How about having an entire island for yourself? Well… been there, done that says the Chatham Saw Mill. Yes! it won’t be wrong if we say that this mill occupies the entire island of Chatham. Not kidding! The entire island is a saw mill.
This historic saw mill was established by the British raj way back in 1883. The Japanese too have their share of history here – they had bombarded the mill and occupied the island from 1942 to 1945. The mill which started off with second-hand machinery from the West has stood the test of times and has made it this far – The test of times? understatement! war of times seem more appropriate – Now we know why it is rightfully referred as ‘historic’ and we are talking about the oldest and the biggest saw mills in Asia!
Come along, let’s take a walk around this old-world charm.
Let’s buy your tickets here. The tickets are priced at INR 10 per adult. Did you say, kids? Oh, they can walk in at their free will 🙂
Gates are thrown open from 8:00 AM to 2:30 PM IST. They are closed on Mondays and all public holidays. So make sure you don’t land up here on a Monday or on a public holiday.
These pick and carry cranes silently rule this kingdom of logs. They are all over carrying logs of all shapes and sizes.
These quaint workshops that have mushroomed all across the island will certainly leave a lasting impact. The textures and the faded colours belong to that old world charm for sure.
Please have a seat… and let this vibe sink in.
The abundance of sawdust and pretty things in the making who do not know how pretty they will be… or how pretty they already are!
Walk out of the workshop and heyy who took the seat?? Wait, was it even there when we went inside?
And look whom we ran into! Jon Bon Jovi!! singing ‘To the fire?’ in ‘The fields of fire?’
Is this where the word ‘swag’ came from?
The saw being sharpened and chiselled …
Here’s where the logs take a dip in the sea.
And here we are, at the entrance/exit gate drawing curtains to yet another whimsical walk.
On another perspective, Chatham Saw Mill is a bag full of mixed feelings… we talk about forest conservation and growing more trees and here you are walking in the midst of ‘logs’ ‘timber’ ‘planks’ … They are not trees anymore, they no longer breathe. But still, live on. Guess it’s all about that circle of life that everyone keeps talking about. Afterall there is never an end, there is only transition from one form to the other, from one world to the other. Sigh…
The Chatham Saw Mill is now governed by the forest department of ‘The Andaman and Nicobar Islands’
These photographs were taken in April 2016, during my first visit to the islands.