I remember that day when I first stepped into the Andaman and Nicobar Islands. It’s a quite nice place that I had seen only in my dreams, but I was literally going there and my dream was turned into reality. I was so overwhelmed by the beauty of this place that I can’t describe it in words. Even now, these islands hold a special place in my heart so I would like to visit this place again and again and spend quality time there. I didn’t know that Ross Island (as of now Netaji Subhash Chandra Boss Dweep) used to be the capital of the Andaman and Nicobar Islands. I only got to know when I reached here and know the history of this Island at Cellular Jail.
Actually, I love those places that completely abstain from the hue-and-cry and where I can stroll along the ruins and admire their beauty. So I got a chance to explore Ross Island, which is dotted with dilapidated buildings. Your eyes widen with wonder when you step on this Island, I mean the place which used to be a flourishing city of the British Empire has now turned into a complete ruin.
Ross Island is barely 5 km away from the Rajiv Gandhi Water Sports Complex which was once the seat of the British Empire, now completely an uninhabited Island. You can witness the ruins of a Church, Store, Bakery, Water treatment plant, Hospital, Swimming Pool, and other institutions. To get to Ross Island you need to take a ferry which is a fifteen-minute ride.
The previous day, we had seen the pictures of Ross Island at Cellular Jail, so I was wondering if these buildings would still be the same as seen in the picture, the reality would be known only after going there.
I was very excited to go to Ross Island. On the second day, we headed to Ross Island from a private boat, whose name I don’t remember, but it was an amazing experience. It took only 15 minutes to reach there and from the ticket counter, we bought admission tickets (INR 30 per head) to the Island. After getting tickets we stepped into the Island.
History of Ross Island
When I stepped inside, I could not believe my eyes that this is the Island with the same picture which used to be so grand at that time and today it has been turned into ruins and not only this, I was also surprised to see how trees, bushes, and vines have grown on these old buildings.
Ross Island was named after the British marine surveyor, Sir Daniel Ross, and was occupied by the Britishers during the Pre-Independence era. It was their administrative headquarters for 85 years and a thriving colony was formed where buildings, markets, bakeries, stores, a printing press, a secretariat, a hospital, a church, a swimming pool, a water treatment plant, and a tennis court were constructed, but after a massive earthquake in 1941, the Britishers abandoned the island and moved to Portblair.
From 1942 to 1945, Ross Island was occupied by the Japanese. In December 1943, Netaji Subhash Chandra Boss visited the Island and hoisted the tricolor at the Government House. Some buildings made by the British and Japanese are still in great condition, which gives you a clear picture of that era. Currently, Ross Island is under the control of the Indian Navy, which has reconstructed some of the buildings such as the bakery and stores.
I kept thinking, are these the same buildings that I saw in the pictures at Cellular Jail yesterday? I mean these are in a totally dilapidated state now. By the way, the pathways of the Island are well maintained. Just look at how massive trees surround the buildings, with their roots extending all the way around the walls. As you move through the buildings you will get to see the captivating emerald sea along the edge of the Island where you can capture beautiful pictures on camera.
Apart from these buildings, the Island is also home to deer, where you will also get to see a large number of deer. Deers are so naive and friendly. I highly recommend not feeding them anything and it is a tourist’s responsibility to not litter. You can also see Peacocks and parrots here.
How to Reach Ross Island
If you’re coming to Portblair then on the second day of your itinerary you will visit Ross Island which is just a few kilometers away from Portblair and for that, you have to take a ferry from Aberdeen Jetty which will take you to Ross Island in fifteen minutes. You can enjoy visiting both Ross Island and North Bay Island on the same ferry. It takes almost 2 hours to take a tour of the Island.
- Cost of Boat: INR 150 to INR 500 according to boat size and seat position to reach Ross Island.
- Entrance Fee: INR 30 for adults and INR 25 for children
- Cost of Camera and Video Camera: INR 30 and INR 75
Best time to visit Ross Island
If you’re heading to Ross Island then the best time is between October to March to visit this place’s natural beauty. Avoid visiting in the Monsoon season because the island witnesses the tidal waves this time.
Where to Eat at Ross Island
As this is a small island and you can’t expect many cafeterias and eateries at Ross Island. Prices of food items are high as compared to Port Blair and you can’t expect a lot of food items on the menu. There are also coconut vendors and you can enjoy coconut water under the shed of trees or near the pond while indulging completely in the soothing beauty of the Island.
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