Cellular Jail

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G B Pant Road, Atlanta Point, Port Blair View on Map
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About Cellular Jail

Cellular Jail is a famous colonial prison located in Port Blair on the Andamans Islands and is often identified with words like ‘terror’ and ‘fear’. Once built and used by the British to exile political prisoners, it is now an important tourist destination for many as it serves as a historical reminder for one of the darkest chapters in the Indian freedom struggle.

Commonly known as “Kala Paani”, this historic jail makes for a grim look into the past and a soul-stirring experience. It brings to life the tales of bravery and the sacrifices of the many political prisoners that went through here. 

The unique and intimidating structure of this massive prison is as spine-chilling as the stories it holds. And, if you are a history buff or a culture aficionado, you cannot leave Andamans without visiting the Cellular Jail!

Highlights of Cellular Jail

  • Visit the Cellular Jail Museum to understand the history of the place and the story of the inmates. 
  • Visit the Photo Gallery and exhibitions that display different sides of India’s fight for freedom. 
  • Visit the Library and browse through the books to know more about the freedom movement.
  • Visit Veer Savarkar’s cell, a fearless freedom fighter, who was sentenced to 50 years of imprisonment at the Cellular Jail.
  • Enjoy the Light and Sound Show narrated by Om Puri in the evening that takes you through an immersive journey of the entire history of the jail.
  • Admire the distinct architecture of the jail which was made to resemble a “wheel of a bicycle” with different wings connecting to a watchtower in the center.

How to Reach Cellular Jail?

The Cellular Jail, about 2 km from the city center is situated in the North-East corner of Port Blair city. It is close to the Aberdeen Jetty (you can go to Ross island from here), Marina Park, Water Sports Complex, and the Bazaar. 

Auto-rickshaws (Tuk Tuks) are easily available for hire to/from here. Private chauffeured vehicles or rented two-wheelers are other convenient options of travel, especially if you wish to visit many attractions within the city.

G2A Tips

The Cellular jail is closed on Mondays and remains open all through the week from 9 am to 5 pm except for the one-hour lunch break at 12:30 pm.

We recommend that you visit the jail in the afternoon as you have better chances of getting a guide during that time. It also leaves enough time for you to travel through the place at an easy pace and explore the park right across, as you wait for the light and sound show to start. Also, the view from the cellular jail watchtower is lovely at this time.

Useful Info To Know

  • Cost of Admission: Rs 30, Photo Camera: Rs 25, Video Camera: Rs 100
  • Timings: 8.45 AM to 12.30 PM and 1.30 PM to 4 PM
  • Last tickets issued by 3.15 PM. No entry after this.
  • Closed on Monday and Government holidays
  • Address: GB Pant Road, Port Blair, South Andaman

What’s The History Of Cellular Jail?

The Cellular Jail was created over 10 years, from 1896 to 1906 and is said to be the most formidable colonial prison that ever existed in India.

The sole idea behind its construction was to use it as a place of exclusion and isolation where prisoners would be subjected to harsh treatments in a single cell prison room. 

Since it was located in one of the most secluded and inaccessible parts of the country, escaping from this jail was nearly impossible. Hence, the name “Kala Paani” was given to it, which roughly translates to “death water”.

Inmates of this jail included many notable political figures like Veer Savarkar, Ullashkar Dutt and Yogeshwar Shukla, among others.

Some interesting facts related to Cellular Jail

  • Kaalapani, a critically acclaimed Malayalam movie was based on this jail and some scenes were even shot here.
  • The design of the jail was based on separate confinement, which ensured that the prisoners had no form of contact with others except the officers.
  • Originally, the jail had 7 wings, which got damaged by the earthquake in 1941 and now there are only 3 wings left to see.

Visitor Information

Cost of Admission

INR 30

Timings

8.45 AM to 12.30 PM and 1.30 PM to 4.00 PM

Closed by

4.00 PM

Closed on

Monday and Government holidays

Address

GB Pant Road, Port Blair, South Andaman

Extra Costs

Photo Camera: Rs 25, Video Camera: Rs 100

FAQs About Cellular Jail

  • Are you allowed to take photos and videos inside the Cellular Jail?

    Yes. Taking photos and videos for personal use is allowed. For commercial use, permissions need to be taken.

  • Is the Light and Sound show available in different languages?

    Yes, the Light and Sound show is available in English and Hindi.

  • Are there any restaurants near the Cellular Jail?

    Yes, you will find many options from small eateries to fine-dine restaurants nearby including places like Lighthouse Restaurant, Mandalay, and Corbyn’s Delight.

  • How was the Cellular Jail built?

    The jail was built with puce-coloured bricks shipped from Burma. About 20,000 cubic feet of local stone and 30,00,000 bricks made by prisoners were further used for building it. The Cellular Jail was based on the ‘Panopticon Theory of Architecture’ where there’s a central axis and 7 radiating compartments.

     

  • What led to its close down?

    The cruel torture inflicted in Cellular Jail led to mass hunger strikes by the inmates between 1932 to 1937. The last hunger strike went on for 45 days. The situation got so dense that even stalwarts like Gandhi, Nehru, and Subhas Chandra Bose had to intervene and put pressure on the British. After this, the penal settlement was closed down and the inmates were extracted to the mainland in 1938.

     

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