A part of the South Andaman district of the Andaman and Nicobar Islands, Viper Island is the perfect weekend getaway for you. Andaman and Nicobar Islands is an Indian archipelago in the Bay of Bengal. It boasts several white-sand beaches, coral reefs, indigenous animals, a marine ecosystem, history, and a host of water sports activities. There are approximately three hundred islands, and most are uninhabited. Among the inhabited ones, Viper Island is among the popular ones. It is located close to the capital of Andaman and Nicobar Islands, Port Blair. Thus, it is easily accessible from Port Blair by water. Viper Island is turning into a compulsory spot in all Andaman packages now.

How to Reach:-

Port Blair is well-connected through both air and water. However, it would be a long and tiring journey by water. Hence, you should travel by air. 

The Veer Savarkar International Airport in Port Blair is connected with all major cities in the country. All major airlines also operate in Andaman and Nicobar Islands. Chennai, Kolkata, and Vishakhapatnam have direct flights to Port Blair. Other cities like Kochi, Pune, Bombay, and others have connecting flights to the Veer Savarkar International Airport.

Being located very close to Port Blair, you can reach Viper Island by either a catamaran or a speed boat.

About the Island:-

In 1789, Lt. Archibald Blair reached Andaman and Nicobar Islands in the vessel or ship H.M.S Viper. According to certain legends, this ship met with an accident in the sea due to a storm. The ship’s ruins or wreckage was later found near the island. Thus, the name “Viper Island” is taken from this ruined ship, which was found along the shores of Viper Island. This incident took place around seventy years before the English colonized the island and turned it into a penal complex.

When you think of colonial times and jail, Cellular Jail is the first name to come to your mind. But, even before that, a jail was constructed on Viper Island to subjugate and oppress the freedom fighters and political leaders.

Things to do on Viper Island:-

  • The Jail: If you are a history enthusiast, you cannot miss visiting the Viper Jail. The British had set up a penal complex or jail at Port Blair in 1858. But, soon, they realized the complex was not large enough to house all the freedom fighters. Hence, they constructed the jail at Viper Island to make space for the rest of the freedom fighters. Viper Island, located close to Port Blair, seemed to be the best option.

In the tsunami, much of the jail was destroyed. Scattered ruins lie around the island. But, you can easily spot the ruins of gallows that lie atop a hillock. The conditions at the jail were extremely poor. The colonial rulers subjected the prisoners to harsh treatment. The conditions were so bad that the jail received a notorious name, “Viper Chain Gang Jail.” The jail has carved out a place for itself in the history of the nation’s freedom struggle. Sher Ali, a Pashtun freedom fighter from Peshawar, was hung on the premises of the Viper Jail. He was responsible for the assassination of Lord Mayo, who was the Viceroy of India at that time. After Cellular Jail’s construction, Viper Jail’s importance gradually declined.

Smith Island: Regarded as a twin island of the Andaman, this has become a compulsory point in all Andaman beach tour itineraries. Smith Island is situated four kilometers away from Viper Island. There are provisions for boat rides that can take you to Smith Island. The island is known for the palm trees that stretch across the beach and the turquoise blue water. If you want to spend a solitary afternoon on a beach, then Smith island is the ideal place for you. Island camping here is very popular. Smith Island is linked to Ross Island by a sand bar. The colonizers, too, used Ross Island as a penal complex. You can check the ruins of the jail that still lie there. 

  • Port Blair: Andaman and Nicobar Islands’s capital, lies four kilometers away from Viper Island. You can go for an Andaman beach tour here. Port Blair has state-of-the-art facilities when it comes to water sports. Snorkeling, scuba diving, and parasailing – are among the various water sports that you can try out in Port Blair. If you are a history enthusiast, then you cannot miss going to the Cellular Jail. 

So, whenever you are in Andaman and Nicobar Islands, do not forget to make a trip to Viper Island!

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