About Andaman and Nicobar Islands
Andaman and Nicobar Islands are emerging as a major tourism hub with azure beaches and pristine islands having equally exotic names.
Port Blair is the capital of the Union Territory of Andaman & Nicobar Islands and the gateway to the surreal islands. The picturesque Island town offers a wide range of water-based activities like snorkeling, scuba diving, sea-cruises, etc. It also houses various amusing tourist locations like Cellular Jail, Mahatma Gandhi Marine National Park, Chatham Saw Mill, Mini Zoo, Corbyn’s cove, Chidiya Tapu, Wandoor Beach, Forest Museum, Anthropological Museum, Fisheries Museum, Naval Museum (Samudrika), Ross Island and Viper Island. Other places in the territorial capital include Havelock Island, Neil Island, Cinque Island, Saddle peak, Mt Harriet and Mud Volcano.
Cellular Jail is located in the Andaman and Nicobar Islands and is significantly known for its doleful memories of the British rule in the Indian subcontinent. Located in the interiors of the city, this jail, also referred as Kala Pani witnessed the most appalling punishments given to the Indian prisoners during the British rule. This jail has a dreadful yet significant role to play in the India’ struggle for independence as the jail saw imminent freedom fighters like Batukeshwar Dutt and Veer Savarkar being incarcerated in it.
The prison was basically used and built by the British to banish the political prisoners to the remote archipelago. The construction of the Cellular Jail started in the year 1896 and was completed in 1906. The original building of the prison was a dark reddish brown-colored brick building and the bricks used to build the building were brought from Burma by the Britishers.
The prison was known as ‘Cellular’ soon after it was built because it is entirely made up of individual cells for the solitary confinement. Solitary confinement was implemented because the British government wanted to ensure that political prisoners and revolutionaries are isolated from each other. Most of the inmates of the Cellular Jail were freedom struggle activists and some of the famous prisoners of the Cellular Jail include Diwan Singh Kalepani, Fazl-e-Haq Khairabadi, Yogendra Shukla, Batukeshwar Dutt, Maulana Ahmadullah, Movli Abdul Rahim Sadiqpuri, etc.
Post-independence, when the Britishers were forced to leave the motherland, India; two wings of the Cellular jail were demolished and this demolition had led to protests from several former prisoners and political leaders who saw it as a way of erasing the tangible evidence of their persecution. This is why, the remaining three wings and the central tower were, therefore, converted into a National Memorial on 11th February 1979 by then Prime Minister of India Shri.Morarji Desai.
Today, the prison serves as a national memorial monument and attracts tourists from all over the country and the world. Cellular Jail along with other tourist destinations in the union territory together provide a significant boost to Andaman Tourism.