Andaman and Nicobar – The Emerald Islands!! (Part 1 – Port Blair)
Port Blair is the administrative capital of Andaman and Nicobar Islands. Consequently, it is the most developed city and populated in all of the islands. There are many places of tourist interest in and around Port Blair and it usually takes at least a week to visit and enjoy all the attractions at leisure.
The key attractions in and around Port Blair are:-
Cellular Jail – The Cellular Jail was a British colonial prison located in Port Blair and one of the earliest structures built during the the 19th century on the whole of Andaman & Nicobar Islands. The prison was used by the British especially to exile political prisoners to the remote archipelago.
Many notable freedom fighters such as Batukeshwar Dutt and Veer Savarkar, among others, were imprisoned here during the struggle for India’s independence. Today, the complex serves as a national memorial monument and is the most popular attraction in Port Plair.
Ross Island – Ross Island which is opposite to Aberdeen jetty was the capital city during the British rule. Now this is a part of the naval base at Port Blair. The Island can be reached through ferries. Beautiful ruins of buildings built during the British era can be seen all over the island. A museum named ‘Smrithka’ maintained by the Indian Navy is also located here. Photo copies of letters written by British officials, photographs and detailed documentary about the Island can be viewed in the museum. The tourists can also find deer and peacocks in abundance in this Island. There is also a graveyard for the Britishers.
Viper Island – Viper is a small island located close to Ross Island, it is a naval base and has beautiful natural scenery.
Munda Pahar Beach – Munda Pahar beach is located around 27 km from main city of Port Blair. It is a secluded beach with calm waters and amazing views. The crowds on this beach are sparse, therefore, one can enjoy quiet time snorkelling, swimming, collecting sea shells or just simply lounging on the beach for hours with hardly any people around.
Chidiya Tapu – Chidiya Tapu which is in south Andaman is located 26 km away from Port Blair. The forests here are dense and have a beautiful coastline. This is a village fully populated with birds. The sunset amidst the mountains is awesome. The favourite sports in Chidiya Tapu are snorkeling and boat riding.
Chatham Saw Mill – It was one of Asia’s largest saw mills built here during the British rule. Expensive woods like Patak, Marble, Curzon and Satin wood are all cut into various sizes of planks, blocks and sleepers. Tourists are permitted to see the process in this mill, which also has a museum displaying the various finished products.
Anthropological Museum – The Anthropological Museum located in the heart of Port Blair city is good way to know about the history of the Islands and its native people. The life of different indigenous people of the islands who due to their geographical isolation have developed quite unique anthropology and social habits have been displayed quite well at this museum. Also, the settlers’ history and their social morphosis on the islands have also been displayed here.
Corbyn’s Cove Beach – It is natural and a picturesque beach within the main city, surrounded by coconut palms. It is a favourite with locals on weekends and holidays for sea swimming, sun bathing, beach combing and riding.
Rajiv Gandhi Marine National Park (Jolly Buoy) – It is one of the most pristine marine national parks in India. small port charters boats to Jolly Buoy or Red skin Islands (depending on the season), which are part of the Mahatma Gandhi Marine National Park. Clean sands and swimming pools add fun to these islands. The water is clear and transport. Lots of fish of various colour swim across without fear of humans. Life style of deep sea creatures can be observed. It is a half day trip. Tourists must take food and water along with them.
Wandoor Beach – The beautiful Wandoor beach is situated at Mahatma Gandhi marine national park, around 30 Kms from Port Blair main city. For travelling to Jolly buoy and Red skin islands, people have to reach this place by road and board the ship (port charter boats).
After enjoying Port Blair, one gets into the groove of the relaxed island life and this is the perfect time to head for Havelock Island, where it’s more fun and relaxation among some amazingly ethereal beaches!!