Viper Island is best known for the prison that was used before the notorious cellular prison was constructed in 1906. It’s around 8 kilometers North West of Port Blair and one can access the island by boat or ferry. There are two pretty convincing stories as to the origin of the name of the island.
One states that the island was named after a ship by the name that carried Archibald Blair to the island in the year 1789. The other, and the more unnerving one states that the presence of a large number of Viper snakes on the island is what has led to its naming.
Some of the greatest personalities linked to the Indian Freedom struggle have spent their last days here at Viper jail. Documented evidence exists that Maharajas and Peasants were treated alike and tortured to the hilt for having played a part in trying to overthrow British rule. Tourists’ today flock to the island to get a glimpse of the ruins of this jail and for a moment feel like a part of history. Apart from this, Viper Island is also a wonderful picnic place.
The island can be reached in 20 minutes via the Phoenix Bay jetty. Some cruise services also offer tours on a boat around the island showing tourists different parts of the island and the prison from the boat.