Gulf of Mannar Marine National Park

Weather :

Timings : 9:30 AM - 12:30 PM,
1:30 PM - 5:30 PM

Time Required : 2-3 hrs

Entry Fee : Adults: INR 10,
Kids: INR 5,
Parking: Free

Gulf of Mannar Marine National Park, Dhanushkodi Overview

The Gulf of Mannar Marine National Park is a group of 21 small and breathtakingly beautiful islands, along with some adjacent coral reefs and shallow water habitats that are located in the Gulf of Mannar in the Indian Ocean. This park is also the core area for the Gulf of Mannar Biosphere Reserve and is home to a myriad of plants and animals in its marine, intertidal and near shore habitats. When it comes to marine biodiversity, it boasts of being one of the wealthiest areas. Not only does the park have three aquatic ecosystems, which are the coral reef, seagrass and mangroves, but it is also home to salt marshes and specific algal communities. The different estuaries, beaches and forests in the park further heighten its beauty and showcase nature in all its glory.

Occupying a total area of 6.23 square kilometres, the Gulf of Mannar Marine National Park is the first biosphere reserve to have been established in the country in the year 1980. At the same time, the park also forms a part of the third largest of the world's oceanic divisions, which is the Indian Ocean. Since all the twenty-one islands of the Gulf of Mannar Marine National Park come under the Marine National Park sphere, tourism and related activities are restricted here. Public access and participation inside the park is limited to glass bottom boat rides. Nevertheless, a visit to this park is a must to enjoy the bounties of nature and to view some of her marvellous creations.

Photos of Gulf of Mannar Marine National Park

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Flora and Fauna at Gulf Of Mannar Marine National Park

Undoubtedly the main attraction at the Gulf of Mannar Marine National Park is the variety of marine animals and coral reefs that can be found here. The coral reefs that border the islands are home to a myriad of beautiful and colourful aquatic ornamental fish. In fact, these reefs are so breathtaking and gorgeous, that they are often referred to as the 'Underwater Tropical Rain Forest'. The Gulf of Mannar Marine National Park is home to over 3600 different species of flora and fauna, many of which are found in their virgin forms.

117 species of hard coral can also be found in the region, along with a variety of turtles, pearl oysters, Dolphins, Seahorses, Sea Cucumbers, Balano-Glossus, Herrings, Barracuda and Sprats, that are sheltered by the reefs. The reserve also boasts of having eleven different species of seagrass. Other than this, the island is also frequented by migratory birds from all across the globe. Around 180 different kinds of birds can be seen in the park, of which seabirds and warders are the most common. Besides, one can sight rare birds like Crab plovers, Broad-billed Sandpiper, Red-Necked Phalarope, Bar-tailed Godwit, Red knot, Eastern knot, Dunlin and Long-toed Stint. Thousands of flamingos can also be sighted in the winter months.

The beaches of the numerous charming islands at the Gulf of Mannar Marine National Park also serve as the feeding ground for five different species of endangered marine turtles, namely the Olive Ridley, Hawksbill, Green, Leatherback and Loggerhead.

Activities at Gulf Of Mannar Marine National Park

The Gulf of Mannar Marine National Park houses a museum which is a must visit for people who want to learn more about the features and wonders of the national park. One can also opt for a glass-bottomed boat ride, and enjoy the beauty and charm of the region.

History of Gulf Of Mannar Marine National Park

The twenty-one islands of the Dhanushkodi and Thoothukudi of Tamil Nadu were declared as the Gulf of Mannar Marine National Park in 1986. This same area was earlier known as Pamban to Tuticorin barrier reef and was initially declared as a Marine National Park in 1980. Following this, the buffer region was announced as the Gulf of Mannar Biosphere Reserve in the year 1989, and this area is the first ever biosphere reserve in the country.

From the past two thousand years, the Gulf of Mannar Marine National Park has been known for its Pearl Banks of Pinctada Fucata and Pinctada Radiata. Even though the extraction of these pearls is an expensive activity, it nevertheless continues to take place in the gulf on a regular basis. What was initially developed for the conservation of different species, today boasts of having the wealthiest marine biological resources in the entire nation.

Best Time To Visit Gulf of Mannar Marine National Park

The best time of the year to visit the Gulf of Mannar Marine National Park is from October to March.

Tips For Visiting Gulf of Mannar Marine National Park

Note that prior permission is needed to visit these islands since visitors are not allowed on all the islands.

How To Reach Gulf of Mannar Marine National Park

The Gulf of Mannar Marine National Park is situated on the Madurai Road in Mandapam, Ramanathapuram. The national park is well connected to all major cities by a well-developed road network. The nearest railway station is the Rameshwaram railway station, which is located about 7 kilometres away. Numerous government, as well as privately operated vehicles also run to and from the national park at frequent intervals.

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Q. we are reaching rameshwaram and spending 3 days...one full day for dhanushkodi beach and marine national park.. we would like to have glass bottom boat ride at marine national park...please advice.....about tkt, timings etc.

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