Although this strange island does resemble a ghost town, in reality, they are more than that. This fact would rather be proved when checking out the facts regarding this weird yet beautiful island that has the footprints of British colonial masters. Whether it be centuries-old branches of the trees protruding from the old remains or the adorable deers roaming all over the place the abandoned isle, everything around the Island is going to charm the tourists visiting Ross Island.
Even its location adjacent to Port Blair, the headquarters of Andaman and Nicobar Island could be yet another reason for making them an unmissable spot on your trip to Andaman.Quite shockingly, the entire island has got only a boundary measuring around 1.6 km. Therefore, any visitors with bearable time limit could enjoy the whole archipelago that at some time would resemble any long lost paradise. One could catch a direct ferry from the Phoenix Bay Jetty of Port Blair and reach the destination, which is barely 2 miles away within 15 minutes of an enjoyable ride across the turquoise blue sea.
Things had changed much ever since the British had left the place that even includes its very name. The archipelago was recently, to be more precise, on December 30, 2018, renamed as Subash Chandra Bose in the longing memory of the audacious national leader. Moreover, there is a major reason behind taking such a decision. During the ferocious Japanese occupation of 1943, Netaji had visited in the last three days to the island to provide mental support in the course of World War II.
A few centuries before, the isle was known after a British Survey or named Sir Daniel Ross who was one of the first colonial masters to visit the place. Once having a keen introspect of the island, they had decided to set up their penal colony in the place. Moreover, it was after the coming of yet another surveyor Lieutenant H Archibald Blair from Britain the first-ever Military base was set up. Later on, they constructed hospital, sanatorium building, library, clubhouses, small market, churches, cemetery and what not. In short, the island was gradually converted to a full-fledged township. However, the gloomy part about such a development in a distant island is that the prisoners of the penal colony were ruthlessly made to work in those dense jungles and build such constructions. Once they are done with their strenuous assigned work, they are sent to Viper Jail in Port Blair.
While walking through the remains of the abandoned island, the eyes of the visitors will be hooked up to its past glory with its well-planned and sophisticated design, even if they are currently seen in a ruined condition. Because of which, the old town of Ross Island was even called Paris of the East. Unfortunately, the headquarters of the British had to be shifted to Port Blair after a severe earthquake of 1941. Until then everything was happening very peaceful and fine. The revelry that was taking place on the island with all those open-air theatres, cricket pitch, swimming pool and ballrooms had come to an end with the devastating catastrophe. Also, during the 2004 Tsunami, the island had met with some sizeable amount of destruction.
As mentioned earlier, after the invasion of the British in the island, the very next control was in the hands of Japanese in the year 1942. Luckily or unluckily, their reign in the Ross Island extended merely for 3 years. But before leaving back to the home places, the Japanese army had built many bunkers at various spots on the island. These constructions were later known as Japanese Bunkers. Tourists holidaying to the isle could find them stranded in those spots just like found in the other Andaman Islands.
The possession of the newly formed Indian Navy in the island happened after all these. It was under the leadership of Subash Chandra Bose. The brave soul had not stayed back from hoisting an Indian flag challenging the then ruled British in the mainland. Henceforth, there is nothing illegitimate in rechristening the name of the island as a tribute to him, rather than following the one labelled by the colonisers. It was done when the country got its independence way back in 1947.
Yet another exceptional event that should never be missed when holidaying in Ross Island is the Light and Sound Show in Cellular Jail. By barely sparing 2 hours of your precious time and witnessing them would provide the spectators with wide knowledge about what has had happened on the island in the past. They are usually conducted in the Bakery Building with the help of 3D mapping, which is first of its kind in the entire country. Even though they are conducted in an outdoor stage, the makers had not shunned in providing best theatrical experience to the audience with its 11.1 Dolby surround sound. Apart from that the lyrics, sound designing, graphics and narration had been done by the eminent personalities of various film industries.
While roaming around the once British invaded isle, travellers would be mesmerized of the diverse flora and fauna inhabiting them. When talking about the fauna inhabiting in the space, the diverse varieties are going to bewilder the tourists’ lot visiting the island. If they are lucky enough, one could spot beautiful peacocks roaming around the dense shrubs of the island that were once inhabited by a most controlling population of the world.
Besides, the flora population would comprise of Eucalyptus, Ficus and Peepal which are growing at a peculiarly beautiful shape. A manifold of them can be seen to be outgrowing the man-made constructions of Ross Island. At some old remains, an entire tree can be spotted upright of them with its roots covering the walls on the ground floor. These thought-provoking structures would even look like the huge trees of Angkor Wat of Cambodia!! However, the entity that would make the latter different from the former is the alluring visual of the azure sea in the background. All these entities together would provide a stunning visual and a lasting memory to its visitors. Therefore, the decision to plan anyone’s trip to the eventful island would never go wrong.