The Bottom Line
- Conveniently located on the northern fringes of Mumbai.
- Has a wide range of attractions.
- The ancient Buddhist hand-cut caves are a highlight of the park.
- Great for families with small children.
- Attractions are spread out.
- Difficult to get around the park without transport.
- Attractions inconveniently close for lunch.
- Lack of food stalls.
- Located near Borivali East train station, 40 kilometers (25 miles) north of Mumbai city center. Ph: (022) 2886-0362/0389.
- Attractions include tiger & lion safaris, toy train, boating, trekking, rock climbing, and hand-carved Buddhist caves.
- Park is 104 square kilometers (65 miles) in size. Open daily from 7.30 a.m. to 6 p.m. Entrance fee is 20 rupees (50 cents).
- 30 minute tiger & lion safaris operate from 9 a.m to 1 p.m. and 2.20 p.m. until 5.30 p.m. Closed Mondays. Cost is 30 rupees.
- 15 minute boat rides are offered on the lake from 9 a.m to 12.30 pm and 1.30 p.m. until 5.30 p.m. Cost is 15 rupees.
- Kanheri Caves are 7 kilometers (4.4 miles) inside the park and are open daily from 9.30 a.m. to 5.30 p.m. Cost 100 rupees.
- A shuttle bus runs from the park entrance to the caves every 20 minutes until around 1.30 p.m. Cost is 20 rupees one way.
- Last shuttle bus back from the caves is at 4 p.m.
- The Vanrani toy train takes visitors on a scenic circuit around the park. Cost is 15 rupees for adults, 7 rupees for kids.
- Park also has a Jain temple, Yeoor hiking trail, and nature walks organized by the Bombay Natural History Society.
Guide Review - Review of Sanjay Gandhi (Borivali) National Park
On one side of the busy Borivali road, roaring with traffic, is a huge bridge. On the other side is the entrance to the Sanjay Gandhi National Park. It's a stark contrast to Mumbai's sprawling development.
The park is operated by the government, so I shouldn't have been surprised to find its attractions closed for lunch, and minimal tourist information and facilities available. The only food on offer was from enterprising children selling bottled water and packets of crisps. Many signs are written in Marathi, the language of the state, and there aren't any park brochures available for visitors. This makes it unclear how to best get around the park.
At park the entrance, I was met with an offer of private transport to all the attractions for 850 rupees ($20). For that relatively expensive price I decided to walk, not realizing how spread out everything really was. As a result, I haplessly wandered around, relying on the sparse sign boards and people for directions.
My untimely arrival during the park's lunch time also greatly hampered my plans. I had to pay the driver of the shuttle bus to the Kanheri Caves three times the fare to delay his lunch break and take me there, or else wait two hours for the next service -- but was glad I did.
The magnificent Kanheri Buddhist Caves are worth a visit on their own. There are 109 of them in various sizes, scattered over a hilltop and hand-carved out of volcanic rock. The largest has a deep chamber for worship and towering sculptures of Buddha.
The park's lion & tiger sanctuaries are also a big attraction, but don't expect to see wild animals in this caged environment.
Despite the few inconveniences, the Sanjay Gandhi National Park really is a haven to be enjoyed. It provides a wonderful opportunity to spend time in nature without having to travel far. To see it easily, bring your own transport if possible.