Fed up with the hustle and bustle in Mumbai? Then this is an ideal excursion!
My Lonely Planet presented me with a certain image of getting down with the wildlife... what with it being 104sq km of protected tropical forest... I saw a lone lizard. However, it is a nice place to go to to relax and it is not at all touristy... only locals out for a walk. There is a section of lake that you can hire a pedal boat on... even this seemed like exceptionally hard work in the summer heat... but was nice and kept the children amused for as long as we had the stamina!
There is a lion & tiger safari which you can take a jeap around - unfortunately due to a man being eaten by the lions the night beofre this was closed when we were there! Do be sure to take your own supplies (eg plenty of water).
From inside the park it is also possible to catch a bus to visit the Kanheri Caves.
Take the train from Churchgate to Borivali which costs me 22p for 2 adults and 2 children (the only other thing I can think of that is this cheap is maybe a box of matches!). From Borivali take a rickshaw to the park. NB we couldn't understand our rickshaw drivers charades but what he was asking if we wanted him to stay with us and drive us around the park or whether he should simply dump us att he entrance. We said dump and run. After we had finished sweating our bodies around the park we thankfully found a rickshaw inside the park who took us back to the entrance before we collapsed in meltdown! Don't assume there will be rickshaws available for you though - the majority have passengers they are taking around!
There is a small entrance fee for the park.
The park is on the North-end of Mumbai, and it is also known as the Borivili National Park. It's a huge (~ 9000 ha) green haven surrounded by the continuously bustling city. The park offers numerous attractions, such as tiger safari, lion safari, train ride, hiking-trecks, tree-house, and best of all the caves. We went first to do the lion/tiger-safari, which was a bit of a let-down. The few animals we saw were about as wild as our 18 year old house-cat (though we were safely stashed away in the bus!). Then we strolled around the park, which was wonderful, since we were there during the rainy season, and the last monsoon rain had just ended shortly before.
We then took the bus up to the Kanheri Caves (DEFINITELY take the bus, unless you are in top hiking shape!). The Kanheri Caves were populated by Buddhists monks in the 1st century B.C. - absouletly fascinating. Be aware: the wild monkeys around the caves are a pest. They are used to people, and they'll snatch food right out of your hands. The caves are fantastic. To see most of the park you will need at least a day; however, if you only have 1/2 day - skip the wild animals and go for the caves! It's definitely worth it. Since it was almost closing time when we left, the lines to the bus downhill were huge, so we decided to walk. It was a great, though somewhat loooong walk - but all downhill. :-)
Oh yeah one more thing: DISCRIMINATION!!!!!!!!! Entrance to the caves for Indians: 5 RS. Entrance for foreigners: 100 RS.
Originally planned as a wildlife retreat outside Mumbai, the Sanjay Gandhi National Park is now virtually engulfed by the growing city. Most of it is wild and unsafe, but breathtakingly beautiful, filled with dense forests and dotted with sylvan lakes. There are wild animals here, of course, but the only way you can see them is to take the Lion Safari at the entrance. Don't expect displays of predatory power though: most of the animals here are so used to tourists that they merely yawn at the passing buses.
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