Wednesday, October 1, 2008

ANDAMAN PHOTO FEATURE1 - Tropical Rain Forests, Savarkar, Tsunami, Dolphins


A Photo Feature on Andaman Islands

Dear friends,

For long I’ve been receiving umpteen e-mails from many of you readers asking me to post some prime pictures of the present day Andaman Islands.

Especially after reading the spine-tingling saga of the British maneuvered Penal Settlement at Andaman, many have been wondering what do the present day Andamans look like.

So, folks! Here’s presenting a series of posts with pictures for your contemplation about the present-day Andamans-

That’s where we are…

The proximity to Indonesia spells out the extent of devastation suffered by the archipelago due to the Tsunami of 26th December 2004.

Banda Atjeh in Indonesia was the place that was the epicenter of the earthquake of 9.2 intensity on the Richter scale that resulted in the gargantuan Tsunami and that lies just 250 Km away from the Southernmost tip of India – the Indira Point (erstwhile “Pygmalion Point”) in Great Nicobar, which now lies submerged.

Indira Point before Tsunami

Indira Point after Tsunami

Aerial view of the Andaman Islands

It almost feels like watching green colored cauliflowers floating amid the sea due to the densely forested expanse of the Tropical Rain Forests. Very green, thick, majestic, humid, dark, warm and wet – these words describe these forests aptly. These forests grow in the tropics between the Tropic of Cancer and Capricorn in high rainfall condition area called TROPICAL RAIN FORESTS.

My dear friends, these forests have been evolving for more than 30 million years and occupy only 2% of the earth’s surface today. Yet they contain 50% of all species of living things! No other area on land contains such diversity.

Imagine how intensely immediate the need to conserve these forests is, at least now, when we are perilously faced with the alarming issue of Global Warming!!! Well, let’s join hands for its conservation and protection for future generations! Shall we?

Runway at Veer Savarkar Airport, Port Blair

It has been named after the great Maratha patriot Vinayak Damodar Savarkar.

Oh! What a great revolutionary freedom fighter he was! He was the one the merciless German Jailor of the Cellular Jail was awfully terrified of. David Barry, who used to bellow at his prisoners-,

Listen you Prisoners,
It is here we tame lions,
Remember! God does not come
within three miles of Port Blair…
In the universe there is but one
God who lives in the heaven above
but in Port Blair, there are two. One -
the God of Heaven and the other - the God of Earth.
Indeed the God of Earth is myself.”

David Barry had series of nightmares host of times a day just hearing of the physically short and lean powerhouse revolutionary, popularly known as Veer Savarkar.

He was arrested in England on the excuse that the pistol sent by him was used in the Nasik conspiracy case in which his brother Ganesh had already been sent to the Andamans. While being transported by a ship to India, Veer Savarkar, jumped from the ship to escape at Marseilles Port, France. The French police captured him and handed him over to the British 13th March, 1910. He was then deported to Andamans.

North Bay Light House”

The Gateway to Port Blair

If you sail to Port Blair, the capital of the A & N Islands, this is where you enter the harbor through. The mountain at the back is Mt. Harriet, the second highest peak in the archipelago. Lord Mayo, the British Viceroy of India was killed by the Wahabi (Pathan) convict, Sher Ali at the base of this mountain.

You are in for a really fascinating treat in this region as you are welcomed to Port Blair by clusters of enchanting dolphins dancing in and out of the deep blue waters, often swimming alongside your ship.

To be continued…

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