Sanjay Gandhi National Park (formerly Borivli National Park)
Wedged between Mumbai and Thane, the Sanjay Gandhi National Park is an urban jungle of its kind. It is spread over 103 sq. km. This Borivli park boasts of rich bio-diversity. It has Sahyadri Hills to the east.
Visitors can go on tiger / lion safaris and enjoy mini train and boat rides. The park has 11 nature trails. The most popular is the Shilonda trail. It starts from behind the old MAFCO factory and goes as far as the Ghodbunder Road. Another nature trail goes up towards the Kanheri caves. From there you will get a glimpse of the three lakes – Vihar, Tulsi and Powai. The Kanheri caves date from the 1st century to the 9th century AD. They have beautiful carvings and sculptures of Lord Buddha.
The Sanjay Gandhi National Park is home to over 1000 species of plants, 250 species of birds, 60 species of spiders and 150 species of butterflies.
The park provides camping facilities; however, you will have to make the reservations in advance. Visitors can hire bicycles. The Sanjay Gandhi National Park is a great place to celebrate your child’s birthday. If you contact the forest department in advance, they will arrange a treasure hunt and nature trail as part of the celebrations.
How to reach
The Sanjay Gandhi National Park can be accessed from the Borivli railway station, the Yeoor Hills in Thane and Mulund and the Western Express Highway.
Timings: 9 am to 5 pm. The park is closed on Mondays.
Fitness enthusiasts can go for a walk in the park. Morning walkers can access the park between 5 am and 8 am.
Maharashtra Nature Park
In addition to the Sanjay Gandhi National Park, Mumbai has another urban jungle spread over 37 acres. The Maharashtra Nature Park is the only park in India built on a landfill site. The park has over 500 trees, 128 species of birds, 35 species of spiders and 84 species of butterflies. The Maharashtra Nature Park isn’t designed as a recreational center. It is meant for imparting knowledge. Families can visit the park with their children and spend hours watching the birds and butterflies. They can also learn about rainwater harvesting and energy conservation. Visitors will also get an opportunity to learn more about medicinal plants. Those interested in undertaking activities at the park should make reservations in advance.
How to reach
Maharashtra Nature Park can be accessed from the Sion and Bandra railway stations. The park can also be accessed from the Western Express Highway and BR Ambedkar Road.
Timings: 8 am – 5 pm.
The park is open on all days except public holidays.