Andaman and Nicobar Islands are a group of 572 big and small Islands and they lie in the Bay of Bengal some 1250 km from the eastern coast of Tamil Nadu. These islands enjoy a tropical weather moderated by the sea breeze.
Andaman and Nicobar Islands have diverse vegetation and a vast green cover. Whether it’s a typical rain forest canopy or deciduous forests or even grasslands, it’s all here. With majority of its islands uninhabited, untouched, unspoiled and isolated from any inhabited major land mass, Andaman and Nicobar Islands have managed to retain their dense green cover.
The coastline of almost 200 km gives countless opportunities to have a first hand experience with the marine life almost anywhere on the islands. Furthermore,an Exclusive Economic Zone (EEZ) consisting of about 5.6 lakh sq.km is yet another advantage as that gives plenty of tropical area to conserve in the form of national parks; all of it belongs solely to the country. Such conditions make these islands a natural repository of a variety of flora, fauna and rich marine life; some of them endemic to these forests and coastal waters.
With an aim to conserve and preserve these beautiful and exclusive gifts of nature, the Government of India has established many wildlife sanctuaries and national parks here, of which Mahatma Gandhi Marine National Park and Rani Jhansi National Park are the two most important ones.
These national parks are well marked and monitored and cover a very large area. Visitors have to take special permission for a visit and need to follow the rules strictly. It is advisable that you carry your own snacks, water, caps and cameras when you visit. Whether it’s a trek through the greens or a boat ride between protected islands, a visit to these parks is guaranteed to be a unique experience. If lucky, you can spot a lot of life forms.
The ‘Let’s visit’ checklist
The national parks one must try and visit are:
- Mahatma Gandhi Marine National Park
- Rani Jhansi National Park
- Campbell Bay National Park
- North button Island National Park
- Galathia National Park in Great Nicobar
- Saddle Peak National Park in North Andaman
- Harriet National Park in South Andaman
You can grab more detailed information on these parks and some of the other wild life sanctuaries from the Government Information center or their website. Additionally, one can try and contact the Forest Department officials at any of the mentioned national parks.