- Famous for: History, Landmark
- Entrance Fee:10 per person and Rs.50 for guided tour
- Visiting Time: 8:30 AM to 2:30 PM (Except Mondays)
- Visit Duration: 1 hour to 2 hours
Chatham Saw Mill is one of the prime attractions in the capital, Port Blair, of the Andaman and Nicobar Islands. Being one of the biggest and oldest in Asia, this structure has witnessed a lot of history. Constructed by the colonial regime in 1883, this was the main source of timber, with their raw material being obtained from the dense forests which surrounded the Chatham Island. The mill was destroyed during the rule of the Japanese, who had invaded the islands during World War II and bombed it. The island was then reclaimed after World War II and soon, the mill saw its rebirth once people started settling down in the islands and civilizations started spreading. The functioning of the mill is one of great precision and is a treat to watch. The Museum set within the surroundings of the mill, has got a great collection of wood based work and carvings that take our breath away with the intricate designing which is done on it.
- Since the mill is open to visitors just for half a day, make sure you visit the place early.
- There will be a lot of wood dust in the area due to the nature of the manufacturing process, so people with breathing problems are advised to take precautionary measures while visiting it.
Things to Do
- Explore the various manufacturing processes which take place inside the mill to transform those huge logs into smaller chunks of wood.
- Be mesmerized by the amazing pieces of work within the Forest Museum which have been set up by the authorities just nearby.
- Photograph the premises of the mill and its nearby sites which bear a lot of effects from the war which the island had witnessed.
- Buy some local handicraft work which are being sold by hawkers nearby.
- Also look into the display of the plants and the fauna which are exhibited in the Forest Museum.
Availability of Guides
Local guides are available within the area who give you a tour while explaining the various processes which take place within the mill. They can be rented for a sum of Rs.50 or less.
Best Time to Visit
Port Blair is a place which can be visited all throughout the year. Due to its proximity to the sea, it is a region which doesn’t see much fluctuation in weather patterns. The summer months of April to July and those from November to March are great times to visit. The monsoon can be heavy and be utilized to sightsee rather than engage in adventure sports.
How to Reach
The Chatham Saw Mill is situated at the Chatham Islands, which is quite nearby Port Blair, at just about 11 kilometers away from the center of the capital. Public transport is widely available to reach this location as it is connected to the main areas by road. Two wheelers are also widely used in addition to cabs to reach this destination. Port Blair has a well-connected network of flights from the rest of the country.
Interesting Facts and Trivia About Chatham Saw Mill
- The mills are taken care by the Forest Department which also set up the Forest Museum within the compound of the mill.
- It processes various types of wood like the Padauk, Marble and Satin.
- The Japanese left the islands by 1946, which was after the ending of World War II.
- It took almost a period of three years for the mill to regain its stand and start operating again.
- The Forest Museum has exhibits and photographs showing the various phases that the mill had undergone and seen.
- The Museum also has various artifacts which are such beautiful and intricate showcases of workmanship and designing.
- The mill is a source of employment to about 800 members of the local community and processes about 20,000 logs in a year.
- Gandhi Statue
- Forest Museum
- Viper Island
- Samudrika Marine Museum
- Cellular Island
- North Bay Island
- Ross and Smith Islands
- Excel Restaurant
- Icy Spicy
- Full Moon Café
- Lighthouse Residency
The Chatham Saw Mill is a gem to be visited in the mesmerizing location of Port Blair. Situated in the midst of a scenic location, this spot is a storehouse of information which is widely visited and thronged by history buffs.