The natural caves are known for their eerie beauty but what truly highlights the journey to this offbeat destination is the boat ride through the reservation forest and the mangroves.
The Limestone Caves is one of the most visited destinations in Baratang Island. Considered to be an island of natural wonders, Baratang between South and Middle Andaman has beautiful beaches, mangrove creeks, mud-volcanoes and limestone caves. The journey to these beautiful caves is truly one for the experience seekers. Tina is a traveler from Durgapur, West Bengal. She states about her visit to the caves, “The caves are a must for anyone interested in an offbeat destination. The drive through the forested area and the boat ride through the mangroves are the highlights of the trip.”
Sourav, a traveler from Bengaluru agrees, “The journey from Port Blair to Limestone Caves is awesome. First, you will have to cross the Jarwa reservation forest which is 50 km long followed by crossing the Baratang Jetty and finally a speedboat ride through the Mangrove Forest will take you to the Caves.”
One has to make their way through the undisturbed tribal reserves. Located at a distance of 90 km from Port Blair,
the booming capital of the Andaman and Nicobar Islands, the Limestone Caves are naturally occurring caves made out of limestone structures. Travelers are welcomed to the sight of sun-basking crocodiles resting in the extensive mangroves. The place was, however, one of the worst hit due to the 2004 Tsunami (a natural disaster that notably struck several parts of India). The caves can only be explored with the permission of Forest Department at Baratang and proper local guidance.
Kirti Das, an avid globetrotter from India explains, “The stalactites in the caves have been formed by centuries of seepage of water under the forest. The natural shapes of the caves are fascinating. If observed carefully you can see shapes of lotus, conch, shell, and even the Hindu God Shiva, known to be the destroyer. For those with an inclination towards learning through exploring will find the Limestone Caves to be the perfect fit. This is recommended hence as visiting similar sites in Europe would cost a fortune.”
- Famous For– Eco-Tourism, Experience seekers, Boating, Relaxing
- Entrance Fee– No available entry fee. Boating fees are applied separately in accordance with the number of people availing the service. It costs INR 100 to travel to and from the Limestone Caves.
- Visiting Time– Open throughout the day around the year; however, it is advisable to avoid the Limestone Caves at night as there can be chances of unwanted mischief.
- Visit Duration– Approximately two to three hours. The duration of the journey may, however, vary with the availability of boats and crowd gathering. If you want to explore little further, it might take longer than the usual time.
- Availability of guides– To visit the Caves, one has to avail a local guide who will supervise the tourists across the entire expanse to avoid mishaps that may occur. The Caves and its surrounding areas have certain protocols which need to be followed.
Best Time to Visit
December to March is declared as the peak season for this tourist destination. During this time, when the climate is moderately pleasant, the tourists pour in and one can see a huge number of tourists flocking to Limestone Caves. The monsoon season sees lesser tourists owing to the fear of high tidal waves. Thus, July-September is usually the off-season. However, if one loves the stormy view of seas, the monsoon is the best time to visit the Caves.
How to Reach
The best way to reach the Limestone Caves is via Port Blair. The journey to the Caves is divided into phases. One can travel via buses from Port Blair to Baratang Islands. This bus journey has two stops. First one has to travel via bus to Jirkatang from Port Blair. The next stop is at Baratang Island from Jirkatang. Then one has to avail a boat at the Nilambur Jetty at Baratang Islands to reach the Limestone Caves.
Things to Remember
The Limestone Caves have government guest houses and huts around it for tired travelers. However, it is best to check the availability of rooms in the guesthouses beforehand.
It is also important to remember that the Caves have a single entry and exit point making it difficult for a lot of people to enter at the same time. They are narrow and dim-lit so it is best avoided at night.
There are refreshment huts near the Caves from where tourists can quench their thirsts or have snacks.