Monday, November 06, 2006

Lakshadweep-III : Day 1 at Agatti

We were all euphoric to find ourselves in a virtual paradise. All tiredness of a long travel had evaporated. It was around 1pm when we had landed at the resort.

We were lead into the respective cottages after the brief welcome ceremony at the jetty of Agatti Island BEach Resort (AIBER). I wanted a bath badly after nearly 24 hrs of traveling. However, a warm salted water bath was not what I wanted. The resort had an in-house desalination plant. This water is used for drinking and cooking only, not for bathing. Starved from the horrible food in the ship, we devoured the sumptuous buffet lunch was served at the restaurant of the resort. Fish served deserves special mention. We were told that deep sea fishes are big but not tasty. However, lagoon fishes are small but tasty. Only lagoon fishes are served in the resort. So we were assured some delicious fish treats.

There was no planned activity for day 1. So we were on our own to relax, enjoy or explore the surroundings. After a brief siesta, we decided to have a look around the resort complex. Set amidst swaying palms, the resort is located on the southern end of the island facing the western shores. The only airport of Lakshadweep Islands is hardly 100 mtr from the resort. Agatti has the only airport of Lakshadweep Islands where only small aircrafts lands. A narrow concrete road laid end to end concrete stands in the middle of the island like its backbone. The island is roughly 7 km long and the total area is just 2.7 sq. km. Around 5800 denizens lives in this small piece of land. The main village is about 2 km upwards in the north from the resort. From the balcony of my cottage, I could see both sides of the sea. This stretch of the island would be at the most 200 mtr. wide. That meant we were able to enjoy both the sunrise and sunset. The lagoon is on the western side. While relatively big surfs could be seen on the eastern side, the lagoon water on the western side was almost placid. Only vegetation seen in the entire island is coconut trees and small bushes.

The rest of the afternoon was spent watching turtles from the jetty of the resort. The water was so clear that you can easily see turtles and fishes swimming underneath. The water there is understood to have been at least 10 feet deep and yet you could easily see the bottom. The sun started to go down in the distant horizon. I had my cameras hanged from my neck all the while I was out of my room. The colours of the lagoon kept changing with the setting sun. Those moments got etched in our minds for ever. I also had captured that moments mechanically for others to see and think. Each of the sunsets over the 3 days spent at Agatti had thrown different colours and each of them was beautiful in their own way.

Ironically, no one ventured into water that afternoon. There was a foreign tourist couple who was the only one out in the lagoon to enjoy some water sport and a leisurely swim. It was low tide in the evening and that made the water calm and almost placid. The peacefulness of surroundings was so powerful. There was no intrusion by anyone. The main village is several kilometers up on the northern end and locals barely come to this southern end of the island. Even if they come they takes the eastern beach and do not intrude into the privacy of tourists on the western beach.

Every couple seemed to have wanted to be left alone and enjoy the solitude. As the sun went into the sea, we were magnetically dragged into leisurely walks on the beaches. Walking on the secluded beach had its own charm, though it needed some effort to walk on the soft wet sand. It burned a lot of energy and we all found to have lost inches after 3 days. The world of small crabs holed up in the sands got perturbed by our intrusion into their world and they all went helter-skelter trying to rush back to their holes.

We were all back to the resort jetty after darkness engulfed everything. The street lights in the resort beach came to life burning the energy saved by its solar panels. Back on the beach benches, we were again back into our own private fiefdoms. My little daughter was so excited and overjoyed to find herself in sands. She wanted to build houses, forts and everything else she could. We had understood that growing up in a city, she had missed all these we had enjoyed in our childhood. This was her first real opportunity to get dirty. We let her free to do whatever she likes.

Dinner was ready around 8 pm. It was another feast of delicious sea fish. The fish we were served was Snapper. There were chicken dishes as well. But not many were interested. We can have chicken here in Delhi, but not those delicious lagoon fishes.

We were again out on the beach after dinner. No one seemed to be in a hurry to go back to rooms. There were no TVs in the rooms. Anyway, we have come this far not to watch TV, but to enjoy the sea and the sand. But we had to call it a day at some point of time. Sand granules were all over our legs. However hard you try, it was difficult to get rid of all of them. (Some of them even accompanied back my slippers to Delhi). Inside the rooms were not very hot, but a little humid. One do not feel this humidity on the beach, may be because of breeze. Anyway, we were tired enough to think much and were soon went into deep sleep.

1 comment:

Sanjay said...

Hi Rupankar,

Happy to read that you made it to Agatti. I was there for my honeymoon in February 2006, and I agree with you that it is one of the best holidays I have ever had! It is unbelievable that we have such a paradise right here in India, and people travel to foreign lands for the same.