Mahatma Gandhi Marine National Park

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Established on 24th of May, 1983 for the protection of Marine life like the corals and the sea turtles, Mahatma Gandhi Marine National Park is located in Andaman and Nicobar islands. Also known as Wandoor Marine National Park it is a popular tourist destination. The park also has a stunning beach covered by lush green surrounding, bushes and coconut palms. This park consists of a part of an open sea and an archipelago of 15 small islands. This is one of the best locations in the world to explore the marine life through scuba diving. It has extensive collection of corals, fishes, water snakes and other aquatic animals and equally diverse terrestrial animals and reptiles. It is located 30 kms southwest of Port Blair and is home to mangrove forests, tropical jungles and sandy beaches.

Mahatma Gandhi Marine National Park is rich in flora and fauna of exotic types. Densely forested, one can find some of the most beautiful and exotic tropical flowers like orchids and birds like terns, gulls, ospreys, serpent crested eagles, wood pigeons and the swifts. You can also find Leatherback (Dermochelys coriacea), Hawksbill, the endangered Olive Ridley turtles and Green turtles, Estuarine Crocodiles and the Coconut crab. The braches, creepers and scrubs create a dense network of vegetation. Corals are a major attraction of this park. Extensive care is taken to protect and preserve the corals from the ill effects of human intervention and global warming. It is also home to a variety of terrestrial life like different mammals, wild boar, spotted dear, fruit bat and civet among others. Reptile like python, cobra and other different varieties of snakes are also found here. The most famous island of this cluster is the Jollybuoy because of its sandy beach. The beach, encircled by a reef is a favorite hot spot of the tourists. Another important island is the Redskin Island where you can find the deer that was bought by the British. This island has numerous caves and cliffs surrounded by dense vegetation. The twins, which are the two peaks that rise from the sea, are located at the southern end of this park. Another major attraction of this park is the mangroves. It is an integral part of the park ecosystem.

To reach here one needs to first reach Port Blair. Regular flights and ships are available to Port Blair from Kolkata, Chennai and Vishakhapatnam. From Port Blair you can reach the park through road. Various options are available for moving inside the park like launch service and motorised canoes. It is advisable to take a fisherman as a guide for smooth trips. Foreigners require obtaining a permit to visit this place which can be obtained at Port Blair. Forest rest houses are available for accommodation but special permission needs to be taken for overnight stay beforehand. October to May is the best season to visit the park.

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Andaman and Nicobar Islands, India