Cellular jail (kala Pani)

A must visit for every patriot!

Cellular jail – Historical Significance

The eminent and legendary Cellular jail was built by the British over a period of 10 years at Port Blair.It was the most feared and formidable colonial prisons that ever existed. It got its name Kala Pani because kal in Hindi means death or time and pani which means waters. The waters of the Andamans were feared by the prisoners. This island was isolated from the mainland and there were no means of escaping this place. The cruelest of the punishments were inflicted upon the prisoners and finally they were hanged to death. Many notable dissidents such as Batukeshwar Dutt and Veer Savarkar, among others, were imprisoned here during the struggle for India's independence.

The architecture of this place was based on the Panopticon model. Panoptes in greek mythology was a giant with hundred eyes and was known to be a very productive watchman. The building had seven wings and a tower at the center which was used by guards to keep watch on the inmate. The concept of the design is to allow all (pan-) inmates of an institution to be observed (-opticon) by a single watchman without the inmates being able to tell whether or not they are being watched. Since it was impossible for the single watchman to observe all cells at once, the fact that the inmates cannot know when they are being watched meant that all inmates would feel they are watched upon all the time. The wings radiated from the tower in straight lines, much like the spokes of a bicycle wheel. A large bell was kept in the tower to raise an alarm.This jail had nearly 693 cells.Each cell was 3meter in width and height. The name cellular jail stays true to its meaning “solitary prison” , for any kind of communication was impossible and also forbidden here. The jail is built overlooking the historical british headquaters of Ross Island.

Famous prisoners in cellular jail

Most of the prisoners of the cellular jail were freedom fighters. Some famous inmates of the Cellular Jail were Diwan Singh Kalepani,Fazl-e-Haq Khairabadi, Yogendra Shukla, Batukeshwar Dutt, Maulana Ahmadullah, Move Abdul Rahim Sadiqpuri, Maulvi Liaquat Ali,Babarao Savarkar, Vinayak Damodar Savarkar, Bhai Parmanand, Shadan Chandra Chatterjee, Sohan Singh, Vaman Rao Joshi and Nand Gopal.

Recent History of cellular jail

It was in 1942, that Japanese invaded and captured Andaman's, however, British took over post world war 2. Post independence this place has been one of the most revered National Memorial and is a must include spot in your andaman tour package . The place has a unique light and show for the tourists which takes them through the journey of the independence struggle.

Tips for travellers Visiting to Cellular Jail

  • 1.Cellular jail has a museum which has a lot of historical artifacts and stories about it's prisoners which is a must visit.Please note that the museum closes at 5pm.
  • 2.The light and sound show which is a theatrical saga of the freedom struggle in andaman's is conducted after sunset on the jail premises.
  • 3.The Light and Sound show is conducted in Hindi and English.
  • 4.The light and sound show has limited tickets available and it is advisable to talk to your travel agent and arrange tickets beforehand.