Roughly 25 kilometres north of Diglipur, lies Shyamnagar, a little hamlet, where you can witness a rare natural marvel called the mud volcano in a place locally known as Jal Tikry. A mud volcano is a natural spectacle and is caused by the eruption of hot mud, slurries, gases and water from the ground. About 1100 mud volcanoes have been identified around the world, and in Andaman, they can be found at Diglipur and Baratang. These are not textbook volcanoes as they do not emit lava and are not necessarily driven by magmatic activity. After trekking through the dense woods of Shyamnagar, you arrive at the site where several active muddy craters can be found. One of the most unusual occurrences in the world, behold these mud volcanoes some of them have been active for years, while others have laid dormant for quite some time.
After a fifteen-minute trek through the semi-evergreen forests of Shyam Nagar, the initial point of the craters come into sight. The little village is blessed with picturesque countryside and plays hide and seek from behind the banana and date plantation. Upon arrival, large dormant volcanoes are prominent in the beginning, followed by the small bubbling new mud puddles. There are around 41 active muddy craters in the wilderness, with the smallest ones a couple of meters wide, and the larger ones a few kilometres wide. To give visitors a better insight into the area, information is available on the notice boards, in the vicinity. To ensure a better experience, the eco-friendly seating arrangement made of bamboo and fallen tree logs seats is in place.
Several mud volcanoes are used as mud baths too owing to their balanced temperatures, that don’t rise too much, ranging between 36°F and 212°F.
How to reach
Jal Tikry is roughly 330 kilometres from Port Blair and can be reached via Shyamnagar which is 40 kilometres from Diglipur. Jal Tikry is accessible via shared jeeps that run on this route at regular intervals and drops you at Hathi level in roughly twenty minutes. From here, it is a 3-kilometre trek through the villages which turns strenuous towards the end and is the onset of the forest area.
Conceived by natural gases spewed by decomposing organic matter underground which gradually pushes the mud upwards, these craters are not what you expect from a ‘volcano’, that is, since it does not emit lava, gives an appearance of small puddles. If you start early after a pleasant trek through the dense rainforest, you will catch your first glimpse of a mud volcano in Diglipur. Not all mud volcanoes are active so you will have to ask around before you visit and it is best to do this with the help of a local expert. There are 41 mud volcanoes in the area, so if you find a dormant dried up mud volcano, then you can keep looking for more.
Wondering what to do on Jal Tikry?
- After a 3-kilometre trek from Hathi level, through the semi-evergreen forests of Shyam Nagar, you can witness a rare natural marvel called the mud volcano. Nestled in an idyllic village, the trail for the trek to mud volcano is well outlined by the forest department. It is advisable to start early in the morning, as trekking through the canopy of the forest in broad daylight is reliable. After exploring nature’s wonder, visitors can enjoy sunset trolling through the villages amidst lovely countryside.
- A destination bestowed with all the nature’s blessings, Diglipur takes you on a magical trail with a play of colours in the landscape you witness. From scaling the highest peak in the Bay of Bengal to witnessing an active mud volcano, hiking the cluster of extraordinary 41 limestone caves, observing sea turtles nest or the hatchlings discovering the clear waters for the first time, Diglipur is a treasure trove for all. With so much to indulge in, travellers often visit Diglipur with snorkeling gear, trekking shoes and time on their hands. In the land of sun and sea, pursue swimming, snorkeling, scuba diving, trekking, island hopping and so much more.
A word of caution, most visitors arrive at the volcano site expecting a ‘Volcano’, and then, when they see a pile of mud and a few bubbles, their hopes of an adventure are shattered. One must be clear on what to expect from a mud volcano – Mud! This is a geological phenomenon and it is quite unusual to witness active mud volcanoes with bubbles oozing out of the earth and leaving behind a crater site.
- Getting There: Jal Tikry is roughly 330 kilometres from Port Blair and can be reached via Shyamnagar which is 40 kilometres from Diglipur. After a 3-kilometre trek from Hathi level, which is a twenty-minute journey, you reach the craters.
- What to do: Jungle Trek, Canopy Walk.
- What not to miss: The famed mud volcanoes are a sight worth visiting.
- Best time to visit: Mud Volcanoes are best visited during the winter season, during the months from November to February. The summer season makes it too harsh to explore the island and limits your travel goals.
- What to carry: Carry bottled water, sunglasses, cap/hat, comfortable shoes, and cotton clothing. A camera to capture this unusual scientific marvel hidden away in a picturesque hamlet.
- Essential Info:
Medical Facilities in Jal Tikry- There is no medical facility near the site, the closest community Health Centre is at Diglipur and the closest medical facility is the G.B.P Hospital at Port Blair offering a team of super-specialized Doctors in the various departments.
Timings- The most suitable time to visit it is early in the morning as the temperature is lower and the weather less humid.
Mobile Connectivity- Mobile connectivity in Jal Tikry might not be up to one’s expectation, thus visitors face several network issues.