The History of the Sanjay Gandhi National Park
Its history is long and goes back to the 4th Century BC. Two ports that traded with ancient civilizations like Greece and Mesopotamia were Sopoara (in ancient India) and Kalyan (in modern India).
This forest was part of the 45 km land route that connected these ports. The Kanheri Caves, located in the middle of the park, were an important Buddhist learning center and pilgrimage site. They were carved by Buddhist monks between the 9th and the 1st centuries BCE. They were formed from a huge basaltic rock outcropping.
In the pre-independence period, the park was called ‘Krishnagiri National Park. The park’s area was just 20.26 square miles at that time. The park was increased to its current size in 1969 by acquiring various reserve forest properties adjacent to the park.
The area was administered by a separate unit of the Forest Department, the ‘Borivali National Park Subdivision.’ In 1974, Krishnagiri National Park was established. Later, it was renamed “Borivali National Park.” It was renamed ‘Sanjay Gandhi National Park in 1981 to honor Sanjay Gandhi (son of ex-Prime Minister Indira Gandhi).
Flora and Fauna
Forest habitat is the dominant habitat type. An estimated 1300 flowering plants are found in SGNP. The majority of this forest is a southern mixed-deciduous forest. It is dominated by the Tectona and Terminalia. This is especially evident in the lowlands and on the hillsides.
A few of the many pleasant surprises in the National Park include small herds of Sambhars, darting Barking Deer, and a surprise encounter with a Black-naped Hare. However, nothing can match the feeling of fear, terror, and goose-pimply when confronted with a large Leopard. This encounter is possible because of the high density of Leopards in this wilderness.
It’s possible to see a rare Porcupine or a Palm Civet, both rarely seen these days, and even encounter a Striped Hyena. This makes it memorable. Only a few people will be able to see the rare Four-horned Antelope or the shy Mouse Deer.
The monkey species include the Bonnet Macaque (an introduced species), the Rhesus Macaque (an introduced species), and the vegetarian Hanuman langur, or leaf monkey. The largest of 17 bat species in the park is the Indian flying fox.
The National Park is a paradise for birdwatchers. The National Park is home to many bird species, including the small Tickell’s flowerpecker (an Indian bird) and Sunbirds (an old-world equivalent of the hummingbirds).
Reptiles and Butterflies
This forest is full of beautiful birds, including the Paradise Flycatcher and the mysterious Trogon.
Crocodiles at Tulsi Lake, Monitor Lizards, and Pythons are examples of the reptile world. The park also has smaller reptiles that add to its wonder. Naturalists will enjoy the invertebrate world, including spiders and crabs, signature spiders, black wood spiders, and giant wood spiders with their huge webs in monsoon.
There are many Mantis, Silk cotton bugs, and Beetles in the insect world. There are many beautiful butterflies to be found in the Butterfly world.
Things to Do in Borivali National Park
1. Mini Train
Van Rani is a Mini train that operates in Sanjay Gandhi National Park. The name is derived from Hindi, with ‘Van’ meaning Jungle and ‘Rani’ meaning Queen.
The Sanjay Gandhi National park has many attractions, i.e., Jungle, Park, Caves, Zoo, Mini Train, River, etc.
One of the famous attractions for children is the Van Rani mini-train which has around 20 to 25 seats. It is a hit among children.
This mini train is an exciting experience for children who get excited to see the toy-like train, which would take them on a Jungle Safari Ride. This ride lasts for around 20 min.
The Van Rani takes the tourist around Borivali National park on a narrow-gauge train track. It covers around 2.4 km and moves inside the jungle, giving you a view of the trees, animals, waterfalls, and birds, and you will enjoy the greenery all around you. Not just children, even adults enjoy this experience.
The train operates every 30 min and covers two major attractions on its route. The Van Rani is open from all sides with a roof on the top; this helps you get a closer experience with nature.
2. Tiger and Lion Safari
You can make your visit memorable by watching the big cats at the Tiger and Lion Safari from inside a vehicle. These large safari cages allow visitors to view these big cats in a controlled environment and in an open vehicle. The wildlife interpretation center at the ticket counter allows us to better understand wild animals and their natural habitats.
The artificial water lake is very close to the main entrance gate. This allows you to use the pedal boat and paddle on the picturesque, refreshing lake created for this purpose. You can book a boat ride in the beautiful lake and enjoy the synergy with nature.
4. Memorial Gandhi Tekdi
This memorial is dedicated to the ‘Father Of The Nation.’ You can either walk or drive up here to enjoy beautiful views that contrast with the city and forest.
The Gandhi Tekdi, a monument dedicated to the ‘father’ of the nation, is located just a stone’s throw from the main gate. You can enjoy beautiful views of the city and surrounding forests while you’re there. The point can be reached by either walking or driving via the stairs or the forest road.
5. Kanheri Caves
The Kanheri Caves are a group of caves and rock-cut monuments formed from a massive basalt outcrop in the forests of the Sanjay Gandhi National Park on the western outskirts of Mumbai, India. This is a must-visit, which will take you back to the ancient history of India. You will be amazed at how caves were made by cutting through the rock.
Entry Fee and timing for the National Park, Mini Train, Lion Tiger Safari, and Kanheri Caves
Mini Train Ride (Van rani Ticket Charges)
- Adults: Rs.55
- Children: Rs.21
Rules and Regulations for Mini Train
- Monday shall be closed
- Please get the tickets verified at the ticket counter
- A minimum of 20 people are required to start the train journey
- Timings are 9:00 to 5:30
Lunch break: 12:30 to 1:30
- Each trip is 20-25 mins.
Sanjay Gandhi National Park – Main Gate Fee
- Adults: Rs.64
- Children: Rs.34
- Two Wheelers: Rs.44
- LMV: Rs.215
- HMV: Rs.322
- Cycles: Rs.22
- 2 Seater Boats: Rs.64
- 4 Seater Boats: Rs.130
Online booking for any tickets is not available and has been stopped.
Rules and Regulations for Boating
- Timings 9:00 to 5:30 Lunch break: 12:30 to 1:30.
- Monday shall be closed for maintenance
Morning Walk and Jogging Charges – Yearly Pass
- Senior Citizens: Rs.25
- Other Adults / Citizens: Rs.215
Lion and Tiger Safari Ticket Costs
- Tiger Safari Charges for Adults: Rs.85
- Tiger Safari Children: Rs.34
- Tiger & Lion Safari Both (Adults) : Rs.108
- Tiger & Lion Safari Both Children: Rs.43
- Timings: 9:00 to 4:30 Luch break: 12:30 to 1:30
- A minimum of 15 people are required to start the bus journey
- The journey will commence according to the minimum criteria set by the authorities.
Kanheri Caves Bus Services
- Bus Charges to Kanheri For Adults: Rs.64
- Kanheri Caves Bus Ticket Cost for Children: Rs.34
SANJAY GANDHI NATIONAL PARK BORIVALI APPEAL
1) Keep Silence in the Park
2) Speed Limit 20km/Hour of Fine up to Rs. 25000/-
3) Park your Vehicles in Parking Lots.
4) Leave the Park before 18.30 Hrs.
5) Use Dust Bin s, No Plastic at all.
6) Abide by the Rules & Regulations of the national parks.
7) Please validate the pass/ticket at the Gate.
8) For Commercial photography/video shooting, contact the ticket counter.
9) Park Timings: 7:30am to 6:30pm
1) Don’t tease and Feed wild animals.
2) Don’t Park your Vehicles along the roadside –Fine up to 2000/-
3) Don’t use /throw plastic bags in the park.
4) Lighting of fire Prohibited.
5) No alcohol/smoking.
6) Pets prohibited.
How to Reach Sanjay Gandhi National Park:
The Nearest Airport is Mumbai International Airport which is around 15 km.
By Rail: Closest railway station is Borivali which is on the western line. From here National park is only at a distance of 1.2 km. From the Station, you can take an auto-rickshaw which will hardly cost around Rs.30 and 5 min journey.
By Road: It is on the Western Express Highway and is easily accessible from anywhere in Mumbai or India.
- Nariman Point: 40 km
- Worli: 31 km
- Sion: 26 km
- Bandra: 24 km
- Versova, Andheri: 14 km
- International Airport: 15 km
- Domestic Airport: 16 km
Conclusion: The Sanjay Gandhi National Park is a mini forest in the Heart of Mumbai and has all-in-one entertainment. It has Van Rain mini train, Animal Safari, Caves, a Water fountain, Flora Fauna, Playground, and a playful environment where children and adults can experience nature and spend the whole day with families and friends. It is a must-visit place if you are a tourist or even if you are a local in Mumbai.