Wandur National Park, better known as Mahatma Gandhi Marine National park, is situated in the Andaman and Nicobar Islands, which is a union territory in India. The park is one of its kind. It’s main focus is at preserving the aquatic life and vegetation in its vicinity. The park is the best place to view some of the best and rarest coral habitats on the whole planet. The park is comprising of islands, mainly two groups- Labyrinth Islands and Twin Islands. Encompassing a total of 17 Islands, the park covers area of about 280sq km. The park is also a hotspot for ecotourism.
Reefs and Islands
The reefs in the area are something called fringing reefs; these are common in the park. However, the vegetation and life forms on different Islands are different depending on size and orientation. Like, some islands are having thick cover of mangrove vegetation, sand cover beaches, uproot trees and sheet rocks. While some just consist of sparse forests and beaches. The Twin islands are significant because they are important breeding ground for turtles, while this is not the case for labyrinth islands.
The park, within its confines,doesnt have any inhabitants in that land; however, the nearby villages have a total population of about 7300. Wandur is the largest and most significant village among these and hence the alternate name for the park.
The park hosts a wide variety of wildlife from the Andaman wild pig and spotted deer to civets and bats. Reptiles such as king cobra, krait, pit vipers and day gecko are spotted during the daytime here. The park is also home to some 12 species of turtles. Since this is a marine national park, there are several hundred estuarine crocodiles that call Wandur their home. Another species residing here is the coconut crab. The reefs, rainforests of underwater world, here in Andaman and Nicobar have the distinction of being home to 135 species of reefs out of 100 found on the entire planet. Since they are metaphorical rainforests, other life forms here include green parrot fish, blue damsels, yellow butterfly fish, black surgeons and silver jacks. Bird watchers consider the marine park a significant destination. Some of the species found nesting here are Roseate Tern, the Black-naped Tern and the Sooty Tern. The park is called a marine national park for a reason, that being; aquatic birds like kingfisher and pelicans are found in abundance here. The Whistling Teal, the White-bellied Sea Eagle, parakeets and Reef Herons are also found nesting here.
The islands receive heavy rainfalls during the monsoon, which falls between the months of May and October. During this time the water is violent and any activities will are close. The summers are pretty mild with temperatures peaking at 30 degree Celsius during the day and pretty cold weather during the night. This is ideal for non-water sports related activities. The winters are ideal for snorkelling and scuba diving. In the winters the water is flat and such activities happen and people enjoy to the fullest.
How to reach.?
The islands are quite remote and are accessible by only air or water. There are no road or rail ways. The nearest airport is port Blair, which is also the site of the nearest port for commercial passenger ships. The flights or cruises care available from Kolkata or Vishakhapatnam.