Saturday, June 11, 2011

Port Blair Tourism : Introduction, Best Time to Visit, Place to visit near Port Blair, Cellular Jail (Was also called as Kalapani), Ross Island


Port Blair is the largest town and a municipal council in Andaman district in the Andaman Islands and the capital of the Andaman and Nicobar Islands, a union territory of India. It lies on the east coast of South Andaman Island and is the main entry point to the islands.
Port Blair is the headquarters for the Indian district of South Andaman, and the local administrative sub-division (tehsil), which is also called Port Blair.

Best Time To Visit:

A visit to Port Blair can be on the cards any time, but it is during the monsoons that the islands come alive. Go to Ross Island, go scuba diving and snorkeling, enjoy the beaches and definitely pay a visit to the Cellular Jail. You might even want to catch the sound and light shows in the evenings if they're not cancelled due to the rains.

History & Significance :

Port Blair, the capital of the 350 odd islands that comprise the Andaman and Nicobar group, has one major landmark-the Cellular Jail. A pipal tree, just outside this seven-winged national monument, can tell tales of the torture of India's freedom fighters within its walls. In 1897, the British, who then ruled India, laid the foundation stone of the building. It had 698 solitary cells to ensure that there was no contact between prisoners. Only three of the seven octopus-like wings remain and as you walk down their corridor, you can still hear the echoes of patriots like Veer Savarker or the booming voice of jailor Berry Bellowing.

The records at the site museum and a 'death house' bring tears to one's eyes.The islands were called 'Kalapani'-islands with 'black water', water tinted with the blood of those who would have India free.

Places to Visit in Port Blair:

Cellular Jail: closed on Mondays. Built by the British to house political prisoners far away from the mainland

Corbyn's Cove (beach) : An ok beach, and the closest to Port Blair. Popular with locals for swimming and watching the sunset.

Mini Zoo: A medium size zoo containing some species only found on the islands

Japanese Bunkers, near Corbyn's Cove : Bunkers built by the Japanese army during World War II.

Central Agricultural Research Institute (CARI), (about 4km away from the airport) :CARI Scientists are conducting research on different aspects of Island Agriculture.

Anthropological Museum : closed Thursdays and Public Holidays.. Interesting Anthropological museum which gives the history of the various A&N tribes.

Chatam Saw Mill, Chatam (15 mins by bus from STS Bus terminal) : A saw mill, oldest in Asia. Also the Chatam jetty is where ships from Calcutta/Chennai loaded with goods enter Port Blair.

Ross Island : Bearing a haunted look today, the Ross Island was the Administrative Headquarters for the Andaman and Nicobar Islands, before an earthquake rocked it in 1941. The headquarters were then shifted to Port Blair. One can see remnants of an opulent past in the ruins of the church, swimming pool and the chief commissioner's residence with its huge gardens and grand ballrooms. There is also a cemetery and a small museum managed by the Indian Navy. The museum has on display a collection of old records.

The Ross Island is about 2 km east of Port Blair and can be reached by a short boat ride from Phoenix Bay Jetty. The island is controlled by the Indian navy, which requires every visitor to sign in on entering.

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