! I will have to read up on Google to find out how much time it takes to form. Now, we've reached the last gallery in this museum. I can see a 'Bhala' (spear) displayed outside the gallery, it is called 'Jaravan.' It's written that the Sentinelese tribal community lives on the North Sentinel island. The tribal inhabitants of Andaman have been living here for centuries. Some of those tribes have turned friendly towards the government over time.
In return, govt provide them a support system, suppose in case of emergencies. This support system, or kind of aid, is provided to them once a month or year. But the Sentinelese are a very aggressive tribe. I mean if they see an outsider entering their area... ...they attack him in every way in order to defend themselves. Even today, no one dares to travel to the North Sentinel island.
Despite the rest of the world having become so much developed... ...the Sentinelese remain just as they were centuries back. If they fall sick, they handle it themselves. Come, let us enter. This gallery contains information about various tribes living in Andaman & Nicobar.
So, we'll start from here. This information is about the Ongi tribe. These paintings will tell you about their appearances & lifestyle. A short while ago, we talked about the Sentinelese living in North Sentinel island. Now, there is something clearly mentioned here.
Their present population is estimated to be 39. Nobody is allowed to go there. Because they are very aggressive and prone to attack you.
I've already told you that we would pass through the area of the Jarawa tribe. We will travel on the highway, which is next to their settlement. Red colour is popular among the Jarawas. This is my understanding.
Here is the information about the Shompen tribe. The tribes living on the islands in the Nicobar group are collectively called 'Nicobaris." This is the information about their dressing style, lifestyle, etc. As per the population, the Great Andamanese tribe is the largest in Andaman. I don't see any information about them in this gallery. It could be written someplace else. I had mentioned about them in the first episode, done in Port Blair.
It was while I was talking about the Battle of Aberdeen. The Battle of Aberdeen was fought between this tribe and the British. Presently, there is a market in Port Blair called 'Aberdeen Bazaar.' I have come to visit a shop inside the Samudrika Museum.
He is showing us these items made out of sea-shells. What is its cost? It is for Rs 250 only. 250 rs, and these pearls? These are natural pearls. What are these used for? These are used to make hand bracelets. Okay, hand bracelets. What is its cost? 350 rs! 350 rs.
Nice! This is a matchable Alboran shell. Sea-shell bracelets. What is the cost of the Alboran shell? I saw sea-shell bracelets also in Sagarika, which we visited the other day.
This Alboran shell is also cut and made into this pendant and earring set. Jewellery for ladies! What is its cost? Rs 100 only. Nice! Good! These are the natural sea pearls of Andaman.
So, if somebody wants to buy it, how do you sell? Per piece! What is the cost per piece? The per piece price range is Rs 450, Rs 300, Rs 200, and Rs 100. Price starts at Rs 100 and depends on its size. I find this lovely as well.
Different types of shells have been used to create this turtle shape. How many shells have been used in this? Five varieties! Five varieties, right. 1..2..3..4..5...6. Six varieties of shells! This is a cultured purse. How do we identify it? It will darken if rubbed against a surface? Yes, it will darken.
But this won't? It won't This museum closes at 5.15 or 5.20 PM and opens at 8.30 AM. The museum staff has told me to hurry up as it is nearing the closing time. In any case, we have visited the museum properly. Now, let us finish today's episode here.
Today, you saw us starting our day on the Neil Island. Then, we came here to visit the museum, which was a good experience. So, do tell us your favorite thing about today's episode.
As for me, I will tell you what I liked in advance. The No. 1 experience in today's episode was the Bharatpur Beach. The Bharatpur beach is incomparable! You might think I am exaggerating when I say so. But I really liked the Bharatpur beach.
Now, I will say bye to you here. In the next episode, you will see our local journey through Port Blair. Okay then, thanks for your time! You will see these cells don't have any toilet facilities. A small, earthen pot was placed in each cell.
Anyone who needed to pass urine at night had to do it in that pot. And he had to live with that pot inside the cell. And if somebody had to pass stool? Then he could scream and shout all he wanted in this wing. There used to be a Warden in each wing. But he was not permitted to open the cell door and take the prisoner out. So, the prisoner had to either control it till morning or pass it in the cell.
And he had to pass the night like that. With no water even, you can imagine the inhuman conditions in which they had to live. The prisoner had to clean his cell in the morning.
And on top of that, he would get punished for doing so. So, those freedom fighters have lived through hell here.