During my dad and brothers stay here in India we visited the Sanjay Gandhi National Park. The park is one of Asia’s absolutely biggest national parks, and as huge as 40 square miles! There are two main entrances to the park. One at the western side, from Borivali and one from the eastern side of Thane. As our visit to the Nanhi Kalis was close to Borivali, and Borivali is also close to my home, it was an easy choice for us to enter from that side.
When you get inside, the first thing that strikes you is that it is so quiet and peaceful in the park. It is nothing like the Mumbai outside. Coming from Oslo, where we have the forest just next door, it was fantastic to see something similar also in Mumbai! The park has a lot of different animals, like the crocodiles, leopards, spotted deer’s, cobras, pythons and many others. Not that we could see that many in the middle of the day, but I have no problem to believe in this. One of my colleagues lives very close to the park and he usually takes his Sunday walks here. On these walks he has spotted some of these animals more than once. There are also stories about leopards that have left the park and went into populated areas. A few years ago, a small kid was killed by one not too far away from where I live.
The park also has a lion and tiger safari. I must admit that this was the only disappointment of the trip. We had to take a bus into a separate area of the park to see these animals. There were some high fences, and I must admit that the animals were quite sleepy… Having seen tigers and lions in other zoos before, this was quite disappointing.
But a trip to this park also gave me really something to think about. How to improve it? With a huge area like this, it should be possible to build a huge zoo here. I’m quite sure that it would have attracted a lot more people, even if they would have to pay some extra to see it. This zoo could have had a lot more animals. It should have been possible to take school kids to here to see this. A trip to a zoo will always be something that kids will look forward to.
On our way out we also did see one funny, or maybe rater, interesting, episode. In many places in the park, there were people selling some items, like snacks, toys or other things. At one area there were 4-5 women sitting and selling things like this. Suddenly a policeman came on a bike, and all of them immediately ran away. But the strange thing was that just a couple of hundred meters away, there were other women sitting and selling exactly the same. And they did not run. Did they have a permit? Or did they have a “permit”, like having paid the police officer for sitting there? I don’t know, but can only guess.
Talk to you soon!