Mount Harriet, at 365 metres, is the second highest mountain in the Andaman Islands. Mount Harriet was the chief commissioner's headquarters under the British era. On a clear day, there is a National park with beautiful views of Port Blair, Ross Island, and Havelock. A 20 Indian Rupee banknote depicts an image of North Bay and the lighthouse, and if you visit the park with a guide, they will show you the precise place where the photo was shot. Although one may drive virtually the entire way up, there are several walking paths for the more adventurous.
If you grow tired of the beaches, this is a great area near Port Blair to appreciate nature, bird watching, and animal viewing. The mountain is intertwined with many pathways that allow for excursions of varying degrees of difficulty. The shortest journey is to the Kala Pathar rocks, which is a 3km simple and quick hike from Mount Harriet. There is another 4km hike up to Kala Pathar from Hope Town. The hike is straightforward, but the views are unremarkable.
There are trek routes from Mannarghat to Madhuban Beach that are roughly 10 kilometres long, and the longest one is from Madhuban Beach to the Rest House up in the park, which is around 16 kilometres long. Long hikes follow the peninsula and lead down to the beach. There was an old elephant training camp in Madhuban, but it is now abandoned. There are few signs, but the trails are mostly neglected because just a few people use them. If you plan on doing the longer treks, you need submit a request to the Forest Department Office at the checkpoint where you will pick up your permit.
However, you need phone the warden's office at least a day ahead of time to obtain a tour guide. This will spare you the hassle of becoming disoriented. It takes around an hour to get there from Port Blair, or you may take a boat from Chatham Jetty to Bamboo Flat, which cuts the journey time in half. Madhuban beach is only accessible by boat or by hiking paths.
What is the best way to get to Mount Harriet (Mt. Manipur)?
Mount Harriet is accessible by road or boat from Port Blair. While the water route is more convenient and shorter (11 km and 45 minutes) from the city centre, the lengthier land trip takes around 2 hours and passes via Ferrargunj (48kms). To take the shorter journey, drive/autorickshaw or ride a two-wheeler to Chatham Jetty. Buses are also an option, but they are not particularly pleasant. Take a car ferry from here and enjoy the beauty of the sea from inside. Bamboo Flat Jetty is the starting place, while Mount Harriet is 6 kilometres away.