Located 25km from Rameswaram, right in the middle between the blue waters separating India and Sri Lanka, lies the country's most offbeat wildlife destination—Gulf of Mannar Marine National Park. The park is a part of the Gulf of Mannar Biosphere Reserve which happens to be the first Marine Biosphere Reserve in Southeast Asia. The national park consists of a group of 21 islands which have been categorised into four broad groups—Tuticorin group of 4 islands, Vembar group of 2 islands, Kilakarai group of 7 islands and Mandapam group of 4 islands.
The park is said to provide shelter to as many as 3,600 species of flora and fauna with many still to be discovered. Amongst these species, there are more than 100 recorded varieties of hard corals. Turtles, pearl oysters, sea cucumbers, dolphins, seahorses, whales and the park's star attraction, Dugongs are also commonly spotted here. If locals are to be believed, these waters also house the biggest mammal on Earth, the mighty Blue Whale. In addition, there are as many as 150 recorded species of seaweeds apart from hundreds of marvels hidden in the dense mangroves. Explorers, wildlife enthusiasts, photography lovers or simply someone looking to spend some time in the calmness of nature, Gulf of Mannar Marine National Park offers enough to appeal to just about everyone!
Why travel to Gulf of Mannar Marine National Park
1. Marvel at the national park's rich marine life