Sunday, May 21, 2017

Lost In The Andamans: It’s Just Ross! (Ch 8/8)

Three kms east of Port Blair is Ross Island. First occupied around 1790, the British really took to Ross Island after the 1857 mutiny, when it was converted into a penal colony. However, soon after, the prisoners were shifted to the near Viper Island, and Ross became the Administrative HQ for the British. Merchant stores, a bakery, a water treatment plant, a power house, a printing press, a church and even a swimming pool came up on the island, which also housed barracks for British troops.

However, a major earthquake rocked the island in 1941, causing serious damage and forcing evacuation of most of the inhabitants. The invading Japanese occupied it for three years from 1942 to 1945, when it was recaptured by the allies. After the war though, Ross was forgotten for almost 35 years, until it was handed over to the Indian Navy in 1979, which set up a small post, INS Jarawa, which stands to this day.

The island also faced the brunt of the tsunami in 2004, protecting Port Blair and its inhabitants from the fury of the waves.

Today, Ross provides an eclectic experience to tourists. Peacocks, deer and rabbits roam unhindered among gigantic trees whose massive roots have taken over majestic ruins of buildings that once graced the island.

An electric golf cart took us along the curved pathways, up a small hill, where we played with peacocks and deer. We gawked at the massive trees that have reclaimed the land where the British officers once held opulent parties and ruled the islands with an iron hand.

Massive trees have taken over the ruins of Ross Isla
Soon, it was time for the 3D sound and light show, a must-watch for its technical brilliance and immersive experience that’s truly memorable. The Indian Navy band playing the anthem gave us goosebumps. Even the animals stood still. The show spoke to you. We felt for Ross. And we fell in love with it.

Sunset on Ross Island

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