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Ross Island, Andaman & Nicobar Islands Overview

Located just 2 kilometres east of Port Blair is the Ross Island; an island which was once the administrative headquarters of the British, but today is only an uninhabited island that is recognised solely for its beauty and scenic views. Following an earthquake that hit Ross Island in the year 1941, the British left the island and shifted their settlement to Port Blair. The island was not able to overcome the grief of this sudden withdrawal, and decay and neglect ultimately set in. One can see traces of a prosperous past in the rubbles of the church, swimming pool and the chief commissioner's home with its extensive gardens and magnificent ballrooms. There is also a cemetery and a small museum managed by the Indian Navy. 

As in the case of its sister-islands, Ross Island also has thick forests. At first sight of the island, it is tough to believe that this abandoned place was once the seat of British power and housed everything from a bazaar, a church, stores, bakery, a water treatment plant, tennis court, printing press, secretariat, hospital, cemetery and other vital institutions. Today, everything has disappeared except a few buildings, which housed some of these landmarks. Large banyan trees have engulfed the other buildings and have successfully managed to replace the grand structures built by man. The island is enveloped with a sense of nostalgia and takes the visitor back in time. The Indian Navy has managed to rebuild some old buildings, such as the local stores and the bakery, to provide the visitors with a feel of the bygone era. Souvenirs can also be purchased from these shops.

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History of Ross Island

The Ross Island is named after the marine surveyor Captain Daniel Ross. The island became the base for the British and served as their Administrative Headquarters. Initially, barracks of grass and bamboo were put up for the prisoners, while the rest of the party remained on board of the ships that had brought them to the island. Later on, the prisoners built houses, barracks, offices and other structures, following which they were sent to the Viper Island where the first island was constructed.

A large bungalow, meant for use by the Chief of the Penal Settlement, was also built at the northern end of the Island. Popularly known as the Government House, this colossal building had Italian tiled flooring on the ground level. Remnants of this exquisite flooring can still be seen, though they are in an extremely dilapidated condition now.

Attractions and Activities at Ross Island

The scenery and surroundings of the Ross Island are indeed mesmerising. There are a lot of historical contexts associated with the island, and hence, the place is a significant attraction for history buffs. Once you enter, you will be greeted by ruins of a vast water distillation plant, tennis court and swimming pool on your left. The island also still has the remains of the famous printing press that was located here and the secretariat office. When you set out to further explore the island, you will find the ruins of a church and a graveyard which has names of all the people who are buried there.

The Farzand Ali Store is a particularly famous spot on the island and is presently maintained as a museum. The store contains multiple pictures that have a lot to do with the British era and their activities in the past.

There is also a sanctuary on the island which has a decent collection of animals. Mostly, it is good for a quaint walk and silent musings. You can just walk around and admire the beautiful floral and faunal species on the island, such as the peacock, eagle, parrot and variety of trees. The island is also home to a large population of deer, who are in the habit of seeing humans and are accustomed to their presence.

Other than just wandering around and spending some quality peaceful time with your loved ones, adventure enthusiasts and nature lovers can set out for a hike on the island.

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Ross Island Light and Sound Show

A light and sound show is conducted at the Ross Island, which talks about the essential historical incidents that occurred here during the pre-independence era and how the first administrative settlement was established here.

The show takes place on all days of the week except Wednesdays and public holidays.
The show commences at 5:15 PM.

Best Time To Visit Ross Island

The best time to plan a trip to the Ross Island is in March, April and May when the weather is friendly and the joy of exploring the island increases manifold.

Tips For Visiting Ross Island

1. Be extremely cautious of high tides in the evenings.
2. Do not feed the deer when you visit the sanctuary. There is a general policy that is followed throughout the Andaman Islands: of letting nature grow without any human intervention.
3. Usually, people visit the island for only two to three hours. Ideally, a full day trip to the island is more enjoyable and worthy.
4. In case you wish to enjoy the Light and Sound Show at the island, you will have to take the 4:00 PM boat ride to the island, or a ride before that, to reach in time.

How To Reach Ross Island

The nearest airport to Ross Island is the Vir Savarkar Airport at Port Blair, which is just a 3-kilometre ride from the Ross Island. To get to the Ross Island, you will have to take a ferry from the Water Sports Complex. The trip to the island from there is a fifteen-minute ride.

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Muskan Shah 1 year ago
If you visit Andaman island and leave without going to Ross Island, you are going to regret it big time. It is like an abandoned city were people from East India Company once lived lavishly. The highlight is the Light and Sound show which tells the history of the island. It is carried out every evening and it left me dumbfounded. Do not miss it.

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