South Andaman - Port Blair and Around
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, 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.
Andaman Water Sports Complex
This is a unique sports complex of its kind. Facilities for safe water sports and adventure water sports such as Water Skiing, Water Scooters, Gemini Boats, Parasailing, Sail Boats, Wind Surfers, Speed Boats and Glass Bottom Boats For Coral/ Ship Wreck Viewing, etc. are available here. Saline water swimming pool, promenade for morning/evening walk, change room & Food Plaza are available near to the complex. There is a memorial built to commemorate the battle of Aberdeen, fought between the British and Andamanese aborigines in May 1859 in which many Andamanese died.
Prime Attractions of Port Blair India
» Islands of Port Blair Andaman
Travel Port Blair to explore its amazing attractions, which can be listed as:
§ 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.
» Beaches of Port Blair
§ 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 .
§ Chatham :
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.
» Parks in Port Blair
§ 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.
§ Marina Park :
This park, right on the seashore near to the water sports complex, has amusements rides, children's traffic park and toy train. A suitable place for spending the evenings.
» Museums of Port Blair
§ Anthropological Museum :
This museum at Phoenix Bay depicts the life of the Paleolithic Islanders. It also houses the models of the aborigines and their tools.
§ 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.
» Zoo / Aquarium in Port Blair
§ 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.
§ Mini Zoo :
Situated at Haddo (Delanipur - Chatham Road), it houses some of the rare species of endemic birds and animals found n these islands.
Other Attractions of Port Blair
§ 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.
Excursions of Port Blair
§ Chidiya Tapu (25-km. By Road From Port Blair) :
Chidiya Tapu is the southern most tip of South Andaman Island. The lush green mangroves, forest cover with numerous chirping birds and the sylvan sands and Munda Pahar beaches make it an ideal picnic site. One can witness breathtaking sunsets over here.
§ Mount Harriet(55-km, By Road 55-km/15-km By Ferry And Road From Port Blair) :
One can take a ferry service from the Chatnam wharf to Bamboo flat. From there one can take a vehicle to Mt Harriet, which is 365m. A natural trail takes to the top and one can have a comfortable stay at the forest guesthouse. Towards the north is the Mt. Harriet National Park and Madhuban. One can watch the elephants being trained to carry logs over here.
§ 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.
» Island Destinations
§ Rangat (170-km. By road And 90-km. By Sea) :
One can enjoy the quiet village life and solitude of virgin nature here. You can also breathe unpolluted air, a rare commodity for the city dweller. Cutbert bay beach is a turtle nesting ground. One can view the nesting of turtles during December - February season.
§ Neil Island (36-km. By Sea From Port Blair) :
This beautiful island with lush green forest and sandy beaches is the vegetable bowl of Andamans. Connected by boat from Port Blair four days a week, it provides an ideal holiday for eco friendly tourists. Hawabill nest guesthouse of the Directorate of Tourism provides comfortable accommodation here. One can feel the sincerity and serenity of village life here. Beautiful beaches at Lakshmanpur, Bharatpur, Sitapur and the natural bridge formations on the seashore are the attractions.
§ Long Island (82-kms. By Sea From Port Blair) :
Connected by boat four times a week from Phoenix Bay Jetty, this island offers an excellent sandy beach at Lalaji Bay, unpolluted environment and evergreen forests. The sea around the island is frequented by dolphin convoys. Lalaji Bay, 6-km away from the boat jetty, is accessible by 15 minutes journey in Doonghies or trekking through the forest. Island camping (tent accommodation) is available seasonally over here.
§ Havelock Island (50-kms. By Sea From Port Blair - Via Neil Island 62-km) :
This island, near to Neil Island, offers beautiful sandy beaches and lush green forest. Radhanagar Beach, 12-km from the jetty on the western side of the island, is one of the most sought after tourist destinations in the islands. One can enjoy quite holidays in the lap of Mother Nature over here.
§ Little Andaman Island (120-km. By Sea From Port Blair) :
Little Andaman Island offers a perfect mix of white sandy beaches bewitching waterfalls, boating through the creeks, exciting elephant safari, elephant safari, elephant lumbering, elephant calls training, surfing etc. All the places of tourist interest are approachable by the road, leading northwards from the Hutbay by Jetty.
§ Island (139-km. By Sea From Port Blair) :
This is the only active volcano in India. Erupted twice in recent past, once in 1991 and again in 1994-95, after remaining dormant for about 177 years. This island, about 3-km in diameter, has a big crater of the volcano, about half kilometer away from the shore. Barren Island can be visited by special boats and the visit is restricted to on board vessels only. Landing ashore is not allowed.
Place to stay in Port Blair
The options of accommodation in Port Blair vary from posh guesthouses and tourist resorts to reasonable economy class guesthouses and tourist lodges.
PRACTICALITIES Port Blair has two jetties: Boats from the mainland moor at Haddo Jetty, 1-km north of Phoenix Jetty, arrival point for inter-island ferries, but you can also check the shipping news column of the local newspaper, for details of forthcoming departures.
The Ramshackle Airport is 4-km south of town at Lamba line. Entry permits are issued to foreigners from the counter in the corner of the arrivals hall while the baggage is being transferred. Taxis are on hand for the trip into town.
Road names are not used much in Port Blair, with most establishments addressing themselves simply by their local area. The name of the busiest and most central area is Aberdeen Bazaar, where one will find the Superintendent of Police (for permit extensions), the SCI office for Onward Bookings by Sea, and the State Bank of India (Monday-Friday, 9.00 am - 1.00 pm, Saturday 9.00 - 11.00 am). Some hotels also have the facility to change Travellers' Cheques.
Nearby Cities of Port Blair
- 1190 Km
» Calcutta - 1255 Km
- 1200 Km
How to Get There
Port Blair, on South Andaman, is served by fights from Calcutta (Kolkata) (Tuesday, Thursday, Saturday and Sunday) and Chennai (Monday, Wednesday and Friday). Sea: It's also possible to get to Port Blair by ship. The principle sailings leave Calcutta (Kolkata) and Chennai every one of two weeks, and Vishakapatnam once every month or so.
Tourists arriving by plane can pick up the permit necessary to visit the islands on arrival at Port Blair airport; passengers travelling on a ship should obtain on at a Foreigners' Registration Office before leaving India.
Local Transport :
Walking is tiring and time-consuming in hilly Port Blair, even taking into account the minimal amount of sightseeing the place offers, making transport essential. Yellow-top taxis gather opposite the bus stand and they all have meters. They are the best option one can have for a trip from the center of town to Corbyn's Cove. No rickshaws, auto-or otherwise, operates on the island.
Local buses run in frequently from the bus stand in central Port Blair to Wandoor and Chirya Tapu, and can be used for day-trips, though it's best to rely on one's own transport to get around South Andaman. Bicycles can be rented from Aberdeen Bazaar, but the roads to the coasts are most easily covered on a Vespa or Motorcycle, both available for rent. The petrol pump is on the crossroads west of the bus stand, and there's another on the road towards the airport. Fill up before one leaves town, as gas is hard to come by elsewhere.
So this holidays plan your tour to Port Blair to explore this elite place of India.