"Where there is ruin, there is hope for treasure." ~ Jalaluddin Rumi
And treasure indeed is the lost city of Ross Island of Andaman and Nicobar Islands, clothed with beautiful creepers and giant trees. 7km north of Port Blair, Ross Island is bedecked with Victorian English architectural ruins. It was once known as Paris of the East, for its gracious vibe, lavish and colourful social life and unparalleled natural beauty, before it was damaged by a 1941 earthquake and Japanese invasion later in 1942.
Traces of a prosperous past in the rubbles of buildings and mansions here, give the visitor a taste of the lavish bygone era. It is now a barren island with stunning ruins of a Presbyterian Church, bakery and store, and a beautiful Ferar beach visited for its unmatched beauty, scenic views and endless rows of tall coconut and palm trees.
Loved by the British, Ross Island served as their administrative headquarters until the 1941 earthquake, after which Port Blair became the hub of the islands. Thus, the now derelict island once had all the luxuries of the world, from tennis courts, to huge bazaars, churches, bakeries and the Secretariat. All of which is in ruins now, and is spread through the entire island, serving as a surreal open air museum.
To get an authentic flavour of life from the good old days, visit the bakery and watch the Ross Island Memorial documentary shown everyday from 9:30 am to 9:45 am and 11:30 am to 11:45 am. Other tourist spots in Andaman include Smritika Museum, Cellular Jail, Mahatma Gandhi Marine National Park and Forest Museum.
When the Japanese fled after their invasion during the Second World War, they left their footprints on Ross Island in forms of bunkers, which you must visit on your trip to this island. There are a lot of tunnels too, through the bunkers.
Ross Island is also enriched with varied wildlife, you can spot a range of flora and fauna here which are a pure delight to the eyes! Peacocks, deer and ducks are a common sight on the island. The beaches are gorgeous and unspoilt, as there has been no permanent human settlement here for long. Your trip to Andaman and Nicobar Islands will stand incomplete without a day trip to this serene little island.
Best time to visit?
December to March is the best time to visit Ross Island, when the weather is pleasant. Cool breeze, balmy sun and a moderate temperature set the right tone for both a romantic getaway or an adventurous weekend trip!
How to reach?
The nearest airport to Ross Island is Veer Savarkar International airport, also familiar as Port Blair Airport situated in Port Blair, which is well connected to all major cities in India. Ross Island is at a short distance of 7km from Port Blair. Ferry rides are available from Port Blair, that start from Rajiv Gandhi Marine Park.
As Ross Island is a deserted place and given the small area, no local transport is available, the best way of getting around is walking/trekking.
Where to stay?
Since the island is now forlorn, there is no human habitation here, except for the Indian Navy Commandos from over the counrty, and some museum officials. Thus, there are no stay options available here in Ross Island, as of now.
You can spend hours enjoying the enthralling beauty of the beaches and the old town, and head back to Port Blair at sunset. For accommodation options in Port Blair click here.
For more information on the Andaman and Nicobar Islands, check out our travel guide.
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