A visit to the ‘Green Lungs of Mumbai’.. Sanjay Gandhi National Park

Have you ever wondered how a densely populated city like Mumbai gets enough water and air?  Sanjay Gandhi National Park in Borivali is responsible for fulfilling Mumbai’s oxygen needs. This rich and diverse forest holds more than a thousand species of plants, 40 species of mammals, 251 species of birds, 38 species of reptiles and 9 species of amphibians besides a large variety of fish, insects and other life forms. The lakes like Tulsi and Vihar located in the core area of the park supply 10% of Mumbai’s water requirements.

We were delighted to be given the chance to take our students to SGNP last week, and set out in a convoy of three buses at 6 am one cloudy monsoon morning.

At the start of the nature trail we had a talk from our guides, the EcoBuddies, about what we might see in the park.  Our girls were excited just by the idea of walking through a jungle and sighting wild animals and birds, and sad to learn that they would probably not spot a leopard or tiger.

Eco-buddies briefing girls about the dos and don'ts on a nature trail!
Eco-buddies briefing girls about the dos and don’ts on a nature trail!

 

One of the three groups of girls on a trail with our Eco-buddy Yogesh
One of the three groups of girls on a trail with our Eco-buddy Yogesh
Second group of girls trying to spot an insect
Second group of girls trying to spot an insect

We were greeted by morning calls of birds like Ayora, Asian Koel, Tailor birds, Sunbirds and bulbuls. A beautiful sight of a flock of cormorants in flight mesmerized our young naturalists. Red whiskered bulbuls and Palm swifts were some more birds we sighted.

Plants like soccer ball tree, wild grapes, hill turmeric and cup and saucer tree were truly a treat to have a look at.

Soccer ball tree

Wild grapes bathed in rainwater!
Wild grapes bathed in rainwater!
Hill turmeric
Hill turmeric
Cup and saucer plant
Cup and saucer plant

Hooded grasshoppers, praying mantis, a variety of caterpillars, spiders and fresh water crabs kept our eyes busy throughout the trail. The girls kept our guides very busy with all their questions and curiosity about what they saw.

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Grasshopper
Hooded grasshopper
Hooded grasshopper
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Beautifully camouflaged caterpillar

Plain tiger, plum judy, common crow, tailed jay, lime butterfly, common rose, Orange white tip butterfly, yellow orange tip butterfly, Chocolate pansy, common grass yellow and small grass yellow were some of the butterflies we sighted.

One of the beautiful sights witnessed by our girls on that day was of the stream at the end point of our nature trail.

 

Girls, little tired yet determined to conquer the forest!
Girls, little tired yet determined to conquer the forest!

Our trip to Sanjay Gandhi National Park ended with a a mind full of information and memories, more environmental awareness and a delicious breakfast!  Living life in a metro, we hardly get to enjoy nature, and we all felt rejuvenated after our nature trail in this green oasis.

Time to click a group photo
Time to click a group photo

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