Monday, November 24, 2008

The Black Waters

I have traveled through the length and breath of India, and there is probably no state in India that I have not been to.

Going to these places not as a tourist but on work has its advantages; you almost see it in a very different light and go beyond the “must see” destinations. Each and every place has a character of its own, which reflects in the place, the food, and the people there.

A fortnight back, I had the opportunity to visit the Andamans, a place in India, but not quite in India. The experience, exhilarating !!

The place so scenic that no words can describe the joy you get by seeing the still black waters. The water truly looks black from a distance, though it is crystal clear when you hold it in your palms. No wonder, they call it KALA PANI or Black Waters.

The Cellular Jail is an architectural marvel, and each every cell in the jail tells a tale of the horrors our freedom fighters went through. It actually seems to bring back history alive. A visit to the Coral Reef was a stark contrast to the one at Cellular Jail. Watching the corals and fishes deep down below, while snorkeling is mind blowing.

The streets though well maintained are along the sea and during a high tide, the water throws itself above the walls, and drenches you completely, Wow, what joy!!

But more importantly the people there are warm and friendly. They come from different parts of India. I had the opportunity to meet and interact with a few of them who stayed with me during a brief stop over in Chennai and traveled back to Port Blair with me.

Their grandparents would have probably settled there, most of them brought to the Andamans as labourers and supervisors while constructing the Cellular Jail or to manage the freedom fighters jailed there. However, they all live as one big family there celebrating all festivals and enjoying themselves as a happy family. Maybe all of us in India can take a lesson in true national integrity from them.

It is one of those places; I would recommend you go to, before thinking of the next trip to Switzerland or Bangkok maybe !!

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