About Limestone CavesSettled in Baratang Island, Limestone caves are a wonder to see and surely a visual treat to the eyes. These caves are one of the deepest man-found hollow and purely natural in its existence which formed over millions of years back. Fundamentally sedimentary rocks, limestone caves were formed due to compression of deposits like algae, marine life, corals, shells and skeletons of various water species. From walls, floors to the ceiling, the caves are carrying a rough yellow and white color and its cavities are very much virgin and untouched at various locations even today making it a must visit location during your trip to Andaman.
Wondering how these caves actually formed? If you look for a fascination that Mother Earth shows, it is right here. Limestone caves were primarily made with a natural phenomenon under the earth’s surface. Starting with the compression of deposits due to overhead pressure, there was a heterogeneous combination of the marine deposits and algae. This combo performed various chemical reactions while releasing oxygen in the surroundings. As soon as this process was taking place, acidic groundwater made its way from beneath while leaving the cavities behind by dissolving the calcium content.
With time and on, due to changes in water level and movement of earth’s crust, these caves had exposure to dry and open air. Since the time, carbonic acid in rainwater eroded these limestones along making a variety of genesis within the cave walls. This still is taking place and changing the character, texture, and hues of the walls. Also, the caves carry such a character that it is still evolving in various forms even now. So one must witness this must visit place in Andaman before nature changes its track and gives a new transition tomorrow.
Another interesting feature within the limestone cave is the presence of Stalactite and Stalagmites; in which stalactite is the conical shape that you see hanging from the roof of the cave. Whereas Stalagmites are stalactites in reverse and are conical rock-like structures formed on the floor of the cave. You will surely get a feeling of Ice-age movie, except that instead of white ice, one can have limestone stones at the forefront.
These beautiful caves give amazing styles, designs, textures that were purely formed according to the reactions they went through. Slippery floors, mesmerizing formations and deep of the deepest caves where even light can’t reach could be noticed. So you may need to take torchlight to explore the deep locations here. After finishing a visit within, have some coconut water and snacks at the nearby vendor stalls and get refreshed with the tropical waters and lush green views.
Moreover, the trail to reach Baratang island’s limestone caves is also very interesting. It passes through the forests and one needs to take a jetty ride to reach. This trail is itself so beautiful that reminds you how much nature and its beauty is essential to survive. With a short trek of about 10 minutes, these caves present itself, as if coming out of the earth fresh and live.
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How to Reach Limestone Caves From Port Blair
While on a vacation to Andaman and Nicobar islands, do not miss the opportunity to be at Baratang island and render self with the view of limestone caves. Take a day off from the beaches and head towards Baratang!
The distance between Port Blair and Baratang island is approximately 100 km through the narrow Andaman Trunk Road (ATR) and a drive of around 2-2.30 hours will make one land here.
One needs to take a 3-step process to reach these beautiful caves that start from Port Blair to Jirketang first and the distance between the two is 46 km. Interestingly, plan to visit here could be made in time slots as one has to pass through the tribal region or Jarawa Forest Reserve. Vehicles are welcome to join the convoy led by a state bus and armed forest guards on board for the safety of tourists. Make sure, you plan according to the convoy that leaves only at 6 AM, 9 AM, 12 noon and 3 PM.
After this drive, reach Middle Straits which is 47 Km from Jirketang. The stretch is again very much vulnerable and it is best advised to cross it with the forest officials. 2-wheelers are not allowed here and all the vehicles move at a steady speed without any overtakes, noise, rolling down the windows and disturbance to the locals. Any kind of photography is absolutely prohibited and one can see forest officials patrolling in the region regularly. One can even observe Jarawa tribesmen following their routine life and wonder the way they are living peacefully without fast technology or lifestyle full of rush.
Now it’s time to catch the jetty ride. Park the cars at the specified parking locations and a mere 10 Rs ticket will help you in crossing the strait within 10 minutes. Finally, you get to reach Baratang (Neelambar) Jetty and catch the permits to move ahead.
Wondering where are the limestone caves? Get ready for a 15-minute speedboat ride and pass through dense mangrove forests that stand to smile from the side of the aisle. Welcome yourself to the limestone caves and begin to observe the beauty with the naked eyes.
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Best Time to Visit Limestone Caves
Limestone caves are situated in Baratang island which has mostly tropical climate. This climate drives a good amount of sweat in the summer months making the aura a little uncomfortable. Monsoon is surely very sweaty and sticky. Moreover, the water levels tend to rise and proximity to the sea for a long time are not advised during the time.
It is hence, best to visit limestone caves during the months of November to February.
During the winter season, the weather turns very pleasant with mild winds. This itself attracts a lot of tourists to Andaman as a whole. It gets much easier to explore the surroundings, clicking pictures and diving in the beauty of Baratang during the winters.
Other Essential Info about Limestone Caves
Since Baratang island is present at a good distance from Port Blair and crosses through reserved forest areas, it is hard to get a good mobile connection here. But you can still get Airtel, Vodafone, and BSNL network in the habitable zone of Port Blair and Havelock. So, we would say, feel the nature close to you in Baratang and keep a distance away from any kind of mobile connectivity or internet services.
It is not very easy to find any doctor or medical services in Baratang island due to low inhabitancy and a faraway zone. One can get proper medical assistance in Port Blair which is approximately 100 km away. We recommend you to carry first aid kit and essential medicines on a trip to Baratang and seek the help of officials in case of an emergency.
You won’t be able to find ATM in Baratang island. It is always best to carry enough cash before beginning the journey from Port Blair. The good part is that Port Blair has a good number of ATMs to dispense the cash. So plan the journey by counting food, travel expense and tickets to any attractions you like to visit.
Places to eat near Limestone Caves
One can find small food joint and stalls on the way to Baratang that sell Indian food like Idli, Sambhar, tea, coffee etc. to all the tourists. Moreover, one will also be able to find such small stalls near to the island where caves are situated. At Baratang jetty, you can have an average meal to satiate the hunger. There are 2-3 small restaurants here as well which are famous for serving fish fry.
If you think, you will not be able to settle with them all, please carry your own extra food.
Minimum Duration for Visiting Limestone Caves Baratang
Well, we would say, take a whole day out for visiting Baratang. If you are traveling to a 100 km distance, it is easy to go and come back in 5-6 hours along with a rush visit to limestone caves. But take some time, visit other attractions, observe the beauty around and then come back with wonderful memories.
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Frequently Asked Questions
1. How caves are formed in limestone?
Imagine a good big rock of limestone lying beneath the earth’s surface, is being intruded by acidic groundwater making cavities that remain for a long time. Now algae appear here with the emergence of life and undergoing photosynthesis. With the various chemical reactions, the release of oxygen and movement of earth’s crust, the rock gets exposed to the dry zone. As time passes, rainwater and weak carbonic acid keep on dissolving the limestone, giving it various shapes and textures.
This big rock is actually the huge mountain rock having cavities as the cave. A combination of multiple factors gives the rock a proper cave formation with a good passage of time.
2. What is a limestone cave?
The presence of limestone beneath the earth’s surface gave a chance to form limestone caves with the passage of millions of years. The rocks got dissolved by natural acid in groundwater and rainwater creating cavities and ultimately, caves.
3. What type of weathering causes limestone caves?
It is well-known that each and every rock structure gets eroded with time in form of physical or chemical weathering. Limestone caves face chemical weathering as weak carbonic acid becomes the reason of the cavities and the caves.
4. How can I get to limestone cave?
The limestone caves in Andaman and Nicobar islands leads one to Baratang island. This island is 100 km from Port Blair and can be reached by a mix of drive and jetty ride.
From Port Blair, one has to reach Jirketang and then Middle Straits by own vehicle or state bus. To cross the straits, one must catch the jetty ride in mere 10 Rs and reach Baratang. From here, take a speedboat ride that drops directly at the trekking point of limestone caves.
5. What is the ticket price of limestone caves?
It is free of cost to visit limestone caves. But you must carry the cash to pay the jetty, speedboat, and food or personal expenses.
6. How far is Baratang island from Port Blair?
An approximate distance of 100 Km is recorded between the two locations. But one cannot reach here directly through one vehicle. A combination of a road vehicle, jetty ride, and speedboat has to be taken to reach Baratang and cover its major attractions.
7. Which are the best resorts to stay in Baratang Island?
It is amazing to stay in Baratang island and places like Dew Dale resort, Blue planet resort, Pearl Park, Tango beach resort are a treat to your vacation. Loaded with basic to luxurious amenities, these resorts make the journey beautiful by being surrounded with tall trees, green zones and proximity to white sand beaches which make these resorts perfect for your honeymoon trip to Andaman.
8. Can we visit Baratang Island in one day?
Oh Yes! With good planning, one can take a to and fro trip of Baratang island. Make sure you begin early morning and cover all the major attractions along before finishing off the trip by the end of the day.
9. What are the timings to visit Limestone caves?
Every day, 7 AM to 3 PM is the visiting time for limestone caves. So if you are visiting these caves, plan to leave Port Blair at the appropriate time.
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