Andaman Lagoons - Popular Destination Port Blair in Andaman Islands

Cellular Jail

The Cellular Jail was a colonial prison in the Andaman and Nicobar Islands, India. The prison was used by the British especially to exile political prisoners and revolutionaries to the remote archipelago.

The construction of the prison started in 1896 and was completed in 1906. The building had seven wings which was subsequently damaged and presently three out of the seven prongs are intact. At the centre of the building a tower served as the intersection and was used by guards to keep watch on the inmates. The wings radiated from the tower in straight lines, much like the spokes of a bicycle wheel. A large bell was kept in the tower to raise an alarm. Each of the seven wings had three stories upon completion. There were no dormitories and a total of 693 cells. Each cell was 4.5 by 2.7 metres (14.8 ft x 8.9 ft) in size with a ventilator located at a height of 3 metres (9.8 ft). The spokes were so designed such that the face of a cell in a spoke saw the back of cells in another spoke. This way, communication between prisoners was impossible. They were all in solitary confinement.

Some famous inmates of the Cellular Jail were Diwan Singh Kalepani, Fazl-e-Haq Khairabadi, Yogendra Shukla, Batukeshwar Dutt, Maulana Ahmadullah, Movli Abdul Rahim Sadiqpuri, Maulvi Liaquat Ali, Babarao Savarkar, Vinayak Damodar Savarkar, Bhai Parmanand, Shadan Chandra Chatterjee, Sohan Singh, Vaman Rao Joshi and Nand Gopal.

After independence, Cellular Jail was converted into a National Memorial in 1969 in which the entrance block houses Freedom Fighters Photos and Exhibition Gallery in the ground floor. The first floor of the building has an Art Gallery, Netaji Gallery and a Library on freedom movement. A gallery on First War of Independence and another gallery with rare collection of old photographs has also been set up in the premises. Added attraction in the National Memorial is the programme of Sound and Light Show (Son-et-Lumiere).

Rajiv Gandhi Water Sports Complex

The Rajiv Gandhi Water Sports Complex is also known as Andaman Water Sports Complex which is located in the heart of Port Blair and this is a must visit place filled with fun, excitement and delight. The complex offers the traveller a range of safe and adventurous water sports activities like Jet Ski Ride, Speed Boat Ride, Banana Ride, Sofa Ride, etc.

Other than offering a serene and congenial water sports experience to all age groups, Rajiv Gandhi Water Sports Complex also holds historical prominence. This is the memorial place of the Battle of Aberdeen, which was fought between Andaman aborigines and Britishers in the year 1859. The monument commemorating the 'Battle of Aberdeen' can be seen within the complex structures. The artificial waterfall in the region is also another attraction and there is a children's park nearby as well.

Thus, Rajiv Gandhi Water Sports Complex holds sundry reasons that make it worth visiting attraction on your Andaman trip.

Ross Island

Ross Island is a beautiful island lying 3 km east from downtown Port Blair. This island is one of the main attractions in Andamans because of its historical importance. Regular ferry services are available from Rajiv Gandhi Water Sports Complex that takes around 15 minutes to reach Ross Island.

Ross Island was the first Administrative Settlement of the British colony in these islands and remained the Administrative Headquarters of the Penal Settlement for the islands for 85 years before an earthquake rocked it in 1941. The earthquake caused abandonment of this island and the headquarters were then shifted to Port Blair. Nine months after the earthquake, the island was occupied by Japanese.

Ross Island still has ruins of some of the buildings that were built during British period, a British Church, Mansion, Market, etc. which speaks of the colonial glory once existed. The Japanese too left their imprint on the island which stand in the form of bunkers used as watch points to safeguard the Island from any foreign invasion. There is also a small museum that has pictures taken and drawn in those times. You can spot number of Peacocks, Deers and Ducks at the island. The place gives picturesque views from all around.

Viper Island

Viper Island is a beautiful island lying 4 km west from downtown Port Blair. This place is visited by number of tourists as it has multiple attractions with historical importance. The island can be approached in 20 minutes by harbor cruise originating from Rajiv Gandhi Water Sports Complex.

Years before Cellular Jail was constructed, Viper Island was the location for the first British Jail of the islands, named as the 'Viper Chain Gang Jail', built in 1867, used to imprison convicts and political prisoners. After the construction of the Cellular Jail in 1906, the Viper Jail's importance declined. Viper Island still has the ruins of a gallows atop a hillock. Today, the two-storied Jail building stands tumbled to the plinth level except for a portion of the roof with the outer wall dilapidated.

Viper Island is a serene beautiful tourist destination. The Harbor Cruise, available daily from Rajiv Gandhi Water Sports Complex, provides an overall view of different points of the harbor of this island.

North Bay

North Bay is also known as Coral Island. The beach around the island is very famous for rich and enchanting under water corals. Regular ferry serbvices are available from Rajiv Gandhi Water Sports Complex. The ride from Rajiv Gandhi Water Sports Complex by a boat takes about half an hour to reach North Bay.

The treasures of these coral islands are unforgettable. As the underwater world comes alive, one forgets that there is a less perfect world outside, so engrossing are the vast expanses of colorful corals, fish and vegetation. A peek into this magic land leaves one in a daze for the rest of the day. Coral island with white sand beaches and surrounded by the pristine beauty of Nature. The sea has gifted this island with all the splendor to attract any sea loving human.

The coral reefs of North Bay are gorgeously decorated by nature to stun the visitor. Its rich under water corals makes this island an ideal place for many Water Sports Activities like Snorkeling, Scuba Diving, Sea Walk, Glass Bottom Boat Ride and Coral Safari.

Fisheries Museum (Aquarium)

The Fisheries Aquarium, also known as Aquarium, is located adjacent to the Rajiv Gandhi Water Sports Complex. It exhibits species of marine life endemic to the islands and found in the Indo-Pacific and the Bay of Bengal. Initially a museum, it was converted to an Aquarium which now houses over 350 different species of marine life. The unique Fisheries Museum has a huge variety of sea shells ranging from small to large to massive sized shells. The aquarium also has display of live animals such as huge table corals, crabs, sharks and starfish stored behind huge glass walls. The skeleton of a sperm whale, known for being the largest toothed whale, and life size display of dolphin and saw fish are some of the interesting sights you could take in at the museum.

The Fisheries Museum offers a great learning opportunity for all who are interested in the different forms of marine life living or endemic or endangered. It is a great opportunity to learn about the habitats of marine life and also discover that how unique Andamans is from many of its counterparts. The Museum remains closed on Mondays, Public Holidays and Second Saturdays.

Naval Marine Museum (Samudrika)

Naval Marine Museum, also known as Samudrika, is a museum run by the Indian Navy. This museum aims to generate awareness about the environment in the ocean and the marine life.

Samudrika is derived from the word Samudra, meaning Sea and as the Andaman Islands is surrounded by sea, this museum showcases all its aspects in different categories. The categories are history, people, marine life and archeology. The museum has five sections presenting history of Andaman Islands, Geographical information, people of Andaman, Archaeology and Marine life. This museum create awareness on various aspects of oceanic environment and houses a vast collection of cells, corals and a few species of colourful fishes of the sea around the islands. The museum also showcases a small Aquarium. Outside the museum is a skeleton of a young blue whale washed ashore on the Nicobars.

The Museum remains open on all days except on Mondays, Public Holidays and Second Saturdays.

Zoological Survey of India Museum

Zoological Survey of India Museum homes many varieties of corals, sponges, butterflies and centipedes etc. It also possesses other mammals, birds, reptiles, etc. The museum is a treasure house of diverse variety of flora and fauna found in Andamans. You can see the beautiful diaplay of butterflies, mammals, beetles and birds here. It also homes stuffed specimens of hawks and parakeets and mammals like civets and bats.

The Zoological Survey of India Museum is a great place to learn about the local flora and fauna of the Andamans. A special mention goes to the entomological displays. Apart from being a tourist spot, the collections in Zoological Survey of India Museum, the well labelled display with genetic and species names are useful for scientists, research students and animal enthusiasts.

The Museum remains open on all days except on Mondays, Public Holidays and Second Saturdays.

Anthropological Museum

Anthropological Museum is an epitome of the Andaman and Nicobar Islands culture as it showcases several important things and documents dating back to the time of the original inhabitants of the Islands, prior to the British invasion. It has several things preserved within it that are a proof of the existence and life of the different tribes who inhabited the different Islands largely. The variety of things depicted in the museum bear testimony to the lifestyle, culture and daily utilities used by the Tribes during the early days.

Anthropological Museum is an ethnographic museum that illustrates the four Negrito Tribes of Andamans. These tribes are Sentinesle, Jarawas, Great Andamanese and the Onges and two Mongloid tribes of the Nicobar including Shompens and Nicobarese. The museum has on display various articles like handicrafts, tools, arts and crafts, implements, photographs and clothing that date back to the era of prominence of these native tribes. It goes on to display models of clay and hay to better describe the houses, utensils, ornaments and equipment used by them. The major exhibits of this museum are an ancient Jarawa Chest Guard, Shamanic Sculptures created by Nicobarese, a skull discovered from Sentinelese and much more.

This museum remains functional on all days except on Mondays and Govt. Holidays.

Chatham Saw Mill

Chatham Saw Mill is the saw mill situated in a small island called Chatham Island. Chatham Island was formerly known as Mark Island and it is connected to Port Blair by a bridge.

It was set up in 1883 by the British Govt. with the primary objective to meet the local requirements of saw and timber for the constructional works. It is owned by the state government.

The Chatham saw mill is one of the biggest and the oldest saw mills built in Asia. It is a store house of timber varieties like, Padauk, Gurjan, Marble, Satin Wood, etc. Within the saw mill compound is a museum showcasing the various timber wealth of the Andaman and Nicobar Islands. The museum offers an insight in to forest activities through scale models and display decorative pieces made of Padauk, Marble, Gurjan, Satin Wood, etc.

Chatham Saw Mill reamins functional on all days except on Sundays and Industrial Holidays.

Forest Museum

Forest Museum is located inside the Chatham Saw Mill Complex and is a famous attraction for its wide collection related to forest and the assortment of trees. This prominent museum is a must visit place in Port Blair and it is managed by the forest department of Andaman and Nicobar Islands. The museum offers an insight into forest activities through scale models and displays decorative pieces made of famous woods like Padauk, Marble, Peauma, Gurjan, Satin Wood, etc. One can see many attractive models in timber showcased here. The displayed artifacts here reflect the rich and dense flora found in the islands. To add flavour for the tourists, the museum also incorporates a mini zoo and a small zoological garden inside the building.

Forest Museum showcases some of the masterpieces made from Andaman woods. This place showcases the skilled craftsmanship, uses of the modern day machinery alongside depicting the original picture of the group of Islands.

Forest Museum remains functional on all days except on Mondays.

Kalapani Museum

Kalapani Museum - a Centre of Research & Education, is unique amongst all museums in Port Blair and is the only private history museum in the country. The museum has on display the photographs and models, related to the history and tribes of the Andaman & Nicobar Islands. It is setup in a three storied building, where history is brought alive through miniature and life size models and dioramas. The museum has a unique collection of old history of these islands with about 4000 rare photographs and paintings.

The museum has a vast collection of rare archival photographs, paintings and artifacts of tribes, history, rare original documents of Colonial and Japanese periods, including many documentaries and films related to the Island and the Indian Freedom Struggle. It takes the visitors on a journey of rediscovery and unfolding the unknown and untold mysteries of the Island.

Kalapani Museum remains open 7 days in a week (No Holiday).

Science Centre

Science Centre is located at Goodwill Estate, Corbyn's Cove Road in Port Blair. It is a good place for both children and elders to spend time on. This science centre reveals the science behind the functioning of Oceans, the maturation of Corals and behavior of fish with the climatic changes. The Centre itself is the integration of the aspects of Geography and Science.

The Science Centre gives a detailed account about the ocean. The youngest rock sample in India can be seen here. This shows the under crust activities which are taking place in the barren islands. The mockups which are exhibited in the science centre demonstrate how the behavior of the fishes changes on the basis of climatic change and how the oceans work.

The Science Centre also keeps remains of the first aircraft which was brought to the island. It was an amphibian surveillance plane (VT AAN) which had crashed after the first week. Later on some of the engineering students collected the remaining of the plane and reassembled the aircraft and was kept in the science centre.

The Centre has also Jurassic Park themed Sound and Light Show. There is a planetarium in the centre which is portable and it is named as Taramandal. This Taramandal help us to identify stars and constellations very easily. The open ground surrounding of the science centre accommodates a green science park where hollow pipes are used to make music and display the models of some extinct animals which will help us to know about the evolution of life. To match with this natural set up, the centre houses the only in-house Butterfly corner of the islands. All the butterflies seen here are bred and reared in the corner itself.

The Science Centre remains functional on all days except on Mondays and Public Holidays.

Sagarika Emporium (The Cottage Industries)

Sagarika Emporium, also known as The Cottage Industries, is the shopping destination that has the leading source of Indian handicrafts made by the local artisans. Here, you can find handicrafts, furnishings, jewellery and accessories, art installations etc. This halting place will arouse the curiosity and will delight the tourists away from the overpriced souvenir shop in Port Blair. This emporium is the perfect place to go and buy mementos at reasonable prices. Here you can witness the innovative use for making salt and pepper shakers made out of shells, beautiful carvings from padauk wood, pearl jewellery, beautiful tea cups and lampshades made out of natural material. From here, you can collect tribal masks as well which may make a good gift for friends.

In Sagarika Emporium, feel free to browse and shop its many varieties of handicrafts made by self-employed locals. You can buy souvenirs like vases, wooden products like a miniature elephant, marble plates, cotton sarees, paintings and bangles.

Sagarika Emporium remains open on all days except on Sundays and Public Holidays.

Gandhi Park

Gandhi Park is located at the centre of Port Blair and is one of the major tourist spots in Andamans. An integration of natural brilliance, artificial creations and historical monuments, the park draws many tourists from around the globe.

A children's park has also been created within the Gandhi Park, facilitating all types of sporting equipment. It also has an amusement park and an entertainment park where visitors can have lots of fun & entertainment. Apart from supporting a bird park, Gandhi Park also hosts artificial but well maintained gardens, restaurants and lakes. Gandhi Park with an imposing statue of Mahatma Gandhi in the centre, also possess a Japanese Temple and a Bunker, both constructed during World War II, showing its immense historical significance.

Gandhi Park provides the kind of peace one seeks, away from the persistent madness of the fast life. It is a symbol of natural splendour and manmade brilliance.

Joggers Park

Joggers Park is a must visit for honeymooners or those looking for a quiet place to relax and watch the world go by. While it is quite peaceful in the mornings, it becomes breathtaking just after sunset. This park serves as a great vantage point to see the illuminated island city and the lit up runway of the airport. The views are simply spectacular.

Joggers Park is approximately 3 kms away from Port Blair and is the best place to relax and rest away from the busy schedule of the city with family and friends. The total circular stretch of the park is around 600 meters manicured with beautiful gardens and attracts major crowd of joggers, health freaks and couples strolling around. The serene view of the runway and the city adds an extra charm to the place and forms a must visit place for any visitor who visits Andaman Islands for their holidays or otherwise.

The park is open for public visits from 4:00 am till 10:00 pm in the night on all days including the public holidays.

Corbyn's Cove Beach

Corbyn's Cove Beach is one of the most busy beaches in Andaman Islands. This is the closest beach to the Port Blair which is merely 8 kms from the City center. The drive to the beach is a stunning visual treat. You will get quite a view of the Marina Park, the pristine blue sea lining along the entire route. The coastal road here is a scenic journey, and passes several Japanese WWII bunkers along the way.

Corbyn's Cove Beach is a coconut palm fringed, tranquil sandy beach with blue sea water that makes it ideal for sun-bathing and swimming. With pleasant blue sea water and lush green coconut palms, the beach allows visitors to relax alongside and enjoy several water sports available on the shore of the beach. Some of the water activities that one can undertake and enjoy over a visit to Corbyn's Cove Beach include Jet Ski Ride and Speed Boat Ride.

This coconut palm fringed beach is surrounded with a restaurant, a hotel and small offering refreshments and food. Enjoy a relaxing drink with your family and friends at the beach facing restaurant. The blue benches lining the area make for a great seat to enjoy the view. You will also find clean and well maintained bathrooms and changing rooms at your convenience.

Mahatma Gandhi Marine National Park

Mahatma Gandhi Marine National Park is a national park of India in Wandoor on the Andaman Islands. Situated 29 km. from Port Blair, the Park is located on the South Western coast of South Andaman. The National Park was established on 24th May 1983 with a total area of 281.50 km2 for the protection of marine life including corals and nesting sea turtles. The park is under the overall administrative control of the Chief Wildlife Warden of the forest department of A & N Islands administration.

The rich flora and fauna of the Mahatma Gandhi Marine National Park makes this park an ideal destination for the nature lovers. Rich marine life consists of variety of coral reefs, colorful fishes, molluscs, shells, starfish, turtles, salt-water crocodile etc. The park is home to birds like white-bellied sea eagle, parakeets, Andaman teal, heron, terns, waders and swifts. The Mahatma Gandhi Marine National Park comprises of open sea, creeks and is a collection of 15 untouched islands with most alluring coral reefs and marine lives in the country. Out of these 15 islands, only 2 islands are open for tourists : Jolly Buoy Island and Red Skin Island. The islands are opened for 6 months alternatively in a year to protect live corals.

Jolly Buoy Island : Jolly Buoy Island is a part of Mahatma Gandhi Marine National Park. It is very famous for under water corals and the pristine clear beach. This place is one hour journey from Wandoor beach by boat. The boats to Jolly Buoy Island leaves by 9.00 am. All the boats leave at the same time and come back together. Visitors can enjoy the underwater coral view through Snorkeling or from the Glass Bottom Boat.

Red Skin Island : Red Skin Island derived its name due to the abundance of red corals lining the coastal area of the island. The sea water appears reddish due to these corals and can be best seen on a glass floor boat, which make the journey to this island worthwhile. The island is a very small and has an extremely narrow beach which can be conveniently reached via a jetty from Wandoor Beach. The boats to Red Skin Island leaves by 9.00 am. All the boats leave at the same time and come back together. Visitors can enjoy the underwater coral view through Snorkeling or from the Glass Bottom Boat.

Wandoor Beach

Wandoor Beach is one of the popular beaches of Andaman that lies at a distance of about 25 kms in the east of Port Blair. It is a pictorial beach and a major tourist attraction that grab visitor's attention and interest. With calm and clean blue water, the beach offer soothing ambience to chill and spend quality time. There are smartly constructed changing rooms and benches built for the convenience of the visitors.

Wandoor Beach which is known for its scenic beauty. With clean blue water contrasting beautifully against the dried trees, the beach is ideal for swimming. The trees on the coastline, flinched by the 2004 Tsunami creates a landscape worth holding on to.

If you are the adventure junkie, then a short trek to the natural caves here is just the thing for you. The caves, formed over decades, have been carved by fierce high tides that surround the beach. Overall, the calm and beautiful scenes of Wandoor beach are worth a visit for a soothing experience with the cave trek adding just the right amount of adrenaline.

Chidiya Tapu

Chidiya Tapu is situated approx 28 kms. away from Port Blair in the southernmost tip of South Andaman. Chidiya Tapu is also known as the 'Sunset Point' and 'Bird Island'. It is a small village with lush green mangroves, tranquil islands and forest bestowed with numerous chirping birds, its turquoise blue sea water and soft sandy beach, making it an ideal spot for picnic, sit-out, swimmning, sun-bathing and long beach walk. Chidiya Tapu is well known for its rich collection of birds, green landscape, crystal clear water and white sand, enthralling beaches, colourful sea-shells, variety of corals, vivid butterflies and most significantly, the exquisite view of the sunset in the horizon. The main attractions here include the Chidiya Tapu Biological Park, Chidiya Tapu Beach and Munda Pahad.

The Chidiya Tapu Biological Park came into existence with the aim to conserve and study endemic and endangered species of animals found in the Andaman and Nicobar Islands and the park has been a centre for biodiversity and conservation where one can catch a glimpse of the rich fauna of the islands. A green and dense jungle like environment cleverly recreates the natural habitat of the animals here.

Sprawled over 40 hectares, the park is covered with a variety of plant, right from the majestic Mahuas to the exquisite Padauks. While walking through this jungle, one would be able to catch a glimpse of a variety of birds flying around freely. Other than birds you could spot wild pigs as well as barking deer and spotted deer. Those fascinated with reptiles would enjoy the saltwater crocodile spotting.

Chidiya Tapu Beach is a white sandy beach with crystal clear blue water ideal for swimming and spending quality time with family and friends.

Munda Pahad has got thick forest cover with an extensive collection of endemic birds making it one of the best places for Trekking and Bird Watching.

Rutland Island

Rutland Island is a pristine, non-polluted and least visited island. The beautiful Mangrove forest and coral reefs welcomes you to the 274 sq. km island. It also boasts of a coastline measuring some 60 km. This island is the ideal place for eco-tourists. It is an ideal place for training new divers. The island boasts of awesome rock faces and spectacular dive landscapes. The smaller fish that inhabits the Island live in these waters along with some beautiful corals.

Rutland Island is rich in marine life with the shallow waters near the island having a good representation of fishes and corals. Although hilly, the island is overgrown with fairly open jungle and brush.

Rutland Island is an inhabiated village and is famous for its thick mangrove forest cover, rich marine life and coral reefs, shallow waters and serves as an ideal place for many Water Sports Activities like Snorkeling, Scuba Diving and most prominently Game Fishing in which you could expect to catch Tuna, Barracuda, Red Snapper, Marlin, Trevally, Trigger Fish, Grunts, Goatfish, Sting Rays, etc.

Mount Harriet National Park

Mount Harriet National Park is one of the nearest wilderness areas to the capital Port Blair. The park is one of the popular tourist spot due to its historic importance and natural beauty. The national park spreads over an area of 46.62 km2. It is located at a distance of 20 kms from Port Blair. The park homes several highest points in Andaman and Nicobar Islands. The area includes steep precipitous slopes and gentle slopes with undulating terrain. It has dense evergreen and semi evergreen forests that have outstanding natural beauty. The entire national park forms a chunk of the hill ranges in the eastern part of south Andaman Islands.

Mount Harriet is the highest peak in the South Andamans (383 metres high). The scene of this peak also printed in the backside of Rs.20. During British Raj this highest peak was established as the summer headquarters of the Chief Commissioner during, this place is an ideal for a nice and fascinating over view of the outer islands and the sea. The peak offers some of the most breathtaking views of sunrise and lazily laid Andaman sea all around. The greenery everywhere provides you immense feel that you are in a deep forest.

Mount Harriet National Park is rich with various types of fauna and flora, which make it the most favourite tourist destination of nature lovers. It homes 90 species of birds, out of which 11 are endemic; 27 species of reptiles and amphibians including 12 endemic species. The important reptiles reported from the park are King Cobra, Andaman Cobra and two nesting marine turtles-green sea and Olive Ridley. You can see around 12 species of mammals in the park such as endemic Andaman Pig, bats and Shrew. It also homes 120 species of moths including many new species.

Mount Harriet Marine National Park supports all major forest types in the Andaman and Nicobar Islands namely Evergreen Forest, Andaman Moist Deciduous Forests, Andaman Semi-evergreen Forests and Littoral Forests. The park is also rich with 393 plant species that includes 74 endemic and 51 introduced species.

One can trek up to Madhuban which is a natural and famous trek through a nature trail and can find rare endemic birds, animals and butterflies. It gives the tourists an opportunity to see large number of birds, variegated animals and butterflies. As the park homes several wild animals, this place is suitable for wildlife tour. You can also enjoy the beautiful views of the natural sights of Andamans. It is also a suitable place for bird watching.

Cinque Island

Cinque Island consists of a pair of islands named as North Cinque Island and South Cinque Island connected with a sandbar and is a part of Andaman and Nicobar Islands. It is a famous destination for eco-tourism because of having large a wide variety of flora and fauna.

Cinque Island is a part of Mahatma Gandhi Marine National Park along with 15 other islands. The island is famous for activities like game fishing, scuba diving and snorkeling. It is well surrounded with emerald water, which is the visible up to 80 feet. This stunning island is situated 26 km away from Port Blair and can be reached through boats.

Cinque Island has fine sandy-beach and tropical rain-forest and it is a sanctuary with rare corals and under-water marine life. There is no scheduled ferry service to Cinque Island. Chartered boats of permitted category are allowed from Port Blair and Wandoor.

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