Viper Island at Andaman
Viper Island, as small island is connect to Port Blair via ferry and famous for the jail (built in 1867) where the British used to imprison convicts and political prisoners. It has the ruins of a gallows atop a hillock. The jail was abandoned when the Cellular Jail was constructed in 1906. Before the construction of Cellular Jail, the Jail at Viper Island was used by the British to inflict the worst form of torture and hardship on convicts and political prisoners.This Island was part of the great Indian independence history and had witnessed the sufferings and sacrifices of Indian national involved in freedom struggle.
Jail at Viper Island
The need for building a jail there was felt only after the British set up a penal settlement at Port Blair in 1858. Ross Island functioned as the headquarters of the penal settlement. Located near Port Blair, the construction of the Viper Jail was carried out during 1864-67. Lt. Col. Barnet Ford, superintendent of the penal settlement, supervised the work. Initially, a police inspector, a head constable, two sergeants, four class I constables and 30 class II constables were posted, according to materials available at the Cellular Jail. Later on, the strength was raised gradually. Solitary cells, lock-ups, stocks and whipping stands characterised the Viper Jail. Women were among the prisoners there.
The conditions at the jail were such that the place got the notorious name, "Viper Chain Gang Jail." Those who had challenged the might of the British authority were chained together and confined at night by a chain running through coupling of irons around their legs. It was at this jail that members of the Chain Gang were put to hardest labour. Brij Kishore Singh Deo, popularly known as Maharaja Jagannath of Puri, was treated like an ordinary convict and kept in the Viper Jail, where he died in 1879.
The Jail has secured a permanent place in the history of the freedom struggle as it was here that Sher Ali, a Pathan from Peshawar, was hanged after he assassinated Lord Mayo, Indian Viceroy, on February 8, 1872 at Hope Town jetty, opposite Chatham Island. After the construction of the Cellular Jail, the Viper Jail's importance declined.
Today, the two-storeyed Jail building stands tumbled to the plinth level except for a portion of the roof with the outer wall dilapidated. But for a few birds which have built their nests inside the tomb of the gallows, only a deafening silence prevails there. Situated near Port Blair's harbour, Viper Island can be approached in 20 minutes from the Phoenix Bay jetty. The Harbour Cruise, available daily from the jetty, provides an overall view of different points of the harbour and a trip to this haunted Viper Island.
Viper Island is a serene beautiful tourist Spot and has multiple attractions with historical importance and also has mesmerizing picnic spots with natural picturesque environments. We at Mountain Edge organising all inclusive tour (includes Ferry Tickets, Entry Tickets & Transfers) on pre-book basis.