Capital: Port Blair
Official Language: Hindi, English
Currency: Indian Rupee
Languages Spoken: Hindi, Bengali, Tamil, Telugu, Malayalam, Nicobarese
Port Blair is the capital of Andaman and Nicobar Islands which is the Union territory of India. Andaman and Nicobar Islands is situated in Bay of Bengal. Port Blair is well connected to India through air and Ship. The Archipelago contains around 570 islands out of which only 37 are inhabited. There are many tourists attraction in Port Blair other than the Cellular Jail like Ross Island, Barren Island, Chidiya Tapu, Fisheries Museum, Coral Reef and many beaches.
Climate of Port Blair: Port Blair
experiences a humid climate due to its location at Bay of Bengal. The place has
mainly three seasons with mild difference in the temperature. The maximum
temperature throughout the year remains between 32oc to 36oc
and the minimum temperature hovers around 20oc throughout the year.
Healthcare: Government Hospitals in Andaman and Nicobar provide free health services to all including the tourists and the locals. Some of the important government and private number are given below.
G. B. Pant Hospital, Port Blair Contact: 03192-232102, 03192-233473
Maricar Hospital +91 2376636, 03192-233434
Pillar Hospital 03192-233193
How to reach Port Blair: Port Blair is connected to main land India through Air and Sea. Port Blair airport which is known as Veer Savakar Airport is just 2Km from the city. Aero planes from Chennai, Mumbai, Kolkata, New Delhi, Visakhapatnam, Bengaluru, Ahmadabad and Raipur fly regularly to Port Blair international airport. One can either reach through flight in just 2 hrs or take sea route and reach Port Blair in 4-5 days. Sea connectivity is available from Chennai, Visakhapatnam and Kolkata.
By Sea: Regular passenger ships are available from Chennai, Kolkata and Vishakhapatnam. It is less expensive but takes 4-5 days to arrive at Port Blair depending upon the weather conditions. Foreign tourists require visa and permits from the Indian authorities to visit Andaman and Nicobar islands. Indian nationals require permit only to visit Nicobar islands and other tribal areas. For further information on the tariffs and schedules can be obtained from the following places
· The Directorate of Shipping
Services, Andaman and Nicobar Administration, Phoenix Bay
Jetty, Port Blair (For MV Nancowry and MV Swarajdweep)
·Shipping Corporation of India
Limited., Shipping House, No. 13, Strand Road, Kolkata-700001
· M/s A.V. Bhanojirao and Garuda
Pattabhiramayya and Company, Post Box No. 17,Vishakapatnam (Agent Shipping Corporation of India Limited.)
· Shipping Corporation of India
Ltd., Jawahar Building, Rajaji Salai, Chennai - 600001
·Shipping Corporation of India
Ltd., Aberdeen Bazar, Port Blair-744101
·The Deputy Director of
Shipping Services, A&N Administration,6, RajajiSalai, Chennai-600001.
Phone: (044) 25220841/5226873
Cellular Jail: Cellular Jail also known Kala Pani is a very important tourists spot in Port Blair. It was built by British during their rule on India. The construction was started in the year 1896 and was completed by the year 1906. This most dreaded prison was built in the archipelago to keep the Indian freedom fighters as prisoners in the most gruesome way. Kala Pani means Black waters where the British imposed most dreadful punishments on the prisoners. It is very painful to read the history and the sufferings of the Indian freedom fighters in Kala Pani.
History and Architecture of Cellular Jail:
British were using Andaman Islands to Prison all the fighters in the Sepoy Mutiny of 1857. Hundreds of Freedom fighters were sent to Andaman Islands were they were under the custody of Jailer David Berry and military doctor was James Pattison Walker. These rebellions were exiled for life to Andaman Islands. More than 800 prisoners were literally thrown to Andaman Islands from Karachi. In the year 1868 when around 300 prisoner escape the Jail they were caught and around 90 prisoners were hanged for their mistake. The Island became a perfect place to punish the freedom fighters. They were isolated from the main land and were even chained and punished very badly. Lyall who was a home secretary in Raj Government and Lethbridge who was a British surgeon recommended and imposed penal stage to the prisoners which meant harsh treatment for the prisoners. This was the reason for the construction of the cellular Jail in Port Blair. Construction of the Jail was started in the year 1896 and was concluded in the year 1906. If one visits the jail they can feel the cry of our freedom fighters who were given harsh treatment for fighting against the British rule.
Some of the famous freedom
fighters who were in Jail and suffered are Batukeshwar Dutt, Vinayak Damodar
Savarkar and Yogendra Shukla. In the year 1933 many inmates went on hunger
strike against the atrocities of the British. In that an associate of Bhagat
Singh known as Mahavir Singh, Mohan Kishore Namadas and Mohit Moitra were
killed by forcefully feeding them milk which went to their lungs and died
immediately. There body was thrown into the sea. Finally in the year 1937 when Mahatma Gandhi and Rabindranath Tagore intervened, the government decided to
send back the political prisoners. In 1942-45 the island came under the control
British who were ruling India started constructing the cellular jail in the year 1896. The construction was completed in the year 1906. Dark Brown colour bricks known as Puce bricks were brought from Burma for the construction of Cellular Jail. The Jail was constructed based on the design of Jeremy Bentham’s Panopticon (is type of institutional building). The building has seven wings which are connected to the tower in the middle which gives a look of the wheel of Bicycle. Each wing is finally attached with the center tower like the spoke of a wheel. There are in total 696 cells and there are no dormitories in the cellular jail. Each cell has good ventilator which is situated at a height of 3 metres. Each cell I measuring 4.5m by 2.7m in size.
Some of the notable inmates of cellular jail are Batukeshwar Dutt, Diwan Singh Kalepani, Fazl-e-Haq, Khairabadi and Savarkar brothers Babaroa Savarkar and Vinayak Damodar Savarkar.
Post independence two of the wings in cellular jail was demolished this led to huge violence by the historians, former prisoners as they wanted to keep it as a memorial of the past. Later in the year 1979 the central tower was converted into National memorial.
Visiting time and Entrance fee: The Jail is open on all days except National holidays. Entry fee is 30 Re and the timings 9am-12:30pm and 13:30 to 16:45pm. The other charges include for camera 200rs for video it is 1000rs and for shooting per day with prior permission is 10,000 Re.
Light and Sound Show: Light and sound show takes place twice a day. The show is in Hindi on all
days except on Monday, Wednesday and Friday. It shows the freedom struggle
movement and the sufferings of the prisoners in Cellular jail. Monday,
Wednesday and Friday the shows are both in English and Hindi. The show usually
starts around 6pm and the entry fee is Rs 50.
Wandoor and Mahatma Gandhi Marine National Park:
Mahatma Gandhi Marine National Park, Wandoor was built to establish in the year 1983 to protect the marine life including the corals and nesting sea turtles. It is situated 29 km from Port Blair and is built in an area of 281.5 sq km. Close to 15 islands are located on a stretch surrounding the National Park. Most of them are visible and are at a walkable distance from each other. The islands that are around the National Park are rocky and are covered with mangrove forest.
The National Park is under the control of Chief Wildlife Warden of Forest Department of Andaman and Nicobar Islands. There are two most important islands in the Park that are the Labyrinath Island and Twin islands. Both these islands are 16m south of Port Blair. Jolly Buoy Island and Red Skin Island can be accessed only through Wandoor Beach. From the Park one can take a boat to reach these Islands but however the tourists should take permit from the forest department to reach these islands. The forest Department permit is available at the counter on Wandoor Jetty at a cost of 50rs per person. Camera also needs permit with a charge of 25rs.
Buoy and Red Skin are not open throughout the year. They remain open for 6
months. To avoid any confusion and congestion in Jolly Buoy Island and Red Skin
Island the forest department runs the boat service five times a day depending
on the availability of boats. The timings of the boat services are 8:30am, 9am,
9:30am, 10am and the last trip is at 10:30 am. These boat rides are available
on all days except Monday. There are plenty of local buses from Port Blair to
Wandoor beach. It hardly takes around 45 mins to reach Wandoor beach from Port
Blair. Best time to visit the park is from November
to March. The park is rich in marine life and coral reef and
fringing reefs. Tourists can also be lucky to see colourful fishes, molluscs,
shells, starfish, salt water crocodiles and birds like Terns, Waders, Swifts
and Sea Eagle. Corals in Jolly Buoy island is just mesmerizing. You just cannot
take out your eyes from them. It is advisable to carry food and water to Jolly
Japanese Bunkers: Japanese occupied Andaman and
Nicobar Islands in the year 1942 during World War 2. To protect their soldiers
during world war 2, Japanese constructed huge bunkers at different places.
Tourists can see bunkers near Corbyn's Cove and also near the cellular Jail.
These bunkers are mostly in ruins now.
Corbyn’s Cove: Andaman and Nicobar Islands has many important touristic places. The island
is famous for beautiful serene beaches. Corbyn’s Cove is one such beautiful
pristine beach located closely to Port Blair. Tourists can indulge themselves
in some adventures activities like Boating, Water scooters and Jet Skiing.
Since part of the beach was washed out during Tsumani in 2004. Tourists should
be careful while doing swimming or any other water activities as the currents
may be very strong.
Chatham Saw Mills: The mill was set up by the British in the year 1883 is one of the oldest
and largest in Asia. Even to this day the mill provides employment to many
people. Even though it is not a treat to the ears because of the sound but
certainly it is a treat to the eyes. The mill was destroyed during the invasion
of Japanese at the time of World War II. After the World War II the mill saw
complete renovation. The saw mill was primarily built for the local requirement
of saw and timber for the construction work. Now it is controlled and managed
by the state government. It is the largest wood processor. Within the complex
of the Chatham saw mill there is a beautiful museum which shows the photographs
of how the saw mill works and also different handicrafts work and paintings. The mill is open on all days except on Mondays and public
holidays. One can visit the mill between 8:30 am to 2:30 pm and see the working
of the saw mill with a minimal fee. The mill is hardly 20mins drive
from the main bus stop of the Port Blair.
Anthropological Museum: One of the best museums in Port Blair which showcase the life of the tribes
of Andaman and Nicobar Islands. The museum is open
on all days except Monday and other public holidays. The museum is open from
9amto 1pm and 1:30 to 4:30pm. The museum has various handicrafts
work, tools, photographs, clothing, and clay models like utensils, equipment's
used by these tribal people. Andaman has four tribes namely Great Andamanese,
Jarawas, Sentinelese and the Onges. In Nicobar are the Toe Mongoloid tribes,
Nicobarese and Shompens.
Chidiya Tapu: It is a beautiful island located at a distance of 25 km from Port Blair. It
is also known as Bird island is one of the best places in port Blair to see the
sunset. Chidiya Tapu is undoubtedly a haven for natures lovers and to see
beautiful birds of different species. Chidiya Tapu Biological park came into
existence in the year 2001 with an aim to protect and study endemic and
endangered animals that are found in Andaman and Nicobar Islands. The park is
rich in fauna and is spread over 40 hectares of land with varieties of plants
and different bird species. Tourists can also spot wild pigs, spotted Deer and
salt water crocodiles. The park also holds aquarium, insectariums, butterfly
house and also Aviary. The park is open from morning till evening with a minimal
North Bay Island: Just few miles away from Port Blair this beautiful island is famous for scuba diving and other adventure water activities like snorkelling, boat ride and many more. The beach has a light house from where can one see a spectacular view of Ross Island and Port Blair. A visit to North Bay can take your whole day as tourists can enjoy the water activities and also do sunbathing and walking along the sea.
Samudrika Marine Naval Museum: This is a museum run by the Navy is situated in Port Blair. The museum is open from 9am-5pm and best time to visit is from November to March. To make it easy and simple for tourists the museum is divided into five sections namely History of Andaman, Geographical information, people of Andaman, Archaeology and the Marine life. The museum also has different collections of corals, coloured fishes. There is also a tiny zoo which gives shelter to saltwater crocodiles.
Apart from these tourists places in Andaman and Nicobar Islands tourists should not miss to see some of the important islands like Ross Island, Havelock island, Jolly buoy Island, Neil Island, Baratang Island, Diglipur, Little Andaman Island and Ranghat.
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