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Sanjay Gandhi National Park, Mumbai

Sanjay Gandhi National Park, Mumbai is on walkable distance from Borivali Station and located on the western highway. The park is on the North-end of Mumbai, and it is also known as the Borivali National Park. It covers an area of 104 sq km. It is one of Asia's most visited National Parks with 2 million annual visitors. The park offers numerous attractions, such as tiger safari, lion safari, train ride, hiking-trecks, tree-house, and best of all the caves. Over 270 species of birds have been recorded such as Jungle owlets, Golden orioles, magpies, robins, hornbills, herons, peacock, and woodpeckers. It is one of the best place for nature lovers and always best for photographers.

History

The Sanjay Gandhi National Park has a strong historical background. Sanjay Gandhi National Park was called 'Krishnagiri Park' before 1947 and 'Borivali National Park' from 1947 to 1990. The park was spread over a relatively smaller area of 20.26 square km till 1969, the park was expanded to its present size by acquiring various reserve forest properties adjoining the park. In 1981, it was re-dedicated as 'Sanjay Gandhi National Park' in memory of Sanjay Gandhi, the son of ex Prime Minister of India Indira Gandhi, who was killed in an air-crash in 1980.

More about this Park

Inside the park’s main northern entrance is an information centre with a small exhibition on the park’s wildlife. This park may not be as large as some of the other national parks in India, but its accessibility makes it very appealing. The park is also a great family destination, with plenty to keep the kids amused. A whole family can visit the place to be in the nature and to enjoy the trees and gardens. Its a place where you can take things badminton racket, football, skipping rope, etc .In rainy season, I bet the place is as good as we all go to distant places to enjoy water fall. There are lots of water fall and small rivers to enjoy with the beauty of the nature with lush green grasses and climate. The best time to see birds is October to April and butterflies August to November.

The undulating green lands of the Sanjay Gandhi National Park are just the kind of surroundings to which one would love to retreat for some moments of quiet introspection or meditation. The great panoramic views of hills, valleys, lakes and open expanses can actually have a soothing effect on mind, body and soul. The park also encompasses the famous Kanheri Cave complex .The Buddhist caves at Kanheri are a must visit for anyone headed to the park for the first time. These caves were built between the 1st century B.C to 9th century A.D. The monks belonging to the Hinayana sect of Buddhism were the ones who started excavations of these caves first. Apart for the magnificent Chaityagriha or Buddhist prayer hall, these caves also provide the highest vantage point for a commanding view of the entire forest area. There are two lakes Tulsi and Vihar Lake that provide water to Mumbai city.

In order to fully appreciate the park, you'll need to pack a picnic lunch and spend a full day there.

How to reach

The Sanjay Gandhi National Park is well connected to Mumbai and other parts of the country by road, rail and air. In fact, reaching the Sanjay Gandhi National Park is much easier as compared to reaching the other National Parks in India. The nearest airport is Santa Cruz situated at a distance of 16 km while the nearest railway station Chhatrapati Shivaji Terminus is located at a distance of 40 km. The Borivali Station (2 kms) is the nearest local railway station to the park.