Commonly known as Borivali National Park (BNP)
is a miraculously preserved green oasis in the
center of an urban sprawl. This national park is
One of the very few, perhaps the only one of its
kind, that is surrounded by a metropolis,
sustaining a sizable population of big cats like
Panthers. It is hard to believe, that within
just less than an hour or so, one is transported
from the hectic and fast life of the city to a
serene and tranquil atmosphere of pleasingly
verdant wilderness, serving as an outdoor museum
to preserve the flora and fauna of this area.
This rich and
diverse forest holds more than thousand species
of plants, 40 species of mammals, 251 species of
birds covering migratory, land and water birds,
38 species of reptiles and 9 species of
amphibians besides a large variety of fishes,
insects and other life forms.
the largest predator of this forest, which can
be easily seen in the late hours. Various other
animals like Sambar (largest deer in India),
Spotted deer, Chowrsingha (four horned
antelope), Wild boar, Mongoose, Civet cat,
Jungle cat, Langurs (leaf monkeys), Macaques may
often be encountered. The park is very rich in
bird and insect life specially butterflies,
making it a truly naturalists paradise. Rocks
and Hills near Kanheri (near the center of park)
are ideal spots for Rock climbers.
cover of the park not only forms the catchment
area for Tulsi and Vihar lakes, which are among
the important sources of water for Mumbai, but
also helps in keeping down the pollution levels
of Mumbai by supplying fresh oxygen and acting
as a sink.
has a history dating back to the 4th century
BC., Sopara (Nalasopara) and Kalyan were two
ports near Mumbai which use to trade with
Greece and Middle East. The trade route
connecting the trade centers and these ports
passed through this forest. The rock cut caves
of Kanheri were ancient Buddhist settlements
dating back to the 1st century, on this route
and also served as rest houses for travelers.
Kanheri is originated from Sanskrit word "Krishnagiri"
means, "Black Mountain".
of Yeur and Nagla constituted the state
property under the Maratha Empire. When the
forest dept. came into existence in 1945, the
forests were surveyed and brought under proper
management. Earlier the name of the park was "Krishnagiri
National Park" and the area was just 20.26 sq.
the park of present size materialized, by
virtually piecing together the land of varying
ownership. An independent unit of forest dept.
called "Borivali National Park Sub-division"
was created after adding the adjoining areas
and "Krishnagiri National Park" was renamed as
"Borivali National Park". In the early 80`s it
was named as "Sanjay Gandhi National Park"
emerald is situated about 40 km away to the
north of the trapezoid shaped island of Mumbai
city & about 8 km from the Arabian Sea. The
area of the park lies between longitude 72°53`
to 72°58`E & latitude 19°08` to 19°21` N
covering an area of approx. 104 sq. km.
trains are a frequent and very popular means
of transport in metropolitan area. Borivali is
the nearest railway station from where the
park entrance is just a km. away. Buses (route
no. 188) on regular Sunday and public
holiday's schedules transport visitors to
Kanheri caves from Borivali station. Chartered
vehicles frequently bring groups throughout
the week. The nearest airport is Sahar
International airport and is about 18 km. from
the park entrance.
comprises mainly of basic lava flows. These
are commonly referred to as the `Deccan Trap`
forming the part of the largest plateau basalt
of the upper Cretaceous Eocans times (45 to 60
is undulating with great panoramic views of
hills, valleys, lakes and open patches. Rising
from an elevation less than about 30 mts.
above mean sea level, the terrain culminates
into a series of peaks dispersed throughout
the park, the highest near the Kanheri caves
being 468 mts.
annual temperature is 27°C with a range of
15°C - 35°C over the period. Its proximity to
the sea has a moderating influence on the
climate. The weather is pleasant from Nov. to
Feb., when the temp. is below 30°C. The
relative humidity is always above 60%, very
often exceeding 80% during monsoon.
southwest monsoon bursts about mid June &
continues with vigour till September. The
maximum rainfall occurs in July & August. The
mean annual rainfall is 2500 mm.
can be classified into two main classes: South
Indian Moist Deciduous & Semi-Evergreen, which
can be further differentiated as,
Teak Bearing forest.
Moist mixed Deciduous forest.
Sub-Tropical Hill forest.
The park is
a tree lovers delight in all seasons, with a
great amount of biodiversity ranging from
Adina cardifolia (Kadamb), Albizia lebek (Shirish),
Pongamia pianata (Karanj), Tectona grandis
(Teak), Dalbergia latifolia (Sesum) to species
of Acacia, Zizyphus and evergreen patches of
Euphorbia. In the drier months from February
to May, spectacular flowering of Butea
monosperma (Flame of the Forest) is a feast
for one's eyes. Flowering of Bombax malbaricum
(Red silk cotton) and Erytherina indica
(Indian coral tree) add colour. There are
large patches of Bamboo, which make the feel
of the jungle even better. The forest has a
lot of Liana (woody climbers), a remnant from
wetter greener past, many species of Orchids
and a large variety of shrubs. Every monsoon
is riot of colours from the violet of
Zingiberaceae Species to the stark white of
Costus Species. Among the many spectacular
sights, one which definitely is most worthy,
is the seven yearly mass flowering of
Strobilanthes Species (Karvi). It is a feature
of the Western Ghats and one can find
extensive flowering in the park. Millions of
these flowers cover the slopes giving a purple
touch to this beautiful landscape.
of Spotted deer, a solitary Sambhar, a darting
Barking deer or being surprised by a Black
naped hare running across your path are just
some of the pleasant surprises of the National
Park, but nothing can really match the awe,
fear and goose pimply feeling when one is
confronted by a large Leopard. The density of
Leopards is one of the highest for any such
wilderness, which makes this encounter a very
real possibility. Slighting a Porcupine, which
is rare, or a Palm civet, hardly seen these
days or encountering a striped Hyena can make
in a memorable experience. The lucky few can
possibly see the elusive Four horned antelope
or the extremely shy Mouse deer. The monkey
species includes the Rhesus macaque, which is
an introduced species, the Bonnet macaque and
the completely vegetarian Hanuman langur (leaf
monkey). The Indian flying fox is the biggest
of the 17 bat species found in the park.
National Park is a bird watchers paradise.
From the tiny Tickell's flowerpecker (small
bird in India), many species of Sunbirds (old
world equivalent of the humming birds) to the
majestic Whitebellied Sea Eagle it is a
virtual visual feast with birds like the
Paradise flycatcher, the elusive Trogon, many
species of Kingfishers, Woodpeckers and
Drongos the continuous calling of the Large
green barbet, the wildly screeching Parakeets,
the metallic calls of the Racket-tailed Drongo,
the musical call of the Blue flycatcher or the
extremely melodious song of the Malabar
whistling thrush or the familiar refrain of
the Spotted babbler are just a few facets of
nature's symphony in this forest.
Reptilian world is well represented by
Crocodiles in Tulsi lake, Monitor lizards,
Pythons, Cobras, Russess`s viper, Bamboo pit
viper and the extremely rare Ceylonese cat
snake recently discovered by the staff of
Bombay National History Society. Smaller
reptiles add to the wonder of this park. The
invertebrate world from Crabs to Spiders to
insects, Giant wood spiders, Signature
spiders, Black wood spider with their large
webs in monsoon is a treat to any naturalist.
The insect world shows abundant variations in
the form of Silk cotton bugs, Beetles and
several kinds of Mantis.
Butterfly world is represented in a
fascinating range of sizes and colours and
includes the spectacular Blue Mormon, the
phenomenal artist of camouflage the Blue Oak
leaf, the bright Jezebels and Large Yellow and
White Orange tips, Monarchs, Egg fly, Sailors
which are some of the many attractive
butterflies one can find here.
Archeological Features :
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 Buddhist India.
Most of these 109 Buddhist caves chiseled 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
main one which has colossal figures of
standing Buddha, 7 m in height, on each side
of the entrance porch, a colonnade of 34
pillars surrounding the interior halls and a
overtopped stupa (shrine) at the far end, all
carved in to the existing basaltic rock.
caves are dated from 1st century BC to 9th
century AD indicating an well-organised
Buddhist establishment of monks which
existed on an ancient trade route connecting
a number of trade centers & Indian ports. In
this area there are nearly more than 100
inscriptions, out of which, three are in
Pallavi, two in Sanskrit, one in Devnagri &
the rest are in Brahmi script.
unique and rare Motifs, which appear at
Kanheri caves are:
eleven headed Avalokiteshwara.
which appears on the Buddha's throne at about
presence of Burial ground-cemetery is also a
rare & interesting site to visit.
The park is
very unique in its nature, making it difficult
to specify any particular time as being the
best time. For the sheer enjoyment of the
greenery, wilderness and tiny waterfalls &
streams, monsoon is the best time. For bird
watching and general viewing along with climbs
at Kanheri hills, November to February are the
ideal months. Serious mammal tracking may be
possible in April - May when water supply is
limited because of which visibility is the
park is visited annually by over 30 lakh
people, on an average 8000 to 10000 visitors
visit it everyday, making it one of the most
visited park in India. On Shivratri
(auspicious day of Lord Shiva), the temple
near Kanheri attracts more than one lakh
devotees and pilgrims.
Recreational Zone :
Upavan" with an area of approx. 5.5 sq. km. is
reserved as a recreational zone inside the
park, to cater the educational and
recreational needs of the people.
the several attractions of the Krishnagiri
Upavan, the Lion Safari is the most famous.
The thirteen-hectare Lion Safari park
surrounded by a 6.5-m high fence, with
crisscrossed roads, offer close encounter
with the majestic King, from special buses.
there is a sustainable population of
crocodiles, the King of parks aquatic world,
in Tulsi lake, it is very difficult to sight
them. For easy sighting of these animals, the
park offers a Crocodile park where these
reptiles of different sizes can be viewed
attraction of the recreational zone is "Vanrani",
the mini train that is a favorite of young
visitors. A 15-min. ride on this train takes
one along the fort hills of the famed Gandhi
memorial, traverses couple bridges and tunnels
and passes over the Deer Park.
other attractions like boating in the lotus
filled lake, gardens and children's parks.
and Camping facilities :
houses and two camp sheds are available for
visitors on prior reservations, which can be
done between 10.00 to 17.00 hrs. on working
the Park :
07.30 to 18.30 hrs.
following entry fees are recovered at the park
Adult - Rs.
2.00 per day
Child - Rs.
1.00 per day
5 years free
heavy (truck, buses) - Rs. 25.00 per day
light (cars, tempo etc.) - Rs. 15.00 per day
cycles, rickshaw - Rs. 5.00 per day
(horse carriage) - Rs. 3.00 per day
Morning session - 09.00 to 13.00 hrs.
session - 14.20 to 17.20 hrs.
trip) - Adult - Rs. 10.00
3 yr. - free
available at an interval of 20 min. (closed on
Morning session - 09.00 to 13.00 hrs.
session - 14.20 to 17.20 hrs.
trip) - Adult - Rs. 5.00
available at an interval of 20 min.
of the Park :
precious and verdant park of Mumbai is under
tremendous pressure of the over sizing
metropolis surrounding it. Encroachment from
outside and within the park for human
settlements is causing environmental
degradation. Careless attitudes of
devotees/pilgrims (more than 1 lakh people) on
Shivratri pose a threat of fire hazards. The
man-animal conflict on the boundary of the
park arising because of panthers looking for
easy prey like stray dogs near garbage dumps,
quarrying on the periphery and quite a few
instance of bootlegging are some of the other
major threats to the park. .