Wednesday, February 1, 2017

Essential Andaman in 8 night / 9 days - Detailed Travelogue - Day I

Day I - 17th Jan 17

Mumbai - Chennai - Port Blair

Departed at 0615 and reached Port Blair at 1240 hrs via Chennai. Chennai layover was short. The replica of one of the temples of Mahabalipuram opposite Security area was the highlight of the short stay.

We were picked up by the travel agent’s car that dropped us at Hotel Shreesh. We were skeptical about this small hotel but realized later that it is a reasonably functional hotel. Post Check-in at hotel it was lunch time.

Our visit started at 1430 post a quick lunch. First place that we visited was Cellular Jail, a jail built by British to intern dreaded criminals from the main land India. Sadly, to the oppressive British, a freedom warrior of 1857 failed war of independence  or revolutionaries of later years from the main land were at par with the dreaded criminals.

Model of Cellular Jail

On Top of the Watch Tower

Roof Top of Two existing wings (only Three wings have survived)

Two childhood Friends between Two Wings

Sitting in mainland India, very few of us actually know anything about how badly  our freedom fighters treated were by that regime. The enumerable sacrifices given by our forefathers must be known.

Ways of putting Fetters (Hathkadi N Bedi)

Oil Extraction Mill that had to be worked by Prisoners

Tied up for lashing Punishment

A visit to Cellular Jail is thus not a visit, it is a pilgrimage to the holy land of India’s freedom struggle.  A place where those who fought for us were inhumanly tortured by the British.  It is a must visit place by every Indian. 

Even if one has no interest in beaches and under sea sports in rest of Andamans, Port Blair should be visited to even if only to  pay homage to these brave men who gave up  everything for us. 

While there were many freedom fighters that were jailed, Swatantra Veer Shri Vinayak Damodar Savarkar and his brother Shri GD Savarkar were the famous prisoners of Cellular Jail.

Veer Sawarkar's Cell with his Photo

Savarkar in Fetters

One of the Eternal flame

As this visit wound up by about 1600 hrs, we went to a government aquarium near by. It was a small setup but it had many corals and fishes of Andaman water displayed in it. The information on exhibition is also very good. Time and inclination permitting, one should visit this place.

We were booked for 1700 Light and Sound Show at Cellular Jail. As we reached the jail gate, there were queues for entry to the jail. On the lighter side, I thought, here is one jail, where people are queuing up to go (in) to Jail in hundreds whereas in actual life, everyone inside the jail queues up to go out of it.

It is a show that moves every one. I though felt that it could have had more information component and little less of emotional component. I would not fault the producer for keeping the show emotional; the place is worth all the emotions, it is just that I gave my view that it could have been more informative. The visit to Cellular jail is incomplete without attending the Light and Sound Show.

Entrance of Cellular Jail, Illuminated at Night

The day has been hectic. As for Port Blair is concerned, we hardly had any time to look at the city. But we felt that the day has been well spent, after all, did not we did a national pilgrimage to Cellular Jail. 

View of Ross Island, Administrative Headquarter of British those days


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