About Cellular Jail
The Cellular Jail is the most prominent landmark of Port Blair, or, for that matter the Andaman & Nicobar Islands. The first stop for any dignitary visiting the Islands is the Martyrs Memorial inside the Jail. Many familiar with the history of the freedom struggle are moved to tears at the sight of the flogging stand, oil mill, and the other instruments of torture on display in the Jail museum. A 'must' on the itinerary of all tourists is the 'Sound & Light Show' every evening, which brings to life a dark chapter in the history of the Islands as a penal settlement.
The Jail will mark its centenary on March 10, 2006. It has been a long journey for the Jail - from a torture machine to a National Memorial, from a dreaded prison to a place of pilgrimage, a place where the memories of brave freedom fighters are revived and patriotic fervour surges through the veins of the visitors. Cellular Jail locally called as Kala Pani (Kala – black and Pani - water, mean black water) was a Jail or Lockup for Indian freedom fighters at pre-independent period by the cruel British ruler. It is located at Port Blair in the Territory of Andaman and Nicobar Islands, India. It was constructed by British Government during 1896 to 1906. Many freedom fighters such as Diwan Singh Kalepani, Yogendra Shukla, Batukeshwar Dutt, Maulana Ahmadullah, Babarao Savarkar,Vinayak Damodar Savarkar, Bhai Parmanand, Vaman Rao Joshi, Nand Gopal etc, were imprisoned here during the struggle of Indian independence.
History of Cellular Jail:
Cellular Jail is one of the darkest chapters in Indian history during British colonial rule. Usually, British had been using Andaman Islands as a prison before (from the time of Sipoy Bidroho at 1857) the Cellular Jail was constructed. This isolated island was a perfect place to punish the Indian rebels by British ruler. Today, it is a protected National Memorial monument and it dedicated to great Indian freedom fighters who sacrificed their lives for the Independence of the Nation. Cellular Jail contains 7 regions contain 283 separate cells with a tower in middle region and it is 4 floors building with first three for cells and the fourth floor functioned as the watch tower. One can see here the execution room where the freedom fighters were hanged. Now, travelers can see the light and sound show depicting the sacrifice of freedom fighters and also showing up the brutal history of Kala Pani.
Cellular Jail National Memorial is worth visiting to understand the important space the Andamans occupy in India’s national memory. Built over a period of 18 years in 1890, the original seven wings contained 698 cells radiating from a central tower. Like many political prisons, Cellular Jail became something of a university for freedom fighters, who exchanged books, ideas and debates despite walls and wardens.