Mount Harriet National Park
Mount Harriet National Park was originally a reserve forest which was converted into a National Park in 1979. It is the highest point around Port Blair and located in the Ferargunj Tehsil of Port Blair. It’s natural charm and beauty attracts a lot of visitors. The greenery everywhere provides you immense feel that you are in a deep forest. From the top of the peak, one can get a magnificent view of the Port Blair city, Ross Island and the Havelock Island.
The image that one can see the 20 rupee note is a view of the lighthouse at North Bay Island from Mount Harriet.
It is basically a calm and quiet place with a small but very well maintained garden at the top, the filled up with the forests. Most part of the park is covered with forest. The forest has a rich collection of flora and fauna. Several specifies of plants are found here. A variety of birds, reptiles, amphibians, mammals, butterflies lives here. The park is well known for the animals such as saltwater crocodiles, wild pigs, robber crab and turtles. The park has watch towers, Deer park, Guest House and Tourist sheds. The views from the watch towers are definitely not a miss.
The Mount Harriet National Park is one of the closest wilderness area to the capital Port Blair. The park contains some of the highest peaks in the Andaman Groups of Islands and is covered with dense evergreen and semi-evergreen forests of outstanding natural beauty. The entire national park forms a major chunk of the hill ranges in the eastern part of South Andaman Island . The general elevation of the tract varies from sea level to 459 metre. Most of the area of this National Park lies on the Eastern slopes. The topography varies from steep precipitous slopes to gentle slopes with undulating terrain. Some of the principal peaks are Mt. Koyob (459m), Mt. Hext (425m). Mt. Harriet (422m), Mt. Goodridge (376m), Mt. Carpenter (346m). The park was carved out of a Reversed Forest in November 1996. The present area of the park is 46.62sq.km and there is proposal to increase the area by 25.55 sq km by including Mount Harriet Peak and other nearby areas.
Flora in Mount Harriet
The park supports all major forest types found in the Andaman’s namely Evergreen Forests (with five sub-types-Giant Evergreen forests, Andaman Tropical Evergreen forests, South Hilltop Tropical evergreen, Cane Brakes and Bamboo Brakes), Andaman Semi=evergreen Forests, Andaman Moist Deciduous Forests and Littoral Forests. So far 393 plant species have been reported from the park, which include 74 endemic and 51introduced species. Two new species of plants have recently been described from here, viz., Ceropygie andamanica and Drypetes ellis. An ephiphytic orchid Thrixspenmum merguense is a new record for Andaman from the park.
Fauna in Mount Harriet
This National Park is equally rich in fauna wealth. There are 27 species of reptiles and amphibians reported from the park, including 12 endemic species. A new species of frog namely- Rana Charlesdarwini has been described from the park. Kind Cobra, Andaman Cobra and two nesting marine turtles- Green Sea and Olive Ridley-are among the prominent reptiles reported from here. 12 Species of mammals reported from the park including endemic Andaman pig, Shrew and Bats. 90 species of birds of which 11 are endemic. The park Is recognized as one of the important Bird Areas under important Bird Areas Programme of the Birdlife International. 120 species of moths, including many new species.
How to Get Here
Mount Harriet National Park can be easily reached via the regular bus services which are available from the Andaman Teal House to the National park. Ferry or taxi service is available from Chatham Wharf to Bamboo flat; from here vehicles can be taken to reach Mount Harriet.Travellers with family must hire a vehicle to reach this place and have to cross a short channel by ferry, which will carry the car as well.
Entry fees are required to get in the park and tickets for the camera are also be issued here.
Forest rest houses are available in Mt. Harriet National park, which can be booked through the forest division. It is located in the forest. (Credit cards are not accepted). Other lodging options are available at Havelock Island, Little Andaman Island, Neil Island, and Long Island etc.
Tourist who wants to stay overnight in the park needs to obtain permission from the Chief Wildlife Warden, stationed at Haddo.
Facilities : The park has watch Towers, Children’s Park, Rest House and Tourist amenities close to Mount Harriet peak. A well maintained nature trail connects Kala Pathar view point with the Rest House Complex. There is also a nature trail from Hope Town to the Park, which is about 4km long. For the adventurists, there are trek routes from Mannarghat to Madhuban Beach (about 10km long), and also from Madhuban Beach to the Rest House (about 15km).
When To Visit
The best time of the year to visit the Mount Harriet National Park is between the months of January to March, as the climate here during this time is pleasant and comfortable for a journey. Trekking, Bird-Watching, Photography, Glimpse of History, Nature Viewing can be done in Mount Harriet National Park.
Trekking through the park is popular as it passes through an attractive beach a 2Km trek leading to Kalapatthar beach for all the adventure enthusiasts.The major attraction for tourists visiting Mount Harriet is the natural trek up to Madhuban. The walk along the natural trail is one of the most exotic experiences for any traveller coming to tour the Andaman and Nicobar Islands.
It is a very popular picnic spot where the tourists can have an excellent time amidst the beauty and charm of nature. They can go for long natural walks, explore the fauna and flora of the place and soak in the natural charm and magic that surrounds this place.
Mount Harriet National Park Fees
|Adult – Rs.25/- per person per day
Children – Rs.10/- per person per day(Age group of 5 to 12 years)
Students – Rs.5/- per person per day
|Adult – Rs.250/- per person per day
Children – Rs.10/- per person per day
|LMV (Light Motor Vehicle) – Rs.20/- per day
HMV (Heavy Motor Vehicle) – Rs.50/- per day
A Cycle or other vehicle operated manually – Rs.5/- per day
|Video Camera – Rs.25/- per day
Still Camera – Rs.10/- per day