Few miles from Port Blair is the Ross Island, once an administrative headquarter for the Britishers, before an earthquake rocked the Island in 1941. The British then left the island and took settlement at Port Blair, since then the Island could never recover from the decay and neglect which had set in. Slowly but steadily the nature took its toll, as banyan trees engulfed the buildings thus replacing the structures created by man. This island makes you nostalgic and takes you back in time when this was an administrative settlement for the Britishers. The Indian Navy has rebuilt some of the old buildings like the bakery and the local stores, from where souvenirs are available.
The island is named after surveyor, Sir Daniel Ross, and was inhabited initially in 1788-89 after Archibald Blair’s survey of the Andaman and Nicobar Islands. Owing to inclement weather conditions, however, the mortality rate was very high and the settlement was soon abandoned.
In 1887 it was repopulated, following a resolution to set up a jail and penal colony there under British administration, following a number of uprisings by Indians. The island was continuously inhabited and controlled by the British until March 1942, when Japanese troops invaded and took control of the Andaman and Nicobar Islands including Ross. Remnants of bunkers constructed by the Japanese remain.
Today the island is open to visitors, and contains several brick walkways crisscrossing the settlement. There a number of small shops with water and food supplies, and ferries run every hour or so from Port Blair, the main outpost of the Andaman and Nicobar Islands. As it is also a naval base, visitors are required to sign-in upon entry and exit, and the island is closed to tourists at night.