A symbol of undaunted spirit; a shrine of freedom and independence. A mute witness to untold sufferings and valiant defiance of Indian freedom fighters. The Cellular Jail or Kalapani Jail in Port Blair represents an irony, where the price of freedom of a nation is the captivity of a few warriors.
Constructed between 1857 and 1906, the British transferred the most defiant Indian political prisoners here to sever their ties with their families and country. The name Kalapani is derived from the Sanskrit words Kal, meaning death and Pani, meaning water. Notable freedom fighters such as Veer Savarkar, Yogendra Shukla, Batukeshwar Dutt and Babarao Savarkar were some of the inmates here.
Built to represent the seven spokes of a bicycle spread around the watch tower, the Kalapani Jail housed seven three-storey wings, from which, only three remain. Though built with the intention of giving the guards an all-round view of the inmates, today, you can catch a splendid view from the top of the watchtower, especially of the North Bay lighthouse.
Earning its name for its isolated cells whose walls were accustomed to witnessing unspoken tortures, the well-painted building with its green gardens depicts quite the contrary. Two galleries flag the gate and seem to appropriately capture the essence of the prison life here. A trip to the gallows may not be life threatening but is definitely an unnerving experience. While you’re here also stop by the museum and martyrs’ memorials.
Note: If you’re visiting in the morning, it may be a little difficult to find tour guides around. Also, carry your own water bottle since there is no facility to buy bottled water inside the premises.
Cost of Admission: Rs 10, Photo Camera: Rs 25, Video Camera: Rs 100
Timings: 8.45 AM to 12.30 PM and 1.30 PM to 5 PM
Tickets issued only by 4.15 PM latest
Closed on Monday and Government holidays
Address: GB Pant Road, Port Blair, South Andaman