Thursday, 21 June 2012

Andaman and Nicobar – The Emerald Islands!! (Part 3 – Neil Island)


Neil IslandIf you really want to fall off the map and go some place remote, try Neil Island in the Andamans. Neil Island is the southernmost island of Ritchie’s Archipelago, located 40 kilometres (25 mi) north-east of Port Blair, the capital of Andaman and Nicobar Islands. It occupies an area of 18.9 square kilometres (7.3 sq miles). The whole population of the village is around 3000 people, who live in the 5 villages scattered all over the island. So, one can get the idea, how secluded this island feels.  The Islanders are mainly farmers and agriculture is the primary occupation here. In fact, the island supplies vegetables to the rest of Andaman.
Neil IslandOne can reach Neil Island from both Port Blair and Havelock by ferry. It takes around 2 hours from Port Blair and 1 hour from Havelock to reach the island. There is a lone jetty at Bharathpur, which serves as the only entry–exit point of the island. Landing on the jetty, one really feels cut off from the rest of the world and setting foot on an almost deserted island. The views are breathtaking, the clear azure blue sea and the gently swaying coconut trees on the beach puts one into a calm mood. The islanders are very carefree, contented and friendly people.
Neil IslandThe facilities on the island are very basic, but adequate, which also lends a charm to the place. There are a handful of restaurants and basic beach eco hotels that cater to the tourists. The island has breathtakingly beautiful and secluded beaches; where one spend hours, days and weeks lazing around. There are also snorkelling, glass bottom boat and scuba diving facilities provided by private operators.There is also the option of cycling through pretty paddy fields, villages  and virgin forests as a means of transport to the beaches. One can rent cycles from one or other of the stallholders at the lone local bazaar on the island. The island boasts of three beaches, which are within easy cycling distance to each other
NeilNeill Kendra: Neill Kendra, a gently curving bay of white sand, straddles the jetty, scattered with picturesque wooden fishing boats.
IslandLakshmangarIt is a more secluded option; the beach is a broad spur of white shell sand with shallow water offering good Snorkelling.
Sitapur Beach Sitapur Beach: Exposed to the open sea and thus prone to higher tides, Sitapur beach, 6-km south at the tip of the island, is very pretty and so is the  ride across the island’s entral paddy land to reach it.
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