The Andaman and Nicobar islands located in the south eastern part of Indian Subcontinent, in the Bay of Bengal is an interesting place to visit for its breathtaking natural beauty, rich and diverse history, diverse marine life and ecosystem and an environment totally peaceful and surreal. There are many interesting places to visit while you are holidaying in these islands, which are of historical and environmental importance. One such major attraction is the Mahatma Gandhi Marine National Park located to the south western coast of south Andaman, about 29 kms from the capital city of Port Blair. This park is more popularly known as Gandhi Park. It is a huge park spread across a sprawling 281.5 sq km and includes 15 islands and numerous islets altogether.
The Gandhi Park was opened on 25th of May, 1983 with an aim of protecting the marine life of the islands. After the deadly Tsunami of 2004 this park was closed for repairs. However luckily the damage was not too much and hence it was reopened shortly for the tourists. This park is administered by the forest department and is under the care of Chief Wildlife Warden. This park is totally uninhabited however there are around 3000 people living in the adjacent villages.
This park is home to some of the most diverse flora and fauna found in this planet. The lush green vegetation comprising of many exotic plants, trees, shrubs and bushes, the coral reefs and the wide varieties of fishes and other aquatic animals like starfish, turtles, crocodiles, different species of birds like Heron, Waders, Swifts, Sea Eagle etc, and not to forget the virgin white sandy beaches and the mangroves. All this come together to create a spectacular environment that is so enriching and fulfilling. The best time to visit this park would be during the dry months of October to February as climate will be moderate with clear sunny days and cool nights. During the monsoon most of the park will remain closed owing to heavy rains and there will not be much tourist activity.
To go to Gandhi Park one has to first reach the small fishing village of Wandoor. Buses are available from Port Blair and it takes about 30 minutes as the distance is approximately about 30 kms. Plenty of local buses are available and it is much cheaper than hiring taxis. The entry fee for the park is just Rs 50 and the permit needs to be obtained from the forest department. Normally only 150 permits are issued per day on a first come first serve basis. Plastics bottles are not allowed inside the park and you are expected not to disturb the ecological state of the park and its natural surroundings. It is advisable to carry plenty of water and wear proper full clothes and use sun blocks while touring the park to protect from the heat of the sun.