Located between Mumbai and Thane, Sanjay
Gandhi National Park is one of the best weekend escapades for people staying in
Mumbai and Pune. Despite being situated amidst the metropolitan city, the
national park has a calm ambience and hence provides the visitors with relief
from city noises. Thousands of visitors travel to this place to spot a few of
the exquisite species of animal such as Lions, Leopards, Kingfisher, Macaques,
Sunbirds, Flying fox, Boars and many alike wild animals, birds and butterflies. The most interesting aspect of this park is
the Kanheri Caves, which are ancient caves more than two thousand years old.
These caves are located within the premises of the national park and are carved
out of rocky hills.
Formerly known as Borivali National Park, the
Sanjay Gandhi National Park cover about 20 per cent of Mumbai’s geographical
area and is home to 13000 species of flora and over 500 species of fauna. The
national park is spread over an area of about 104 sq. km and is one of the most
popular national parks in Asia, receiving about 2 million visitors annually. It
is also the largest national park which is located within the vicinity of a
As you delve deeper into the national park,
you will come across two artificial lakes that is home to a couple of
crocodiles and a few migratory birds. This lake is a major source of water
supply to the nearby residential colonies. The region was converted into a
national park in the year 1947 in order to preserve the rich natural heritage
and the wildlife. For all the nature lovers and wildlife enthusiasts, a visit
to the Sanjay Gandhi National Park is a must while your trip to Mumbai.
More on Sanjay Gandhi National park
History of Sanjay
Gandhi National Park
Prior to the independence, this national park
was called ‘Krishnagiri National Park and occupied an area of about 26 sq. km.
It was only during 1969 this national park was expanded to its present size. In
later years, an autonomous body named Borivali National Park Sub-division was
set up under the Forest Department. In 1974, the national park was renamed as
Borivali National Park and during 1981, it was again renamed to Sanjay Gandhi
National Park to commemorate the good deeds of Sanjay Gandhi, the former Prime
Minister of India.
The forest of the national park also has a
historical significance as it constituted an important part of a 4th-century
trade route to Mesopotamia. In addition to this, the Kanheri Caves were an
important centre for learning and practising Buddhism by the monks during the 9th
and 1st centuries BC. These caves are known for their splendid
architecture as they are rock-cut caves carved out from a single basaltic rock.
Main attractions in
Sanjay Gandhi National Park.
Toy Train: While visiting Sanjay Gandhi National Park,
do not forget to travel in the vintage narrow gauge toy train. Also referred to
as Van Rani, the queen of the jungle, this train charts its way through the
dense green jungles of the park. The ride lasts for about 15 minutes and will
take you past the Mahatma Gandhi Memorial installed on the Pavilion Hill. The
train also passes through tunnels and across a Deer Park, where you can spot
many deer roaming and grazing around.
Lakes: There are two beautiful man-made lakes within
the park premises namely, Tulsi Lake and Vihar Lake. Situated amidst the lush
greenery, the view of the lake and the Western Ghats in the backdrop is simply
There is also a small lake situated near the
starting point of Van Rani where you can take part in boat rides. Sailing
across the calm water of the lake and chit-chatting with family or friends will
for sure prove to be a memorable experience for all. A small bridge over the
lake gives a very classical feel to the place. You can stand here and watch the
boats in the lake. You cannot go beyond the bridge as it is prohibited by the
Lion Safari at Sanjay Gandhi National Park
One of the major attractions of the park is
its lion safari. This safari was started only with the motive of promoting
eco-tourism in the region. It is a 20 minutes ride through the protected area
of the park that provides a close encounter with the tiger and lions. The park
is home to around four tigers and 20 lions. In order to opt for a safari tour,
you will need to purchase a ticket worth ₹ 64 for adults and ₹25 for children.
Cycling around Sanjay Gandhi National Park
In order to reduce the air pollution, the
authority of the national park has come up with the idea of renting out cycle
to the visitors. The travellers can cycle through the national park and explore
the region in a unique way. You can rent a cycle at an affordable rate of ₹10
per hour and by submitting a photocopy of your id proof at the renting-out
centre. The cycling route is predefined and extends up to Kanheri Caves.
How to Reach Sanjay Gandhi National Park?
Situated on the northern side of Mumbai,
Sanjay Gandhi National Park can be reached by taking a local train from
Churchgate to Borivali. It is an hour-long journey and once you reach the
destined station, you can hire an auto-rickshaw that will drop you at the
entrance of the national park.