Saturday, October 11, 2008

Lungs of Cosmopolitan Mumbai (Bombay) city

Entrance of Sanjay Gandhi National park in Borivali suburb of Mumbai in India

Deers with horns at Sanjay Gandhi National park safari in Borivali suburb of Mumbai in India

Borivali National Park on Google Maps

Mumbai (Bombay) is an exceptional cosmopolitan city of the world. No not because of its swarming population, neither because of Bollywood, nor because of being financial & business capital of India.

But because of very little known fact - it’s probably the only city which has National Park as its heart. Popularly its called as Borivali National Park or simply National Park, but official name is Sanjay Gandhi National Park.


Mumbai also a separate animal zoo - Byculla zoo A.K.A. Rani baug located close to Byculla train station.

Sanjay Gandhi National Park is located in one of the prime suburbs of Mumbai (Bombay) – Borivali. It occupies sizeable portion of Mumbai (Bombay) city and parents Tulsi lake, Vihar Lake and almost Powai Lake. All three are critical lakes as they meet Mumbai’s (Bombay) drinking water needs. World famous Indian Institute of Technology – Bombay (equivalent to MIT, Harvard) is located on banks of Powai lake.

Creek at Sanjay Gandhi National park safari in Borivali suburb of Mumbai in India
Park offers miles of multiple hiking and trekking trails on the hill plus plain land, waterfalls, mini train, butterfly, boating etc etc. But biggest attractions are lion/tiger safari and Kanheri caves – ancient caves full of ancient traditional artwork and heritage.

Borivali National Park has good signs for Toy Train and Lion safari bus service. Easiest and quickest bet to view wildlife is to walk to the Toy Train station - KrishnaNagri.

Walk on the tracks towards the left hand side and within 1 minute you will reach multiple cages.

Deer at Sanjay Gandhi National park safari in Borivali suburb of Mumbai in India
First cage of Borivali national park of Mumbai (Bombay) houses family of spotless deers and we were lucky to have a young deer close the fence. Rest of the family was grazing at the back

Beautiful spotted deers at Sanjay Gandhi National park safari in Borivali suburb of Mumbai in India
Neighboring cage of the park has family of spotted deers and beautiful arent they !!

Pair of Leopards at Sanjay Gandhi National park in Borivali suburb of Mumbai in India
Leopards – Cheetah are the captives of the next cage of the Sanjay Gandhi National Park of Mumbai (Bombay). Both leopards well built. However they are most unfortunate as their mini cage is in open cage of spotted deers. Oh what a pity.

Free old Lion King at Sanjay Gandhi National park safari in Borivali suburb of Mumbai in India
Lion and white tigers can be viewed in open habitat within Safari of Sanjay Gandhi National Park of Mumbai (Bombay). They roam freely in Borivali National Parks Safari region .
White tigers are next to the lion; yes they are fenced from each other. But unlike the lion, which appeared weak and old, tigers looked strong and active.

Hawk or Eagle at Sanjay Gandhi National park in Borivali suburb of Mumbai in India
There has special buses for Sanjay Gandhi National park Lion safari and charges are Rs 15.00 per adult. Bus gets really overcrowded towards end of the day.

Toy train tracks of Sanjay Gandhi National park in Borivali suburb of Mumbai in India
Toy train is a fun ride for young kids and disappointingly covers only a small section of the park. If there are no kids in the group then simply walk along the tracks. You may get to see Borivali National Parks Trimurti - stone carved statues of lord Brahma, Vishnu and Mahesh.

The train runs parallel to road leading to Kanheri Caves and then circles around the hill. I actually prefer to walk on the tracks and enjoy the beauty and freshness of Sanjay Gandhi National Park of Mumbai (Bombay).

Butterfly at Sanjay Gandhi National park safari in Borivali suburb of Mumbai in India
Sanjay Gandhi National Park of Mumbai (Bombay) information center is located at 5 minutes walking distance from entrance. Indian Department of Forest has done good job of compiling and displaying the information in systematic manner.
Also the garden of information center has beautiful butterfly’s, attractive flowers and plants.

1) In any condition no hunting should be done since its preserved land and all species are protected by law of Government of India.
2) Travel in groups.
Wildlife (leopard, panther, tiger etc) wanders freely in interior parts of the park and plus resident tribal can be avoided by being in group. Don’t venture on the trails and interior of the park all alone by yourself.
Local tribes still live in the park and better to maintain some distance from them.

1) If traveling by local train then alight at Borivali station. From Borivali East take auto rickshaw. Within 15-20 mintues you will reach the park.
Its right on Eastern Express highway but when traveling by car must not take the flyover, else you will miss the park.
Entrance charges for automobiles are Rs 30.00 and per person is Rs 10.00.

2) Take special ticket of Rs 20.00 to board the bus for Kanheri Caves (7-8kms from entrance).

3) Charges for Borivali National Park's lion safari is Rs 15.00 per adult. Boarding location for Lion safari is almost 1 km inside the park. Follow the signs for toy train and just before the toy train or even from the train station, move downhill and walk over the creek. Seven kilometers along the creek is Kanheri Caves, but for Lion and Tiger Safari of Sanjay Gandhi National Park of Mumbai (Bombay) turn left-right-left again. First you will see kids park with swing, see-saw etc. Walk past the kids park towards the rotary and both at left sells ticket for boarding the bus.

4) Toy train charges are Rs 15.00

Other Places to Visit:
Evershine park at Kandivali suburb of Mumbai. Kanheri Caves of Sanjay Gandhi National Park of Mumbai. South Mumbai. V Mall, In Orbit Mall at Malad suburb of Mumbai , Hyper City mall at Malad suburb of Mumbai, Big Bazar Mall at Kandivali suburb of Mumbai. Essel World Adventure park at Gorai Beach of Mumbai.

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Monday, October 6, 2008

Aamchi Mumbai

Queens Necklace at Marine Drive of Mumbai in India

Southern Mumbai provides grand display of India's vibrancy, dynamism and huge variety. South Mumbai has two tips forming a hand ready to clamp onto the beautiful Arabian Sea. Not sure though why it’s called Arabian instead of some local name. Was it due to influence of Middle Eastern countries!

South Mumbai and Malabir Hill on Google Maps

Between two tips of South Mumbai is world famous coastline – Mumbai’s Queens Necklace. Post dusk when street lamps lit the road; the glittering necklace is displayed audaciously.


India Travel Channel

Mumbai Kids
Skyline from Malabar Hill
Overlooking Malabar Hill

Marine drive, road along the Arabian Sea coast line, is the neck of the Mumbai’s Queens Necklace. If starts from Nariman Point – southernmost tip of that route and takes you all the way to Charni Road chowpatty(beach) or Girgaum beach - famous for send-off of Lord Ganesha at the end of Ganesh festival and also featured in many Bollywood movies.

Beach Sunset of Mumbai in India

While walking on Marine drive you will pass Oberoi hotel, circular Ambassador hotel, Flyover at Marines Lines station, Aquarium, Charni Road beach. All these are non-erasable landmarks which have featured in umpteen Bollywood and other Indian movies across different ages of India.

Spend few minutes on flyover of Marine lines station. Its good place to see the sea, Marine drive and skyline of South Mumbai.

If you really enjoy the walk it can talk up to 2-3 hours to walk on Marine drive pavement.

Girgaon Chowpatty (Girgaon or Charni Road Beach) of Mumbai in India

Close to Charni Road train station is Aquarium, Beach etc. At the beach one can enjoy parasailing, jet skiing, boating, massage etc. This small beach is in the heart of the city hence you will always find lot many people.

For Hanging Garden & Kamala Nehru park, take a cab/bus from the beach. The route is very scenic and takes you to Malabar hill – posh area located on a hill and home to affluent citizens of the country. This premium real estate site of Mumbai has two well known parks for family – Kamala Nehru Park & Hanging Garden

Hanging Garden at Malabar Hill of Mumbai in India

Hanging garden provides a great view of the Arabian Sea. But sadly most of it is obstructed by the tall trees and building. But the glimpse of the Sea from the hill is indeed calming. Mumbai’s Hanging garden has good variety plants, flowers, huge banyan trees. But it’s the plants pruned in animal shape which catches attention immediately.

Hanging Garden at Malabar Hill of Mumbai in India

Lord Hanuman (monkey form), peacock, giraffe, elephant and deer are the shapes pruned by gardeners. I liked giraffe more than others as it stands tall and competes with Mumbai’s sky scrapers.

Kamala Nehru Park of Mumbai in India

Kamala Nehru children’s park is right opposite and is famous for its shoe shaped slider. It also provides a breathtaking view of Mumbai’s Queen’s necklace and the skyline.

Other Places to visit:
Babulnath temple, Priyadarshini park, Prince of Wales museum, Jehangir art gallery, Gateway of India, CST Train station, Central Library, whole sale markets in Kalbadevi, Zaveri bazaar, Cutlery market, Crawford market area, Colaba.

Famous Babul Nath temple of God Shiva. Its located on small hill and there are elevators charging INR 2.00 for the needy.
Places to Eat:
While Girgaon chowpatty offers plenty of junk food to eat, but Nariman Point - southern tip and Sukh Sagar area close to Girgaon chowpatty offers plenty of decent and good restaruants to have sumptious Indian food. There are pizza places as well. Make sure to have Kesar Pista kulfi next to Sukh Sagar restaurant.
Like New York, trains are best way to commute in Mumbai. You can get down at Churchgate station and take a train from Charni Road station, regardless of whether you return from beach or come down from Malabar hill.

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