When you are looking to click wildlife there are days when lady luck is smiling at you and then there are days when the she is laughing at you!
Last weekend Desi Traveler was in Mumbai for some personal work. We have lived in Mumbai for more than a year, and did most of the touristy things in that one year- Juhu Beach, Elephanta Caves, Gateway of India etc. One of the regrets I always had was not been able to visit Borivali National park or Sanjay Gandhi National Park in Borivali, a green oasis in the middle of a city that engulfs every spare inch for human greed.
Mumbai is a rain blessed city and most of the city used to be dense jungle and mangroves before it was hacked and replaced by concrete jungle. How the SGNP survived is a miracle in itself. My nephew had set my expectations very low on the possibility of seeing any wild life, as it was a very hot day even in early morning. Nevertheless I decided to take my chances and on reaching the park discovered that unless you have a pass you are not welcome before 7:30 am. So I had to wait outside for quite some time. At 7:30 am herd of joggers and yoggers (those of who wanted to do yoga…. and I hereby coin a new word) dashed into the park as if the park will move to Tanzania if they do not engage in stampede to enter the park.
The ticket was for Rs 25 to enter the park plus some astronomical sum for movie cameras, as it was too crowded to educate the guard that my camera is capable of taking moving pictures also (which digital is not?) I decided to accept his verdict that it is a still picture camera and avoided the movie camera fees.
|Lily Flowers In A Pond|
|Pet Today Dinner Tomorrow 🙁|
This was also the day a green marathon was being organized in the park by NDTV and there were umpteen number of wannabe models, actors etc who were participating in the same. I was also star struck and spotted Milind Soman, but decided not to give him a chase as he was running really fast and looked extremely fit. The park also has some caves in the end, but since I was on foot and only wearing my sandals, I decided to give them a miss. The other reason was there were some cyclists who scared me with their not so subtle talk among themselves to snatch my camera and run away! This scared the hell out of me and the hero in me decided to move towards a more crowded area of the park. Soon a self certified guide appeared from behind the bushes where I am sure he has gone to take a leak, he offered his services to take me to secret nesting place of birds for a fee. I politely declined his offer, reasoning with him that if the birds wanted me to visit their nesting place they would have not chosen a secret nesting place.
Over all except for the satisfaction that I have visited the park it was not a very productive visit. But I did learn the lesson not to dwell alone too deep in forest. There is a safari of lions and tigers in the park, which I skipped as I had no interest in watching caged animals.
While I will not recommend specially to go to the park for purpose of bird watching, still if you are in vicinity and have a few hours that you want to devote to mother nature I suggest you can give it a try, though with very low expectation on seeing any wild life. Any water birds, domestic fowl, crows, bulbuls and beautiful flowers that you see you see should be considered pure bonus from the bounty of mother nature.
|Where Crow And Crane Drink Water Together|
Would I be visiting again? Surely if I am in Mumbai in Monsoons I will try it out again but will check if there is a public event in the park and avoid those days. It is a great place for those who live close by to go for their morning walks and yoga sessions or even for cycling.
Thanks for reading.