The Historic Memorials & Monuments

Ross Island – The Erstwhile Capital

Ruins of the Church...

Ross Island, the erstwhile capital of Port Blair during the British Regime, is a tiny island standing as guard to Port Blair Harbor. The Island presently houses the ruins of old buildings like Ballroom, Chief Commissioner’s House, Govt. House, Church, Hospital, Bakery, Press, Swimming Pool and Troop Barracks of the old British Regime.

On December 1858, Dr. James Pattison Walker arrived in Port Blair, the Island from then remained in the hands and rule of British till 1942. The Japanese occupied the Islands from 1942 till 1945, and then the British Allies fought the Islands back from the Japanese and then abandoned and now this Island is under the full command of the Indian Navy.

The Japanese Bunker...

The British developed this Island into a self-equipped township with all facilities required for a civilized colony. Dr. Walker as the Chairman of the then Andaman Committee, established the infamous, dreaded and the Cruel Penal Settlement with few convicts. The Britishers even forced the local inhabitants to come and live in huts at Ross Island and established an Andaman Home for them who then served the Britishers to catch hold of the fugitive convicts. In whole this Island was the Seat of Power of Britishers during the British Regime.

Ross Island is open for the tourists & visitors to visit during day time and the boat services are available from Phoenix Bay Harbor at 8.30 AM, 10.30 AM, and 12.30 PM. The Indian Navy has established a museum on the Island Known as ‘Smrithika’ depicting the history of the Island.

Viper Island – The First Jail

The Island derives its name from the British Vessel ‘Viper’ in which Lt. Archibald Blair came to the Islands in 1768 with the purpose of establishing a Penal Settlement. The vessel, it is believed, met with an accident and its wreckage was abandoned near the Island.

The tiny, serene & beautiful Island of Viper witnessed, the untold sufferings, the freedom fighters had to undergo. Dangerous convicts found guilty of violating the rules of the Penal Settlement, were put in fetters and were forced to work with their fetters on, in this island. Freedom fighters like Nanigopal and Nandlal Pulindas, who had resorted to hunger strike at the Cellular Jail, were imprisoned at Viper Island.The construction of Viper Jail started in 1867 under the supervision of Major Fort and was used to confine Prisoners’ deported from Mainland to the Island for Penal Settlement. Due to its cruel statistics the Jail earned the notorious name Viper Chain Gang Jail.

Gallows built on top of a Hillock, which was visible to all Prisoners on the Island, which signified death. Sher Ali, the Pathan, guilty of murdering Lord Mayo, was condemned to death and hanged at Viper Island. The Jail was abandoned when the Cellular Jail was constructed in 1906.

The Harbor Cruise is available daily from Phoenix Bay Harbor (at 3:00 PM), provides a panoramic view of different points around the harbor and includes a trip to Viper Island.

Cellular Jail – The National Memorial

Entrance to the Memorial...

Cellular Jail, located at Port Blair, is a mute witness to the tortures meted-out to the freedom fighters, who were incarcerated in this Jail. The Jail, completed in the year 1906 acquired the name, 'Cellular' because it is entirely made up of individual cells for the solitary confinement of the prisoners. It originally was a seven pronged, puce colored building with a Central Tower acting as its fulcrum and a massive structure comprising honey-comb like corridors. The building was subsequently damaged and presently three out of seven prongs are intact. The Jail, a Pilgrimage for all freedom loving people, has been declared a National Memorial.

Tortures on Prisioner's...

The penal settlement established here by the British after the First War of Independence in 1857 was the beginning of the agonizing story of the massive and awful Jail at Viper Island followed by the Cellular Jail. The patriots who raised their voice against the British Raj were sent to this Jail, where many of them perished.

Netaji Subash Chandra Bose hoisted the first Tri-Color on Thursday the 30th of December, 1943 at a place near this Jail. The saga of the heroic freedom struggle is brought alive in a moving 'Son-et-Lumiere' (Light & Sound Show) played daily at 6.00 PM (in Hindi) and 7.15 PM (in English). The Jail also contains a Museum and an Art Gallery which is open on all days except Monday from 9.00 AM to 12 Noon and 2.00 PM to 5.00 PM.