Chatham Island which is located at the Northern tip of Port Blair is a small island of the Andaman territory. The saw mill here that garners the administrative efficiency of British colonials is the oldest and the biggest saw mill of Asia. The presence of Chatham Island in fact compliments the historical essence which was left and cherished by the British and to view the potency of the history the traveler comes here from across the world.
The brilliance of the Island although small has a potential to entice traveler the silent flow that caters the nearby surroundings has made this island one of the important and attractive destinations around Andaman.
The main attraction of the Island is its serenity which is spell by the flow of the Island. The volcanic belts which is located at a perimeter of Indian and Burmese tectonic plates has made this Island active and one must understand that most of the volcano within the periphery is nestled within the depth of water so when it explodes it results in extinction and creation of new water flows.
The narrative account of chronology which is defined by the Saw mill of the Chatham Island indeed makes this place historical and important and to understand the same traveler would require walking back to the days of 17th century when colonials established their way here. The Saw mill of the Island was established by the British in order to process the plants in India. The responsible hand of Lt. Archibald Blair took every initiative to arouse the prominence of the mill and during his administrative line the island was converted into naval base. The history of prisoner who was forced to construction work speaks the volume as they were allegedly asked to build Timber Bridge which was however transformed to concrete structures to preserve the importance of the site.
The dying phase of 18th century paved the way for the construction and establishment of the Saw mill to meet the growing demands of timber. Importance of Chatham Island was conceived by the British as they were aware that their strong hold here could solve the problem of timber and the construction of the Saw Mill was their initiative to prove their motives.
The warfare of Second World War however paved the way for Japanese to invade and rule the Chatham Island. They came here around 1942 and successfully ruled the site till 1945 and after that British regime continued to rule the site till the time of independence.
During the fierce attack and invasion of the Japanese many workers were killed which paved the way for the destruction of the mill and mill remained closed for considerable amount of time. After the annulment of Japanese force the mill started functioning and the same instance allowed settlement of various people from different part of the world. After the call of independence the mill came under the supervision of the local people and at present the Chatham Saw mill imports wood from Myanmar and Thailand.
While coming here to revere the silent flow of Chatham Island which is growing as major tourist destinations of Andaman and Nicobar make sure to take guided walk to historic Saw mill which is the oldest and the biggest mill of the Asia. Beside that traveler can take a nature walk within the thick vegetation of the Forest museum to view the diversity of flora and fauna.
Best Time to Visit
Months of February till March and October till December can be considered appropriate to visit the Chatham Island.