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Gulf of Mannar Marine National Park complete detail – updated

Gulf of Mannar Marine National Park complete detail – updated. Geography of Gulf of Mannar Marine National Park. Dominant flora and fauna of Gulf of Mannar Marine National Park. How to Reach Gulf of Mannar Marine National Park. Gulf of Mannar Biosphere Reserve is located in the southeastern tip of Tamil Nadu extending from Rameswaram in the North to Kanyakumari in the south. The park has a high diversity of plants and animals in its marine, intertidal and near shore……….
Total area of the park is 6.23 Km2. It was established in the year of 1980. Gulf of Mannar Marine National Park is located in the Ramanathpuram & Tuticorin districts of the state of Tamil Nadu. The marine animals and coral reefs are the main attraction here. The Park comprises of 21 islands surrounded by coral reef areas along with shallow water habitat of unique marine biodiversity. As all the 21 islands come under the Marine National Park sphere, tourism and other related activities are not allowed…………
The coral reefs that border the islands are very productive and home to many beautiful marine ornamental fish. The beauty and richness of the reefs is such that they are often called ‘Underwater Tropical Rain Forest’. The best time of the year to visit the Gulf of Mannar Marine National Park is between the months of October to March.
National park is an area which is strictly reserved for the betterment of the wildlife & biodiversity, and where activities like developmental, forestry, poaching, hunting and grazing on cultivation are not permitted. Their boundaries are well marked and circumscribed.

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Gulf of Mannar Marine National Park

Gulf of Mannar Marine National Park is a beautiful place, located in the Ramanathpuram & Tuticorin districts of the state of Tamil Nadu. The park is the core area of the Gulf of Mannar Biosphere Reserve.

This is the first marine Biosphere Reserve in India. It was established in the year of 1980. Total area of the park is 6.23 Km2.

The Gulf of Mannar Marine National Park comprises of 21 islands surrounded by coral reef areas along with shallow water habitat of unique marine biodiversity. As all the 21 islands come under the Marine National Park sphere, tourism and other related activities are not allowed.

Click here to view state wise list of Indian national parks – updated

The park has a high diversity of plants and animals in its marine, intertidal and near shore habitats. Public access inside the Park is limited to glass bottom boat rides.

The Park also forms a part of the third largest of the world’s oceanic divisions i.e. Indian Ocean. The Gulf of Mannar is disunited with Palk Strait by a series of closely linked group of islands with Coral origin and reefs popularly referred to as the Adam’s Bridge or the Rama’s Bridge.

Gulf of Mannar National Park is one of the richest areas in terms of marine biodiversity. The Park has three explicit Marine ecosystems like Coral reefs, Sea grass and Mangroves accompanied by salt marshes and Algal communities. The Tropical Dry Broadleaf Forests, estuaries and beaches together accentuate the beauty of the Park.

The reserve provides an insight into the 11 species of Sea grass available in the Park. The Park provides shelter to 3600 species of flora and fauna out of which many are in their virgin forms.

The Gulf of Mannar is reported to have recorded 117 species of hard Coral. The Turtles, Pearl Oysters, Sea Cucumbers, Balano-Glossus, Dolphins, Sea horses, Barracuda, Herrings and Sprats are sheltered by the reefs.

Five species of Marine Turtles find their nesting grounds on the sandy shores of the islands. These islands are also visited by the migratory birds. Species like Sea Cucumbers, Whales, Dugongs, Dolphins and Coral Reefs have become a part of the list of endangered species because of ruinous fishing and pollution.

The marine animals and coral reefs are the main attraction here. The coral reefs that border the islands are very productive and home to many beautiful marine ornamental fish. The beauty and richness of the reefs is such that they are often called ‘Underwater Tropical Rain Forest’.

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History

From the past two thousand years the Park is famous for its Pearl Banks of Pinctada Fucata and Pinctada Radiata. Despite of being an expensive activity the extraction of natural Pearls still takes place in the gulf.

The area now known as a Gulf of Mannar Marine National Park was earlier called as Pamban to Tuticorin barrier reef.

It was initially declared a Marine National Park in the year of 1980. In 1989, the National Park was given the status of a Biosphere Reserve. This is the first marine Biosphere Reserve in India.

Geography

Gulf of Mannar Marine National Park is located in the Ramanathpuram & Tuticorin districts of the state of Tamil Nadu. The park is the core area of the Gulf of Mannar Biosphere Reserve.                                  

It lies 1 to 10 km away from the east coast of Tamil Nadu, South India for 160 km between Thoothukudi and Dhanushkodi. Total area of the park is 6.23 Km2.

Gulf of Mannar Biosphere Reserve is located in the southeastern tip of Tamil Nadu extending from Rameswaram in the North to Kanyakumari in the south.

The Gulf of Mannar Marine National Park comprises of 21 islands surrounded by coral reef areas along with shallow water habitat of unique marine biodiversity. As all the 21 islands come under the Marine National Park sphere, tourism and other related activities are not allowed.

State wise list of Wildlife Sanctuaries of India – updated 

The Park also forms a part of the third largest of the world’s oceanic divisions i.e. Indian Ocean. The Gulf of Mannar is disunited with Palk Strait by a series of closely linked group of islands with Coral origin and reefs popularly referred to as the Adam’s Bridge.

The Adam’s bridge lies towards the north side between India and Sri Lanka. On both sides of the Park the Tambaraparani River from the Indian coast and the Aruvi Aru from the Sri Lankan coast unite with the Indian Ocean.

The Park has three explicit Marine ecosystems like Coral reefs, Sea grass and Mangroves accompanied by salt marshes and Algal communities. The Tropical Dry Broadleaf Forests, estuaries and beaches together accentuate the beauty of the Park.

The 560 km2 park is part of the 140 km long and 25 km wide Mannar barrier reef. It lies between 8° 47’ to 9° 15’ N latitude and 78° 12’ to 79° 14’ E longitude.

Tambaraparani River from the coast of India and the Aruvi Aru from the coast of Sri Lanka merges with the Indian Ocean on both sides of the park.

The 21 islands within the park are of various sizes and in all, accounts for 6.23 Km2. The islands are formed in to 4 groups and the sizes as per the groups are:

The Tuticorin group consists of Vaan (16.00 hectares), Koswari (19.5 hectares), Vianguchalli (0.95 hectares) and Kariyachalli (16.46 hectares).

The Vembar group has Uppu Thanni (22.94 hectares), PuluviniChalli (6.12 hectares) and Nalla Thanni (101 hectares). This island has become populated of late.

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The Kilakarai group has seven islands and they are Anaipar (11.00 hectares), Vali Munai (6.72 hectares), Poovarasan Patti (0.50 hectares), Appa (28.63 hectares), Talairi (75.15 hectares), Valai (10.10 hectares) and Mulli (10.20 hectares) and

The Mandapam group includes  Musal (124.00 hectares), Manoli (25.90 hectares), Manoli Putti (2.34 hectares), Poomarichan (16.58  hectares), Pullivasal (29.95 hectares),  Kurusadai (65.80 hectares) where it has been recently populated and Shingle (12.69 hectares)

The islands are uninhabited except for Krusadai, Musal and Nallathanni islands where antipoaching sheds are operating. Along the coast near the park there are about 125 villages which support about 100,000 people who are mainly Marakeyars, a local community principally engaged in fishing.

Gulf of Munnar experiences tropical climatic conditions. This place receives rainfall from both southwest and northeast monsoons with the latter contributing predominantly. Heavy rain-showers are known to pour down during the months of October to December. December is the coldest month while summer sets in during January to May marked by unusually hot climate. The wind and ocean trends are quite irregular, with highest wind speed and stormy ocean observed during the months of June to August. Tidal amplitude is about half a meter.

The Park has an arid climate i.e. hot and humid climate.

       Summers (March to June) – moderate temperature, rises up to 35°C.

       Monsoons (July to September) – humid, average rainfalls.

       Winters (November to February)-cool, temperature is 17 °C.

       Tidal amplitude in the area is about .5m

Dominant flora

Major ecosystem – Coral reefs, Mudflats, Beach, Island, Shallow water, and Mangrove.

Halodule uninervis, Cymodocea rotunds, C. Serulata; Coral reefs; mangroves including Rhizophora muctonata, Avicennia alba, Bruguiera gymnorrhiza, Ceriops tagal, Lumnitzera racemosa etc.

Dominant fauna

Invertebrates – Lobsters, Shrimp, Crabs, Sea cucumbers, Molluscs, Bivalves, Polyplacophorans, Gastropods, Cephalopods, Sponge, Scaphopods, Echinoderm, Bottle nosed dolphins, Sea horses, Spinner dolphin, Common dolphin etc.

Vertebrates Blue whale, Fin whale, Humpback whale, Bottlenose dolphins, Sperm whales, Finless porpoise, Common dolphin, Mink whale, Gastropods, Butterfly fish, Parrot fish, Clown fish, Snappers, Squirrel fish etc.

Turtles – Green turtle, Olive ridley turtle, Hawksbill turtle, Leatherback turtle, and Loggerhead turtle.

Birds – Lesser sand piper, Curlew sandpiper, Little stint are abundent, Red knot, Eastern knot, Crab plovers Bar tailed Godwit, Broad billed Sandpiper, Dunlin, Longtoed stint, Rednecked phalarope, Little tern, Kentish plover, Stone plover, Stone curlew, Lesser crested sterna etc.

Migratory Birds – Crab plovers, Broad billed sandpiper, Red knot, Red necked Phalarope, Long stoed stint, Bar tailed godwit, Dunlin etc.

Other Attractions

Coral reefs

Mudflats

Beaches

Islands

Shallow waters

Mangrove

Museum

Pamban Rail Scissors Bridge

Rameswaram Temple

Dhanushkodi

Kodandaraman Temple

Devipatnam

Sethukkarai

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Best time to visit

The best time of the year to visit the Gulf of Mannar Marine National Park is between the months of October to March.

The park is open from 9.30 am to 12.30 pm and then from 1.30 pm to 5.30 pm.

Entry Fee

Adult – Rs. 10/-

Children – Rs. 5/-

How to Reach

By AirNearest airport is Madurai airport, about 150 Km from the Gulf of Mannar Marine National Park. Madurai airport is well connected by road network to Gulf of Mannar Marine National Park.

By Rail Nearest railway station is Rameshwaram railway station, about 07 Km from the Gulf of Mannar Marine National Park. Rameshwaram railway station is well connected by road network to Gulf of Mannar Marine National Park.

By Road Gulf of Mannar Marine National Park is well connected to Major Cities and Places by road network. There are a number of government and privately operated vehicles that go to Gulf of Mannar Marine National Park at frequent intervals.

Accommodation

The Park does not provide accommodation for the visitors. There are several hotels nearby the Park, available for the tourists.

Daiwik Hotel -Tariff is upwards of Rs.2500.00.There is a good vegetarian restaurant.

Hotel Brindavan Residency – This is close to Rameswaram Temple. The room tariff is from Rs.1200.00 onwards.

Hotel MCM Towers – The tariff rates start at 1000.00 and near the sea shore. There is a restaurant.

Hotel Royal Park – The room tariffs start at Rs.1200.00 per night. There is a good vegetarian restaurant.

Useful Contacts

Chief Conservator of Forests and Chief Wild Life Warden, Panagal Building, No. 1 Jeenis Road, Saidapet, Chennai 15. Ph.: 044-24321738 Fax. 044-24338264

The Wildlife Warden, Gulf of Mannar, Marine National Park, 76/1, Madurai Salai, Mandapam,
Ramanathapuram District – 623501, Phone. 04567-230079

Other  National Parks in Tamilnadu. Name of National Parks, Year of Notification and Total Area is as follows…
S. No. Name of National Park Year of Notification Total Area(km²)
1 Guindy National Park 1976 2.82
2 Mukurthi National Park 1990 78.46
3 Indira Gandhi (Annamalai) National Park 1989 117.1
4 Mudumalai National Park 1990 103.23

About Vijay Choudhary

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