Mahatma Gandhi Marine National Park

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Weather:

Timings:

Boat trips: 8:30 AM - 10:30 AM (interval of 30 minutes)

Entry Fee:

Reserve entry: INR 50,
Camera: INR 25,
Boat ride to Red Skin Island: INR 300
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Mahatma Gandhi Marine National Park, Andaman & Nicobar Islands Overview

Located on the south-western coast of the Andaman Islands, Mahatma Gandhi Marine National Park or Wandur National Park is a marine life conservation area situated at a distance of 25 km from the capital city of Port Blair. The wildlife sanctuary consists of a group of 12 islands which are situated in a labyrinthine shape and are home to some of the most exquisite marine life in the world including corals and resting sea turtles among other species.

Mahatma Gandhi Marine National Park was established in the year 1983 in order to conserve the marine life of the area. Its surrounding areas are beauteous with pristine white-sand beaches, azure skies and clear water. Covering an area of over 220 sq. km., the national park is a great place to try some snorkelling and diving in the crystal clear water of the islands giving one an opportunity to see nature's glory from a close view. The coral reefs are the highlight of the park exhibiting their glorious forms and enchanting one and all. The famous islands to visit are Jolly buoy Islands, Redskin Island, Grub Island, Rangat Island, Neil Island and Long Island. The Mahatma Gandhi Marine National Park can amaze and dazzle everyone visiting especially those who hold marine life and the sea close to their hearts.

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The extensive area of the National Park comprises 15 islands with sandy beaches and streams, with lush mangrove forests extending down to the sea. Housing exquisite corals and mind-stirring variety of marine species, it is home to animals such as Andaman wild pig, spotted deer, king cobra, pit vipers, and gecko. From November to February, the park becomes the breeding ground for the largest turtle species in the world - the leatherback turtles. The coral reefs found here are simply breathtaking, comprising mostly of fringing reefs. They are home to a spectacular mix of estuarine creatures such as yellow butterfly fish, blue damsels, green parrot fish and black surgeons.

The Wandur National Park is densely vegetated, and while on a trail through the rich forests, one can spot tropical flowers like orchids. One of the most attractive vegetations here are the mangroves which serve as the breeding ground for an eclectic mix of marine life. These trees also act as a natural buffer against the tropical storms that cause extensive damage to the park. The Mahatma Gandhi Marine National Park is a wonder and a haven for experiencing the wildlife in its raw form.

The Mahatma Gandhi Marine National Park was set up under the Wildlife Protection Act of 1972, on 24 May 1983. It was created mainly to protect the estuarine life like the rich coral reefs and the nesting sea turtles which are found extensively in this area. The national park was placed under the protection of Chief Wildlife Warden of the forest department who makes sure the park functions smoothly and the wildlife and vegetation continue to thrive here.

The best time to visit the Andaman & Nicobar Islands is from late December until April, as during this time the temperatures hover around 25 to 30 degree Celsius which is pretty comfortable. The cool sea breeze in the night allows for cool weather, and one can do with casual cotton clothing. The December to February season is also excellent for snorkelling and scuba diving as the water is pretty flat at that time. It is not advisable to travel during the monsoon season from May till October as during that time the islands receive heavy rainfall, and most parts of the Island chain are closed.

Accommodation for all budget sizes is available at Port Blair in places like Havelock Islands, Rangat and Mayabunder. One can also find lodging at the forest guest house, as well as the private lodge of the forest department at Wandur.

1. Travel around the reserve through the forest department launch or a rented canoe from the fishermen.
2. The National Park has only 150 permits for tourist entries distributed by first-cum-first-serve.
3. Make sure to keep the environ clean and avoid littering.
4. Diving and photography are allowed at tourist islands though at a prescribed fee.
5. Foreigners need to get a permit to visit the Andaman Islands which is available at Port Blair and are not permitted to visit the Nicobar Islands.
6. Avoid carrying plastic bags and bottles.
7. Carry packed lunch as finding places to eat is difficult at the various islands.
8. Carrying arms and ammunition and lighting fires is prohibited.

  • Air: Regular flights are available for Port Blair from Kolkata and Chennai.

  • Rail: Not Available

  • Road: Bus services are available at Port Blair for Wandur from 6:00 AM to 8:00 PM at an interval of 30 minutes. Tourist department buses are available every 2-3 minutes from the office of Director of IP&T, Port Blair.

  • Sea: Ships services are available for Port Blair from Kolkata, Vishakapatnam and Chennai. One can rent a canoe from the local fishermen. Boats are provided at Wandur Jetty by the local tour operators.


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