“Borivali’s own national park which is also called ‘Sanjay Gandhi National Park’ or SGNP in Mumbai western suburb is about 40 km from city. This National Park is world largest nature park within city limits with forest covering as huge as 100 Square Kilometres area of Mumbai. Below are details of this wild forest area about park trails, flora and faunas, old monks Kanheri caves, Lion and Tiger safari, The mini vanrani toy train, overnight camping and other wildlife attractions and lots more with timings and charges details..”
The now known ‘Sanjay Gandhi National Park’ (SGNP) or ‘Borivali National Park’ was once called ‘Krishnagiri National Park’ and Buddhist monks were the one who used it, they stayed in Kanheri caves to rest during long journeys between the only two locations then called ‘Sopara’ and other being called ‘Kalyan’. Kanheri caves inside national park being the very centre location was ideal place for monks to rest and meditate.
In 1960 and 1970’s its was renamed to ‘Sanjay Gandhi National Park’ and more of the forest space was added that now has Yeoor hills in East of national park which can be entered from east gate from Thane.
See Also : Famous Gardens and Parks of Mumbai.Flora and Faunas inside SGNP
National park has varieties of rare plants, flowers, migratory birds, species of trees, Reptiles and wild animals which can be seen during trek, trials and safari visits. One can see worlds smallest rusty spotted cat and other wildlife like Monkeys, Langurs, Hyenas, Spotted Deer, Sambhar, Barking Deer, Indian Flying foxes, Black naped hares. If you miss getting a glimpse of reptiles being in the city, Borivali national park has varieties of attractive species of reptiles like snakes, pythons, varieties of lizards, Dangerous vipers and cobras.
Some of rare plants and trees being kadamba, acacia, teak, shisam, ziziphus, euphorbia, karanj and more. The beautiful forest of national park has a beautiful scenic views across its dense forest during monsoon.
This National park of Mumbai is yet another place to enjoy mother nature from close and like Maharashtra Nature Park, this is an ideal location for 300 different species of bird that cane be watched in early morning and during mid of monsoon when lots of migratory birds come here from far locations like North and South of India.
Attractions inside SGNP, National Park
Very near to the main entrance in west is this Jain temple of national park called ‘Trimurti’ (Which means 3 idols of jain God/Lords called ‘Adinath‘, ‘Bahubali‘ and ‘Bharat‘). The Digambar sub-community in Jain community visits here frequently for spiritual blessing and to enjoy a day picnic in woods of national park.Shilonda Trail
Famous trekkers place attracting people and tourists during monsoon. If you are in early morning hours of your trek, you may be lucky enough to spot deer around and along the trial. Beautiful babblers and voice of birds, cuckoo and cooper-smith are some other attractions of Shilonda trial inside national park. The lush greenery is spread over kilometers giving change to be with nature and those green shades along the way. There are beautiful flowers along the side treks.
Kanhasela and Kanheri Caves
Deep inside SGNP is this caves called Kanheri, Which means ‘Black Mountain’ in Sanskrit, which is 7 Kilometres from the main gate of Borivali national park which was naturally formed sue to the volcano that was erupted in those ancient days. These are the rocky caves with small big chambers all naturally created due to volcano eruption and were used by Buddhist monks, they called this rocky caves as ‘Viharas’ and ‘Chaityas’ in Sanskrit language. Lots of rocky carving and designed over those huge pillars inside this black rock caves of national park which shows the age old Buddhist monk culture of India.
There are 109 such caves inside national park. The main attraction being the 7 meter high (About 23 foot) black rock stone idol of ‘Gautam Buddha’ in the entrance caves of Kanheri trail of this park. Buses to Kanheri caves goes at every 20 minutes from main gate (West).Lion and Tiger Safari Trial
Updates December 2015 : Due to maintenance reasons, SGNP tiger safari section which has total of 6 tigers (5 Royal Bengal & 1 White) was under shadow as visitors were unhappy seeing tigers kept inside cage. It didn’t felt like a safari, but instead a Zoo visit. The good news is the 50 acres of safari are is done with the work and tigers are kept open to forest in this section. Wish luck that next time you visit and do the special tiger safari, you are able to get glimpse of this wild creature and are not resting inside bushes of safari location.
Charges for this renovated safari are Rs.53 per head (Adult) and Rs.21 for kids.
Before, The safari trial at SGNP (Borivali national park) is 14 kms which last for 30 minutes inside the open forest where 3 Lions, 6 Bengal tigers and 18 Leopards roam like kings of this forest openly and we being inside those grilled bus. If lucky enough the safari will let you see these wild animals at very few distance from your secured safari bus.
Apart from lions and tigers there are Monkeys, Hyenas, Spotted Deer, Barking Deer, Indian Flying foxes, hares that can be seen in jungles of SGNP.
Their is a mini train called ‘Vanrani‘ (Queen of forest in Hindi) which can take you to this safari, One more options being boating in national park a wonderful adventure if you like. See the charges and safari timings below. Another wildlife sanctuary in Mumbai is at Byculla called ‘Mumbai Zoo‘Gomukh Trial inside SGNP
This is the longest trek of borivali national park comes after Kanheri caves. Known for its black old stones still there after the age old volcanic eruption that can be seen on the way during your trail walks. The attraction of Gomukh being an old temple build over a natural water source inside this park.Yeoor Hill Trial Behind National Park
Yeoor hills inside borivali national park are know for its ideal for Mountain biking location in Mumbai. The main gate for yeoor trial is the East gate of national park that opens from Thane locations, backside location of national park jungle. It commences just near forest rest houses of national park near kanheri caves road and tulsi lake road.Tulsi and Vihar Lakes
The back side location of national park forest is this fresh drinking water lake of Mumbai called Tulsi lake. One cannot go inside the lake locations without authority permission as their are restrictions, But can be viewed from Kanheri rocky hills.
Another lake near this national park is Vihar lake which comes after tulsi lake, More details of this lake at Vihar lake.Aerial View Of National Park7 Ancient Old Caves Discovered
Discovery of 7 old caves in 2015-2016 at this famous national park of Mumbai was a classic achievement of ancient monks residents and lifestyle. Sathaye college being one of the active institution works to discover and more about Ancient cultures of India along with Mumbai university and Archaeological department centre found this age old caves total of 7 which seems much older then the old kanheri caves reveals the way Buddhist monks stayed in Borivali and Vasai Virar locations since eras.
These caves are located behind kanheri caves which has a waterfall. This location is not tourist regular and active’s as such team of people are those who risk, explore such bushes and unexplored areas of national park since years who decided to explore the waterfall area as Buddhist monks are known to reside and take shelters near water bodies like waterfall and others which helps during monsoon and other days too. Upon reaching the locations and struggling with old plants and cactus they reached the top of waterfall finding 5 caves initially and a stoned ladder which goes back down, later the other 2 caves were also discovered.
February 2015 is when these 7 caves were discovered which are known to be used by Buddhist monks as Viharas (Quarters to stay back). Also found in one of the cave is the ‘Harmika’ which is a railing found of top of Buddhist stupa (See also Buddha Stupa video at nalasopara).Park Timings
- Sanjay Gandhi National Park timings : 7:30 am to 6:00 pm (All Seven Days).
- Lion and Tiger Safari timings : 9:00 am to 1 :00 Pm and 2:20 pm to 5:30 pm (All Seven Days).
- Kanheri caves timings: 9:30 am to 5:30 pm.
Today 20th December 2014 (i.e Saturday), weekend camping enthusiasts will observe another Overnight camping option started right inside the natural forest of this national park. Till date few unguided overnight beaches were the only options for Mumbaikars. A secure guided camping option inside dense forest of borivali by expert Naturalists, Astronomists, Herpetologists and Bird trials experts for star gazing, bird watching, understanding those floras and faunas and lots more to be enjoyed by individuals, in groups and along families staying overnight inside this park.
Those camps are organized by park authorities for weekends as of now with timings starting at evening around 5 PM on Saturday till late morning 10:00 to 10:30 Am on Sunday (About 18 Hours in total). Facilities what you get inside this cottage camping options are not hi-tech like electricity or entertainment like televisions, But pure dense dark forest experience with pin drop silence overnight and some exciting views and information in morning. In total about 4 cottage rest house and tent camp sheds will be available once you confirm your booking. Individual Costing Rs.2000 (i.e Per head, Per Person). which includes foods and other activities like to explore birds, insects, plants, water animals, fishes and mammals species. The dark silent nights gives beautiful and peaceful star gazing experience to every citizen of Mumbai enrolling and also for others outside city. Among others the early morning bird watching (bird trial) will be an awesome experience for photographers after star gaze at night. Camping tents will be waterproof to enjoy camping trials during Monsoon months too. Cooking activities are strictly prohibited but you can get your own outside food and also enjoy food provided by them which is in the cost. Security concerns and provisions are also made by fencing the surrounding as lately leopards are seen actively hangout out and reaching surrounding residential premises around Sanjay Gandhi National Park during nights.
Contact: For overnight camp booking inside park and group enquiries and discounts (if any) contact : +91-22-28847800 and +91-9403925626. NOTE : Rates and Days for camps may change from time to time, Kindly contact on above numbers before confirming.Park Tickets and Entry Charges
- Per person charges have been increased from Rs.20 to Rs.30 (Entry Fees to be paid on main entrance gate in west).
- Rs.100 per head for nature trails and safari cost.
- Car Parking and Entry costs Rs.100 compared to Rs.50 Previously.
- Pass rates for morning walkers and joggers have also been raised from Rs.50 to Rs.100.
- Rented cycles are available just near Entry gate costing Rs.20 per hour with minimum hours to be taken is 2. Initial Deposits of Rs.200 to be given along with Photo ID proof.
By Road : About 40 kms towards north suburb of Mumbai on National Highway (Mumbai Ahmedabad Highway) at Junction from Borivali station in East is the main gate of National park. Various options like private cars, BRTS and BEST buses are available from all over city to reach here. Enough of parking place is available if you are in your private vehicle or as picnic group.
By Train : Nearest station being Borivali, Get down and take Auto from EAST side of Borivali which takes hardly 10 minutes, If you enjoy walking to explore city market along the way to Borivali national park entrance, its just 15 to 20 minutes from station.