One of the easiest places to visit in India without actually crossing the ocean is Mount Harriet. Situated in the Andaman Islands, it is known to be the highest point above sea level within the archipelago. What I’m trying to convey is that when you turn over a twenty rupee Indian note, the sight that you see printed is a photo shot right off the mountain. With coconut trees and a lighthouse, you are carrying a postcard picture of Mount Harriet in your wallet.
Crossing the Trunk Road that runs through the Andaman Island and whooshing through the virgin forests of the area, one comes closest to nature and is completely overwhelmed by it. Moving through the highway where the famed Jarawa tribes live, one understands the essence of natural living and how the economy of a territory can be dependent on a single road. Crossing the waters on local ferries, reaching Mount Harriet can be an extraordinary feat of traveling by road through forests and across the sea via huge boats that carry vehicles.
On a pleasant sunny day, when we set out for the peak, we drove along the coast, with forests on one side and the vast infinite sea on the other. As the roads started winding, we realized that we were nearer to the destination. The peak not being too high as compared to the high peaks of the Indian mainland, it appears as a mere hill. But for the Andamanese, it’s a completely different perspective. As the driver suddenly stopped on the side of the road near a clearing, we were asked to take out a twenty rupee note. As we were amazed to see the same scene in front of our eyes and even more surprised to gain this little trivia.
The top of the peak welcomed us with a view that allowed us to see the islands from an advantageous position. Protected by the forest department, the location boasted of a wide multitude of animals and a number of beautiful birds, a few of which we luckily spotted. Bright squawking parrots flew across the lighthouse and a single kingfisher enjoyed the breeze on a swaying bough. The extraordinary azure of the sea contrasted with the dark shade of the land was only differentiated with the pearly white of the waves dashing against the shore hundreds of feet beneath us.
Wooden gazebos and a plain area landscaped with gardens and indigenous trees will greet the tourist who has traveled thousands of miles to reach this beatific vision. The tall viewpoints can also let the traveler see this vision better above the canopy of coconut and palm trees hobnobbing with the winged creatures of the area. You will be able to spot a stray motor boat dashing across the blue and a white picturesque lighthouse. This mountain is worth a visit but do carry the twenty rupee Indian note for reference.