Marine National Park in the Gulf of Kutch is the first marine conservatory built in India. Crediting to its diverse range of flora and fauna, it accounts for a magnanimous natural site for India's natural resource and beauty. The park is distributed in 42 scattered islands in an archipelago. The park also houses many endangered aquatic animals granting them protection from poachers.
The park provides with a picturesque sight with exotic birds painting the sky, colourful algae adorning the seabed, and coral ornating the reef. A walk along the coast truly makes for an experience where one seems to be one with nature. The pleasant whether further aggravates the experience for tourists. It is advised that one should carry headgear, ample water, and sunscreen while exploring the park.
Attractions at the Marine National Park
The main attraction of the park lies in its diverse fauna with tens and hundreds of different species of aquatic animals. Not only will one walk along the coral reef, but they may also spot starfishes, jellyfishes, sea snakes, and several types of fish. If they are lucky, they may even spot dolphins at a distance. A trip to Marine National Park makes for a truly enriching journey where people of all ages may enjoy. Most animals easily accessible to the eyes of the tourist makes this park a mandatory trip if one happens to visit Gujarat.
History of Marine National Park
The Marine National Park was the first marine conservatory established in India in 1982. Gujarat has the longest coastline in Indian which consists of two gulfs, and they are the Gulf of Kutch and the Gulf of Khambat. The Marine National Park and the Marine Sanctuary were constructed with the aim of protecting two major ecosystems namely, mangroves and corals. They are located in fragmented areas consisting of the districts of Jamnagar, Dwarka, and Morbi. The park was established in the intertidal region along the coast and consists of 42 islands some being Karubhar, Pirotan, and Narara which has an exposed reef.
Entry Fee to Marine National Park
Entry to the park generally costs INR 150 per heard, but if a guide is hired, it would cost INR 100 per head.
Marine National Park - Flora & Fauna
Flora and fauna are what attracts tourists to this park. There are several kinds of species available here in various variants. There are seven species of mangroves present, performing crucial functions such as maintaining the balance between salt and fresh water systems and protecting the coast from erosion.
There are 108 species of green, brown, and red algae are present too. The coral reef is without a doubt the main attraction of the park with 37 species of hard and soft corals and 70 species of sponges. Walking along the coast, one can experience the coral right there at their feet with giant sea anemone opening at the shore.
The living beings are of a magnanimous number and variety. Arthropods include seven species of prawns; crustaceans include 30 species of crabs, lobsters, and shrimps, molluscs include pearl oysters and sea slugs, echinoderms include starfish, sea urchin, sea cucumbers. Plenty of fishes are available here too such as pufferfishes, jellyfish, seahorses, stingray, mudskippers, blue whales, common dolphins, bottlenose dolphins, humpback dolphins, finless porpoises, and sei whales to name a few, changing octopi are present. The park also houses whale sharks which are an endangered species. An array of endangered sea turtles such as green sea turtles, leatherbacks and olive ridleys may be spotted.
Animals & Birds
Animals such as common monitor lizard, jungle cats, and jackals are also found. A large colony of flamingos is also found here having about 20,000 nests along the gulf. Around 94 species of aquatic birds and 78 species of terrestrial birds are preserved in and by this park.
The Climate at Marine National Park
Summer is from March to June, monsoon from July to September, and winter from October to February, thus making the yearly climate pleasant. The recommended time for visitation is during their winter season since the summertime is too hot and the monsoon makes the place overtly muddy.
How to Reach There
There are several ways to reach the park if one is travelling by air, rail, road or sea. The nearest airport is the Jamnagar airport which is located 7 km from the park. The nearest railway stations are Jamnagar and Rajkot railway stations, and the roads are well-connected to the park. The nearest bus stop is at Jamnagar city if one chooses to use public or private bus service. The streets are well-connected to the park so travelling via car wouldn't be an issue either. To travel via water, one must hire a boat at the Nava port or Bedi port of Jamnagar city.
It is a guaranteed trip of a lifetime to visit this national park credited to its numerous species of aquatic animals and tropical plants, but the star of the show is undoubtedly the coral reef which is a must see for all ages alike. Apart from the location-specific animals, the natural beauty of the location itself makes for a crowd puller in itself. To walk by the coast with coral below one's feet is a beautiful feeling and sight only few can deny. Thus, the Marine National Park is indeed a remarkable conservatory for those who love aquatic animals, but also for those who enjoy the beach and its weather.