National Parks

Sanjay Gandhi National Park

Sanjay Gandhi National Park Gate Loin Deer Vanrani Narrow Gauge Train Deer boating Sanjay Gandhi National Park View

        Sanjay Gandhi National Park (SGNP), also known as Borivali National Park is located in Borivali, a suburb of Mumbai city in Maharashtra State, India. The Park was known as Krishnagiri Park during pre-independence period and later as Borivali National Park. In 1990 the park was renamed as Sanjay Gandhi National park. The main attraction of the park is its lion and tiger safari. One of the main attractions to the National Park is the lion safari, which has been drawing people to the park ever since it was started. It encompasses an area of 104 km2 and is surrounded on three sides by India's most populous city. It is notable as one of the major national parks existing within a metropolis limit in Asia and is one of the most visited parks in the world. The famous Kanheri Caves are located within the park. A famous Jain Temple is also situated in the park. The rich flora and fauna of Sanjay Gandhi National Park attracts more than 2 million visitors every year.

        The Sanjay Gandhi National Park area has a long written history dating back to the 4th century BC. In ancient India, Sopara and Kalyan were two ports in the vicinity that traded with ancient civilizations such as Greece and Mesopotamia. The 45 kms land route between these two ports was partially through this forest.

       The park offers a pleasant change from the usual sights, attractions, rush and glamour of the big city. 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 Sanjay Gandhi National park is known for its dense forests, vast bird life, butterflies, and the small population of tigers. The park also encompasses the famous Kanheri Cave complex (between 1st century BC and 9th century AD), two lakes Tulsi and Vihar Lake that provide water to Mumbai city. The Park also features a "toy train" that runs on a narrow gauge railway. The toy train Van rani, which means Jungle Queen, ran for around twenty-five years.

        The Kanheri or Kanhasela Caves located well within the park area are a major point of interest, presenting an accessible and interesting glimpse of the history and the culture of Buddhism in India. Most of these 109 Buddhist caves chiselled out of the volcanic rock are simple small chambers, known as viharas (cells for monks). A few are larger & deeper chambers known as chaityas(for congregational worship). 

        The park boasts more than 1000 species of plants, 40 species of mammals, 251 species of birds including migratory and water birds, 38 species of reptiles, 9 species of amphibians and a large variety of fish, insects and other life forms. The park comes alive during the monsoon season. The main bird species of Borivili National Park are Woodpeckers, Magpies, Jungle Owlets, Hornbills, Malabar Pied Hornbill, Great Hornbill, Indian Grey Hornbill, Racket-Tailed Drongos, Bronzed Drongo, Ashy Drongo, Minivets, Robins, Peacock, Golden Orioles, Sunbirds, Grey Junglefowl, Red Spur fowl, Indian Peafowl, Painted Francolin, Emerald Dove, Malabar Trogon, Black-hooded Oriole (rtiwp), White-rumped Shama, Blue-capped Rock Thrush etc. On the water banks, quite a handful of bird species also can be seen, namely, Asian Openbill, Spotbill Duck, Lesser Whistling-duck, Oriental Dwarf Kingfisher, Pheasant-tailed Jacana. At times, one may also come across Paradise Flycatcher, Kingfisher, Swifts, Gulls, Egrets and Herons here.

        The Park is a tree lovers delight in all seasons. The forest cover in the park can be divided into two main categories i.e. South Indian moist deciduous and Semi Evergreen. These two types can be further divided into four subcategories and they are moist teak-bearing forest, mangrove scrub, southern moist mixed deciduous forest, and western subtropical hill forest. The region has good biodiversity and major trees and plants include kadamba, teak, karanj, shisam, and species of acacia, ziziphus, euphorbia, flame of the forest, red silk cotton and many more varieties of flowers. Almost the entire park is awashed with the rainbow hues of the flowers that bloom here, during the monsoon season.

The park is known to shelter wildlife right from the time of modernization of the Mumbai city. One can have encounters with several of the species which include spotted deer, black naped hare, barking deer, porcupine, palm civet, mouse deer, rhesus macaque, bounet macaque, Hanuman langur, Indian flying fox, and sambhar,leopards etc. One can see crocodiles in the Tulsi Lake, and pythons, cobras, monitor lizards, Russell's viper, bamboo pit viper and Ceylonese cat snake here. The Sanjay Gandhi National Park is mainly known for its diverse types of birds. It is a paradise for the bird watchers.

Sanjay Gandhi National Park Timing and Entry Fees

The best time to see birds is October to April and butterflies August to November..

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Sanjay Gandhi National Park is open daily from 7.30 a.m. to 6 p.m. Entrance fee is 20 rupees.
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30 minute tiger & lion safaris operate from 9 a.m to 1 p.m. and 2.20 p.m. until 5.30 p.m. Closed Mondays. Cost is 30 rupees.
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15 minute boat rides are offered on the lake from 9 a.m to 12.30 pm and 1.30 p.m. until 5.30 p.m. Cost is 15 rupees.
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Kanheri Caves are 7 kilometers (4.4 miles) inside the park and are open daily from 9.30 a.m. to 5.30 p.m. Cost 100 rupees.
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A shuttle bus runs from the park entrance to the caves every 20 minutes until around 1.30 p.m. Cost is 20 rupees one way.
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Last shuttle bus back from the caves is at 4 p.m.
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The Vanrani toy train takes visitors on a scenic circuit around the park. Cost is 15 rupees for adults, 7 rupees for kids.

How to Reach

By Road Nearest RailWay Station Nearest Airport Google Map
1. Buses play on Sunday's and holiday's from Mumbai to the Park. 1. The Chhatrapati Shivaji Terminus Railway station is at a distance of 40 km from the Sanjay Gandhi National Park. The Borivali Station (2 kms) is the nearest local railway station to the park. 1. Mumbai, Santa Cruz airport at a distance of 16 km and International Sahara airport at a distance of 20 kms which connects Mumbai to the other parts of world. Map