“Mumbai has a total of 103.84 Square Kilometre Forest Area / Jungle called ‘Sanjay Gandhi National Park’. As old as 150 year now, It is about 20 percent of total Mumbai area & an ideal weekend picnic spot and for many locals and a perfect walk & jog location with purest possible air quality in City Suburban.
Let us understand why thousands of people come daily to this biggest bio-diversified park of Mumbai which was once called ‘Borivali National Park’ & ‘Krishnagiri National Park’ prior to that. More in details are Park Attractions, National Information Center (NIC) Activities, 7 Famous Nature Trails, Official Contacts, Park Timings Details, Entry Fees & Other charges and other details like Rules (Do & Don’t) Fines and Penalties, Accommodation & Camping options etc..”
- National Park Since 1870
- Park Timings, Entry Fees & Other Charges
- Wildlife Species Inside This National Park of Mumbai
- Main Attractions of Borivali National Park
- Vanrani, The Mini Train
- Boating Inside Artificial River
- Lion & Tiger Safari
- Kanheri Caves
- Bambusteum – Bamboo Garden
- National Information Center (NIC)
- 7 Nature Trials of Sanjay Gandhi National Park
- Important Things to Know While On Nature Trial
- Overnight Stay & Accommodation Inside National Park
- Pine Hut (Timber House)
- Tents for Accommodation
- Food Options Inside Camping Area
- Important Rules (Do’s & Don’t) Inside National Park
- National Park Offences & Fines / Penalties
- SGNP Office Contact & Forest Emergency Helplines
- How to Reach This Park
National Park Since 1870
That was when British ruled India and is exactly when the 2 major Drinking water source of Mumbai, Tulsi & Vihar lakes were constructed by Britishers inside this park area which was then called ‘Krishnagiri National Park’ and was immediately declared as a protected forest area.
Just 5 years before Independence BMC took over Aarey Jungle & the 2 catchment locations of those lakes and declared the complete locations as protected forest zone. The park of the wide diversity is now called ‘Sanjay Gandhi National Park’ which is spread from Borivali to Goregaon & Thane on the other side.
Park Timings, Entry Fees & Other Charges
- Timings : 7:30 Am to 6:30 Pm.
- Entry fees : Rs.64 (Adults) & Rs.34 (Children between age 5 to 12 years).
- Cars, Bike & Other Vehicle Entry : Allowed with Separate Charges.
- See Entry Fees & Other Charges for other fees like Walking & Jogging, Boating Charges, Mini Train Ticket Cost, Kanheri caves bus Tickets fees & Others.
- Note : It is to be noted that as of Year 2020, 2 of the Attractions inside are open to public on Monday, which are ‘Gandhi Tekdi’ & ‘Kanheri Caves’. Other attractions & activities area like Boating, Safari & Mini Trains are all closed on Monday.
Wildlife Species Inside This National Park of Mumbai
More than 250 species of local & migratory birds, About 140 to 160 Species of butterflies can be seen inside the National Information Centre (NIC) ‘Butterfly Garden’ of Sanjay Gandhi National Park. Crocodiles are seen inside Tulsi & Vihar lakes (Public Restricted) and other 50 plus wildlife inside. The beautiful flora & faunas & more than 1450 plus plants & trees inside can be explored with the help of NIC department.
Below are details of the main attractions & activities held inside this park like the famous & old Mini Train called ‘Vanrani’, The Boating location inside the artificial river, Exploring the historic Kanheri Caves, Enjoying the Wild Lion & Tiger Safari, Educating self with various Nature trails like Shilonda, Kashimira, Gaumukh, Malad, Nagda Block and the Kanheri’s Upper trials.
Main Attractions of Borivali National Park
So what attracts the most visitors of this park & what are some special activities that takes place in the wild nature of Mumbai city. It is very important to keep a note that National Park Rules are very strict for all of its services, considering the eco-sensitivity and other rules as detailed. Fine upto Rs.25000 OR/AND Jail for 3 years in extreme situation if any rules are not followed or any serious mistakes done.
Vanrani, The Mini Train
Vanrani means ‘Forest Queen’ and as it means this cute little mini train with 4 coaches is a must ride to enjoy a small jungle tour of about 20 minutes that will take you around the greenery of this park.
Spotting deer and some exotic birds during monsoon is what one can expect from this slow moving leisure ride of this park.
Updated ticket charges of this mini toy train is Rs.55 (Adults) & Rs.21 (Children between 5 to 12 years age).
Train Timings : 9:00 Am to 5:30 Pm (Lunch Break 12:30 to 1:30 Pm).
Minimum 20 People required to start the train.
For Complete details, see Vanrani Mini Train page.
Boating Inside Artificial River
Second major attractions of Sanjay Gandhi National Park if the Row-Row boat rides. Two types of manual boats (2 seater total 9 boats & 4 seater total 4 boats) are available for a ride of about 20 to 30 minutes inside the artificially created river here.
Charges for a 2 seater boat is Rs.64 & that of 4 seater is Rs.130. Usually this area has long queues in weekends & public holidays just like the mini train ride.
Boating Timings : 9:00 Am to 5:30 Pm (Lunch Break 12:30 to 1:30 Pm).
Lion & Tiger Safari
A 20 minutes bus ride at the separate safari zone with caged lions & tigers. To my personal experience it is a worth ride (During Weekdays) for kids if seeing lions & tigers for the first time.
Weekends & Holidays attracts huge crowd to this National park and long queues are very much expected. 2 lions (Male & Female) & 4 Tigers are caged in the safari location of this park.
Although the animals are healthy and worth a watch, Not much of attraction otherwise and not worth spending 2 hours during crowded weekends.
Safari timings : 9:00 Am to 1:00 Pm and 2:20 pm to 5:30 pm (Monday Closed).
Highest peak of Sanjay Gandhi National Park, A 16 Minutes Bus / Car ride at distance of 5.6 Km from main gate are the old caves of Kanheri. One of the best attractions of park & archeology example of Basalt Rock cut black mountain in Mumbai.
The name Kanheri is derived from its actual Sanskrit word called ‘Krishnagiri’ which is what the old name of this park was.
Gautam buddha & his disciples stayed here for one of the longest periods of their life. National park & Buddha Stupa at Nalasopara are 2 important locations where Buddha resided in Mumbai.
The discovery of 7 more older caves On February 2015 at backside area of Kanheri was one of the biggest achievements of Archaeological department who explored along with few students of Sathaye College in Mumbai who actively studies and research about the Ancient cultures of India.
Upon discovering a new waterfall at backdrop of the regularly visited Kanheri caves and after much of struggle in the wild bushes which has cactus plants and creepers, They found this 5 old caves at one of the top locations of this waterfall which also have a stoned ladder that goes down to other 2 hidden caves.
Those 7 hidden caves were used as Viharas (Staying Quarters) by Buddhist Monks in those days. A Harmika was also seen in one of those caves.
Since these caves are deep inside the Sanjay Gandhi national Park Forest, Special Buses are arranged costing Rs.64 (Adults) & Rs.34 (Children between Age 5 to 12).
Bambusteum – Bamboo Garden
A 2.5 acres (3 Hectare) of Bamboo plantation is one of the only and unique Garden named ‘Bambusteum’ started around 2018. It is about 2 Km from Main Entry gate with about 97 different species of Bamboo trees, The only garden of Mumbai which must not be missed if at all visiting this National park.
For Complete details, Read Bamboo Garden article.
National Information Center (NIC)
People usually comes at this Park of Mumbai for a day picnic and leisure to feel and enjoy the Biodiversity. But if you want to educate yourself about the Wildlife, The Plants & Trees, Those varieties of butterflies, The Forest Eco-System, Those birds, Little insects & creatures inside this forest, You must contact the National Information Center (NIC) Department of this park.
Activities like Guided tours in the wildlife, Various nature trails & Excursions, Night Camping, Bird watching and other minutes of this forest land of Mumbai can be better understood by these professionals inside. NIC is an active department for forest & related education of this park. Many time in a year they arrange Nature trails, Night Camping for star gazing and other types of guided tours to educate group of people, Bird Watchers, School students and other Nature activists about the wildness beauty of this forest park.
If you are a butterfly lover, National park is one best place to visit apart from other Butterfly parks in Mumbai city. As per official counts, about 170 Species of Butterflies can be seen inside the Butterfly garden.
7 Nature Trials of Sanjay Gandhi National Park
- Kanheri Trial (Also called ‘Upper Trial’) is one of the famous guided trek and trials by NIC department. Astonishing top view from Borivali National park is one of the best things one gets apart from experiencing the dense forest, Waterfalls and bird watching opportunities.
- Shilonda Trails is next on the list of many as no other location like this nature trail is loved and available here in Mumbai’s National park. Expect walking inside water streams, dense & walk forest on the trail that comes just before the Kanheri route. Once there were small village & huts of few tribes which were shifted later and is now a perfect example of wild paradise in Mumbai.
- Malad Nature Trial on the western outskirts of the park boundaries is this zone famous for its varied vegetations that can be seen along the trek. Many activists and trekkers have also seen footprints of wilds like leopards etc who comes to drink water at few artificial ponds during night. This trail also gives view of concrete city Mumbai suburbans upon reaching the end of this trek.
- Gaumukh Trail is about 1000 feet from sea-level at highest peak of Kanheri caves with few natural water holes flowing throughout the year. Those water bodies attracts many bird & wild animals like leopards throughout the year & so a good wildlife watching location of this park. Special permissions needs to be sought from forest department if you want to stay back overnight at this location to experience the real wildlife of this park. There are couple of watch towers from which one can experience the same.
- Highest Point as it is called is a peak location of this park. It is wild and dense and is higher than the Gaumukh. The experience is thrilling and the rewards is the view of 3 Major lakes of Mumbai (Powai, Vihar & Tulsi) all at a time. It does has it mythological values with a landmark called ‘Ashok van’ with stories of Ravana & Sita related at this peak point area of Mumbai city, So called ‘Highest Point’ nature trial.
- Kashimira Trek is a small nature trail inside the park that is located somewhere near Lion safari area. A small peaceful nature trail towards north to experience the silence, chirping birds and some flora and faunas along side.
- Nagla Block is away from the premise of all the above trails, It is located adjacent to National Highway 48, Sasunavghar area which is beyond the Vasai Creek (Bhayandar Creek) towards North. This forest location is serene, isolated and less explored, Although part of Sanjay Gandhi National Park range. Nagla block trail location is one of the reasons only few enthusiast, cycling adventures, forest explorers and nature lovers visits, Not more frequently.
Important Things to Know While On Nature Trial
- Walk in small groups.
- Avoid carrying disposable articles, If at all carrying, Do not throw around.
- Keep all documents related to Nature trail or any trial related permissions.
- Do not try adventuring on Non regular trail routes. Use only existing & established trials and roads.
- When trial roads are muddy or wet, Walk single file.
- Keep note of tent locations & accommodations arranged by Park authorities as done for overnight stays.
- Do not litter anything, Bring back all left out foods, packs and any other waste.
- Use public toilets whenever possible, Avoid in wild.
- Historic structures, Edifice and Artefacts are precious. While on trials, Do not touch, Just examine & take pictures if required.
- Keep safe distance with wildlife, Do not try touching or approaching as it can be dangerous.
- Always allow wild animals to go first.
- Do not feed wild animals as it is an punishable offence. Store & keep your food securely from monkeys.
- Enjoy the wild nature and let others enjoy too. Be courteous to others.
- If notice Anything unusual, Contact park authorities on the given numbers or forest department staff immediately.
Office Contact of National park Authorities for any of the above nature trails is +91-22-28847800.
Overnight Stay & Accommodation Inside National Park
Those coming from long distance or even local citizen can stay overnight here and enjoy night camping & star gazing & in day time bird watching and exploring the wildness of the forest park. Accommodation inside Sanjay Gandhi National Park is in its natural form of Pine Hut, Guest Houses & Tents. Ample parking for small or big vehicle inside available. Forget outside world for a day or 2 & Rejuvenate with nature and wild forest as these tents, Pine Huts and guest houses can be rented.
All the required facilities & services like English toilet, Air Conditioner etc is available inside these beautiful wooden pine hut and guest house & tents. It is lush greenery all around, Birds sound early morning and fresh air to breathe.
Pine Hut (Timber House)
Staying in an exclusive wooden made beautiful hut with its natural aroma is one of its experience, that too inside the dense forest area of Mumbai. Pine huts are timber wood house that has ground plus one level. Ground level has living & sleeping area with a toilet. A beautiful ladder takes you to level 1 which has a bedroom with another washroom inside. Both the rooms (Ground & Upper level) of this beautiful Pine hut has AC facilities.
Waking up early morning inside such beautiful wooden house and taking a walk around to inhale that fresh air, while listening to the chirping sound of birds along a small flowing river water is something that Sanjay Gandhi National Park gives.
Tents for Accommodation
Two different types of tents are available here (3 AC & 3 Non-AC tents), First type is for larger group of people and economic too. It can accommodate about 24 people with 12 bunk beds. Toilet & Washroom facilities are outside in Common area. Air Conditioners are not available in this rented tent option. This can be called as NON-AC dormitory.
Other type of tent stay has a double bed & a sofa so that a group of 3 to 4 people can be accommodated easily. It does has AC & Washroom inside. Approximate cost of tents range from Rs.2500 to Rs.3000.
One should contact the official number +91-22-28868686 for exact cost & other facilities, services etc as it may be different depending on the season & holidays etc.
Food Options Inside Camping Area
Food options are available at Canteen inside, Menu below (Price may vary) :
- Basic Food Plate (Bhojan Thali) : 3 Chapatis OR 2 Bhakris, 3 Green vegetables, Dal, Rice & Pickle Papad. Tentative cost Rs.100
- Special Food Plate : In Addition to the above Basic food plate content, 1 extra Sweet dish will be served. Tentative Cost Rs.120
- Breakfast : Sheera, Upma or Onion Poha (Any 1 of your choice). Cost Rs.30
- Regular Tea for Rs.10 & Special Tea for Rs.15
- Coffee Rs.20
- Batata Wada (Potato Vada, 2 pcs) Rs.30
- Onion Bhajiya Plate Rs.40
- Vegetable Biryani Rs.100
- Zunka Bhakri Rs.60
NOTE : Smoking & Non Vegetarian Food is Strictly Prohibited.
This stay & camping location is inside the park, little ahead of Lion & Tiger safari & Adjacent to Small flowing river. Exact address : National Park Flyover, Gandhi Nagar, Rajendra Nagar Society, Borivali, Mumbai 400066. Overall rating of the camping accommodation site is above 4 stars and more pictures & reviews can be seen here.
Picture Courtesy : Abhijit Ekbote & Neel Patel.
Important Rules (Do’s & Don’t) Inside National Park
- Maintain Silence in the park Area. Any type of loud sounds can disturb Animals & Birds natural inhabitants.
- All type of vehicle Speed Limit is 20 KMPH.
- Adhere to park timings (7:30 Am to 6:30 Pm), Leave the park premise by 6:30 Pm.
- Commercial Photography & Shoots needs special permissions, Contact Main Gate Entrance.
- Vehicles Should be Parked at Dedicated Parking Lots.
- Keep Park Area Clean, Use Dustbins (Plastics Strictly Prohibited)
- Smoking & Alcohol Consumption inside Premise is strictly prohibited.
- Keep away from Animals, Do not Tease animals or Feed anything.
- Pets are not allowed inside park (Pet Zone Not Available)
- Road Side Parking of vehicle is not allowed, Fine upto Rs.2000
- Lighting of Fire is Not Allowed
- Do Not get down of your Car at Isolated Lanes While driving, It can be dangerous.
National Park Offences & Fines / Penalties
- Smoking Inside the Park Area or Carrying any type of Inflammables : Rs.500
- Disturbing Wildlife by teasing or Giving Food : Rs.1000
- Rash Driving, Honking and Related : Rs.500
- Carrying Any Type of Legally Banned Substances or Alcohol etc : Rs.1000
- Littering inside Park OR Using Plastics : Rs.500
- Entering (No Entry Zones), Crossing Park Time Limits : Rs.500
- Crossing Speed Limit of 20 KMPH : Rs.500
- Entering any Water Bodies (Rivers, Lakes, Ponds etc) : Rs.500
- Spitting : Rs.200
SGNP Office Contact & Forest Emergency Helplines
Address : Sanjay Gandhi National Park, Main Gate, Adjacent to National Highway 48, Borivali (East), Mumbai 400066.
Main Entry & Official Contacts : +91-22-28860362 & +91-22-28860389
Maharashtra Forest Helpline : 1926
National Park Control Room : +91-22-28866449
Camping & Accommodation : +91-22-28868686
Thane Forest Division Control Room : +91-22-25445459
Nature Information Center (NIC) : +91-22-28868686
Official Website : SGNP
How to Reach This Park
By Road : Those coming from Outside Mumbai can reach Borivali Highway via NH 48. On left side connected to the Highway is the main entry gate. Keep Note of National Park Turning Sign On Highway just before a Flyover. Car & Other vehicle parking available inside.
By Train : Major trains coming to Mumbai from outside states halts at Borivali Railway Station on Western Railway Route. Get Down towards (EAST SIDE) and take an Auto which hardly takes 5 minutes to reach National Highway Entry Gate. Walking distance from Railway Station is just 15 minutes. Bus No.188 also goes to National Park.
By Air : Nearest Airport at Andheri (International) & Santacruz (Domestic) Both are adjacent to each other. Distance from Mumbai Airport to National Park is 15.6 Km which takes about 25 to 30 minutes during regular traffic condition.