Sanjay Gandhi National Park, Borivali, Mumbai; Animal life and Monuments
Mumbai, India’s financial capital is a large metropolis in the world. This big city is famous for its industries and also for the historically and culturally important subjects. Sanjay Gandhi National Park, situated in Borivali is a part of Greater Mumbai, lying on the Northern fringe of its suburbs. Spread over an area of 104 sq km, this park is a retreat to the cool lap of nature from the noisy and busy city life of Mumbai.
The park encompasses thick, evergreen forests giving life to so many wild animals and birds.The creeks Tulsi and Vihar flow through this park, adding up to the beauty of the rich green flora and fauna. Bird watching is one of the main attractions here, as it is home to so many woodland and aquatic birds. The park not only amuses a traveler with its wildlife, but also takes to a historic era of Sri Buddha, with monuments and caves carved out of rock.
We embarked on our journey to Borivali National Park under the hope that we can encounter tigers and lions very closely. But because of safety measures, the tourists are taken in a caged bus with crossed bars all over and the tigers can be watched from inside this bus only. We saw four tigers fenced in an open ground, sitting by, thinking of eating their next prey. We had great excitement and thought of taking some photographs of the wild, but it didn't work as we were caged inside the bus!!They were Indian tigers with black stripes over white body. We didn’t spot lions, but were told that there were only two lions that roamed all around the park, not caged.
Villagers staying near to this park selling guavas and mangoes are a common sight here. They cut those fruits, make them spicy and sell on the spot.
This was rather thrilling as we could cruise through the waters watching the green filled flora and fauna of Sanjay Gandhi National Park. Several water birds such as Kingfisher and Spotbill Duck came around our way that flew to the nearby trees as we glided past. This park is home to a wide species of water birds such as Asian Openbill, Spotbill Duck, Lesser Whistling-duck, Oriental Dwarf Kingfisher and Pheasant-tailed Jacana. At times, one may also come across Paradise Flycatcher, Kingfisher, Swifts, Gulls, Egrets and Herons here. Pedal boats were really amazing and the coincidence of green waters and green trees, mind-boggling. A poem came to my mind while cruising.
The Park also features a 'toy train' that runs on a narrow gauge railway. A ten minutes ride in the train entertained the children who were dancing as the train started moving. Flocks of spotted deer were seen on one side inside a big fencing during this ride.
Hornbills and woodpeckers were sitting on the branches of trees to welcome us. Several land birds such as Magpies, Jungle Owlets, Hornbills, Malabar Pied Hornbill, Great Hornbill, Indian Grey Hornbill, Racket-Tailed Drongos, Bronzed Drongo, Ashy Drongo, Minivets, Robins, Peacock, Golden Orioles, Sunbirds, Grey Junglefowl, Indian Peafowl, Painted Francolin, Emerald Dove, Malabar Trogon and Black-hooded Oriole can be spotted while watching birds. Monkeys were seen running and climbing up the trees, grabbing the eatables that we had.
These monuments are a part of archaeological survey of India, sculpted out of rocks on the top of a hill. As we reached the bottom of it, the caves were seen like home to gods, perfect for meditation. They were the cells of Buddhist monks called ‘viharas’ who spread the teachings of Sri Buddha in India.
The entrance to this colossal cave is a porch surrounded by pillars leading to a number of chambers, home to monks. Climbing to reach the cells was not an easy task that raised our eyebrows to how they lived in such dark and narrow cells.
The caves spread to a wide extent and as we proceeded, we came across a big Stupa or shrine with standing pictures of Sri Buddha carved out of the walls behind it. A rocky verandah was near to it, which seemed as a place of chat for the monks. Beyond that, further up is a prayer hall where Buddhists offered prayers to their god.
The Canhary Caves were a well-organized Buddhist establishment meant for pilgrimage and study center. As it is situated in between the trade routes, it was a travel inn for traders and travelers in the ancient period.
A visit to Sanjay Gandhi National Park fills the day with lots of amusements and experiences. History and Geography make up these rocky monuments of elegance.
Would you like to visit Sanjay Gandhi National Park?
Sanjay Gandhi National Park, Borivali
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© 2012 Radhika Sreekanth