Mahatma Gandhi Marine National Park
Mahatma Gandhi National Park is one of its kinds in the world and is famous for its coral population. The national park was established in 1983 to protect the corals, nestling sea turtles and more. The Park is spread across 15 Islands, creeks and open sea space
These Islands are Alexandra, Bell, Boat, Chester, Grub, Hobday, Jolly Boys, Malay, Pluto, Red Skin, Riflemen, Rutland (parts of it), Snob, Tarmugli (largest island), and Twins. Jolly Buoy, Redskin and Cinque have been opened for eco-tourism, and are the most frequented islands of the park,
The vegetation of this national park varies from Island to Island. The largest Island, Tarmugli, is covered with mangrove vegetation, sheet rocks, uprooted trees, and sand covered beaches. The coral reefs found in the park are mainly of fringing reefs.
Twins is an important breeding ground for turtles within the park. There is an abundance of exotic and rare coral fish and other marine life. Marine waters, bushy vegetated islands, magnificent coral reefs and sparkling sandy beaches and mangroves make this national park an idyllic paradise.
Flora: Bushy vegetated islands, magnificent coral reefs pocillopora, montipora, acropora, leptoseris, fungia, porites, gorgonians, tubipora, and mangroves.
Fauna: Rich marine life consists of variety of coral reefs, colourful fishes, molluscs, shells, starfish, turtles, salt-water crocodile, and more. The most common reptiles found in the park are the krait, cobra, king cobra, vine snake and python. On the land, one can also spot spotted deer, fruit bat, wild boar and the civet.
Avian-Fauna: White-bellied sea eagle, parakeets, Andaman teal, heron, terns, waders, swifts, and more.
Mahatma Gandhi Marine National Park is located in Wandoor, 30 km away from Port Blair Airport, Andaman Islands.
Area: 281 sq km.
Route: The small fishing hamlet Wandoor is the entry point to the park, and one can reach here by a hired tax or bus from Port Blair. Buses are available from and for Port Blair every 30 minutes or so.
Best Time to Visit: December to April
Corals and Underwater Inhabitants: Mahatma Gandhi National Park is famous for its beautiful marine organisms, such as Corals. One can discover and enjoy the magnificence of the world that lies underwater and view its colourful inhabitants. Through the glass-bottomed boat, one can see the spectacular underwater world, and a wide variety of coral reefs, colourful fishes, shells, starfish, sea anemones, salt-water crocodile, turtles, sharks and water snake.
Things To Keep In Mind
- To enter the park, you require an entry permit
- Plastic bottles and bags are banned in the park, and one needs to deposit money for each bottle carried
- Jute bags are allowed which are available at the office
- You can enjoy and explore the beauties of Mahatma Gandhi National Park only by a boat ride. Boat operators are approved by the forest department.