The capital city of the Andaman and Nicobar Islands and a municipal council, Port Blair though situated on the east coast of the South Andaman Island is the central and most convenient destination of sorts for travellers. It acts as the base from where tourists can span out and discover all the other islands, places, beaches and destinations of the Andaman and Nicobar Islands. However, Port Blair very much holds on to its own in terms of tourist attractions and things to do. Ranging from museums, to beaches to historical monuments, Port Blair has much to offer within and outside its city limits. Check out all the places to visit and all the stuff you can do while vacationing in Port Blair.
Anthropological Museum – A museum that preserves and exhibits the different tribes and cultures of the Islands, the Anthropological museum is definitely a torchbearer in showcasing the ethnography of the Andaman and Nicobar Islands. Each of the prominent tribes of the islands, the Jarawas, Sentinelese, Great Andamanese, Onges, Nicobarese and Shompens find their due representation in this museum.
Photo by Jeremy Weate
Fisheries Museum – On exhibition are the various marine life forms on display. This could be a good way to brush up your knowledge, before you actually see the coral reefs or head out for scuba diving in one of the many other islands and marine parks.
Samudrika or Naval Marine Museum – A collection of shells, corals, marine animals and skeletons awaits you at Samudrika. One of the most famous and popular museums of the Andaman Islands, the Samudrika is well maintained and organized.
Zoological Survey of India Museum – Similar in display to Samudrika, this one is for those who still want to explore more and are avid followers of marine biology.
Mini Zoo – Home to some very rare species such as the Andaman pig and Nicobar pigeon, the Zoo is a favourite amongst children. One of its specialities is the crocodile feeding and farming programs that attracts tourist.
A very close neighbour
Now before moving on to some more interesting sites to visit, a quick mention of Ross Islands. Situated opposite Port Blair, this small island was the capital of the Andaman and Nicobar Islands before Port Blair. You must visit it to check out the ruined church, Cathedral and Chief Commissioner’s home. There is also a sound and light show to showcase the history of Ross Island.
Back in Port Blair, let us talk about one of its most important tourist attraction, the Cellular Jail. Also famously called ‘Kaala Paani’, this jail is a symbolic monument in the Independence Struggle as many freedom fighters and leaders have been jailed and tortured here. Called Cellular Jail because of its individual cells that highlight the purpose of solitude and separation from other inmates, it also offers a sound and light show to highlight the struggle of its inhabitants during the pre-independence era.
Photo by pulkitsinha
Beaches – Of course!
Beaches are the soul of the islands, and therefore, Port Blair is not far behind in the exotic and amazing beaches it holds in and around its vicinity. One of the closest and most popular beaches is the Corbyn’s Cove Beach. Located at about 6 kms away from the city, this palm lined beach has all facilities such as hotels, water sports and bathing. The Snake Island is just across and boat rides are frequent. Also, the historical site of Japanese Bunkers can be seen on the way to the beach.
North Bay Beach – Another beach that can be visited to and fro in one day from Port Blair, the North Bay beach is most popular for its iconic lighthouse. Sea walk and snorkelling are some of the water sport activities that are carried out here.
Photo by Melamind
There are of course many more beaches in islands and parks around Port Blair such as, the Wandoor Beach, Jolly Buoy Island, Chidiyatapu, Ferar Beach and the Mahatma Gandhi Marine National Park. You could cover all or some depending on your travel schedule.
The heart of Port Blair – Aberdeen
Let us now talk about the city itself again. The central district of the city is often identified by the Aberdeen Market area. The Aberdeen Bazaar is therefore, the hub of the city and a lot of hotels, restaurants and shopping area are found in and around here. The bus station and Phoenix Bay Jetty are both not too far from the Bazaar. The Clock Tower stands right in the centre of the Aberdeen Bazaar.
Jogger’s Park as the name suggests is an open air green abode for those who like to spend some quiet time jogging, exercising or just lazing around. The park is on a slight hill near the airport and offers a splendid view of the city and the adjoining waters and islands. It also gives a great view of the airport and the runway.
The Gandhi Park is a wonderful distraction of sorts if there has a sort of monotony set in after visiting beaches after beaches and watching the sea and waves endlessly. This green spot is a great place for kids and has a garden, walking trail, amusement rides, ruins of a Japanese temple and war bunkers.
Chatham Saw Mill
Built on a small island connected to Port Blair is the Chatham Saw Mill, one of the oldest saw mills in India. The entire process from logging of the trees to converting them into pieces of furniture can be gathered by a visit to this mill. It is highly informative and good hours spent on learning and discovering something that we do not usually care much to know.
Be a sport!
Finally, Andaman is not quite complete without its water sports. Water adventure sports are a huge part of its tourism and there are a number of such sporting areas that are just what you need for an adrenal rush.
The Rajiv Gandhi Sports Complex is one such facility that offers water sports of all kinds. For safe sports such as, paddling, boating, rowing and glass bottom boating, there are also the more adventurous sports such as, jet skiing, parasailing and speed boats.
The Andaman Water Sports Complex is another such sporting centre that offers kayaking, parasailing, boating, scuba diving and so on. There are water rides for all age groups and is a great outing with the family.
And now when it is time to return home, a good place to shop for souvenirs is the Sagarika Cottage Industries Emporium in the city. Artefacts, furniture and souvenirs are all available here.
Well is Port Blair blaring out to you already. In fact, so is Andaman.