Andaman & Nicobar is well regarded as a group of 572 islands spread like stunning chains of corals across the Bay of Bengal and considered as the hidden gem of the country. With the significant rise of Andaman Nicobar tourism, people are getting aware of its vivid and natural beauty and these untouched islands are no longer unknown to local and foreign tourists. The Andaman Islands are really a paradise of wildlife, clean beaches, history, advanced adventure, anthropology, and water sports. Andaman is the best choice for adventure sports. A lot of tour operators are offering their packages to this paradise.
Andaman Islands are also known for Cellular Jail, which was once referred to as “Kala Pani”. The whole group of islands is known to be based on events that happened during the colonial era. You can see the influence of British architecture and culture in most of the regions. Along with natural beauty, the Andaman Islands have another side – historical and heritage landmarks – that can leave you in awe. With that said, we are going to introduce you to these 5 heritage attractions of the Andaman Islands that you shouldn’t miss.
Note – Andaman doesn’t have winter season as it is located in the southernmost part of India. Keep in mind that the islands get heavy rainfall on the monsoons and high humidity in summer months. Hence, you can visit Andamans from November to May when the weather is pleasant and mild. Visit Andaman during monsoons to explore the rich greenery of the islands and avoid the crowd of tourists.
When it comes to heritage attractions in Andaman, no list can be completed without mentioning Cellular Jail. Initially built to keep prisoners and provide isolated detention to them in 1906, Cellular Jail (Kala Pani) is a well-known attraction for the tourists. One can explore its architectural brilliance and its dark past. After independence, the Cellular Jail was announced as National Memorial in 1947.
The Cellular Jail was architecturally built like seven spokes of a cycle wheel having 3 stories and a total of 693 cells to provide solitary confinement. There was absolutely no contact between the prisoners in the jail and the front row of cells was built to face the back of another cell.
Most parts of the walls in Cellular Jail were destroyed by the Tsunami in 2004. Today, only the National Memorial at the entrance gate is left where you can see the pictures of freedom fighters and the Exhibition Gallery. The first floor houses Netaji Gallery, Art Gallery, and Library which showcases the freedom movement. The premises also housed the First War of Independence Gallery as well as the Swatantrya Jyot – the eternal flame placed nearby. The management also hosts Son-et-Lumiere or Light and Sound Show for tourists. It is truly a must-watch for history lovers.
For all the history lovers like you, Ross Island is the best heritage attraction in Andaman. The whole island tells the dark and eerie past of the British Era. You can find the ruins of British jails, residence, offices, and a church. These major landmarks are covered by century-old trees with wild roots and vines. Some of the must-visit tourist attractions and fascinating places are the Cathedral, Chief Commissioner’s house, and Graveyard of the British rulers. You can also get up close to deer spotted there and ducks, peacocks, and rabbits while strolling along. You can also embrace the serene and tranquil views of the nearby islands and soothing sea breeze in Ross Island.
Getting there – From Marine Park, Port Blair, you can take a ferry to reach Ross Island and spend the whole day over there. By the evening, you can take the ferry back.
Chatham Island is the first landmark where a colony was formed by Lt. Archibald Blair in 1783 and it was initially called Mark Island. Later on, it moved to North Andaman. You can also witness sawmill in Chatham Island which was biggest at that period in Asia.
Japanese invaded the island during World War II and it was later bombed by RAF. The island was rebuilt again by the British when they occupied it. After independence, Dr. Rajendra Prasad, the first President of India after freedom, visited this place. On the 150s anniversary of settlement, a memorial column was built to pay tribute to the first batch of freedom fighters who came here.
The Bomb Crater at Chatham Saw Mill and a museum showcasing forest wealth is the famous heritage attractions in Chatham Island. You can explore the rich history of Andaman here.
Getting there– You can get there via road from Port Blair which takes around 24 minutes to drive. You can also take ferries from Rajiv Gandhi Water Sports Complex to North Passage and Viper Islands.
Viper Island is well located up to 22 km from Port Blair and houses an old jail used to hold political prisoners and convicts by the British. It is an exquisite and pristine island named as a tribute to a pristine vessel used by Lt. Archibald Blair which he used to visit the Andaman Islands in 1789. You can enjoy the serene views of 7 points from the harbor or visit the old jail building to explore Viper Island. It is truly a blend of natural grandeur and historical elements.
Getting There – You can take ferries from Port Blair to Viper Island.
It was a leading commercial hub in the British empire and it is one of the major cultural landmarks of Andaman. It is well covered by well-built government offices, houses, and shops. You can take a kilometer long heritage walk covering tradition, cultural, history and various interesting tales behind the region. You can start the heritage walk from Netaji Club Ground to Police Temple, Clock Tower, Police Masjid, Supply Barrack Lane, Police Mandir, and Andaman Club.
Getting there – You can take buses, auto-rickshaws, taxis, and mini buses from Port Blair to Aberdeen.