Exploring Andamans-Part 3-Sunset at Munda Pahar

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This is part of a series, where I take my little son with me on my travels to help him understand responsible and sustainable tourism, so that he grows up to be a responsible citizen who can help inspire others to also understand the importance of respecting nature and nurturing it. In this series, we explore the Andaman Islands as part of #ResponsibleTravelForKids series. Can travel be made more meaningful and enjoyable for kids? Lets explore and find out. Check Part-0 , Part-1and Part-2 here

As we left the Loha Barrack Sanctuary, we took with us some fond memories of the place, and realised we have more reasons to come back here the next time we are in the Andamans. We wanted to see the crocodile park, the Mahatma Gandhi National Park and Jolly Buoy Island (which needs a tour operator to book, or you need to go to the tourist office in Port Blair to get a permit a day in advance) and probably do a local bus journey here.

Loha Barrack Sanctuary in Wandoor [Andaman Islands-India]
Loha Barrack Sanctuary in Wandoor [Andaman Islands-India]
On our way back to Port Blair, the beautiful and green Andamans got my attention. We used to stop every few metres on the Grand Andaman trunk road and observe the scenery. With some help of previous research, I was able to tell Nandu that the Andamans is famous for some of the thin trees, which are basically Betel trees. Betel trade is one of the reasons that people cut trees but plant it back since its essential to plant trees to run it as a business. I also showed him some of the other trees and asked him to point out really big trees on our way to Port Blair. The Andamans has a state tree called the Andman Padauk, which usually means its ‘4-6 daddies tall’ [My way of saying 25-40 metres tall]

We sat by a little stream, to pick another biscuit packet that lay like a treasure inside the reams of clothes that we had packed. Nandu also was starting to fall asleep in the front seat, so I thought he would be better off sleeping in the back seat, but when we stopped and he woke up to this, he was up and awake. He asked me, why dont we have so many trees near where we live. I thought a bit and told him that most of the homes today are built on lakes or lake beds, and as a result, a lot of trees have been felled to make way for houses and apartments. As a result when the rains pour longer, nature has its revenge by flooding quicker, increased temperature in the city and more pollution. The Andamans was like a breath of fresh air for even him.

Nandu’s Lesson #1- Nature is peaceful, and beautiful. As long as we preserve this, it will protect us

Green Andamans at Garacharma (Near Port Blair)
Green Andamans at Garacharma (Near Port Blair)

We saw a very viscous and thick layer of green on a lake. It took me a minute to figure out that this was a lake and not seem green solid bed.

Green and Viscous Stream near Port Blair
Green and Viscous Stream near Port Blair

After a rather expensive lunch at ‘Anna Purna’, we realised that the food on the island can be really expensive. Annapurna was a normal hotel with slightly below par service. In the Andamans, you pay a premium for a hotel that just looks clean, as the cost of bringing raw-food materials/vegetables from the mainland spikes up eating costs. So for a very basic thali (plate) at a non-airconditioned place, we ended up with an overpriced menu. What irked me even further was my driver, had forewarned me that while Annapurna was a well known vegetarian restaurant, their pricing is high and food is nothing to write home about. Lesson learnt, and we then went ahead to the next part of our trip in Port-Blair after picking my dad up from the Veer Savarkar airport. We were off to Munda-Pahar beach, which is a beautiful place for spending a sunset as per my driver/guide-Kumar

Approaching Munda Pahar Beach near Port Blair-Andamans(India)
Approaching Munda Pahar Beach near Port Blair-Andamans(India)

To Munda Pahar

On our way to Munda Pahar Beach in the Chidiya Tapu region, I fell asleep. We had a pretty long day with intermittent sleep. Waking up at 3 am for a 6:30 am flight and having a delayed breakfast and lunch certainly had affected my body cycle. When I woke up, I found myself amidst the hills as the car swerved its way. Kumar wanted to show me the path to Chidiya Tapu, which is a trek route to get to the top of the hill, but I was too tired to walk over. I earmarked the trek for a subsequent trip, where I would spend a day trekking with  Nandu to show him the beauty around a moderate trek. For now, the only place we were heading was Munda Pahar the beach.

There seemed to be some development of the beach for tourists, as one could see a pathway built, name boards on trees, wooden seat rests made out of tree logs, amidst the tall trees for people to sit. There was sand on either sides of the pathway, but there was not much of a beach here, owing to the low tide when we had gone. Kumar tells me that some scenes from the Tamil movie “Kaakha Kaakha” were shot in this area. Now when I look back at the video, after arriving home, I can see the connect clearly.

Also if you look into the sit out made out of the tree logs, the deciduous tree is made of a dark coloured bark and is supposedly a cousin of the domesticated Jackfruit tree. This is commonly found in all communities in the Andaman Islands. The tourism ministry of Andamans have done a good job in making sit outs and shelters for the travelers in the little parts of the Andaman Islands that I have seen (Kalapathar, Radhanagar, Wandoor and Munda Pahar)

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Uprooted Trees at Munda Pahar-Andaman Islands(India)
Uprooted Trees at Munda Pahar-Andaman Islands(India)

The sun set is an event that is treasured in this part of the world. The process of fading light starts from 1630 IST, and by about 5:15 pm, the place is steeped in darkness. By about 6 pm, it feels a little later into the night like 8 pm on the mainland. I was telling Nandu that in Bombay/Goa which is on the west coast, the sunset would stretch into 7 pm and it would be dark only by about 7:30 pm. I wish I had a little globe to talk through the phenomenen.

As the sun made its way behind the mountains, it created this surreal moment as it decided to shine on a selected area of the sea. I told Nandu that this is exactly life. Providence and nature decides to make you shine based on the good vibes that you generate for the world. Just because an area is shining and other areas are not shining, it doesnt mean that one area is better than the other, it just means nature decided to focus on that area for that time. Everyone gets their time and appointment with nature. I am not quite sure, how much he understood, but the moot point for that little lesson was to see if we can help the world to help us.

 

Beautiful Sunset at Munda Pahar Beach (Andaman Islands-India)
Beautiful Sunset at Munda Pahar Beach (Andaman Islands-India)

Nandu was constantly changing, getting into the sea to play with his swimming trunks and was quite enjoying the vast canvas that he had to run around. He had taken a love for the sea and the outdoors. I gave him a little lesson that I had learnt, and that was to be able to see sunsets, and meditate during a sunset by staying quiet. The sunset is so beautiful, that it has a way for your mind and your heart to talk. They seem to be at loggerheads as you grow up, and you need external tools to make them see the same things.

Nandu’s lesson #2- Trust the sunset, and consider yourself lucky if you can see sunsets and do deep breathing to soak in the moment. It has a calming influence.

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As we walked further on the sea bed, we noticed a couple taking selfies of the sunset. They probably wont be able to send it till they get back to their hotel. The Andamans has very little connectivity and 2G is very slow, but nevertherless that allows the travellers to soak in the moment at the place they are, and doesn’t make them seek the virtual world of likes and comments on Facebook. Andamans that way makes you discover that part of yourself which is pre-facebook. It’s a different version of you. I stayed without 4G for 108 hours. It never felt bad. My son stayed without Chota Bheem for much longer. We both felt better. You should try this!

 

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Check out the previous part and the next part

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41 thoughts on “Exploring Andamans-Part 3-Sunset at Munda Pahar”

    1. Thanks Shlok. I have been wanting him to imbibe the right vibes from the environment so that he can go and tell his age group friends about it and we have more responsible travellers across the world. Small effort, but over time i am sure we can create a new generation of environmentally concious and caring people.

  1. Looks amazing. That’s one thing I absolutely love to do, sitting on the beach and seeing the sun go down. Increasingly, however, I’ve noticed that public beaches absolutely need regular cleaning on account of all of the plastics that wash up. This is really true whether we’re talking Asia, the Middle East, or the Caribbean.

    1. That way I think Andamans has a very friendly vibe at the beach, and things are maintained very clean. The odd tree trunks you see on the beach are the remnants of nature’s fury some while back.

  2. I really cherish the words – nature is peaceful and beautiful. As long as we preserve it, it will protect us. We are already seeing bad effects of exploitation of nature in the cities and other places. Andaman is one destination in India that still is not so exploited, I hope we keep it like that.

  3. Great article and awesome photos! You captured it so well! What was the green on the surface of the lake? Really looked eery. Other than that, the photos really looked beautiful! The sunset was captured well! Great story!

  4. Love all your posts about the Andamans. This one is another great narrative, loved reading it. I love your harmonious interaction with nature and how you are teaching Nandu about nature and how to be in harmony with it.

    1. Thanks Sandy. This whole series was about educating my son, to enjoy nature and trust it. Trying to tell him that TV, air-conditioning and other modern trappings take us away from the essence of life, so we all need to slow down and get closer to nature. There’s another series like that coming along next

  5. Your Andaman posts are coaxing me to plan a trip asap. I didn’t know that food is expensive in Andaman so that is a great tip! I want to do the trek trail in Chidiya tapu and being a wildlife enthusiast I would love to go on a birdwatching trip with a professional guide.

    1. Thanks Abhinav! My suggestion is to take it slow and plan a longer trip in the Andamans. Time goes very slowly there and you will enjoy not just the beauty of the place, but the people too.

  6. Wow Munda Pahar is beautiful. It reminds me of my Puerto Princesa trip in the province of Palawan.
    That province is the best place to visit if you’re a nature lover. 🙂 You might want to visit that too. 🙂

  7. Your son asks such interesting questions and somewhere deep inside I feel our generation is guilty of taking away the green cover of the cities. Very disappointing to know Annapoorna Hotel food standard isn’t good.
    Sometimes low connectivity is a blessing isn’t it?

    1. I am starting to love low connectivity. It helps me connect to what is really required. Kids when growing up, ask way too many questions, and its one way of connecting back to learning and newer perspectives.

      Annapoorna is not worth its hype. There are better veggie food options and at a much lesser price.

  8. You are an amazing father, for teaching your child some simple but meaningful lessons in life. Character is built since childhood, I know he will grow up to be a wise man because of how you are raising him. I grew up in the city, I too had questions why there were so much greens in the rural areas and not that many in the city. Unlike your son though, I didn’t get the answer until I grew up.

  9. I am glad you are trying to teach your son things through travel,I feel it puts him a step ahead of the mainstream of this generation because these days kids are obsessed with themselves and technology.It is extremely fascinating and I am glad that you have done so much to keep his curiosity alive.I want to go to a place and stay there without using technology for a day but considering the kind of thing, I do I don’t think that’s possible.I love the way you described 4-6 daddys tall for the tree

  10. Nice [post. I have not yet visited Andaman. The Munda Pahar is totally new to me. The sunset looks amazing from here. As you said, the connectivity is less around the area, this may not be my problem because I like to keep my phone away when I am at a new destination. 🙂

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