Sanjay Gandhi National Park in monsoon!

Located in the heart of Mumbai, Sanjay Gandhi National Park is the both the heart and lung of Mumbai! It's easily accessible (some restrictions currently due to COVID-19) easily and gives you an experience of silence in the busy metropolis.

sanjay gandhi national park mumbai borivili
Sanjay Gandhi National Park in Mumbai

Here's a short Travel Vlog I made about the National Park! Enjoy :)

My recent visit to Sanjay Gandhi National Park

Due to the lockdown, the park is open only for limited time 5-9am (or so they say). 5am only if you are a morning walker and have a pass as the window for giving tickets only open at 7.30am. So simplify this, simply request the guard to let you in and pay him in advance for the entry ticket. Easy.

Once inside, private vehicles are no longer allowed - in fact, even the park bus which takes you to Kanheri caves is shut. So all you can do is walk, which is exactly why we came here. There's always a risk of rains when you are in the national park, and the fear is much worse when you have your camera with you - like we did. I was keen to make this video and my camera of choice for videos these days (Sony ZV-1) isn't waterproof at all - that meant we were extra careful that day.

I was with my weekend travel buddies, Mayank and Mihir, and both are as chilled out as I am - in fact I suspect Mayank is even more chilled! Anyway, we spent about 4-5 hours inside and thankfully it didn't rain much and we never had to pack our cameras in the bag.

Things to do at Sanjay Gandhi National Park

This list is long because there's so much to do within the National Park. There's frankly something for everyone at the park. So the Park is divided into three kinds of regions - open to people, semi-open and restricted, and there are different activities associated with each. Here are some of the things you can you at the park:
  • Toy train rides (kinds absolutely love these)
  • Hikes (typically you need to take a guide from the park office - booking in advance is a good idea)
  • Nature trails
  • Morning walks
  • Kanheri caves (Buddhist caves from 1st century AD onwards)
  • Cycling
  • Boating
  • Star gazing and more...
You can read more about the park and activities here.

Man-animal conflict at Sanjay Gandhi National Park

One of things I talk about in the video is man-animal conflict within and just outside the park. Many communities have traditionally always lived in what's now the National Park, and this co-existence was harmonious. However, with Mumbai's population booming, there are now houses right at the edge of the park and there's hardly any buffer zone anymore. There's tremendous pressure to open up some space for further development - most recently there was talk of a rod right through the heart of the National Park connecting two sided of the city.

tiger sanjay gandhi national park mumbai borivili

sanjay gandhi national park mumbai borivili

Leopards are the top predators in the park and it's rare for them to attack humans. But living with such close proximity from humans and their cattle, and the continuous pressure on their food sources, sometimes these wild animals do attack small children, cattle, and their dogs. These are dangerous animals and can easily take down a full grown man as well, though that's quite rare. Leopards also do migrate between some of the other forested areas of Mumbai and need green passages for the same because there are human settlements between those.

sanjay gandhi national park mumbai borivili
sanjay gandhi national park mumbai borivili

More certainly needs to be done to ensure the safety of leopards, and to make sure that the biodiversity of the park is kept intact for us as well as our future generations. It's rare to have a forest within a large city like Mumbai, and we must do all we can do persevere it.

Stay safe...

This wasn't my first visit to the Sanjay Gandhi National Park and you can read more about park from one of my earlier visits here. I would absolutely recommend this to anyone who's in Mumbai or is visiting the city. Especially in the context of Covid-19, it's far better to be in a forest area with only a few people around (especially if you take the small trails away from the main path). It's safer and absolutely refreshing.


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