The Andaman and Nicobar Islands are a group of islands at the juncture of the Bay of Bengal and Andaman Sea, and are a Union Territory of India. The territory is 150 km (93 mi) north of Aceh in Indonesia and separated from Thailand and Burma by the Andaman Sea. It comprises two island groups, the Andaman Islands and the Nicobar Islands, separated by the 10° N parallel, with the Andaman’s to the north of this latitude, and the Nicobar s to the south. The territory s capital is the Andamanese town of Port Blair. The total land area of the territory is approximately 8,073 km2 (3,117 sq mi). So today, let us have a look at the great Mount Harriet National Park that is located here.
Mount Harriet in Andaman and Nicobar Islands is located at a height of 365 meters in the southern part of the Andaman and Nicobar Islands. Andaman and Nicobar Islands Mount Harriet is the highest point in the South Andaman. During the British rule, Mount Harriet at Andaman and Nicobar Islands was the summer headquarters of the Chief Commissioner. The park covers about 46.62 km² (18.00 mi²). Mount Harriet is named after Harriet Tytler, the second wife of Robert Christopher Tytler, a British soldier, naturalist and photographer, who was appointed officiating Superintendent of the Convict Settlement at Port Blair in the Andaman’s from April 1862 to February 1864. Harriet is remembered for her work in documenting the monuments of Delhi and for her notes at the time of the Revolt of 1857 in India.
A major part of tourism at Mount Harriet of Andaman and Nicobar Islands is the natural trek up to Madhuban. Following the trail along Mount Harriet, one can have a glimpse of the variegated animals, birds and butterflies found in this region. The walk along the natural trail is an exotic experience for the tourists coming to Andaman and Nicobar Islands. But before walking the trail along Andaman and Nicobar Islands Mount Harriet, one should seek the permission from Chief Wildlife Warden in Haddo. Moreover, to stay overnight at Mount Harriet, it is mandatory for the tourists to take the permission from Warden at Port Blair.
After taking the relevant permissions, one can trek to the national park or can also take a ferry or even a taxi from Chatnam wharf to Bamboo flat to get an exotic view of the blissful ambiance of the Andaman and Nicobar Islands.
The walk along the trail up to the summit is an enjoyable walk; but it is noteworthy that the summit of the Mount Harriet is full of water, so the tourists visiting the summit of Mount Harriet should take adequate measures before reaching the summit. Incidentally, the three points i.e. Mount Harriet and North Bay on the north of Port Blair and Ross Island on the east of Port Blair is the natural gateway for ships entering to berth at the Haddo and Chatham Wharf and Phoenix Bay Jetty.
The fauna here includes animals such as Crocodile, Andaman Wild Pig, Salt Sater, Turtle, Robber, and Crab.
This water sports complex is the first of its kind in India that offers all possible aqua-sports facilities including safe water sports and Adventure water sports within one water sports complex. In the safe water sports complex paddle-boats, row-boats, glass-bottom and bumper boats are available. In the adventure sport front, Jet Ski, parasailing, banana boats, speed boats are offered. The Rajiv Gandhi Water Sports Complex houses a memorial of the ‘Battle of Aberdeen fought between the Britishers and the Andamanese aboriginals in 1859.
The Chatham saw mill is one of the oldest saw mills in Asia. It is built on a tiny island and connected to Port Blair by a bridge. It is a store house of timber varieties like, Padauk, Gurjan, Marble, Satin wood etc. The Chatham Island has the second largest wharf of these islands where island-mainland ships can berth. Within the saw mill compound is a museum showcasing the various timber wealth of the Andaman and Nicobar Islands. The museum offers an insight in to forest activities through scale models and display decorative pieces made of Padauk, Marble, Peauma, Gurjan, Satin wood etc. Closed on Sundays and Industrial Holidays.
The Mini Zoo is situated at Haddo (Delanipur – Chatham road) which houses some of the endemic birds and animals of these islands. Closed on Mondays.
This Emporium exhibits a spectrum of artefacts made of mother pearl, sea shells, coconut shells and local wood products. Miniatures of Nicobari canoes, palm mats for floors, tables, furniture etc. are exhibited which are also for sale. It is closed on Sundays and Public Holidays.
The Science Centre, situated five kms from Port Blair town, has an ‘Andaman and Nicobar Islands Gallery with interactive exhibits depicting genesis of the islands, volcanic activities, science of oceans, Fun Science gallery, modern technology gallery, Taramandal (Portable planetarium), and an in-house butterfly pen. It is closed on all Mondays and Public Holidays.
This beautiful park at Port Blair has facilities like amusement rides, safe water sports and nature trail around the lake, garden, restaurant and historic remains like Japanese temple as well as a bunker. The erstwhile Diltaman tank, which was the only source of drinking water for Port Blair and the area around has been developed as Gandhi Park in an unbelievably short time of 13 days. It is open on all days.
One can visit Madhuban from Mount Harriet by trekking through the jungle approximately covering 16 Kms. Exotic endemic birds; butterflies are interesting sights of this wilderness trek.
This Govt. agricultural farm is located 14 kms west of Port Blair covering over an area of 80 acres; cultivate spices like clove, nutmeg, cinnamon, pepper, coconut etc.
The Mahatma Gandhi Marine National Park at Wandoor is at a distance of 29 Kms from Port Blair and covers an area of 281.5 Sq. Kms. This Marine Park comprises of open sea, creeks and 15 small and large islands, which is one of the best found anywhere in the world. Viewing of rare corals and underwater marine life through glass bottom boats, scuba diving and snorkelling are a life time experience. Private ferry operators arrange conducted tour to the Mahatma Gandhi Marine National Park from Wandoor.
Regular bus services are available from the Andaman Teal House. Mount Harriet is accessible by the vehicle or passenger ferry which leaves every two hours from Phoenix Bay Jetty to Bamboo Flat.
Mount Harriet in Andaman and Nicobar Islands is located at such an altitude that it provides a fascinating view of the entire cluster of islands. There is a lot happening in and around the park, so do take out the time and have a look when you are in Port Blair.