Cellular Jail also know as Kala Pani – Port Blair
At a distance of 1.5 km from Port Blair Central Bus Stand, the Cellular Jail, also known as Kala Pani, was a colonial prison located at Port Blair in the Andaman & Nicobar Islands. The prison was known to house many notable Indian activists during the struggle for India’s independence. Today, the complex serves as a national memorial monument and also one of the top places to visit in Port Blair.
The construction of the Cellular Jail was started by the British in 1896 and was completed in 1906. The penal settlement was established in Andamans by the British after the First War of Independence in 1857. It was the beginning of the agonizing story of freedom fighters in the massive and awful jails at Viper Island followed by the Cellular Jail. The prison was used by the British especially to exile political prisoners to the remote archipelago. Many notable freedom fighters such as Batukeshwar Dutt, Bhagat Singh and Veer Savarkar, among others, were imprisoned here during the struggle for India’s independence.
Cellular Jail is a massive three-storeyed structure with seven wings, radiating from a central watch tower, shaped like spokes of a wheel. Each wing in this jail had three storeys, which consist of total of 698 cells. The architecture of Cellular Jail was conceptualized on the basis of ‘Pennsylvania System or Separate System’ theory in which separate confinement is necessary for each inmate for complete isolation from other inmates. No communication of any kind was possible between prisoners in the same or different wings. The design of Cellular Jail consists of radiating wings that allow a single guard to keep watch on all the prisoners from the central tower.
After Independence in 1947, Cellular Jail was declared as a National Memorial. Today the entrance block of the National Memorial houses, Freedom Fighters Photo and Exhibition Gallery in the ground floor. The first floor of the building has an Art Gallery, Netaji Gallery and a Library on Freedom Movement. Gallery on First War of Independence and on Old Photographs Gallery have also been set up in the premises of the Jail. An eternal flame of Freedom-Swatantrya Jyoti has been erected in the vicinity of the Cellular Jail in memory of all freedom fighters and martyrs. In addition, visitors can also experience light and sound show in Hindi and English during evening.
Timings: 9 AM to 12 PM & 1.30 PM to 4:45 PM, open all days except national holidays.
Light & Sound Show Timings: 6 PM to 7 PM