Baratang Island is a gateway to North & Middle Andaman District of Andaman & Nicobar Islands. This District is quite unexplored from the tourism point of view. This is one of best part of your trip to Andaman Islands because of its virgin beauty and natural wonders. In Baratang Island you can see Mud Volcano, mangrove and tropical forests, Limestone Caves, Parrot Island and one nice deserted beach at Baludera. Other offbeat beaches are also accessible from Baratang such as Merk Bay Beach in North Passage Island, Lalaji Bay Beach etc.
Location– Baratang Island is situated between South and Middle Andaman. It has many natural wonders to witness-beautiful beaches, mangrove creeks, mud-volcanoes and limestone caves. Andaman Trunk Road to Mayabunder and Rangat goes through this island. This Island trip brings to you the tropical side of Andaman Islands.
How to get there– You can either get a shared bus or you can avail a personal vehicle depending upon your budget and convenience. Usually the pickup point for the former is at Goalghar, Phoenix Bay, Phoenix Bay Jetty, Gandhi Status, Aberdeen Bazaar Clock Tower, Dairy Farm, Bhatu Basti and Sippighat.
The vehicles have to leave in convoys. There are 4 convoys throughout the day from Jirkatang (6 am, 9 am, 12 pm, 2.30 pm). You cannot cross the forest unless you are in one of the convoys. At Jirkatang check post there is a toilet/bathroom with all facilities. So if you have left from you hotel/lodge at around 4am you will reach there by 5.15 am and you can get fresh and alight your bus/vehicle by 6.30 am before the 1st convoy leaves for Baratang. In the convoy 2 wheelers/bicycles are not allowed. Only 4 wheelers are allowed. The 1st vehicle in the convoy is always a bus, with 1-2 policemen
This is the only road connecting to North Andaman to places like Kadamtala (28 kms from Baratang jetty), Rangat (71 kms from Baratang jetty), Mayabunder (141 kms from Baratang jetty), Diglipur (203 kms from Baratang jetty). Here it is interesting to see how buses/vehicles alight the jetty to reach either side of the middle strait.
What is there to see?
1. Limestone Cave
From Baratang Island, Limestone Caves are half an hour boat ride through a creek which will lead you to Nayadera Jetty and further one and half km. walk through tropical forest. Limestone as we all know is a sedimentary rock which is formed at the bottom of the sea. It is formed by compression over millions of years and gradual deposits of other elements like shells and corals. The journey to the caves is splendid as one has to cross the mangrove forests from the Baratang boat jetty. This is a rare cave which contain stalagmites and stalactites rock structures proving against the common myth that both of them cannot be found together in one place. If you are tired of exploring the beaches and sitting in the sun, this is a must visit place for you. The wet and glazing limestone also creates a cool atmosphere as you go by exploring the cave.
There is a long walk in which you walk in the cave and explore the amazing collection and in so many rudimentary forms. They look like massive limestone formations, few are hanging from the top, some on the ground. People say that they are constantly evolving and changing in shape and size. Inside the caves, you can see different and varied patterns. Some caves are dense and dark and you have to use a torch light to see. It is also advisable to come in floaters, sneakers or shoes.
It is a whole world underneath and it feels so scenic as you keep walking around the cave. It will give you the thrill and the amazement you are looking for. It is a place you should definitely visit. Also, how often does one get to visit a cave with a real treasure inside?
Attraction– The mangrove forests encompassing the caves are the point of attraction at this place and people are eagerly waiting to take an adventurous boat ride through the mangroves and find the sleeping crocodiles in water. Another highlight which leaves the beauty of the caves heightened is its originality kept preserved from time immemorial. Humans have not exploited the real charm of the caves and thus these caves are stealing hundreds of hearts.
2. Mud Volcano
Mud Volcano is approachable by road from the Nilambur Jetty. A mud volcano is formed by natural gases emitted by decaying organic matter underground. As the mud is pushed As the mud is pushed upwards by the gas, it deposits and hardens above the ground. As more mud oozes out and spills over the edge it grows in size, gradually forming a miniature volcano with rich, creamy mud crater at the top.
Andaman is one of the few places in the world where these Volcanoes are found and you may thus want to give it a visit. Eleven mud volcanoes have been reported in the Andaman group of islands, of which eight are located in Baratang and Middle Andaman. Other three you can find in North Andaman.
3. Parrot Island
Parrot Island is an uninhabited island located in the southern part of Andaman. It is a paradise on Earth exhibiting the amazing attraction of nature elaborately. Parrot Island got its name after what is known for- Parrots. There are hundreds of parrot flocking who come to visit the beaches and mangrove forests.
Sightseeing is the major activity which is done on Parrot Island. It showcases number of forests, mangrove gardens and rare sights of colourful birds and parrots. The boating through the creeks and the mangrove gardens is considered to be a thrilling adventure activity. The experience at Parrot Island at sunset, when all the parrots are returning home is indeed a mesmerizing experience.
Attraction- Apart from the green parrots, visitors have spotted the large multi-colored parakeets on the island and both these species made the structure of island totally camouflaging and mind blowing. The sunset views, not to be explained, are dramatically stunning as it combines the sea and the sky together and indicates that the groups of parrots and parakeets are coming to the island soon.
Itineraries– Baratang island is a full day tour that starts in the morning usually around 4 AM and ends by 5 PM. A full day is required for a visit to this island and can be visited from Port Blair itself. In case you are visiting Diglipur in North Andaman then you can visit this destination enroute Diglipur. Baratang bring forward the other side of Andaman mainly the thick forest and the jungle side of Andaman. The limestone Caves and the mangrove ride is a unique attraction in the island. Mud Volcano in Baratang is not much liked by travellers because of not so clear visibility of the volcano. Though people who are interested can visit Mud Volcano as well.
4. Mangrove Creek
Very nearly 13% of India’s mangrove cover is in Andaman and Nicobar Islands and among that, greater part is showing up in Baratang Island, a biologically critical and a well known vacationer goal. As far as thickness and development, Andaman’s mangroves appear to be the best.
Mangroves are found in plenitude where there is bitter water and that is the explanation for Baratang Island’s sequential help in the development of thick mangrove springs there. The island offers an unwinding watercraft ride through these mangroves which would lead you to achieve the lofty fascination of Baratang that is the Lime Stone Caves. Aside from Baratang mangrove spring safari, the vacationers are coordinated to appreciate different safaris like Yerrata Creek, Dhaninalla Mangrove Creek and Sabari Village in Rangat and so forth.
Attractions: There are enormous degrees for winged creature looking as the thick wild is a sanctuary for uncommon types of brilliant flying creatures. Additionally, there are resting crocodiles in the water. Subsequently, individuals shouldn’t put their hands inside.
This is a must visit destination as it will bring you close to a nature that you didn’t know existed.