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Viper Island, Andaman & Nicobar Islands Overview

Years before Cellular Jail was constructed, Viper Island was used by the British to keep the freedom fighters in exile. You can still see the remains of the jail which was built in 1867 by the British. The island is breath-taking and serene and got its name from the vessel in which Lt. Archibald Blair came to Andaman and Nicobar in 1789. Covering an area of 69 acres this beautiful island is situated at a distance of 23.6 kilometres from Port Blair. Legend also has it that there were numerous viper snakes present on the island which is how it got its name.

Since Viper Island is a beautiful combination of significant historical elements and natural beauty, it is always crowded with enchanted visitors. It takes nearly 10 minutes to reach the island from the Jetty, and the view of the seven points of the harbour is a treat for the eyes to watch. On the way to the island, you will also come across the main port and the navy ships of Port Blair. You can also enjoy the view of the cellular jail and its tower from the boat. The island which is present in a secluded place offers you a perfect getaway from the fast-moving life. All the history lovers and the nature lovers out there should pay a visit to the island.

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Before the cellular jail was constructed, a place was needed by the British for giving severe punishment, and that is how Viper Island came into the picture. The Ross Island was the administrative centre, and only a jail was needed which was situated close to Port Blair and Ross Island to trap and teach a lesson to the freedom fighters. The Viper Island was a part of the great Independence history of India and had seen the pain and sacrifices made by the Indian nationals and freedom fighters involved in the freedom struggle.

The island was a small patch of land where the jail was constructed on a hillock. This jail was different from all the others as it was surrounded by water and was as quiet as a mouse. Women were detained in the premises and the prisoners were put through unimaginable tortures.

The island gets its name from the vessel in which Lt. Archibald Blair arrived in Andaman and Nicobar Islands in the year 1789 named Viper. This vessel met with an accident, and its remains were found near the island. It was one of the most visited places in Andaman Island once, but now it is just wrecked. The jail ruins were worsened during the Tsunami of 2006. However, even today the culture and tales of the British colonial rule can be seen in the ruins of the island.

Samudra Marine Museum-  This museum was built by the Indian army and provides a lot of information related to the island including its animals, plants, tribal history and the marine ecosystem.

New India Café- This café is very famous amongst the locals for it serves a variety of vegetarian as well as non-vegetarian dishes from all over India.

Adi Bengali Hotel- Since the main inhabitants of the island are Bengalis, this hotel serves amazing and finger-licking Bengali cuisine.

Lighthouse Residency- This is the place for all the seafood lovers and serves very delicious dishes including the red snapper, crab or prawns along with rice and chips.

Chatham Saw Mill- This is one of the biggest sawmills in Asia and was founded by the British in 1836.

A light and sound show is conducted on the island showcasing the historical events from the pre-independent era and the settlement of the first administrative setup on the island along with the major important events that occurred here. It is held from Monday to Sunday and remains closed on Wednesday and public holidays. It starts from 5:30 PM and should definitely be witnessed.

Although the island can be visited throughout the year, the best time is from November and February since the weather is pleasant and cool with almost zero humidity.

You might spot some deer on the island. Even though they are accustomed to seeing humans, do not scare them away. Also, don't try to feed them.

Viper Island can be reached by taking a boat ride from the Phoenix Bay jetty which takes 20 minutes. Cruise services are available as well to help visitors get to various parts of the island including the prison there. It takes only 10 minutes from the jetty to reach the Viper Island. Port Blair is well-connected to Kolkata, Bhubaneshwar, and Chennai via air. The Chennai flight is the fastest and takes only 2 hours to reach.

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