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Sanjay Gandhi National Park, Mumbai
Sanjay Gandhi National Park, or SGNP or Borivali National Park for short, is a very popular tourist attraction among the tourists and the locals alike. The park is crucial for the green cover - and is a tree-lover's delight any time of the year - and is a boon to the nearby areas due to cooling effect it provides. The entire park is awash with the rainbow hues of the flowers that bloom here, during the monsoon season. And the numerous tiny brooks with their pleasant gurgling sound make for a heavenly setting!
Flora and fauna
And then there is the Gandhi tekri, which, once you have chosen to trek all the way up, affords a panoramic view of the surrounding areas, and is quite breezy. The top of this hillock has a small well-maintained garden, and is used in the early mornings by yoga enthusiasts. There are two ways to reach the top - by a gentle slope on one side, and broad stone steps on another.
The park itself has two entrances - one from the Borivali East side (right off the Western Express Highway) and another from the Thane.
The SGNP also provides a host of activities for nature enthusiasts. The BNHS routinely conducts bird-watching and photography sessions for its members. The Indian cycling enthusiasts group - cyclists.in - has an active chapter in the SGNP and they have a cycling session up to Kanheri caves on many weekend mornings.
Another very popular activity in the SGNP is the training for Mumbai Marathon, normally guided by Mahadev Samjiskar (Mumbai Marathon 2009 Gold Medalist in the super veteran category) himself. The group coordinates over SMS and the training sessions are again on the weekend mornings. Another Indian runners group can be joined at Runners for Life.
Sanjay Monga - Mumbai based naturalist and wild life photographer - often conducts school and college students visit to the park, normally for cleanup or guided tour of the flora available here. These treks are best done during or after the monsoon months when the weather is pleasant and the park is lush green. Be careful though, the grass can be teeming with little crawlies right after the showers!
There are several books written about the Sanjay Gandhi National Park itself, and many on the various animals and birds species found here. There is also a coffee-table format book available. The book by Sanjay Monga can be found here.
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