Exploring Ross Island in Andamans was not on my “to-do” list. So, I had kept it pending until the very last day considering if I have some leisure time in hand, I would visit the place. Now that I think back, I believe I would have missed out on so much if I hadn’t made it to Ross Island.
Read on to know why.
Getting to Ross Island
My plans on the last day of my Andamans visit included a visit to Chidiya Tapu, a famed sunset point which is also popular for bird photography. Since it is situated at about 30kms from Port Blair, I didn’t want to club anything with it.
However, when I checked with the boat operators and at the Jetty, I found that there was a ferry that goes every one hour to Ross Island. And they assured me that I could be back in an hour or so.
So, yes. That is how I went about exploring Ross Island aka Netaji Subhash Chandra Boss Island as renamed in 2018 by our Prime Minister Shri Narendra Modi.
Ross Island is only a couple of kilometers away from Port Blair and is accessible only via crossing the sea, that is on a ferry. You may take the ferry from Aberdeen Jetty or from the Rajiv Gandhi Water Sports Complex. It will take you only about 15 minutes in a ferry to reach Ross Island from Port Blair.
However here’s a catch.
Most of the ferries will give you a time cap of one hour to explore the island after which you will have to return to the boat to get back to Port Blair. Yes, it is unfair because you simply cannot explore this gorgeous island in under an hour.
The ticket for the boats range from Rs 300 to 500, depending on the type of the boat. When you purchase the ticket, you will be assigned to a specific boat and you will be asked to remember its name. This is so that you can get on the same boat back to Port Blair.
That said, if you wish to tour the island at your leisure, you can opt for a private boat which will cost you anywhere between Rs 2000 to Rs 4000. You may also hire a guide to get all the necessary information of the place.
Alternatively, you can always club the Rioss Island visit with one or two more islands while booking the ferry. Ross Island visit is usually accompanied with a visit to North Bay Island, if you are into water sports. You can also visit Viper Island and make it into a Three Island Package Tour.
Ross Island Timings
Ross Island is open on all days except Wednesdays (and public holidays) from 8.00am to 4.30pm. So, you will have to exit the island at the said time because Ross Island is uninhabited and is preserved for its glorious past.
Yes, it is open on weekends as well. The entry fee to Ross Island is Rs 90 of 25 May 2023.
Upon reaching Ross Island, you will be greeted by a herd of spotted deers. This is one of the main attractions of the island where the deers roam freely. They are accustomed to humans and are friendly but I found a couple of strong-headed ones trying to stop the children from patting them, with their horns. So, you should be always vary of the young males!
Some Interesting Facts About Ross Island
There is an interesting history behind the deers found in Ross Island.
It is said that the Britishers introduced spotted deers along with hog deers and barking deers to the island becasue they were missing the game of hunting which they were so used to in the mainland of India. The latter two couldn’t survive in the island and due to the absense of a predator, the spotted deers flourished well.
History of Ross Island
Ross Island was named after the British marine surveyor Sir Daniel Ross. It is believed that the island was occupied by the British as early as 1788 and later during the First War of Indian Independence in 1857, the island was earmarked as a penal settlement organization for poiltical prisoners from India.
The British officers used the inmates to clear the jungle and built a mini town to themselves including the Commissioner’s Bungalow, a Secreteriat, Church, Clubhouses, Tennis Courts, Markets, Stores, Printing Press, Hospital, Post Office, Swimming Pool, Bakeries, Cemetery, and other communal amenities.
The island is also home to one of the first water treatment plants in India, set up by the Britishers after the deaths of the inhabitants, especially infants due to water borne diseases.
The Britishers even had an open air theatre for recreation.
Thus, the island was mostly occupied by British jailers, administrators and their families and no wonder Ross Island was called ‘Paris of the East’.
Later, Ross Island became the administrative headquarters of the British for almost 85 years.
Things to Do on Ross Island
Explore the Ruins
In 1941, a massive earthquake hit the island and it was abandoned. The ruins of the buildings that were constructed can still be seen and they are preserved as such. The Japanese occupied the island shortly after the earthquake and went on to stay here for three years from 1942 to 1945. Netaji Subhash Chandra Boss visited the island in 1943 and hoisted the tricolor.
To be honest, I was fascinated by the thick, massive roots of peepal trees engulfing each building ruin. It gave an eery vibe to the whole place as if a remembrance to the atrocities of the past. The grim history can be visualised through these ramshackle buildings.
Sit Around the Pond
If you get to the pond (I couldn’t, because of the time crunch), you can sit under the shade of a tree and relax. It is mesmerizing to be surrounded by such tall trees, peacocks and deers.
Enjoy the Light and Sound Show
Check with the administrators at the island and book the Light and Sound show. I was told that it is even better than the Light and Sound show at the Cellular Jail which in itself was exceptional.
Read | You can read all about the Cellular Jail Visit here.
I really, badly wanted to watch the show but it was cancelled due to less number of bookings.
Trek to The Lighthouse
It is next to impossible to explore the island in the one-hour time limit that the boat service sets for you. The only option otherwise is to choose for an eRickshaw or motor buggy drive available on the island.
The buggy takes you to the lighthouse location in a jiffy while the driver quickly explains the history, buildings, and ruins of the island. One still has to trek down (it will take you ten minutes) to reach the exact location of the lighthouse but it is totally worth it.
Spend some time at the location, click pictures, because you will be riveted to the spot, taking in the beauty of the sea.
The lighthouse location is truly a photographer’s delight.
Walk back up and you will be greeted with vendors selling fresh tender coconuts and kulfis. Make sure that you hydrate well. You may then choose to take a walk or hop onto the same buggy to head back to the starting point.
Spend Time With the Deers
There are close to 550 deers in the island. I chose to walk for sometime and spend the remaining of the ten minutes I had, with the deers. It was truly delightful. However, I would urge you not to feed the deers, especially human food.
There are many refreshment options available at Ross Islands. You have vendors selling kulfis, tender coconut, and packaged waterbottles at most corners. There are benches to sit on, under the shades. Washroom facilities too are available on the island.
Tips on Visiting Ross Island, Andaman
- As you can see in the pictures, I look super exhausted and tired because I managed to book the 1.30pm ferry to explore Ross Islands. Needless to say, it is a pretty bad time to visit the place given the soaring temperatures in the month of April. If time permits, opt for an early morning or evening ferry to explore the place.
- Wear comfortable clothes and shoes becuase you are going to walk quite a fair bit. Even if you are visiting the island during summers or rains, it is important to wear loose-fitted, light clothes that you are comfortable in.
- Carry sunglasses, hat, or umbrella to protect yourself from the sun.
- Carry cash to spend on the entry fee, refreshments, and the buggy, if you choose to ride on it.
- As I mention always, carry your own waterbottles. Refill and use as needed. There are provisions like a free water station in Ross island. Avoid littering.
So, is Ross Island worth a visit?
Absolutely, yes! I would go on to say, it should be on top of your priority list when you are in Port Blair.
You May Like to Read:
Read | An Evening in Cellular Jail
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This blog post is part of the blog challenge ‘Blogaberry Dazzle’ hosted by Cindy D’Silva and Noor Anand Chawla in collaboration with Zariya Healings.
Harjeet Kaur says
Beautiful images of you and the islands. One hour’s time is too little, isn’t it? People should put up a petition I guess to extend the time limit. I haven’t been to the Andaman and your post has triggered the passion for some beach hopping soon.
Ambica Gulati says
From your phtographs, it looks remarkably well preserved for an uninhabited island. The peacocks and deers would be a delight, and you are right we shouldn’t try and interfere with their natural diet. I would opt for a private ferry which would give me enought time to enjoy thisplace. It really has a lot of history with British and Japanese occupancy.
Flavia Cutinho says
I enjoyed the write up reading tru your exploring experience. You have give so many in btw guide and tips which definitely will help one wanting to visit Ross Island. I believe the time isn’t sufficient for exploring as you need to get back to the boat you had taken. You have also left another place for photographers interested.
Dipali Bhasin says
Andaman has been on my list for the longest time possible. I am intrigued by its scenic beauty, the marine adventure activities and also its history. Ross Island promises to offer fun for the day. However, I would like to take a private ferry/eRickshaw to gain more time to explore the place to the fullest and perhaps to idly gaze at the natural beauty around without looking at the watch every few minutes. I love the detailing to your posts. You have a knack for answering all the questions that the reader may have in mind. 🙂
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Anjali Tripathi says
Your post about Ross Island is absolutely fascinating! It’s incredible to learn that upon arriving at the island, visitors are greeted by a herd of spotted deer, which roam freely and have become one of the main attractions. With its rich history and diverse attractions, it’s no wonder that Ross Island was referred to as the “Paris of the East.” Thank you for sharing these intriguing facts and insights into the island’s past. It definitely piques my curiosity and makes me want to explore Ross Island even more! I will keep in mind the pointers mentioned by you.
Ritu Bindra says
Thoroughly enjoy the series, Shalini. An hour to explore the island seems a bit too short. Perhaps the private boat is worth it. Loved the pics. In spite of all the history, the place is picturesque. And those roots enveloping the ruins do give it an eerie feeling.
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Madhu Bindra says
Your posts are always very informative. I have always seen your recipe posts, I didn’t know you do travel posts too. Your pics are so beautiful. One hour to explore the island is going to be too rushed. Places like these need time.
Madhu Bindra recently posted…BBQ Pulled Banana Peel Burger
Kaveri Chhetri says
Beautiful place Shakini… so untouched! Obviously no one lives there. Stull, such places are difficult to find in today’s commercial world. You took us on a lovely virtual tour of the place with your vivid n detailed descriptions, itinerary etc… I also liked the useful tips u gave. Nice pictures too…
Kaveri Chhetri says
*shalini… sorry about the typo
Nikita Jhanglani says
So happy to spot one of my favorite bloggers here! As usual, loved reading your post 🙂
Preeti Chauhan says
When I went to see Ross Island on my Andaman and Nicobar Trip, sadly we faced a storm and the boat had to be brought back. At least through your post, I get to visit it virtually.
Your travel blogs are always interesting and informative and this Ross Island is equal fascinating one for me. It’s makes me feel so excited to know that on arrival at the island, tourists are greeted by spotted deer, and I cant imagine how beautiful the moments will be for the visitors. I actually want to experience it in reality. I am not sure who clicked the pics but each one of them are perfect to depict the true essence of the place. Historic places always attracts me and so Andaman is already there in my bucket list. I will take a note of the points that you have mentioned here before planning for this destination. Can you update me if private ferry service is available or not for the light house? By the one the pic with deer and you is the cutest one… just loved it.
I was seven when I visited Andaman with my parents and Ross island during that time. I remember every bit of it, thanks to my mom’s picture taking enthusiasm. Seeing your post, I must say not much has changed. Only the deers were roaming around freely!
What a lovely post, Shalini and such lovely pics. You look lovely!! Thanks for the detailed post…hope you had a great time. Looks like a great place to travel.
Sivaranjini Anandan says
Ross Island. travel tales are always a great read for they give way to a joyful virtual visit and that makes travel tales the best.
It must be thrilling to visit a place with such an amazing history and of course natural beauty. Your pictures took me on a virtual tour and now I truly want to a real one. Seems like it has been maintained well too.
This place is quite similar to the Miyajima Island we visited near Hiroshima in Japan in 2019. The island was also so peaceful and had deer. That first photo of yours though gave me a bit of chills as it looked like the one in Train to Busan✌️Great place to explore! Appreciate you sharing your experience.
Manisha Garg says
This place looks like a must-visit – gives a glimpse of the past and so many things to do I will surely love to visit this place. I enjoyed your pictures and will surely keep your travel tips in mind.
Manisha Garg recently posted…Mutual Funds – A secure key for mother’s financial dilemma!
Vasumathi DS Ponday says
We are planning our next girls trip and Andaman is one of the places we are considering. Will ear mark your post if we do visit. Must say it is quite detailed & one gets most of the info needed.
Damn Shalini 😍 you make me want to take off and head off for a vacation everytime I read any travel post of yours. Beautiful pictures ❤️
Zenobia Merchant says
This a visually appealing and well-detailed post. Your words and accompanying pictures literally took me on a virtual tour of the island and I cherished it as much as you. Adding the island to my Andamans bucket list for sure.
Shilpa Gupte says
Beautiful pictures of the island, Shalini. I am sure Muffy would have loved to play with the deers 🙂