Saturday, January 30, 2010



Ross Island

Paris of the East”

(Due to community demand from many of my Facebook, Blogger, Blogcatalog, Twitter and Indiblogger friends, I’m reproducing this post after a long time today… Read on & post your comments, please…)

The ruins of Ross Island speak of better days and a long forgotten history.

The East India Company (British) came to the Andaman Islands in 1788 to make it a penal settlement for Indian freedom fighters. Thus, opened a new chapter in the darkest page of Indian history: - "Kalapani". Ross Island, situated 10 minutes (by boat) from Port Blair became the capital of the Andaman & Nicobar Islands and seat of power.

Named after the marine surveyor, Sir Daniel Ross, the Island enjoyed all modern facilities and architectural mastery. Later, when generators were installed, electricity was made available and at night Ross Island was like a bedecked ship and thus was named - Paris of the East.

Important Locations –

The swimming pool was a popular place where the members of the exclusive settlement club met. The principal water source was rain.

The Subordinate Club was meant for non-commissioned and junior commissioned officers. The dance floor was made of teak and the entire window frame and its panes were made of stained glass from Italy.

The Government House - Chief Commissioner's Bungalow is located in the northern peak of Ross. It consisted of 12 rooms, seven to eight of which were bedrooms. The bungalow also included a tennis court, aviary and a palm house. It is said that the Chief Commissioner never closed the doors of the bungalow except for rain and other natural elements.

The Protestant church was built with stone, the window frames made of Burma teak and windows were etched Italian stained glass.

The cemetery is the final resting place for many who died of water borne diseases and malaria. Most of the deceased were young. The youngest was Lawrence, born on September 16, 1863 who survived only for 22 hours.

Some of the other places of interest are the distilling plant, troop's barracks, bakery and the hospital.

The penal settlement lasted until 1942, when the British left the islands and disbanded it. The Japanese also used the Ross Island during the World War II.

On April 18, 1979, Ross Island was handed over to the Indian Navy and on December 6, 1993, the Indian Navy set up "Smrithika" - the Ross memorial. A few buildings have been renovated but the rest have been left untouched, in ruins, engulfed in the roots of giant trees.

Now the Paris of the East is like a haunted island, the ruins telling many a dark story.

Ancient history apart, it is, now an out of the world tourists spot that is being visited by Indian and foreign tourists alike in huge numbers on a daily basis. It’s an exotic and mesmerizing atmosphere at the island with herds of Andaman deer and peacocks seen moving around all over the place in gay abandon. And the Andaman Sea waves kissing and caressing the serene white beaches around the island makes one really feel the existence of paradise on earth.

The Islanders of Port Blair, the present-day capital of the Andaman & Nicobar Islands shall be eternally indebted to the Ross Island, which stood unshaken as a mighty shield and took the massive brunt of the ferocious Tsunami on the 26, December, 2004 and saved the city of Port Blair.

Had the Ross Island not shielded Port Blair, the city’s entire main market area comprising of the Aberdeen Bazaar, the Netaji Stadium, the Aberdeen Water Sports Complex, the Bus Terminus, the BR Ambedkar auditorium and the historic Aberdeen Clock Tower, to name a few, would have been completely washed away by the Tsunami.

The Indian Navy maintains the entire Ross Island as a Memorial, ensuring that tourism does not disturb the serenity and the historic grandeur of the majestic “Paris of the East”, our very own – Ross Island.

(Stats Courtesy: Young World, The Hindu)


  1. Very informative post.May be you can help---I would want to come to the Island.How can I plan the trip, please?

  2. Nice .... I would love to visit the islands once.... u still have the gaint Jail?

  3. @BK Chowla Great! That sounds like music to my ears, dear Mr. Chowla! I'd love to be of assistance to you, for sure. I'd send you the necessary details once you let me know the basic information about the number of visitors, length of stay etc. You can use the 'Email the author' link under the blog post to write to me. Thanks! :)

    @Rohit Dassani Hahahahaaa... Of course, the historic Cellular Jail, the pilgrimage, is one of the primary attractions for all to visit, dear Rohit! READ MORE HERE - FORCIBLE FEEDING IN CELLULAR JAIL

  4. Guys, Let me tell you, every rupee that you spend for your travel to Andaman and Nicobar is worth. If you feel a bit of nerge in my statement. I can tell you i ve been there 6 times. And my 6th time is for my honeymoon. I wanted to take my wife there because thats something which everyone has to see and for me its a real treasured memory for me.

    I have tonnes of photos and videos that I have taken during my trip to Andaman and Nicobar.

  5. Dear Shri, I dont know how i miss this beautiful post on Paradise island, Government must give more attention to make it a great Tourist spot. We may plan our next vacation here. Also Mr Shri, please allow your commentators to build a link back by providing URL and Name entry option in comment section. Also, waiting for your new post

  6. Intersting post!
    Well, I never heard about this Rose Island.
    I’ll try to explore it on my next holiday trip to India.

  7. Hi - thanks for all the interesting posts. I'll be visiting the islands in May. Could you please mail me your email ID? I wanted to ask few questions.... thanks .... my email is

  8. @Punam Thanks, dear Punam, for your kind appreciation! Sure, I'd love to be of help to you, anytime. I'm currently, on a tour to Rajasthan from where I'd be back to Port Blair by 24th April, 2010. I'd mail you on your ID once I'm back, for sure. Take care! Catch you soon. Ciao! :)

  9. Looks peaceful and idyllic....

  10. @Purba Yeah, The Ross Island is tranquil out and out! Thanks for your visit and comment, Purba! :-)

  11. i sushil i miss my ross island very much its haven for me .i serve there for three month everyday i know a new thing about its history.its a very mystrious place, if anybody ask me what is the most beautiful things i ever seen in my life my only answer is the ross.

  12. @sushil kumar Terrific!!! Great to learn about your service at the Ross Island, dear Sushil, and your unforgettable experiences there! We would love to hear more from you about all that. Do share with us some day, here. Cheers!!! :-))

  13. It's best post. I liked it.

  14. I have been reading about the history of Andamans lately. Searching for information about Ross Island, I just came across your blog. A real good job and very informative details about the history of this archipelago.