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Tourist Places To Visit In Port Blair
The City of Port Blair is often misunderstood for not being as rich in activities as some of its neighboring Andaman islands. But this couldn't be farther from the truth. Port Blair not only plays host to many activities and water sports but is also gifted with many places that deserve to be visited. If you want to understand the culture of the Andaman islands and the ecosystem surrounding it then Port Blair is the place to be. It offers a wide range of experiences from historic sites to tranquil beach sides. It goes without saying that one should not miss an opportunity to explore the city. There are many tourist places to visit in Port Blair, come of the famous ones including the Cellular Jail, the Samudrika Naval Marine Museum and Mount Harriet National Park among the many beaches and islands around.
The Cellular Jail
During the British occupation, Port Blair witnessed a period marked by political imprisonment. To curb the rebellion as a result of the freedom movement, an elaborate cellular prison was constructed away from the mainland of India. Post independence four of the seven wings were demolished but at the request of the ex-prisoners, three wings still stand and are now National Memorials. Every year tourists visit the cellular Jail (or Kala Pani) to pay homage to the Indian Independence struggle. The jail now has extensive displays and galleries full of ancient photographs and a library dedicated to the freedom movement. Besides this they also house fascinating Son-et-Lumiere depicting the events related to the freedom struggle.
Samudrika Naval Marine Museum
This museum is a charming space, that was originally constructed to create awareness about the ocean and its environment. This navy run marine museum showcases a number of interesting fishes and other marine beings in their natural environment. Their gallery also exhibits numerous collections of bones of different species of marine organisms. Keeping their goal in mind the tourists are given information about Andaman And Nicobar Islands' ecological history and its unique geography and the seasonal changes in marine life. This would be a wonderful place to visit before going on the glass bottom boat rides through the coral reefs as it will give you an interesting perspective.
The Anthropological Museum
If you were wondering about the history of the islands before the British arrived, then this is the place to be. The museum holds records of a more beautiful time when four great tribal communities inhabited the area. It showcases a collection of weapons which were used for hunting and possibly for defense as well, in addition to clothing, art work and boats. Each artifact gives important clues to different aspects of their daily lives, including their diet, deities, social structure and myths. The museum is also home to a library containing generous information about the original inhabitants, some of whom still live in restricted areas of the island.
The Forest Museum
The museum is located in the quiet outskirts of Port Blair. It displays various artifacts recovered from the forest that depict the ecosystem of Andaman And Nicobar Islands. The museum is situated within the Chatham Saw Mill which in itself is an interesting place to visit. Besides the Gallery, they also house a mini zoo and a botanical garden that is home to some of the exotic flora and fauna found in the islands.
Mahatma Gandhi Marine National Park
The national park about 30 kilometers south of the main city is a treasure trove of exotic birds like the White-Bellied Sea Eagle and the Andaman Teal in addition to colorful fishes, turtles and other marine animals. It is famous for its extensive coral reefs, its white sand beaches and its magnificent islands. Jolly Buoy and Red Skin Islands are among the two that are open to tourists. This is also a very popular location for adventure sports like snorkeling, scuba diving and deep sea diving.
Mount Harriet National Park
At about 20 kilometers from Port Blair lies the national park covering an extensive area of the island. It includes Mount Harriet and a few other peaks rising up to 1500 feet above sea level. The Park is a very popular destination for trekking and bird watching. It is home to a multitude of bird species including the beautiful Red crowned Andaman Woodpecker and the Andaman Wood Pigeon, endemic reptiles like the Andaman Cobra and many beautiful varieties of moths and butterflies. Among trekkers, the Madhuban trek is particularly famous especially because of the breathtaking view of Port Blair and its neighboring islands from atop the peak.
Literally meaning 'The island of birds', Chidiya Tapu is a tranquil and quiet place unlike the popular tourist places. This part of the island is home to the Munda Pahar, a small peak that is a favorite among trekkers. Chidiya Tapu as its name suggests is a home to many lovely birds like the macaws and parakeets. Besides birds this trail is also famous for spotting crocodiles and the White spotted Deer. Interestingly though, the main reason people come here is to enjoy the serene walk along the beach culminating in the view of the spectacular Chidiya Tapu sunset.
Corbyn's Cove Beach
This is perhaps the most popular of the beaches in Port Blair. The beach is lined with restaurants, shops and benches and is always bustling with activity. This beach is perfect for adventurous water sports like jet skiing, scuba diving and surfing and also for soothing activities like sunbathing and swimming. There are many resorts and hotels near the beach making it easy to find accommodation here.
Ross Island once used to house the headquarters of Andaman, but a terrible earthquake in the 40’s left it abandoned. Now it is known among tourists for the majestic ruins of the many buildings that used to populate the area. This is however far from the truth. The island is home to the Water Sports Complex, a number of museums and many official buildings. The Sports complex offers many exciting activities like sea walking among the coral reef, jet skiing and scuba diving. The sea route to the island from Port Blair is lined with corals so glass bottom boats are one of the major tourist attractions.
Jolly Buoy Island
Located about 30 km from Port Blair, Jolly Buoy is a preserved paradise. Home to water sports like snorkelling and scuba diving, as well as ecologically protected flora and fauna. You can explore the coral reefs, go swimming, enjoy clean beaches and participate in local activities. Jolly Buoy is jolly clean too, and hence attracts visitors that want to escape the crowd and city-like atmosphere of Port Blair.
North Bay Island
Another island near Port Blair that is coveted by visitors is the North Bay Island. It is only 40 km away, but it takes close to an hour and a half to reach from Port Blair. Being a popular haunt for tourists, North Bay is all about catering to the beach babies — from shacks and water sports, vivid hued umbrellas to sun lounges and jet skis. Diving, photography, sea walking, boat rides and glass-bottom boat expeditions are also pretty coveted here.
Chatham Saw Mill
Chatham Saw Mill is Asia’s largest and oldest saw mill. Founded in Port Blair, this mill has deep historical connotations to Andaman Nicobar. Today the Forest Department owns this saw mill and has opened its portions to be viewed by tourists. The timber from this mill is shipped worldwide, its sourcing of wood coming from the nearby Chatham island forests. There is also a museum inside which provides more details on the logistics, along with artistic wood carvings and objects that were crafted by locals.
Cinque Island is about 25 km away from Port Blair, attracting travellers for its virgin isolated landscapes. Most tourists, without a special permit, cannot visit Cinque Island after dark. Only day tours are permitted. And because Cinque is off the shore of the mainland, its seclusion also poses some security risks if rules are violated. Otherwise, this is a perfectly amazing holiday spot with its beautiful snorkelling, scuba diving and swimming experiences. You get to also see marine life up close, from crocodiles to starfishes, sea anemones to turtles and water snakes!
Madhuban, a part of the Andaman district, is a beautiful dense forest that belongs to the Mount Harriet National Park. Trekkers especially, find this forest a dream come true. The trail takes you through clusters and clusters of wild flowers, exotic flora and rare species of fauna and micro organisms. Butterflies dance around you and birds sing sweet songs, as you navigate Madhuban. But be warned, you need to be physically fit and prepared to complete the Madhuban trek.
Sri Vetrimalai Murugan Temple
Port Blair’s biggest temple — Sri Vetrimalai Murugan Temple is a site for sore eyes. This is a pilgrimage and a gorgeous Dravidian monument that attracts tourists for its art and architecture too. The shrine is made to honour Lord Karthikeya, also known as Murugan, who is the elder son of Lord Shiv. Sri Vetrimalai Murugan Temple is as old as 1926 and has seen the rise and fall of the British, as well as the independence and post-independence cultural revolution that created a whole new India. Do not miss this temple when in Port Blair.