Mount Harriet is the highest peak in South Andaman Island and the second-highest peak in the whole of the Andaman Islands. Mount Harriet is situated in Port Blair, the capital city of the Andaman Islands. Mount Harriet Forest National Park was initially a reserve forest which was later converted into a national park in 1979. This famous peak is named after Harriet Tytler, wife of Mr. Robert Christopher Tytler who was a British army officer and a photographer in the early 1860s.
The attraction for which this place is famous is the view of the Light House that is located in North Bay, the picture of a lighthouse on the back of a Twenty Rupees Indian Currency Note is the picture taken from this viewpoint of Mount Harriet. So the point from where this view is seen is commonly known as the “20 Rupees viewpoint” by the locals and most of the visitors, It goes without saying that being one of a renowned national park, Mount Harriet is blessed abundantly with a wide variety of nature’s flora and fauna. What makes the park particularly alluring is the fact that the place houses some species which are deemed to be extinct by many.
The hilltop offers astounding views of Port Blair city, Havelock Island and Ross Islands; you can trek to the hilltop to get a glimpse
What to Expect while visiting Mount Harriet?
Since it is a forest national park, it is obvious for one to expect to see some flora and fauna that is native to this place. This expectation of yours can be fulfilled to quite an extent. The most common animals found here are the robber crabs, Andaman wild pigs, and deers. Mount Harriet is also a butterfly paradise; a variety of beautiful butterflies can be spotted here if you are visiting in the right season. Both land and marine flora and fauna are found in plenty around Mount Harriet. It is more like a green garden on the hilltop. Mount Harriet is among the best places to spend some time amidst nature, also considered to be a great picnic spot for the islanders.
The park is a combination of Tropical Evergreen Forest, Hilltop Tropical Evergreen and Littoral Forests and experiences marine climatic conditions. The climate is hot and humid except for the monsoon time. Trek through this park will make you come across a wide variety of trees like numerous conifers and other trees that are seen in plenty with hanging vines creating a fabulous view.
There are a few eco huts laid out on the hilltop which can be used as shades if it pours down or if the sun glazes against your wish, or you can just use these huts as a prop of your beautiful picture.
Things to do at Mount Harriet?
- This park is a perfect place for bird watching as it houses a wide range of exotic birds. You can catch sight of rare birds and their habitat. Birds of different colors and sizes can be spotted here and is a pleasure to the bird watchers. You can capture some amazing pictures of the variety of birds that live here.
- Tourists can trek to Kalapathar from Mt. Harriet. This trek is a 16 km stretch of woods with a plethora of flowers, plants, and other extraordinary creatures. Trekking through this pathway is a delight to adventure junkies because of the rough grounds, the beautiful surroundings, the animals, birds and the pretty butterflies that fly around in the wilderness. This trail is bliss for all trekkers, nature lovers and photographers as it meets almost all the needs of what these kinds of tourists look for in an adventure trek. The place in Kalapathar from where criminals were dropped to death into the open sea during the British rule- can be spotted on completing the trek.
- If you don't prefer to trek? No worries, as you can opt for a treat with the nature. The attraction is a blend of tranquil and adventure because the walks in the woods give you an adventurous feeling and the beauty of nature and quietness gives you a feeling of tranquility. You can either take long walks among the lush green forests or take tiny strolls and admire the beautiful butterflies. Or you can have a small picnic with your family in the park, grab some snacks and sit by the beautiful trees and enjoy the picnic.
- Trek to Madhuban from Mount Harriet. You can trek to the beach at Madhuban from the top of Mount Harriet.
And make sure you do not litter the area as you may be fined by law for the reason that, we in Andamans give it all to keep the island clean and green and are true followers of the Swachha Bharat Abhiyan, and we maintain our own Swachha Dweep Abhiyan even if there are no enforcements by law.
A beautiful national park is a perfect place for wildlife photography. Photographers can capture pictures of exotic endemic animals and birds in their natural habitat, the amazing views from different points of the park and the extraordinary micro and macro-organisms, etc.
Best time to visit Mount Harriet?
The best time to visit the park is any time of the year except during the rains as it may make the hills and trekking trails slippery and keep you from enjoying the place to its fullest. Though the climate in Andaman is comfortable throughout the year but we advise you to avoid visiting Mount Harriet on the rainy days - as there is no scheduled monsoon in Andamans, we couldn’t name a month here.
There is a Forest Guest House whose service can be availed for refreshing yourself while in Mount Harriet. Clean and maintained pay-n-use Washrooms are available too. Visitors are advised to come in comfortable clothing and footwear as it is a forest area and a lot of walking takes place here. Also, carry some sunscreen and insect repellents to use if needed.