Sanjay Gandhi Wildlife Sanctuary popularly known as Borivali National Park enjoys the distinction of being the only National Park in Mumbai. It gained notification in the year 1974 set in the hill ranges around the Mumbai suburb of Borivali over an area of 104 sq km. The main attractions are the tiger and lion safaris but it is also a haven for bird lovers since as many as 251 species of birds, both water and land ones, are found here. The park has a lot of children visiting who are enticed by the colourful toy train that passes through it.
The park is particularly striking in the monsoon when it becomes a flower carpet of myriad hues. There are at least 800 types of floral plants but it is most famous for the Karvi flower which blooms once a year. The vegetation is thick South Indian Moist Deciduous and Semi Evergreen mixed with moist teak-bearing forest, mangrove scrub. There are 50 reptiles, 5,000 species of insects, 284 kinds of birds, 36 types of mammals, and 150 kinds of butterflies inhabiting the park. The world's largest moth, Atlas Moth, is also found here.
Main Attractions: The most exciting part of the sanctuary is the Lion Safari Park where once can come as close as six feet with the mighty beasts. It is also inhabited by a good number of wildlife species like the leopards, antelope, mouse deer, panther and wild bear and reptiles such as pythons, cobras, monitor lizards, russell's viper, etc.
Along with the native water and land birds, migratory ones also frequent the park. The main bird species inhabiting the Park are woodpeckers, magpies, jungle owlets, hornbills, racket-tailed drongos, minivets, robins, peacock, golden orioles, and sunbirds though paradise flycatcher, kingfisher, swifts, gulls, egrets and herons are also sometimes sighted.
Another main attraction is the Kanheri Caves, the biggest Buddhist monastic establishment on the Konkan coast dating back 2,400 years. The cave is situated in the heart of the Sanctuary noted for the great number of open benches cut into rocks and benches in the verandas of the caves. There are also two lakes the Vihar Lake and the Tulsi Lake inside the park.
When To Go: The best time to visit is between September to March because the climate is pleasant during this time. It gets hot during the summer and very wet in the monsoon.
How To Get There: There are buses plying to the Park from Mumbai on Sundays and on government holidays. The nearest airport is Santa Cruz at a distance of 16 km. Borivali Station is the nearest railway station.
Where To Stay: There are four rest houses and two camps within the park. But prior booking must be made with the wildlife authorities.