The Cellular Jail, Port Blair
The Heart of Matter
Being the capital of Andaman and Nicobar Islands itself makes it one of the most important places on this Union Territory. Situated on the east coast of South Andaman Island, it is the only island in the entire archipelago with an airport. This makes Port Blair the main entry point into Andaman and Nicobar Islands. Port Blair is named after Lieutenant Archibald Blair. It came into prominence when the first British Penal colony was established here in the year 1858. Situated on the Viper Island, it became one of the most dreaded places for convicts and political prisoners. During the time when Indian Freedom movement was at its peak. A new cellular jail was built which came to be famously known as Kala Pani.
Port Blair has a population upwards of 100,000. The population here is an amalgamation of different tribes and religions. This allows one to see many different cultures and traditions on this island. The culture is most prominent during the many festivals.
The Speciality of Port Blair
Famous as 'Kala Paani', Cellular Jail in Port Blair is the most known attraction of Andaman and Nicobar Islands. Although the prison was started only in the year 1896, Andaman has been used to keep prisoners after the revolt of 1857. The prison became operational only in the year 1906.
The Jail was built of bricks that were bought from Myanmar (then, Burma). The architecture of the jail was well thought out and was one of the highest security jails in India at that time. There were seven wings in all in the center of which was a watch tower from where guards used to keep watch on the inmates. The sheer size of these buildings will leave you awe struck. In the course of time, many fo the wings were destroyed. The remianning wings and the central towere were transformed into a national memorial in the year 1969.
Today, there is also a hospital named Govind Ballabh Pant Hospital inside the premises. The 500 bed hsopital was started in the year 1963. The main attraction of the cellular jail is the light and sound show which is organized at the evening time. The show narrates the long standing history of the jail and the Andaman islands.
Port Blair is home to some brilliant and nicely maintained museums. The most famous is the Anthropological Museum that is situated at Haddo in the northern part of Port Blair. Set up in the year 1975, the museum has put on sidplay tribal artifacts, such as boats, waepons, basket, clothing, photographs, models and records of expeditions carried out in Andaman and Nicobar islands. There is also a library which has stock of some famous publications related to tribal culture in Andaman and Nicobar Islands.
Then there is a museum called Samudrika museum which is maintained by Indian Navy. Samudrika is divided into five categories, history of the islands, the people of these islands, marine life, archeology, and the geography if islands. Also visit the Forest Museum and Fisheries museum.
No matter where you are in Andamans, adventure is an option that is always in your hand. For indulging in adventure sports, visit the Andaman water sports complex which is open to public every afternoon between 2 PM to 5 PM. Here you can enjoy a ride on a speedboat or hire a water scooters and rule the waves. You also have the option of para sailing which is the most heart pumping sports of all. For children, there is a sea water swimming pool which lets your children enjoy the thrill of water sports in a safe environment. For scuba diving and snorkeling, take a trip to Mahatma Gandhi Marine National Park.
Where To Stay In Port Blair
There are ample staying options in Port Blair where you can find hotels ranging from budget to 4 star. Since Port Blair is not a very big town, most of the hotels are situated close to the city center and to each other. Fortune Resort Bay Island is the only 4 star hotel in Port Blair. Other known hotels of Port Blair are Hotel Sinclair Bay View, Sun Sea Resort and Hotel TSG Emerald view.
How To Reach Port Blair
Port Blair has its own airport named Vir Savarkar Airport. There are regular domestic flights from and to different Indian cities like Delhi and Kolkata. Air Sahara, Indian Airlines, Jet Airways and Air Deccan are the major flight operators to Port Blair.
There are regular ships connecting Port Blair to mainland cities like Chennai, Kolkata, and Vishakhapatnam. M. V. Nicobar, M. V. Nancowry, M. V. Swaraj Dweep, M. V. Harshavardhana and M. V. Akbar are the ships that ferry visitors to Port Blair.
There are taxis and auto rickshaws available in ample. Port Blair is not a very big town so commuting inside is not a problem.
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