tiny, serene, beautiful island of viper is situated inside the
Port Blair Harbour. The island derives its
name from the vessel 'Viper' in which Lt. Archibald Blair came to the
islands in 1789 with the purpose of establishing a penal settlement. The
vessel, it is believed, met with an accident and its wreckage was
abandoned near the island.
A Mute Witness Of The Indian Freedom Struggle
Viper Island witnessed the untold sufferings the freedom fighters had to undergo. Dangerous convicts found guilty of violating the rules of the penal settlement, were put in chains and were forced to work with their chains on in this island. Freedom fighters like Nanigopal and Nandlal Pulindas, who had resorted to hunger strike at the Cellular Jail, were imprisoned at Viper Island. Sher Ali, the Pathan, guilty of murdering Lord Mayo, was condemned to death and hanged in gallows at the Viper Island. Now the ruins of jails and gallows can be seen on the island.
The British under the supervision of Major Fort built the
Jail at Viper, where prisoners deported from the mainland were confined.
Work on the prison was started in 1867. Owing to the working conditions,
the jail earned the notorious name Viper Chain Gang Jail.
The Harbour Cruise, available daily from Phoenix Bay Jetty, provides a panoramic view of different points around the harbour and includes a trip to Viper Island.
It's a 20 minutes boat journey from Phoenix Bay Jetty to
reach Viper Island.