Wandoor Marine National Park is the other name of Mahatma Gandhi Marine National Park, situated in the region of Andaman and Nicobar island, and lies about 29 Km from Port Blair.
The main aim was to protect the marine wildlife, especially sea turtles and beautiful underwater coral reefs of the region. It was declared as the national park in the year 1989 and covers the area of 281.50 Sq. Km.
The landscape of the National Park has a vast stretch of delightful marine water along with bushy vegetated islands. The magnificent coral reefs and the mangroves create a beautiful background.
However, the park area has a rich variety of flora and fauna, which make a beautiful place and a perfect destination for nature lovers. It is a mixture of the beautiful coral reefs and many marine animals.
Around 271 species of birds are available and inhabit the beautiful and calm surroundings of the Wandoor National Park.
While the sparkling beaches with crystal clear water make a well-equipped place for many marine animals. The region also offers certain activities like scuba diving, snorkeling, island camping, etc.
The control of the administration of the national park is with the Chief Wildlife Warden of the forest department of Andaman and Nicobar Island.
History – Mahatma Gandhi Marine National Park
It is believed that in the 13th century, Marco Polo visited the island and the island was used as the penal colony by the British, for giving the punishment of life imprisonment to the freedom fighters and the criminals.
The region surrounds with 17 lushly islands that offer a picturesque location with the open creeks that run along the coast.
To preserve the marine wildlife and the beautiful underwater coral reefs the region was declared as the Wandoor National Park in the year 1983. The main objective of declaring it as a national park was to preserve the population of the sea turtles that are found in the region and often seen in the breeding season.
Later, in the year 2004, the park was closed for everyone, the Tsunami struck to the particular area that results in huge damage, but the park reopened again for the tourists.
Geography – Mahatma Gandhi Marine National Park
Spread over an area of 281.50 Sq. Km. the Wandoor National Park lies in the Union Territory of India in Andaman and Nicobar Island. It is approx 29 Km far away from Port Blair along the South Western coast of South Andaman
There lie the two main islands in the national park, one is Labyrinth Islands and another one is the Twin Islands.
The landscape of the park is dotted with 17 rocky islands that are surrounded by the tropical evergreen forests. It is a mixture of beautiful marine waters accompanying the busy vegetated islands around the boundaries.
Some of the islands in the region are more protected from the weather in the Bay of Bengal. Tarmugli island is the largest island among all, which is bounded by the thick mangrove plants, sandy beaches with uprooted trees and sheet of rocks
From the two main islands, the Twins island can be the sightings if the sea turtles breed and can be seen during breeding season within the park.
The coastal areas of the parks have a mixture of sand, clay, silt and diluvial material, moreover, the topsoil present in the area is rich in humus.
Many of the forests present here are densely populated with mangrove trees and the open spaces are covered by the creepers and the shrubs
Flora and Fauna at Mahatma Gandhi Marine National Park
The Mahatma Gandhi Marine National Park at Wandoor has a huge variety of flora, like Orchids, bamboo, canes, Andaman bullet wood and many other endemic species that found in the region.
There are certain types of Fauna that are present at Wandoor (Mahatma Gandhi) National Park.
Visitors may find various kinds of fishes (Angelfish, Butterfly fish, White tip shark etc.), birds (White-bellied sea eagle, parakeets, dove etc.), Reptiles (pit vipers, krait, hawakbills, cobra, water monitor lizards etc. ) and many land mammals like wild pig, civet, fruit bat etc.
Other Faunas like Feather Star, Giant Clam Shell, Sea Lily, Trochus, Sponges can also be found in Mahatma Gandhi Marine National Park
Also, there are several colorful corals, That can be seen here, like Montipora, Acropora, Leptoseris, The Forties, Gorgonians etc.
Climate at Mahatma Gandhi Marine National Park
- Days are very pleasant during the months of October to February, while nights become cooler.
- Monsoon arrives from the months of June and lasts till August and basically, all tourist activities are closed during these months because of heavy rains.
- Mahatma Gandhi National Park at Wandoor witness tropical climate.
Best time to visit the Wandoor National Park
It is advised to visit the Wandoor (Mahatma Gandhi) Marine National Park during the months of November to February. At this time the visitors can see marine life easily and all the water activities are active during these months.
It should be noted that the park remains closed during the months of June to August, due to heavy rainfall.
How to reach Mahatma Gandhi Marine National Park
By Air – Port Blair airport is the nearest airport to Mahatma Gandhi Marine National Park , which is about 30 Km from the Park.
By Road – The Park is well Connected by road to Major cities and places. Also, there are a number of the government and privately operated vehicles that take visitors to the National Park at frequent intervals of time.
Buses are available and ticket cost approx Rs. 10 one way and Regular local buses are available between 6 am to 8 pm.
Two-three minibus run daily by the Tourist Department of Andaman and it costs around Rs. 90 including return trip, This buses start from Andaman Teal House approximately 24 Km from the Park