Ross Island, now known as Netaji Shubash Chandra Bose Dweep, was originally named after Captain Daniel Ross is a tiny island that is located in the south Andaman District, Port Blair. It is just five kilometers from the Water Sports Complex. The ruins of the old buildings constructed by Indian prisoners can still be seen in Ross Island. These are textured by thick roots of peepal trees that take all the visitors back to an era that is long gone yet still remembered. It is one of the easiest inter-islands to visit during your trip to the Andaman Islands. When most of the tourist spots in Andamans are popular for beaches, Ross Island is known for its history as well. The place gives out a unique vibe that cannot be found anywhere else in the Andaman and Nicobar Islands. You can witness magnificent man-caves, the old church, and grim history.
First occupied in 1782, a sanatorium was built on the island. Britishers used it as an administrative headquarters for a total of 85 years. Various important government offices were made by them on this penal settlement during this time. But after an earthquake in 1941, these were abandoned. The whole experience gets further memorable with its protected forest that is a sanctuary of diverse birds and animals including peacocks and deer. So you are definitely going to have a good time there if you love walking around and enjoy your time in the lap of nature under the shade of tall tropical trees.
Just take a ferry from Phoenix Bay Jetty, Port Blair. It will take nearly fifteen minutes. Ross Island is located very close to Port Blair. In fact, you can see the whole island from the Water Sports Complex. It is completely disconnected by land. Thus, it is not possible to reach there by road. You can reach Ross Island by taking a boat or ferry from the Water Sports Complex. It will take you directly to the jetty in less than fifteen minutes. The ticket fare varies from Rs. 150 to Rs. 500 based on the size and seat position. As the tickets get sold out very fast, you should make the booking in advance in order to ensure seamless travel. You can buy the tickets easily by visiting the Directorate of Shipping Services office, located at Aberdeen Bazaar. There is no place to stay on the island. Therefore, ensure to get a return ticket as well. Also, remember to keep your identity proof with you as it will be required for booking tickets. In case you are not an Indian citizen, then you need to carry your passport.
The Andamans enjoys a tropical climate and thus, it is a year-round destination. It is a perfect spot for both- adrenaline junkies and nature lovers. If you want to enjoy each and everything here, then make sure that you visit it when the weather is pleasant so that you can try all the water sports as well. October to May is a good time to visit Andamans, as during this time, you can go for all the enthralling activities as well as relax at the azure beaches without stressing about rain.
The best time to visit Ross Island is from October to March. During these months, the weather in the Andaman Islands is clear and there is no chance for sudden rainfalls. Thus, you can do sightseeing without any problem.
Note: Avoid going in monsoons (July to September) as there are high tidal waves.
You can have a glimpse of the remnants of an affluent past on this island. It is an ideal place for strolling amid sylvan surroundings with a diversity of flora and fauna. If you are lucky, then you can spot here deers, peacocks, exotic birds, etc.
The erstwhile capital of Port Blair during the British regime, Ross Island, is a tiny little gem in the Andaman Islands. It stands as a guard to Port Blair harbor. Currently, it houses reminiscent of the old British regime but all in dilapidated condition. Here, you can visit the ruins of antique structures such as Ballroom, Chief Commissioner’s House, Garden, Government House, Church, Cemetery, Hospital, Bakery, Press, Swimming Pool and Troop Barracks. You can also see a cemetery and a small museum that are managed by the Indian Navy. A collection of old records is on display at the museum.
There is an entry ticket of Rs. 30 and Rs. 25 for adults and children respectively to visit Ross Island. These prices change very often. You will have to pay for boat and light and sound show also, which will further add to your tour cost.
Ross Island was the seat of power during the British days. Later, it was developed into a self-equipped township comprising all the facilities required for a civilized colony. The notorious and horrible penal settlement was established with a total of 200 convicts by Dr. Walker. The natives were persuaded by the British to start living on this island. Andaman House was set up for them in 1863.
All operations in the isles, including the construction of Cellular Jail, were overseen from Ross Island. The ruins include the following along with many others:
There are a number of huts and small sheds built across Ross Island where tourists can take a break and spend some quality time amidst the shade of tall trees and shrubs.
An important thing to know is that the civilian settlements of any kind are prohibited by the administration here. Therefore, there is no place to stay at night here. Everyone must leave the island before dawn.