A forest located right inside the municipal boundaries of a metropolis, Sanjay Gandhi National Park presents the green façade of Mumbai city. The Park was formerly known as Borivali National Park.
Spread over an area of 104 Sq Km, it is the only national park in the world with such a large patch of protected area existing within the city limits.
Sanjay Gandhi National Park has preserved its lush green cover, surviving the numerous encroachment attempts of converting it into a concrete jungle. This iconic landmark of Mumbai city holds immense ecological and historic significance.
Here is a rundown of the top 10 attractions of Sanjay Gandhi National Park.
- Biodiversity and Profound Greenery
- Kanheri Caves
- Freshwater Lakes
- Van Rani
- Safari Ride
Biodiversity and Profound Greenery
The lingering memory of the city seems to fade away, the moment you enter into the park. Mere walking through the evergreen dense forest feels quite refreshing and offers respite from the commotion of the big city.
The mesmerising landscape of the park keeps you in awe with this place. See this small video capturing the verdant forests of Sanjay Gandhi National Park.
Sanjay Gandhi National Park is home to a diverse species of plants and animals, such as leopard, monkey, spotted deer, Indian hare and wild cat.
The park also provides shelter to 150 species of butterflies, a wide variety of fishes, reptiles and amphibians.
The ancient Buddhist caves date back to more than 2000 years into history. These monastic structures were used by Buddhist monks as places of meditation and study.
There are around 109 caves on one hill and most of them are open for visitors. But, some of the caves are locked where entry is restricted to national park staffs only.
You can see some wonderful sculptures and carvings along the cave walls and roofs. The Kanheri caves exemplify a rich history of Buddhist culture in the region.
Check this post, if you are interested to know more about these ancient caves: Exploring Kanheri Caves.
Sanjay Gandhi National park is one of the idyllic spots to enjoy the magic of monsoon in Mumbai. The rain just adds to the beauty of this place with a host of gushing streams all across the hill.
The park offers some amazing treks and nature trails. One of the most popular is Upper Kanheri trail from the national park gate to the Kanheri cave peak.
It is approximately 45 minutes walk through the forest. You can spot different kinds of butterflies, lizards and avifauna here.
Cycling is another very popular activity here for fitness enthusiasts.
You can take you own bicycle or rent one in the park at quite reasonable prices. Cycling through the verdant forests that too in the middle of the city, can be a rejuvenating experience for any big-city dweller.
The national park encompasses two freshwater lakes – Tulsi lake and Vihar lake, situated away from the common tourist circuit. Vihar lake is the largest and Tulsi lake is the second largest lake of Mumbai.
Both the lakes meet a part of Mumbai city’s water requirement. These lakes are famous for their reptile population including crocodiles and various species of snakes. You will need to get prior permission from the park authorities if you plan to visit this area of the park.
Boating is a major attraction for family travellers here. If you want to experience some quiet time away from the hustle and bustle of the city, just rent a boat and go peddling amidst the scenic beauty of the jungle.
Mini toy train ‘Van Rani’ is another prime tourist attractions in Sanjay Gandhi National Park. This narrow-gauge train passes through the tourist zones of the park showcasing forest’s rich biodiversity.
This protected area hosts many forms of wildlife. You can take mini jungle safari in a caged bus which is around 25-minute ride through 30 acres of fenced forest area.
But unlike other national parks, the lions and tigers have been put in large enclosures. You can still spot deer, monkey, wild cat etc. in their natural habitat.
Run by the local forest department, the overnight camps inside the park offers many types of accommodation facilities – tents, pine houses and guest houses.
You can rent it out to experience the wilderness of Sanjay Gandhi National Park. Drive your vehicle till the camping point. There are sufficient parking space available for tourists to park their cars.
For bookings, you can contact Nature Information Center, SGNP.
Reaching Sanjay Gandhi National Park
The park is easily accessible by train via western local from Borivali Railway station.
Further, you can hop onto an auto-rickshaw or a taxi to reach the national park entrance gate, which is less than 1 km away from Borivali station.
- The Park is open 6 days a week from 7:30 am to 6:30 pm and remains closed on all Mondays.
- Entry fee – child below 5 years (None), age between 5-12 years (Rs. 31 per head), age more than 12 years (Rs 58 per head)
- You will need to book separate tickets for activities – Safari, Boating, Mini Train.
- Reach the toy train boarding point before 5:30 pm as the last ride for the day departs at 5:30 pm.
Amidst the chaos of the city, Sanjay Gandhi National Park provides a breather to the residents of Mumbai. The dense green forests are source of fresh oxygen to the city and thus, the national park is fondly called the lungs of Mumbai.
Over To You Now…
Have you visited this fabulous green belt of Mumbai city?
If yes, wasn’t it fun and much-needed break from the busy city life?
Share your travel experiences with us in the comment section below if you have already been to Sanjay Gandhi National Park or whenever you make a visit.
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