Welcome to Port Blair !
Port Blair is the gateway to these enchanted islands that is on the eastern edge of the Indian Ocean. The capital city of the Andaman and Nicobar Islands is relatively small in size and today in the 21st century, is a melting pot of people from all parts of India who have come to adopt these Islands as their home. Port Blair is the seat of Civil Administration and also hosts a Tri-Service Command of the Armed Forces. Apart from tourism, fishing and paddy (rice) cultivation form the chief occupation for the locals. Port Blair is a land of tranquility where settlers from all parts of India live in complete harmony. The serenity of these islands was unfortunately disrupted in 2004 by the tsunami that caused a great deal of damage in the Nicobar Islands. However the populated areas of Port Blair and Havelock were unscathed and all geological indications report that the islands are safe.
The Cellular Jail, located in Port Blair, is a mute witness to the tortures meted out to the freedom fighters, who were incarcerated in this jail. The Cellular Jail, completed in the year 1906 acquired the name “CELLULAR” because it is entirely made up on individual cells for the solitary confinement of the prisoners. The jail, now a place of pilgrimage for all freedom loving people, has been declared a National Memorial.
“Sound and light Show”. The saga of the heroic freedom struggle is brought alive in a moving Sound & Light show. The show is conducted every evening in the grounds of the cellular jail and gives us a brief idea about the happenings in the jail prior to the independence.
Ross Island was once the administrative headquarters of the British Administration. The island, with historical background and preservable ruins, is spread along an area of 0.6 sq. kms. The British had a fine settlement here and despite its rather small size, many visitors came here to enjoy the tropical atmosphere and luxurious facilities Ross offered. It was due to these luxuries that Ross was titled “The Paris of the East”. Today Ross Island is under the supervision of the Indian Navy. Most of the old buildings and monuments were destroyed by the 1941 earthquake which rocked the island and brought everything on a stand still. For example, The Chief Commissioner’s residence, modeled on Windsor Castle, now lies in ruins as does most of the other buildings on the Island.
Ross Island is open for tourists to visit during day time except Wednesday’s. Boat services are available from the Water Sports Complex, Port Blair. The navy has established a museum on the island known as ‘Smritika’ depicting the history of the island.
The tiny, serene and beautiful island “ The Viper” is situated inside the Port Blair Harbour. Viper Island derived its name from the vessel “Viper” which carried Lieutenant Archibald Blair to this island in the year 1789 . The purpose of his visit was to construct a system of punishable laws. An example of his punishable laws were, “if any convict held disobeyed the rules, he was gagged and put to work on Viper island. Now, the ruins of jails and gallows can be seen on the island. The jail at Viper, where prisoners deported from the mainland were confined, was built by the British during 1864-1867.
Harbour cruises are organized by private boats from Water Sports Complex, Port Blair, provides a panoramic view of different points around the harbour and includes a trip to Viper Island.
Chatham Island , at the north tip of Port Blair, houses one of Asia’s largest saw mill. Dating back to 1836, these enormous workshops were built to manage the durable (and expensive) padauk wood. The Chatham Saw Mill is a store-house of timber like Padauk, Gurjan, Marble, Satin Wood, etc and built on a tiny island,which is connected to Port Blair by a bridge.The island has the second largest wharf in the area, and where island-mainland ships can berth.
The island is an attraction for its small size and the view of the island amidst the sea water, seen from the bridge is mesmerizing. Chatham only needs a few hours to finish the sightseeing of the whole island.
The Second Highest Peak in Andamans and once the summer headquarters of the Chief Commissioner during the bygones of the British era, this mount is the highest point in Port Blair and ideal for trekking.
A short distance by ferry or about 55 km from Port Blair via road, Mount Harriet has a Forest Guest House with lovely eco-friendly huts at a height of about 365 m from sea level. From this elivation you can enjoy Port Blair and also excellent sunrises and sunsets.
Carbyn’s Cove Beach, Port Blair
Corbyns cove beach is the only beach in vicinity of Port Blair, situated about 7 kms from centre. This coconut- palm fringed beach, is ideal for swimming, surfing and sun- bathing. You can enjoy the distant Ross Island, the cool sea breeze and kaleidoscopic view of the blue waters. The complex has a restaurant, a bar and an exclusive beach-side resort named Peerless Sarovar Portico.
Rajiv Gandhi Water Sport Complex (MARINA PARK)
Rajiv Gandhi Water Sport Complex is centrally located in the Port Blaire. It has a small harbour from where tourist boats depart for nearby islands, namely Ross Island, Viper Island, and North Bay (Coral Island). The complex offers aqua-sport facilities such as Water-skiing and Speed Boats etc. At the entrance there is a Memorial reminding the Battle of Aberdeen fought between Britishers and Andamanee aboriginals in 1859.
Chidiya Tapu is the southern most tip of South Andaman Island. The lush green mangroves, forest cover with numerous chirping birds and the Sylvan Sand Beach and Munda Pahar beaches make it an ideal picnic site. The forest guesthouse situated on top of a hillock provides a fabulous view of some isolated islands, submerged corals and the breath-taking sunset.
Mahatma Gandhi Marine National Park
The Mahatma Gandhi Marine National Park is located in Wandoor Village at a distance of 29 Kms from Port Blair. The entire National Park covers an area of 281.5 Sq.Kms. This Marine Park, made-up of open sea, creeks and 15 small and large islands. The viewing of rare corals and underwater marine life through glass bottom boats, Scuba Diving and Snorkeling are the activities you can enjoy in the park.
Within the park area, there are three beautiful small islands which are open for tourists, namely Jolly Buoy, Cinque and Red Skin Island.
Jolly Buoy Island -An island inside Mahatma Gandhi Marine National Park.
The Jolly Buoy Island is cautiously cradled in the heart of the Mahatma Gandhi Marine National Park. If you are looking for a mellow spot for exploring the enigmatic and intriguing underwater life, the venue of Jolly Buoy will certainly not disappoint you. As a matter of fact, an entire array of diverse corals and baffling marine life dwells in the emerald blue waters of the surrounding seas.
Activities that are available at the Jolly Buoy are snorkeling, sea-bathing and just chilling out on the sunny beaches.
Red Skin Island -An island inside Mahatma Gandhi Marine National Park
Positioned inside the area of the Marine National Park, Red Skin Island is bequeathed with a varied range of natural marvels which truly dazzles the on-lookers.
The park provides a rich and varied habitat for marine animals which range from the smallest zoo plankton to the large sea mammals like Dolphins. The islands inside the park are also the best nesting grounds for four species of marine turtles including the Green Sea, the Leather Back, the Hawk Bill and finally the Olive Ridley. The diverse species of corals can be observed in their natural ambiance. Activities you can enjoy are snorkeling and sunbathing.
Cinque Island-An island inside Mahatma Gandhi Marine National Park.
Cinque Island is considered to be an appendage of the Marine National Park and is certainly one of the most gorgeous islands. So much so, it attracts the bulk of tourists throughout the year. Cinque Island is also comfortably approachable from any distant corner of Andaman’s as it takes approximately 3 ½ hours to reach from Wandoor if you are traveling by boat. Exquisite corals and baffling marine life dwells at the abstruse depths of the opulent seas.
Cinque Island has a sandbar which acts as a rendezvous point for the twin islands of South and North Cinque. The sunset scene at the Cinque Island has unparalleled beauty by a pristine ambiance. Cinque island is open for night stay too. Information about this is available locally.