The moment you enter Mount Harriet National Park, you will definitely be greeted by captivating scenery of the jungles. Perched over Mount Harriet above 1257 ft, which is the third highest peak of the archipelago, the blanket of greenery is stretched over 46.62 sq. km.
The national park was announced as a tribute to Harriet C. Tytler who was a nature photographer and nature lover, and wife of Robert Christopher, Tytler, who was a British army officer. The enchanting scenery of evergreen jungles with the backdrop of calm Andaman Sea is truly a sight to behold. You can definitely spend some peaceful time with your loved one in the lap of nature at Mount Harriet National Park.
Port Blair is the capital city of Andaman and Nicobar Islands where direct flights to Chennai, Kolkata and Hyderabad are available. Road and sea are two routes to reach the national park. It is located around 2 hours drive from the city.
At Chatham jetty, ferries are always available to sail to Bambooflat jetty which takes around 15 minutes. You can simply take your car to the ferry and you can enjoy serene views on board and sit in the car. These vehicle ferries caen ferry private vehicles and passengers. You can hire jeep from Bambooflat jetty, which is around 20 minutes of drive to entrance gate.
When to Visit?
Port Blair is known to have tropical weather. October to mid of May is considered to be the best time to visit the national park. It remains open even in the rainy season. But you must avoid going in monsoons, which last from May till September. You won’t be able to enjoy the beautiful views due to frequent rains and strong winds.
Attractions and Things to Do
It goes without saying why this national park is popularly called “Butterfly Hotspot”. The park has plenty of flowering plants that are appealing to butterflies. Your kids will have fun chasing the colorful butterflies. The park also hosts a lot of insects like black dotted ladybird or ladybug.
The forest has over 90 rare and different bird species and this national park is truly a paradise for bird watchers. This park has been recognized as an Important Bird Area by Birdlife International. Some of the common bird species found here are Andaman wood pigeon, Andaman serpent eagle, Andaman cuckoo dove and Andaman hawk owl. The state bird of Andaman is also Andaman wood pigeon. You will also be introduced to resident birds in the park on the boards and also know when you can spot these birds.
Unlike mainstream national parks, Mount Harriet gives you freedom to trek and walk along the forests. The rest house complex of the park is connected to Kalapathar view point through a long 2.5 km nature trail.
For thrill seekers, there is a long 15 km trek which one can take to reach Madhuban Beach, which is loaded with white sands. Tourists can have unique opportunities to spot vivid endemic butterflies, birds, and beaches while trekking. You can even spot the rare Andaman wild pigs if you are lucky. Andaman Sea is well regarded for vivid marine life with several species of turtles, crabs, coral reefs and saltwater crocodiles.
The views of serene islands and exotic Andaman Sea from atop the Mountain. Harriet is truly worth a while. When I got there for the first time, I was totally stunned as I captured the same image that is printed on Rs. 20 note. At the back of Rs. 20 note, the image of LightHouse at North Bay Island was taken from Mount Harriet. You can also see other famous islands like North Bay, Ross, Swaraj Dweep (Havelock) and Shaheed Dweep (Neil) Islands.
When visiting the national park, you can easily be tempted to spend some time at a small Orchidarium. It is a well-paved and small botanical garden which is dedicated to grow orchids.
There is no better and adventurous way to observe nature than camping. You will wake up to the exotic wilderness of Mount Harriet National Park. You can book Port Blair packages in advance or stay in any tented accommodation in the park.
Get an Insight to the History and Culture
You can get an insight to the unique culture of tribes in Nicobar Islands as it has kept age-old Nicobari Hut on display. This aboriginal tree house is supported by wooden pillars. You can also spot an Anti-Aircraft gun which was once used to destroy the aircraft of allied forces. It was built by British but used by Japanese army in 1943. Kalapathar View Point is another great attraction and historical place. During the British rule, prisoners were being forced to push down the ravine.
There is no lack of beautiful spots where you can perform nature photography. You can capture sublime and serene views of verdant greens and Andaman Sea. You can easily get some amazing shots of vivid butterflies, Andaman birds, and exotic landscapes with professional DSLR or SLR camera.
Top Tips for Travelers
- You need to reach the entry point of the forest at the gate.
- You can use your mobile camera for free. But the charge for using a professional camera is Rs. 500.
- Be sure to keep your ID handy. If you are getting there in a group, at least one member should carry it to show and get an entry permit.
- Carry your own drinking water and snacks because there are no shops at the peak.
- Wear boots or trekking shoes when heading to Kalapathar to avoid leech bites.