Port Blair – a former colonial island city and the capital of Andaman and Nicobar – is a gorgeous island city surrounded by languorous turquoise coloured waters of Bay of Bengal and various small islands in the area.
With warm sunny weathers, breezy coconut palms, great beaches and water thrills, the island is a perfect place to relax and relieve those tight stress knots that have been building up at the back of your mind. Port Blair promises to provide a well balanced holiday that comprises of great fun and frolic with a glimpse of the islands emotional past along with a calm and meditative ambiance.
Port Blair played an important role in shaping the history of India especially in the Indian freedom movement. The island became the favourite spot for Britishers to deport the Indian nationalists who were arrested on defying charges. The deported Indians were kept in solitary confinement and were not even allowed to meet their families. Owing to the cold-blooded treatment meted out to the prisoners which included starvation, Port Blair became notorious as Kaala Pani or black waters.
A trip to Port Blair will be incomplete if you have not savored the local food, which consists of spicy seafood. After a gastronomic fare, you can head to the bazaars in the island to shop for shell jewellery, cane furnishings and woodcarvings that are famous in this region.
In and Around
It was built by the British to house political prisoners far away from the mainland. All prisoners were kept in isolation cells and subjected to a brutal work regime, with regular whippings and executions. Briefly taken over by the Japanese during WW2, who added outright torture to the palette. Today the jail has been transformed into an immaculately kept national monument complete with a garden that seems very much at odds with the horror of the place.You can watch it from morning 9:30 a.m to 4 p.m. A light-and-sound show in Hindi (6 pm) and English (7 pm) available in the evenings. Some days the timings are altenated. Jail is closed on Mondays although the light and sounds is still on in the evenings. You have to stand in a long queue from 4.30 pm onwards till the ticket counter opens at 5.20 pm.
The Gandhi Park is small little recreational center that provides a number of amusements like fun rides, historical relics and water sports. The park also has a few remnants of the World War II, with Japanese bunker and temple. Gandhi Park also includes a Dilthaman tank that was once the only source of drinking water in the region previously. Besides the above mention things to look out for, Gandhi Park also has a lake, gardens and eateries, making it a popular spot among families for a day’s jaunt.
The mini zoo is located on Haddo, which is on the way to Delanipur-Chatham road. The zoo hosts a series of rare species of birds and animals that were prevalently found in this region. The zoo is open on most days, but do enquire with your hotel travel agent to know more on the timings of the zoo.
The anthropology museum provides informative details on the various ethnic groups present in the Andaman & Nicobar Island. The museum has a wide variety of artifacts such as tools, clothing, and pictures taken by renowned photographers. The storehouse spreads light on the life of various indigenous tribal groups that lived in this region and is interesting place to visit.
Samudrika is a museum that is managed by the Navy. The place has a vast collection of corals, shells and different variety of fishes that are a colorful mesmerizing sight to be lost in. Since the Indian Navy manages the place, you can also find precise geographical and historical facts about the isle. The museum is said to be situated close to the Teal House.
Zsi museum is another storehouse on marine and animal life found in the island of Port Blair. The place has a variety of sponges, corrals, butterflies, centipedes and other animal displays. Zsi museum is managed by the Zoological Survey of India and comprises of valuable research annals.
Around Port Blair
It is situated at a distance of 14kms and is a government farm where the research and development programmes are conducted at the farm on the cultivation of spices like cloves, nutmeg, cinnamon, pepper, and coconuts.
Mahatma Gandhi Marine National Park
It is at Wandoor is 29kms from Port Blair is another interesting place to visit, and is covered with tropical and mangrove forests. The National Park has some extremely rare flora and fauna.
Famous for its white sand beaches and crystal clear waters, Havelock Island is situated at a distance of 54kms and is a must visit for everyone, With activities like scuba diving, snorkelling, and trekking Havelock Island is a paradise for outdoor enthusiasts.
The best time to visit Port Blair is between October and March. The weather in summers and winters is ideal for all the water related activities.
How to Reach
Port Blair is well connected with regular flights from Chennai and Kolkata.
For the adventurous and the patient, you can take a passenger ship that heads out to Port Blair from Chennai (60 hours), Kolkata (66 hours), and Visakhapatnam (56 hours). Tickets can be booked at the office of the Shipping Corporation of India (SCI).
Stay / Eat
Where to Stay
Sun City Resort
TSG Emerald View
Where to Eat
Fortune Bay Island Hotel,
MG Road, Port Blair
Andamani Fish Curry
Fortune Bay Island Hotel,