The Cellular Jail, located at Port Blair was completed in the year 1906 and today stands a relic of the past receiving numerous freedom loving tourists everyday. Under British occupation, countless Indian freedom fighters incarcerated in this very jail were tortured and tormented. A mute witness to these atrocities, the Jail acquired the name ‘cellular’, because it is entirely made up of individual cells for the solitary confinement of the prisoners. Originally a seven pronged, puce-colored building with a central tower acting as its fulcrum and a massive structure comprising honeycomb like corridors, the building was later damaged and today only three of the seven prongs are intact.
The Son-et-Lumiere, shown daily inside the Cellular Jail compound at 6:00 PM (Hindi) and 7:15 PM (English), takes the spectators on a poignant journey back in time and brings back to life the dark chapter in the islands history when it was used as a penal settlement. The saga of colonial oppression and untold suffering is narrated with an old banyan tree taking the centre stage and recounts the atrocious treatment imposed on Indian political prisoners as well as their tenacity towards the cause of Indian independence.
Ross Island, the former capital of Port Blair during the British regime, is a petite island just 10 minutes from the Phoenix Bay Jetty in Port Blair. The seat of power during the British Raj, the island presently houses the ruins of old buildings like The Ballroom, Chief Commissioner's house, Government House, Church, Cemetery, Hospital, Bakery, Press, Swimming Pool and Troop Barracks- all in dilapidated state and almost haunted in appearance.
Viper Island is a small tranquil, striking island situated inside the Port Blair harbor (20 minutes boat journey) and derives its name from the vessel "Viper" in which Lt. Archibald Blair came to the islands in 1789 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.
It is located close to the Cellular Jail in the north-west Port Blair and offers facilities for safe water sports such as water skiing, water scooters, Gemini boats, parasailing, sail boats, wind surfing, speed boats and glass bottomed boats. There is a saline water swimming pool, promenade for walking, changing rooms and a food plaza available near the complex.
The Chatham Sawmill, is one of the oldest and largest mills in Asia, built on the tiny island of Chatam and connected to Port Blair by a bridge. The second largest wharf is on these islands and it also houses a Forest Museum within its premises.
The Mahatma Gandhi Marine National Park also known as Wandoor Marine National Park is at a distance of 29 Kms. from Port Blair and covers an area of 281.5 sq kms. Made-up of open sea, creeks and 15 small and large islands the park was created on 24 May 1983 to protect marine life such and nesting sea turtles prevalent in the area.
Sprawling over an area of 80 acres is a Government farm. Research & Development programs for cultivation of spices like cloves, nutmeg, cinnamon, coconut and pepper are conducted here. The Research and Demonstration farm of the Central Agricultural Research Institute (CARI) is nearby.
Chidiya Tapu is the southernmost tip of South Andaman and is at a distance of 25Km from Port Blair. The dense mangroves, thick forest cover with numerous chirping birds and the white sand beach make it an ideal site for snorkeling as well as little picnics. The forest guesthouse situated on top of a hillock provides a fabulous view of isolated islands and submerged corals. One of the best sunset points in the Andamans, Chidiya Tapu is popular with tourists and romantics alike.
The name Madhuban in Hindi means ‘Forest of Honey’. Primarily a trekking area, Madhuban is complete with a beautiful beach in front guarded by lush green hills at the back. 75 Kms by road and 20 Kms by ferry from Port Blair, the area also comprises of the Mount Harriet Peak and the Mount Harriet National Park. Exotic birds, animals, butterflies, and elephant lumbering are the most interesting part of the trek. Birds like the parakeet, swift, dove, white bellied sea eagle, local teal, kingfisher, reef heron, wader, tern and whistling teal make the trip well worth it and butterflies of contrasting colours flutter all along the route of the trek.
The summer headquarters of the Chief Commissioner during British Raj, Mt. Harriet is 55 Km by road and 15Km by ferry from the capital city of Port Blair. It is the highest peak in the South Andaman (365 metres high) and provides a fantastic view of the cobalt waters and emerald island clusters. One can trek up to Madhuban through a nature trail viewing en-route the endemic birds, animals and butterflies species here. Conducted tours to Mt. Harriet are available from Andaman Teal House.