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About Port Blair
South Andaman is today the most heavily populated of the Andaman Islands, particularly around the capital, Port Blair. Foreign tourists can only visit its southern reaches western shores at Wandoor, 35-km southwest of Port Blair.
With one's own transport it's easy to find one's way along the narrow bumpy roads that connect small villages, weaving through forests and coconut fields, and skirting the swamps and rocky outcrops that form the coastline.
Port Blair Andaman Nicobar
Port Blair, a characterless cluster of tin-roofed buildings tumbling towards the sea in the north, east and west and petering into fields and forests in the suit, merits only a short stay.
The hilly city of Port Blair, also known as Emerald Islands, is on the east coast of South Andaman Island, and is reachable from Kolkata, Chennai and Vishakhapatnam. Named after Lieutenant Archibald Blair who tried to establish a colony here in 1789, this exquisite island was previously associated with British colonial rule and the Independence struggle. The infamous Cellular Jail is located on the Ross Island. Port Blair was also headquarters of Subhash Chandra Bose's Indian National Army. The islands are a treasure house of marine life that thrives in the deep waters of the Bay of Bengal. Port Blair was made popular by the Hawaii-born musician, filmmaker, and surfer Jack Johnson's song Holes to Heaven that describes his surf trip here.
Viper Island
The Britishers used to harbour convicts here. The first jail was constructed here which was abandoned after the construction of Cellular Jail. It has a gallows atop a hillock, where condemned prisoners were hanged. Sher Ali, who killed Lord Mayo, the Viceroy of India in 1872, was also hanged here.
Ross Island
Once the seat of British power and capital of Andaman Islands, it stands now as a ruin of the bygone days with the old structure almost in debris. A small museum named 'Smritika' holds photographs and the other antiques of the Britishers relevant to these islands.
Corbyn's Cove
Corbyn's Cove, the coconut palm fringed beach, ideal for sun basking, is 7-kms away from port Blair town. Facilities like hotel, restaurant and bar, changing room etc., are available near to the beach. Historical remains like Japanese bunkers can be seen here. Snake Island situated nearby is famous for Scuba Diving.
The Chatham Saw Mill, one of the oldest and largest mills in Asia, is built on a tiny island connected to Port Blair by a bridge. It is a storehouse of timber like Padauk, Gurjan, Marble, Satin Wood, etc. This island has the second largest wharf of these islands, where island mainland ships can berth. The island is near the Haddo wharf, which is the largest wharf in the islands.
Gandhi Park
This beautiful park near to the Raj Niwas has facilities like amusement rides, safe water sports, nature trail around the lake, garden, restaurant and historic remains like Japanese temple as well as a bunker.
Samudrika (Naval Marine Museum)
Situated opposite to Andaman teal house, Delanipur this museum is meant to create awareness on various aspects of oceanic environment. A good collection of shells, corals and a few species of colourful fishes found in these islands are on display.
Aquarium (Fisheries Museums)
Situated near Andaman water sports complex, it exhibits species of marine life peculiar to the islands and found in the Indo-Pacific Ocean and the Bay of Bengal.
Cellular Jail
Port Blair's only firm reminder of its gloomy past, the sturdy brick Cellular Jail, overlooks the sea from a small rise in the northeast of town. Built between 1896 and 1905, its tiny solitary cells were quite different and far worse than the dormitories in other prison blocks erected earlier. Only three of the seven wings that originally radiated from the central tower now remain. Visitors can peer into the cells (3m by 3.5m), and imagine the grim condition under which the prisoners existed. The Sound ad Light show outlines the history of the prison, and a small museum by the entrance gate exhibits lists of convicts, photographs and grim torture devices.
Mahatma Gandhi Marine National Park, Wandoor (29-km. By Road From Port Blair)
This park is made up of open sea, creeks and fifteen small and large islands covering an area of 281.5-sq-kms. One can see mangrove forests along the creeks and magnificent tropical forests, beautiful beaches, fascinating coral reefs and schools of ornamental fish and marine life. Wandoor is the base to visit the islands in this park like Jolly Buoy and redskin. Glass bottom boats help to take a closer look at the coral colonies. A perfect place for Scuba Diving and Snorkeling.
How to Reach Port Blair
By Air: Port Blair is connected to Chennai and Kolkata by air.
By Sea : There is a regular passenger ship service from Port Blair to Chennai, Kolkata and Visakhapatnam (less frequent than to the other two cities). The journey takes about 50 to 60 hours (three days).
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