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Exploring the Indian Azkaban: The Cellular Jail!

Written By: Akshatha

We are enjoying the freedom fruit because of many revolutionaries who pledged their lives for us! A journey down the memory lane back to the Indian Independence struggle is a must. Among many other war memorials and historical sites, the Cellular Jail in Andaman is sure to give us goosebumps!

The Cellular Jail!

A Model of the Original Structure of the Cellular Jail
Photo Courtesy: Stefan Krasowski

Today, we see the Andaman Islands as a beautiful place with numerous beaches. We forget that it was once a prison; a large prison with no escape! Bound by the sea, the islands were used by the British to imprison the freedom fighters. The Cellular Jail in Port Blair was built for this purpose.

One of the creepiest part is that the Cellular Jail contains only solitary cells, meaning each prisoner had one cell with no contact with other inmates. Hence, it is known as Cellular Jail.

The Cellular Jail!

Cellular Jail
Photo Courtesy: Aliven Sarkar

History of the Cellular Jail

Britishers decided to build this jail after the break out of Sepoy Mutiny (the First War of Indian Independence). It was completed in the year 1906, many rebels were exiled here. So, it even got the name 'Kal Pani' meaning 'Death Water'.

The Cellular Jail!

Closer View of the Cells
Photo Courtesy: Yusuf Batterywala

Facts About Cellular Jail

  • The Cellular Jail was designed in such a way that no one could escape. In fact, each cell was strategically constructed to cut of all the contact between the inmates.
  • Originally, the Cellular Jail had 7 piers like buildings surrounding a central tower. More or less in a circular shape; a central tower with seven bars of buildings around it.
  • Post-Independence four buildings were demolished; now only three structures remain. The main idea of the central tower was to keep an eye on all the buildings surrounding it.
  • Each building has three floors with a honeycomb structure of cells. The convicts were subjected to solitary confinement for years.

The Cellular Jail!

Inside the Cell
Photo Courtesy: Aliven Sarkar

The famous inmates of the jail were our proud freedom fighters named Vinayak Damodar Savarkar, Yogendra Shukla, Fazl-e-Haq Khairabadi, Barindra Kumar Ghose, etc.

Interestingly, the Cellular Jail also had British convicts for some time when Japanese invaded Andaman Islands. It is said that Subhas Chandra Bose visited this island when Japanese took hold of the island.

Now, the Cellular Jail is a National Memorial Monument preserved in the memory of the brave freedom fighters. A part of the jail is converted into a hospital, and another part is a museum. Today, it is also one of the prominent tourist places in Port Blair, Andaman Islands.

Just a reminder to show the kind of difficulty through which Indians got Independence. 

Advanced Independence Day 2016 wishes to all!

Read more about: heritage travel, andaman
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