Once the seat of British power, Ross Island now boasts of breathtaking ruins and an interesting journey to the past. Named after the British marine surveyor Daniel Ross, Ross Island used to be the headquarters of the Indian Penal Settlement for close to a century. The British brought with them all modern amenities and endowed the island with beautiful buildings and government institutions, giving it the nickname of ‘Paris of the East’.
On one hand, these mesmerizing ruins draw an image of a happy town with the giggles of children at the swimming pool, the constant buzz of machinery at the printing press, the dance and music from the club’s live band and songs of praise and worship at the church. On the other hand, there lies a perpetual reminder of the terrorizing past of the island, one made on the backs of martyrs (the construction of infrastructure on the island was taken care of by freedom fighters). After many of them were moved to Viper Island, the remaining freedom fighters were given the responsibility of maintaining Ross.
Today, Ross Island is maintained by the Navy. Along with the ruins, you can see a small yet well-maintained museum, plenty of peacocks, deer, and other birds and the newly developed sound and light show. Inaugurated on 8th December 2014, the show brings to life the past of the islands in the words of Gulzar. You can catch the screening every evening (except Wednesday) in Hindi. The island can be reached via ferries that ply from the water sports complex in Port Blair.
Address: Ross Island, Port Blair, South Andaman Islands
Cost: Entry cost is Rs 50 for adults (above 9 years) and Rs 25 for children. The show costs Rs 25 for children and Rs 100 for adults. The boat cost is Rs 100 for all.
Timing: Ticket counter (at Port Blair) is open from 8.30 AM to 3 PM. The first ferry to ply at 4 PM. Light and sound show begins at 5.30 PM. Tickets need to be bought three days in advance and you need to produce photo ids at the time of purchase.
The island remains closed on Wednesday.