EP - 6 Baratang Island, Andaman | We saw Jarawa Tribe | Limestone Caves andaman | Mud Volcano
Namaskar friends! Welcome to Visa2explore! This is your host, Harish Bali. Right now, we are in Andaman. We travelled for 50 KM from Port Blair to reach Jirkatang Check Post. Today, we are going to Baratang. The time right now is 5 minutes to 5, i.e., 4.55 AM.
The first thing you'll see here is this long line of cars. As per a rough estimate, I think there are about 25 cars in this queue. It means these people reached here even before us.
Now we have to stay here for about an hour and so. The convoy would leave here at 6 AM. To go to Baratang. We need to show our I-D cards here. You can hand over your I-D to your driver and he will get the forms filled.
It is part of the procedure to visit Baratang. We received our breakfast parcel at our hotel itself. Let's do one thing. I can see some eateries here, which are open even this early in the morning, like these.
So, let us order some tea from there and have it with our breakfast. Last night I asked them about breakfast and they said it will have a boiled egg. Boiled egg with a sandwich. This is my breakfast. This is cheese sandwich.
Its taste is good! Good! There is black pepper in this sandwich. Nice! I was taking a stroll after my breakfast. While doing so, I crossed to the other side of this railway crossing. As a tourist, you are allowed to walk for 50-60 meters, across the railway crossing. From here, you can go as part of a convoy, and not in a standalone car. Four convoys will go on this route today, one of which will leave at 6.00 AM.
We will go with that. The time right now is 5.35 AM. The other three convoys will leave at 9.00 AM, 12.00 PM and 2.30 PM. The next 50 KM of this journey will be through the habitat of Jarawa tribe.
It doesn't mean the tribals live next to the highway. They live deeper in the forest. The short form of this highway's name is 'ATR.' A lot of tourists have reported seeing the tribals while travelling on this highway. Photography and videography are strictly zero! I mean not allowed at all.
You can catch this experience with only your eyes. But no vehicle is allowed to stop, the convoy will keep moving continuously. Right! This was a special thing to mention. They also have a toilet facility available here. If you want, you can use it.
During the 50-KM journey from Jirkatang to Middle Strait, we were careful to observe.... ...the native Jarawa tribe at any given opportunity. So, first, no one was visible for many kilometers but.... ...just 12 KM before we reached the Middle Strait.... ...we saw five and three, total 8 members of the Jarawa tribe. There were two males and one female in the age group of 20-25.
They were standing over a kind of parapet built over water. And five kids were sitting next to them. They were aged between 10 and 14 years. There were both boys and girls mixed. Now, what did I observe on this journey? They had tied chains around their heads. They wore chains around their necks.
They had also applied white mud on their faces. Two of them, a 14-15 year old boy and an adult man... ...stared at us so ferociously with wide, open eyes,... ...as if they had seen humans like us for the first time. Such were their facial expressions. And one of them was smiling while looking at a car.
We enjoyed these 15-20 seconds of visuals of the tribals before we crossed them. As I've already mentioned about the Jarawa tribe.... ...out of the total population of 750, mostly live within this 50 KM area. They live deep in the forest.
The government sends them ration supplies, including rice, etc. But it has been observed that they don't like to eat rice much. They are largely dependent upon forest products like fruits and roots. Our taxi driver told us that historically, they are known to prefer eating pigs as well.
They like to roast a pig and then dip it in honey before eating it. It is a 15-KM long journey from Middle Strait to Baratang. We will reach there in another 5-7 minutes. Once there, we will board a boat to visit the limestone cave via mangroves.
The ferry in which we are travelling has 3-4 cars owned by locals and a bus. Ticket per person is Rs 13. And our car is parked back at the parking lot near Middle Strait jetty point. We will reach Baratang in another 5 minutes.
The name of this jetty point is Neelambur. We got down from this side after our ferry stopped here a while ago. We got down here.
We checked here at the ticket counter, the charges are Rs 900 per person for the trip further. Ten passengers share one fiber boat. Since we keep shooting photos and videos during our journey... ...we need to ask the driver to stop, divert, or keep moving. So, we've booked an individual boat for ourselves for which we paid Rs 9000.
Let us go to the boat point. And then we will join you further. The speedboat continued on a straight path for almost first 15 minutes. And now it is passing through a mangrove forest. This is wonderful! I have shown you mangroves in several of my past videos. Mangroves are grown or grow naturally by the seaside.
It prevents soil depletion and is a safe habitat for the fish. Its roots go into the soil and then grow back out of it. All of this is the mangrove forest. Lovely! We are there! Enjoyed it! Now, we have to go for a 1.2 KM trek from here. After that, we'll reach the limestone cave.
When we visited Munda Pahad, it was raining. But there also we saw tree roots growing back out of the soil like these. There are fewer roots here in comparison to that place. Really, this is a wonderful trek! Rajesh Bhai, do you know what is the best thing according to me? See this! This looks like a proper tree. This is the root, right? Yes, it is! Okay, this is a root! Yes! Alright! This tree has spread its roots all across this piece of land.
The path is plain. In my opinion, it is a low-difficulty trek. More of a jungle walk! This is some information given about the limestone cave. Along with the chemical formula of the limestone.
From the look of it, I've understood that limestone gets dissolved with rainwater. They've also written a reason why this happens. This is because rainwater absorbs atmospheric carbon dioxide. It percolates through the soil, thus, it turns a weak, acidic...
So, it dissolves. Its chemical formula is given here. After that comes this board, which has information about the limestone cave. Limestone is a sedimentary rock that was originally formed at the bottom of the sea. It contains information about how this rock is formed. It is further written that the origin of this cave is complex and scientists are not... ...in complete agreement as to the sequence of their formation. These types of caves are believed to be the deepest and largest caves found by man.
I have to admit this cave is very different from... ..the other limestone caves I have visited till date. See, this is limestone, limestone, and above it is a tree. It seems that neither the rain nor the sunlight would reach the bottom of this cave easily.
This is clearly visible. Now see... ...it was a bright sunny day outside... ...but inside it is so dark. A lot of structures within this cave were naturally formed. You just have to imagine! In this cave, you'll find deposits of calcium-carbonated water.
If you see here, these stones will look like jellyfish to you. Yes, you are right! What you see here is known as Helictite. Inside, these formations are known as Stalactites and Stalagmites.
So, Stalactites and Stalagmites join together and form pillars inside? Yeah! The shine in this structure is because of silica and mica. Alright! Wherever I visit a cave, my focus remains on its pillars. I am interested in how this pillar is formed. This structure forming from top to bottom is Stalactite. And the one growing from the bottom towards the top is Stalagmite.
The day these two structures meet, they will form a pillar. This obviously means that there won't be any gap in the middle. Now, this small gap will take thousands of years to fill up. So, imagine, how much time it must have taken for these two structures to form. Come, let us go inside.
This is a natural 'Sink Hole.' The cave receives oxygen, water, and sunlight from this hole. You'll see that the portions that receive water and sunlight directly have turned black. These structures, which have turned black, won't grow further.
So, there is no other source of oxygen inside? No Sir! If you look carefully, doesn't this formation look like a crocodile's head? Seriously, I have to admit, this is a remarkable formation. On this side is a formation in the shape of a baby elephant. This is called the Golden Stone! He has just told me there is a hole above this place. The water that comes down that hole is accompanied by soil.
The soil came down and got stuck to the limestone beneath. Along with that, we can clearly see the shine coming from the Silica & Mica deposits. Till now, we have been talking about cave formations and this is something different. The soil came down from that height and got stuck here. Nice! On this side Sir, the stones are formed like an eagle claw. Yes, that is what it looks like.
We have entered the cave. We didn't realize we had walked in for a 100 meters. How deep is the cave? It is right upto the point that is visible to you from here. Alright! Another five to seven meters more.
Yes! Why is it closed further? Sir, this stone has become loose and it can get damaged at any time. That is why this section has been closed. By the way, even at this point, beyond which the cave is inaccessible,... ...we can spend extra time admiring these shapes. It is all about unique shapes formed naturally here. If you look here Sir... these are new formations, thus, these milky white stones. You're talking about these? Yes Sir! These! I haven't seen such milky white formations anywhere else in caves, just here.
When it hasn't rained since this morning, where is this water coming from? It is coming from tree roots, Sir. Oh! This water is coming from the tree roots! We walked back from the limestone cave to the point from where we began this journey. On our way here, we completed a 1.2 KM low-difficulty trek, or you could say, a walk! But on our way back, the trek is 1.5 KM long, because of this 300-meter mangrove walk. We will walk over an elevated platform.
You can enjoy this walk over this bridge made of wooden planks. Along with that, you can watch the mangroves closely. This walk is meant to get tourists as close to the mangroves as possible. We have reached the parking place where our car is standing. Now, we are going to visit the mud volcano.
To reach there, we cannot go in this vehicle. We need to hire a local cab to go there. This gentleman will take us on this round trip for Rs 1500. 1...5...double zero! Shall I get in? Yes! We've reached near the mud volcano and it has started raining all of a sudden.
Never before have I seen a mud volcano. This is my first time experience. See, this is the mud volcano. Since it is raining right now, this isn't clearly visible because of the raindrops. But I saw in a video that this mud keeps releasing vapours. Our cab driver told us that before 2004, this was like a regular piece of open land.
During 2004, around the period when the tsunami struck... ...the land cracked open because of an earthquake. Because of multiple cracks, there are more than one such volcano around here. Since then, these volcanos have been releasing liquid mud like this. Or you can say muddy water! Now, I have no information about whether this muddy water is warm or not. But they have placed a fence around it, for sure. You can look at the mud volcano from outside this fence.
To know more about it, you can read the information written next to the fence. Most of the mud volcanos are associated with potential hydrocarbon reserves. This is what I've understood so far. Let us read further.
Let us go a little further and read what's written on the boards. I knew that there is one mud volcano, which we are visiting in Baratang. And another, bigger one in Diglipur. Here, I am reading that mud volcano is created by natural gases... ...emitted by decaying organic matter underground. The rest of the details, given below, about this volcano, are also interesting to read.
These marine sediments are layered in the sedimentary rock and mobilized by... ...large-scale compression push forces. The mud quietly seeps to the surface through faults in the rocks. Or maybe, forcefully expelled. There is some more information written here. China has a lot of mud volcanos in the Xinjiang province.
And it has two active volcanoes in Southern Taiwan. Interesting! Whenever you see something for the first time, you are curious enough to read about it. We do our bit of homework but.... ....I think I should have read more about it before coming here. When I go back, I will read up more about the formation of mud volcanos.
Rest, if you know more about these, do tell us in your comments. I will be more than happy to go through the comments. We have reached the Baratang Jetty. On reaching here, we came to know that the 12.30 PM convoy was here as always.
But the government bus will be 15-20 minutes late today. Therefore, the convoy will also run 15-20 minutes late. So, we realized we had time at hand and we came here for lunch.
The bus usually comes from Diglipur. They must manage time in a way so that the bus also travels back on the ferry. If the bust stays here for 2-3 hours, then it would be difficult to manage far-off visitors. So, looking at the time in hand, we did this quick planning. We are at the A.R. Restaurant, which is about 800 meters away from the jetty point.
So, we are here. I have ordered Chana Masala and with it, I have Aloo and Lobhia...Beans! Let us taste the rasam first! I can say, it is a good effort! There is no masala flavour in the Chana Masala. I mean to say its taste is absolutely homely. This dish is as simple in taste as the Chana Masala.
As for spices, it has turmeric, salt, and just a hint of chili. Good taste and this is a nice restaurant! They have a nice seating facility. And it isn't far from the jetty, just 800 meters in distance. This bus is coming in from Diglipur. Diglipur is about 225 KM from here.
We've been told that the road from Diglipur to Baratang is in bad condition. So, this 225-KM journey takes up to 10 or 11 hours to complete. Our journey is just 10 minutes long.
We are going in this direction. I told you about the Middle Strait, from where we came. We will get down there but no photography or videography is allowed there because...
...that is from where the Jarawa tribal area begins. For a distance of about 50 KM. That is the jungle in which they live. Let us finish this journey and we'll join you again after about an hour and a half. We travelled for about 3 hours. And we've reached Wandoor, in fact, Wandoor beach. Right now, I'm standing outside the entry gate of Mahatma Gandhi Marine National Park.
The beach is approximately two kilometers from here. I want to show you the point from where the Jolly Buoy ferry rides begin. See, this is the jetty point. Till four years ago, tourists used to visit the Jolly Buoy Island. But for the past four years now, the island is closed to visitors.
For now, you can see a ferry in front of you. It is ready to go there. After completion of some paperwork, the ferry will begin in 1 or 2 month.
Maybe by the time our video is live, the Jolly Buoy ferry service will have begun. I have heard that it is a beautiful island & the journey lasts 1 to 1.15 hours. I've heard that there isn't much water sports activity there except for snorkeling. And you can swim in the ocean too. I think, once the services are resumed, tourists would love to visit there. Earlier also, tourists visited there.
Earlier, the demand was more while the supply of seats was less. Not many people were able to visit because of capacity limitations. Now we are going to Wandoor beach, which is 2 KM away. We've reached the Wandoor beach. I can see tourists sitting here on benches waiting for the sunset.
Nice! Let us go near the sea. We've reached the beach. Swimming is not allowed here. Someone told me that 7 years ago, a crocodile caught a man here. Since then, swimming has been banned.
Now, look at the sea beach. The time is 4.30 PM. You can see the tourists in front of you. I am talking about the sunset time on October 15, 2023.
The sun is setting behind that island. Basically behind the treeline that you see in the distance. Two months ago, the sun used to set right here in the sea, I am talking of August month. Since then, it has moved to another place. We will be in Andaman tomorrow as well.
We will do some sightseeing but, overall, tomorrow's schedule will be light. The day after, we will go to Kolkata for a day. The video we will shoot tomorrow will be shown on the Harish Bali Travels channel. Right! For now, I will say bye-bye to you. We will meet again soon.
Thanks for your time!