Formerly known as the Borivali National Park, the Sanjay Gandhi National Park is one of the main attractions of Mumbai. It is frequently by hundreds of people from all over the country. In fact, a trip to Mumbai is incomplete without visiting this marvel filled with beautiful greenery and experiences like no other.
If you have never been to the Sanjay Gandhi National Park, here are some things to know about it:
History of Sanjay Gandhi National Park:
Back in 1969, when the park was established, it was initially known by the name Borivali National Park. The park was created as a protected national park and formed under the Bombay National Park Act, 1950. Interestingly, this is the only national park in the country that lies within city limits, which is why it is often seen as an escape for city dwellers.
The park is famous for the 2400-year-old Kanheri Caves. These are a group of more than 100 ancient rock-cut caves with Buddhist sculptures, paintings, and inscriptions from the 1st to the 10th century CE.
What To Do There?
The Sanjay Gandhi National Park has something to offer to everyone. Right from kids to youngsters and the elderly, you will find all sorts of people here absorbing the beauty of nature and history. Here are some things that you can do here:
- Trekking: The park is ideal for small treks as well as nature trails. You can take your pick from solo and group treks. The park extends to a protected area of approximately 87 km, so there is plenty of ground to cover. However, the most famous trek remains the one to the Kanheri Caves. This is a 7 km trek and can be done by beginners as well as experienced trekkers.
The Bombay Natural History Society (BNHS) also organises a lot of nature walks in the park. You can pick one of these too.
- Safaris: The Borivali National Park is home to a diverse variety of animals, fish, insects, and birds. Its tiger and lion safari are particularly popular. You can also find leopards, spotted deer, and wild cats here. You can enjoy all of this on a jungle safari. The park offers options of taking a separate closed jeep or a caged bus with other visitors.
- Rowing: The park has a small lake where you can row a boat. You can find many peddle boats here that can be rented for up to an hour. This place is usually filled with families and kids enjoying themselves.
- Cycling: The park is also a great place to cycle. There are a lot of cycling groups that usually start from Aarey Milk Colony and ride up to the park. You can also ride up to the Kanheri Caves.
Highlights of the Sanjay Gandhi National Park
- The park is home to approximately:
- 1,000 plant species
- 251 species of birds
- 5,000 species of insects
- 40 species of mammals
- 38 species of reptiles
- Nine species of amphibians
- 150 species of butterflies
- There are several beautiful small and big waterfalls across the park. You can spot these if you visit during the monsoon.
- The park has two freshwater lakes, Tulsi and Vihar Lake. They are also the two largest lakes in Mumbai. However, there are several crocodiles and reptiles here, so you may need permission to visit. It is also recommended to be careful when here.
- The park has a mini toy train, Van Rani, which passes through the forest and all the major tourist spots.
- The park organises overnight camps, too.
To sum it up
A day at the Borivali National Park can offer you adventure, thrill, beauty, spirituality, and mysticism. The old caves, the rich biodiversity, and the peaceful environment of this place are unparalleled and hard to find in a place like Mumbai. If you are in the city, do plan a visit to the park and be ready to be mesmerised while you are here.