The Sanjay Gandhi National Park or the Borivali National Park is located in Borivali to the east of the Thane district and at distance of 40 km north from Mumbai. The park extends from the latitude 190°21' in the North to the longitude 720°58' in the East. This Park boasts of being the only National Park in Mumbai.
The Sanjay Gandhi National Park was notified in the year 1974. the park is an abode for host of wildlife species like the Antelope, Mouse Deer, Panther and Wild Bear. The park is the perfect place for the bird watchers of Mumbai. according to the wildlife expert, there are 251 species of birds found in the park including the water and land birds. The park has a large number of bird species like Bulbuls, Golden Orioles, Hornbills, Jungle Owlets, Minivets, Magpies, Peacock, Racket-Tailed Drongos, Robins, Sunbirds, and Woodpeckers. At several occasions, migratory and resident birds like Egrets, Gulls, Herons, Kingfisher, Mynas, Swifts, and Paradise Flycatcher have also been spotted here.
The park has a thick cover of South Indian Moist Deciduous and Semi Evergreen Forest including the Moist Teak-Bearing Forest, Mangrove Scrub, Southern Moist Mixed Deciduous Forest and Western Subtropical Hill Forest. The major trees and plants include Euphorbia, Flame of the Forest, Kadamba, Karanj, Red Silk Cotton, Shisam, species of Acacia, Teak, Ziziphus and many varieties of flowers. During the monsoon, almost the entire park is awash with the rainbow hues of the flowers that bloom here and all over the Western Ghats.
There is a colorful toy train that passes through the vast park. The visitors particularly children enjoy riding in this toy train. The Lion Safari Park is the place where the visitors can view lions as close as six feet away, from the special park vehicles.
Kanheri or Kanhasela, the biggest Buddhist monastic establishment on the Konkan coast, is situated in the heart of the Sanjay Gandhi National Park. The name was mentioned in the two inscriptions found from the place. The architectural activity at Kanheri began almost immediately after Buddhism was introduced in this region. The first simple caves were excavated during the reign of the Satvahana kings.
From the 1st century AD, the caves appear to have been in occupation throughout the year. It is believed that the huge chaitya griha was added during the reign of Gautamiputra Satakarni (AD 106-130). However, the later part of the 3rd century AD was the most active period for the Kanheri establishment with numerous cells being added. The archaeologists have suggested that it was used as a school with 60 to 70 monks in the residence and had dining rooms with a capacity of catering up to 120 diners. An unusual feature at Kanheri is the number of open benches cut into rocks and benches in the verandahs or frontcourts of almost all the caves.
The Sanjay Gandhi National Park is very near to Mumbai. The main tourist attractions at Mumbai are the Gateway of India, Prince of Wales Museum, Elephanta Island, Flora Fountain, Haji Ali's Tomb, Kamla Nehru Park, Chhatrapati Shivaji Terminus, Nehru Planetarium, Nehru Science Center, and Marine Drive.
Tourists should not cause any damage floral and faunal life. The flora should not be plucked to take back home. You should not kindle any kind of fire; throw lit matches and cigarette buds. Do not throw or leave trash, litter and polyethylene bags in the forest. Firearms and chemicals should not be taken into the forests as they may cause harm to the wildlife and the vegetation. Never play radio and tape recorders as their frequency and voice might disturb, scare or irritate the animals.
The Sonja Gandhi National Park experiences moderate climatic conditions. The weather is pleasant during winter months and hot during summer. The temperature rises to maximum of 38.00°C and drops to a minimum of 18.00°C. The park receives monsoon showers from the mid of June till September. The tourists can carry light cotton clothes during the winters and heavy cottons during the winters.
How To Reach
The nearest airport to the Sanjay Gandhi National Park is the Santa Cruz Airport at a distance of just 16 km. The airport is well connected by regular flights with major Indian and foreign cities.
The Chhatrapati Shivaji Terminus is at a distance of 40 km from the Sanjay Gandhi National Park. It is linked with almost all the parts of India by frequent trains. The Borivali Station is the nearest railway station to the park.
The park is well connected by road network with other parts of Mumbai and other major cities and towns of Maharashtra.
There are four rest houses and two camp sheds available for accommodation within the park. The booking is done by the wildlife authorities daily between 1000 hrs in the morning to 1700 hrs in the evening.
STD/ISD, Postal Services and Internet facilities are available in the surrounding areas of the park.