Middle Andaman: Baratang
Islands are beautiful as they have serenity and calmness holding them together. Baratang Island is one such mesmerizing Island in the middle of South and Middle Andaman Islands. It is located approximately 110kms away from the city of Port Blair.
Baratang Island is identified as an adventure paradise. You can take an adventurous trip with your friends from the capital city of Port Blair. While Andamans are mostly for blue waters and shimmering beaches, by visiting Baratang Island you can observe greener version of the Andaman.
The Island is home to the indigenous tribe known as the Jarawa tribe. English and Hindi are the two official languages of the Andaman Islands. Bengali is the most spoken language in the Island constituting 25%of the population. Other major languages including Telugu, Tamil, Malayalam, and Hindi.
The weather of Baratang Island usually remains calm and cool both in summers and winters. You can enjoy your vacation experiencing a cool breeze with your family.
Tits And Bits Of Baratang Island
Let us dive into some of the important information before exploring Baratang Island.
- Modes of communication
You can take shared trips on Government Non AC buses, Private AC cabs and Government ferry for the trip to Baratang Island. However, you need to check the stoppages, timings along with other necessary information for a comfortable journey.
The main season in Baratang Island consists of summer, winter and monsoon season. Owing to its location in the Middle Andaman, the island experiences a tropical climate.
Indian currency is a widely used currency in Andaman and Nicobar Islands. Currency can be exchanged at Veer Savarkar Airport, Port Blair, Banks, and from any other authorized dealers.
- Internet Facilities
The BSNL network is the most preferred in the Island. However, you can also find towers of Airtel and Vodafone there.
There exist government-run Primary Healthcare Center(PHC) for basic treatment facilities. Emergency and special treatment cases are mostly transferred to Port Blair.
- Necessary Things To Carry
The best time to plan for a vacation to Baratang Island is from March to April. For a comfortable Baratang Island is a trip you require a hat, sunglasses, some snacks, a bottle of water and mosquito repellant. Even though there are no restrictions on your clothes, it is suggested that you wear comfortable clothes and use flip flops as footwear.
Places To Explore While Visiting Baratang Island
You can expect a tropical island full of lush mangroves, tribal residents, boat rides and beaches while visiting Baratang. The island is a platter full of enthralling experiences. Even though Baratang is now growing as a popular tourist destination, it is still considered a remote location by many travellers.
The island has given cleanliness the utmost priority. There are government restrooms that are hygienic for a comfortable stay. On the way to or from Baratang, lies the area of Jirkatang to the Middle Strait where you can explore the Jarawa Tribe reserve.
The reserve is operated by the government for the protection of the indigenous tribe from diseases. The government also provides medical aid to the people of the community. Usually observing Jarawa tribes do not fall under sightseeing activities so be careful not to fall prey to the idea that you shall be taken to visit the community.
It is advisable not to offer any food or click pictures of this tribe. Interacting with them, getting close to them or clicking pictures is strictly prohibited by the Indian government and is a punishable offense.
The major attractions of Baratang Island are Limestone Caves, Mud Volcano, and The Parrot Island. You can spend quality time amid mangroves, exploring caves and visiting mud volcano.
Moreover, you can see many species of birds on this journey. If you are into photography and love to click snaps of nature, then this place is an ideal destination for all the photography enthusiasts.
You can visit Parrot Island to observe seasonal birds flying into the Island. People mostly prefer going for a day trip to Baratang due to a lack of accommodation. People on longer vacations mostly stay at Rangat or Diglipur and others may return to Port Blair on the same day visiting the island for a day trip.
How To Reach Baratang Island From Port Blair?
You can reach to Baratang Island from Port Blair through different modes of communication. The most affordable trips to the island are through shared trips. There exist shared trips in Government Non AC buses that start from Port Blair early in the morning.
These buses move further from Baratang to North and Middle Andaman. This is recognized as the most economical mode to reach Baratang Island. However, the catch is these buses don’t pick you from your place and you need to board the bus either from the main Bus Terminus or at some point on the ATR(Andaman Grand Trunk Road).
Similar to Government buses there are private AC coaches that start early in the morning. Government ferry services are also available from Port Blair to Baratang. But the ferry does not come back to Port Blair, hence it is not suitable for a day trip. The route of the ferry is such that the ferry does not come back to Port Blair on the same day.
Accommodation At Baratang Island
To search for proper accommodations on this island is tedious for travellers visiting the place. There was once a lone resort named Dew Dale Resort but was closed for any functioning because of government restrictions and the imposition of Protection Acts For Tribes(PAT). But recently from the early season of 2019, it has started the operations and is expected for proper functioning.
However, pre-booking is a must during peak seasons to ensure a reservation. There exist departmental guest houses, lodges, for accommodation and food. You can have snacks or water while on the way to Baratang. Upon reaching you will get different options of major and regular meals for lunch.
People who have knee or back ailment should avoid planning the road trip towards Baratang. The journey is long and bumpy at times. The trek inside the cave and mud volcano need to be reconsidered in the case of senior citizens.
You can grab the best deals from Port Blair to Baratang packages from RSR Tours and Travel. Choose the affordable Andaman packages from Neil Island to Baratang Island to explore nature like never before.
If you have gossiped with people who have been to the Andaman Islands, chances are they mentioned about the limestone caves. But do you have all the information about them? If yes, you are informative and if no, then let us go deep into this.
Limestone Caves in the Andaman Islands is highly recommended as it reflects the perfect harmony of nature and its existence. They are a visual treat to the visitors and were formed millions of years ago.
Limestone is usually a sedimentary rock under the bottom of the ocean floor. It has been shaped with the deposits of various seashells, corals, and skeletons after natural compression.
What Does The Limestone Caves Represent?
Limestone Caves are a major attraction for people heading towards Baratang Island. The caves being lined up with stalagmites and stalactites hold a mystery of a million years of Andaman. Nestled around the mangroves amid lush rainforest, limestone caves are a treat to history buffs as well as nature photographers.
Ever Wondered How Limestone Caves Are Formed?
Limestone is a sedimentary rock, mainly comprised of calcite and calcium carbonate formed by sea organisms such as coral, algae, and shellfish. It can hold up to 10% of the total volume of the sedimentary rocks.
Limestone Caves, on the other hand, are natural cavities formed under the earth’s surface. It can range from stretching a few meters to miles in-depth and length. Limestone Caves are usually formed within the rocks made up of limestone.
A unique fact about limestone is that it cannot be dissolved in water except for rainwater. Rainwater usually dissolves calcium carbonate and turns it into a calcium bicarbonate solution.
How To Reach The Limestone Caves?
If you have your staycation at Port Blair, the caves are around 100 km away from the capital town of the Andaman Islands. You need to reach Baratang Island by the road that involves traveling the tropical forest reserve. This is done only through convoy and you have to be an early bird to catch the convoy.
Usually, the timings are waking up at 2 AM, start your journey by 3 AM and get to the convoy check post by 4.30 AM. The journey will be a thrilling experience as you make ways of waking up at an odd hour and taking time to enjoy picturesque beauty around you.
There are a few interesting facts about Limestone Caves that can surely blow up your mind. Limestone structures can run both directions i.e. from the floor and from the ceiling of the cave and vice versa. You can also observe a wide variety of patterns of calcium deposits on these rocks. Another fact about limestone caves is that the formations are not permanent in shape and are constantly evolving over the years.
When To Plan For Limestone Caves?
Ideally, the period from November to February is preferred as the best time to visit the caves in Baratang Island. The weather is calm and pleasant and there are low chances of rainfall. Since it is prohibited to go inside the caves after sunset, you are required to complete the whole trip in broad daylight and get back to your place for safety reasons.
There are some basic travel tips that you need to keep in mind while visiting Limestone Caves in Baratang Island.
- Try to start early for your trip as Baratang Island is a wild place. Therefore, staying there after sunset is not safe. The best time to start the journey is at 3 or 6 in the morning depending on your itinerary.
- It is advisable to wear comfortable clothes since you will be trekking a lot inside the caves.
- Baratang Island is full of the indigenous tribe called Jarawa. You are requested not to make any interaction with them or click pictures. Communicating with them or offering them food is strictly prohibited and recognized as a punishable offense.
- You need to enter and exit from the same route. So, you will have to wait outside for your turn to arrive.
- If you are claustrophobic or have a fear of closed spaces then you should not sign up for this trip. It is important to be physically fit when you decide to go for limestone exploration.
Last but not least Baratang Island is full of the mystery of million years ago holding the Andaman Islands. It is a great place to explore nature and enjoy an adventurous vacation with your family.
You wonder where to spot Mud Volcano in India, then head towards Baratang Island. It is the only region in South Asia that hosts a mud volcano. A mud volcano is one of the major attractions of Baratang Island after the limestone caves.
A mud volcano is formed by liquids and gases excreted by the earth’s interior. Gases like carbon dioxide, methane, and nitrogen are usually released during excretion. There is no melting out of lava but mud in a semi-solid state that comes out of the volcano.
A mud volcano is closer to Baratang Jetty of Andaman Islands, more specifically in the Middle Andaman. It takes at least a day to explore this place and return to the city of Port Blair. You can choose the best travel packages from RSR Tours and Travel.
The standard package for this trip also includes limestone caves for exploration. After crossing Baratang Jetty, visitors may proceed towards limestone caves and return to the same Uttara Jetty.
A short ride from Nilambur Jetty and another 150m walk can take you to the mud volcanoes. These muddy craters are formed by natural gases emitted by decaying organic matter underground that eventually pushes the mud upwards.
However, it is to note that this is not a visually appealing sight. Till now 11 volcanoes have been reported in the Andaman Islands out of which 8 are located in Baratang and Middle Andaman Island.
You required no special permit to visit the mud volcano. You can take the help of the public jeep that will be faster and will cost around 200 rupees per person. Travellers are recommended to be ready by 2.30 AM or 3.00 AM for mud volcano exploration.
Claustrophobic people are advised not to sign up for the trip as it involves a lot of trekking. While visiting the mud volcano, you are required to wear breathable clothes, a good pair of sunglasses, a hat, a water bottle along with comfortable shoes.
The best time to visit Baratang Island is from December to January. For hassle-free bookings, you can opt for online bookings before your visit to the Island.