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Chatham Saw Mill, Port Blair

  • Chatham Saw Mill is the oldest and largest sawmill not just in India but in the whole of Asia. It is located at Port Blair island of Andaman and Nicobar and holds great value from history. The mill is owned by the forest department and is considered to be one of the best places to visit in Andaman.

    Chatham Saw Mill is one of the few sawmills that provide timber to furniture units and other industries across the globe. The mill builds the largest production of timber with raw materials being obtained from the forest of Chatham island. The museum inside the mill gives tourists an insight into the history of Chatham island and also explains the biodiversity it is blessed with. It also showcases an interesting collection of wood-work and carvings that depict the excellence of craftsmanship. It is good to go Chatham Saw Mill with customisable Andaman tour package.

    Highlights: Oldest sawmill in Asia, built in the 19th century, the museum has pictures of various phases the mil has undergone, the mill generates employment to about 800 people in the local community, the mill produces around 20000 logs every year

    Visiting timing: The mill is open for tourists to take a tour inside, in the first half of the day; ie- 8 am to 2:30 pm on all days, except Sundays and public holidays.

    Visiting duration: Tourists ideally require an hour or two for a tour inside

    Entry Fees: INR 10 per head and INR 50 for a tour with a guide

    How to reach Chatham Saw Mill

    From Port Blair - Chatham Saw Mill is located very close to Port Blair; at a mere distance of 11 kilometers. To reach there from Port Blair, public transport - mainly buses are available at a regular frequency. If tourists wish to commute by private transport, two-wheelers can be rented or a cab can be hired easily.

    From Havelock Island - There are government as well as private ferries that run between Havelock Island and Port Blair. Tourists can choose to ride on any of these ferries to reach Port Blair first and thereafter hire a local cab to reach Chatham Saw Mill. Two-wheelers can also be hired in Port Blair for easy local commuting.

    Historical Essence of Chatham Saw Mill: With the aim of meeting the local requirement of timber for construction work, Chatham Saw Mill was constructed in the year 1883 by the colonial regime. Later, the British started to export huge quantities of timber to meet the requirement of London, New York, and various other cities. However, later in the years of Japanese rule, the rulers invaded the islands, and bombed it in 1942, leading to the collapsing of the mill.

    After World War 2, the island was reclaimed and that is when Chatham Saw Mill witnessed its rebirth. Countries like Sri Lanka, Burma, East Pakistan, along with different states of India settled in the islands and empowered the timber producing capacity of the mill. Today, Chatham Saw Mill is a storehouse, perhaps the biggest one for different varieties of wood. It functions as the main sources of timber for the government and private agencies.

    1. Places to visit in and near Chatham Saw Mill.

    As Chatham Saw Mill is located in Port Blair, there are a number of other places that can be visited by tourists. Some of them are Cellular jail, Samudrika Naval Marine Museum, Zoological Survey of India, Anthropological Museum, Fisheries Museum and Forest Museum for history buffs and museum lovers; Corbyn’s Cove Beach and Japanese Bunkers for views of the sea under an open sky; Chidiya Tapu and Wandoor and Mahatma Gandhi Marine National Park for tropical getaway and wildlife spotting; and Roman Catholic Church for religious visit. Most of these places can be visited on the same day, starting early in the morning and are easily accessible.

    Find more places to visit in Andaman and Nicobar.

    2. Things/ Activities to do in/near Chatham Saw Mill

    After a visit to Chatham Saw Mill, tourists can choose to indulge in a number of activities in and around the same area as the mill. A few of such things to do near Chatham Saw Mill are visiting, and learning the historical importance of Cellular jail, followed by attending the entertaining light show there, wildlife spotting at Mahatma Gandhi Marine National Park. Relaxing, swimming or sipping a beer or two at Corbyn’s Cove Beach, or simply paying a visit to Port Blair’s famous church - Roman Catholic Church. Moreover, there are many museums located close to Chatham Saw Mill where history lovers and learners and sure to spend a great time!

    3. Places to eat near Chatham Saw Mill

    Chatham, Saw Mill is primely located which makes it close to many other places worth visiting; including restaurants that take care of hungry stomachs. Some of the best places to eat near Chatham Saw Mill are Amaya - which serves Indian, Seafood, Asian and is located 2.2 kilometers away, Milkyway - that serves Indian and fast food and is located at a distance of 1.4 kilometers from the mill, Annapurna, at a distance of 3 kilometers - serves Indian and Asian; and New Lighthouse restaurant which is located 3 kilometers away and is recommended for seafood. Foodies looking for international cuisine like American cuisine can head to Cafe Rebel which is 2.2 kilometers from Chatham Saw Mill.

    4. Places to stay near Chatham Saw Mill

    Near Chatham Saw Mill, there are tons of options to choose from, for every kind of a traveller. For budget travellers - Aashiaanaa Residency Inn, Jazeera Resort, Ripple Resort, V-Knot Residency, Hotel King Safire and Dev Mahal are some of the options. For tourists not conscious of a budget - Peerless Resort, Hotel Exotica Squares, Symphony Palms Beach Resort, Hornbill Nest Resort, and Hotel Hilltop International are good choices. And for tourists looking to seek luxury stay - Hotel Mansha Regency, Hotel Sentinel, Sinclairs Bay view and hotel Comfort in Blue Whales are places to stay near Chatham Saw Mill.

    Check out a list of hotels in port blair.

    5. Mobile Connectivity at and around Chatham Saw Mill

    Network connectivity is at its bets in the whole of Port Blair, and Chatham Saw Mill is no exception. The best networks in the area are BSNL, Airtel, Reliance Jio and Vodafone and they all work fine at and around Chatham Saw Mill. It is only on other islands than Havelock that tourists face trouble with mobile connectivity.

    6. Timing to visit of Chatham Saw Mill

    Chatham Saw Mill is open for tourists on all days, except Sundays and public holidays. The timing to visit the mill is 8 in the morning to 2:30 in the afternoon. The timings are pretty strict and no entry is allowed post 2:30 pm.

    If planning for Andaman trip then check here the best time to visit Andaman and Nicobar.

    7. Medical facilities near Chatham Saw Mill?

    There are several hospitals, medical centers and dispensaries located near Chatham Saw Mill. In the case of any medical emergency, GP Pant hospital is the nearest one, located at a distance of just 5 kilometers from Chatham Saw Mill.

    8. Travellers' Tip before visiting Chatham Saw Mill

    Chatham Saw Mill holds great significance from the pages of history. Tourists are advised to look at it not just like any other sightseeing the place but learn about its importance.

    As the mill is open for visitors only in the first half, it is advisable to reach early, in order to make the most of the visit there.

    As the nature of the manufacturing process here involves wood, tourists can carry a handkerchief as a precaution to wood dust. People with breathing issues must also take precautions as needed.

    To know more about a trip here, Check our travel guide on Andaman and Nicobar.

Attractions

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Chatham Saw Mill

The largest wood processors in Andaman is the Chatham Saw Mill in Port Blair. It was established by the British in 1883 and it can be reached by a wooden bridge as it is located on Chatham Island. The saw mill is still working and it has an important role in the betterment of the economy and development. 

But now the mill is under the control of state government. It was set up for meeting the requirements of timber and wood based constructions. One of the largest saw mills in Asia, Chatham Saw Mill has gained international acclaim through these years for the high-quality timber products. The mill is able to saw about 20000 cum logs annually and almost around 750 employees are working at the mill.

Highlights: There is a modern museum in the compound of the Chatham Saw Mill complex exhibits the beautiful photographs and the working of Department of Environment and Forest and different handicrafts made of carvings, polishing, and paintings. The museum is a helping hand to know the history, culture, and development of the island through these years. 

Activities: You will be able to watch the different processes like bringing the woods into the mill, sorting, cutting and storing. You will be able to spot the bomb crater left by Japanese Ordnance in World War 2.

Distance from Port Blair: Chatham Island, Port Blair. One can reach the mill via Foreshore Road in 24 minutes.

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