Andaman and Nicobar Islands Monuments

Andaman and Nicobar Islands has got a negative recognition for being the 'kala pani' or the 'Black Water Prison' of the pre-independence era of India. But with time the place has evolved as the 'Garden of Eden'. Apart from being bestowed with scenic landscapes, the place also has rich historical resources. Some of the Andaman and Nicobar Islands Monuments are:

Cellular Jail

Andaman and Nicobar Islands was used by the Colonial rulers right from the days of the First War of Independence in 1857. But the Cellular Jail, notoriously known as the 'kala pani', whose construction was started in 1896, was completed in 1906. As far as the structure of Cellular Jail in Andaman and Nicobar Islands is concerned, it has seven wings; and in the middle there is a tower.

The Indian Bastille is situated in the north - eastern part of Port Blair. It was way back in 1906 that the jail building was completed. The jail is named so because of the solitary confinements that the freedom fighters were subjected to. This puce-colored building of Andaman and Nicobar Islands has witnessed all the twists and turns of the Indian Independence and now it stands as a place of pilgrimage for the Indians.

This tower was used by the guards to keep watch on the prisoners. There is also a bell on the tower which worked as an alarm. Each of the three wings are three-storied. And the name 'cellular jail' is derived from the solitary confinements that the prisoners were subjected to. When completed Andaman and Nicobar Islands Cellular Jail was comprised of 698 cells, each measuring 4.5 meters x 2.7 meters.

Cellular Jail at Andaman and Nicobar Islands has witnessed India's struggle for freedom all through. It has seen the atrocities of the British, the determination of the freedom - fighters and also the independence. Netaji Subash Chandra Bose hoisted the flag at a place near the three-storied wings to proclaim independence in 1943.

After independence, though protested by many leaders, two wings of the jail were brought down. The earthquake of 1941 damaged the monument to a large extent. The Japanese occupation from 1942 to 1954 made its condition even more miserable. In recent years, Cellular Jail of Andaman and Nicobar Islands has been hugely affected by the 2004 Tsunami.

Today, though in dilapidated condition, the Cellular Jail stands as a stark example of inhuman torture that the colonizers used to impose upon the colonized. Till today one see the blood - stained bricks and hear the cry of the prisoners for freedom.

Viper Chain Gang Jail

The Viper Chain Gang Jail is located in the small Viper Island in the district of Andaman and Nicobar Islands. The Viper Chain Gang Jail at Andaman and Nicobar Islands bears testimony of the trauma of the freedom fighters during the Indian war for independence. The Viper Chain Gang Jail of Andaman and Nicobar Islands has got its name from the name of the island that houses it, that is, the Viper island. This name refers to 'Viper', the vessel that carried Lt. Archibald Blair to the Andaman Islands in 1768. He came to this island to put up the Penal Settlement.

The Viper Chain Gang Jail in Andaman and Nicobar Islands was established by the British. The construction of the Viper Chain Gang Jail at Andaman and Nicobar Islands was supervised by the authorities of the Major Fort. The construction work of the jail was started as early as 1867.

The prisoners of this jail were mainly the freedom fighters who fought for the independence of India from the rule of the East India Company. The British established this jail on this secluded island far away from the mainland of India in an attempt to severely punish the people who protested against the British rule by deporting them from their homeland in the Indian mainland.

The people who broke the rules of the Penal Settlement were fettered. The Viper Chain Gang Jail has earned this name due to the cruelty with which the prisoners were treated. Two of the freedom fighters who were deported to this place during the pre-independence days are Nandlal and Nanigopal Pulindas. These two brave fighters protested by declaring hunger strike against the foreign rule of the British at the Cellular Jail and thereafter, they were sent to the Viper Chain Gang Jail.

Ross Islands

Named after Daniel Ross, Ross Islands is situated a few kilometers from Aberdeen jetty, Port Blair. The island has so thick vegetation that a distant view gives the impression of lifelessness, that is, of no human inhabitants on the island. To some extent, this is true.Ross Islands is a place of ruins of churches, bungalows, cemetery, bunkers made by the Japanese in the IInd World War, ballrooms and a dismal dungeon. With an area of 200 acres, Ross Islands was a small but fully furnished world in itself. But in 1942 with the shifting of the Chief Commissioner's Office and the cracks on the shore, the land became deserted. In March 1942, the island was occupied by the Japanese. In October 1945, it was reoccupied by the British.

During the rule of the Britishers, Ross Islands of Andaman and Nicobar Islands had been the headquarters of the Indian Penal Settlement for about 80 years. At that time, the place had everything needed for survival: hospital, bazaar, church, printing press, water treatment plant, cemetery. But today, Ross Island lives only with the memories of those facilities. A museum in Ross Islands named "SMITIKA" presents us with various antiques and photographs to reminisce the bygone days.

Once the administrative headquarters of the British in the Andaman and Nicobar Islands, Ross Islands is now a land of undergrowths and forests. But it still remains an interesting tourist spot for its historical significance. To access the island the tourists have to reach Port Blair and take local transport to reach Phoenix Bay jetty, from where a boat takes the tourists to their destination. Other facilities like porters, guides, escorts or package tours, everything is available to the tourists.

The languages spoken in Ross Islands are Hindi, Tamil and Bengali.

Last Updated on 7/1/2013