When it comes to national park’s or wildlife sanctuaries, we tend to think about the time, travel options and vacation plan that will be required to put in place. There are very few cities in this world that have a national park within its boundary. Mumbai, has the biggest national park within its city limits, and I am extremely lucky to be living in this city.
This has taken some time to write, but, nonetheless, I hope I can put into words, all the experience that I had in this wonderful night spent at the Park.
My friend Kishore Mestry, a keen enthusiast like me, decided that it was high time we explore the possibility of staying inside the SGNP for a night. He found out the options to stay and it was a really good deal. A tent for 6, in a properly set-up and maintained camp area costing about Rs. 2400/- for a night. It is big enough and has beds with 2 Fans.
So, the stay was taken care of and now, we were really gung-ho about spending the entire night inside a park that certainly buzzes with animal activity in the night. Incidentally, it was the night, when one of the heaviest rains recorded in the history for the month of June lashed Mumbai, making the stay all the more beautiful. The frogs were out and also the crabs, giving out signals that monsoon was well & truly here. After a decent dinner, we ventured outside the camp area to explore the park. What we experienced for the next 3 hours was certainly some of the most fascinating moments of our lives which will be difficult to forget. Especially, if you are a nature and wildlife lover with that adventurous streak, you know, you live to see and experience such days.
What we saw in the next few hours was, night inside a forest & wildlife in that thick of the night. Deer’s, snake, wild hare, fireflies & some curiously unidentified eyes in the dark. All of this, was so thrilling, that, our appetite for going through this experience was just getting bigger. Taking pictures of these animals in the dark was not easy and we realized how hard those wildlife photographers work, with loads of patience needed for that perfect moment with high levels of stealth. We, well & truly felt like those photographers. Although we wanted to explore a lot more area of the park, we, were certainly not allowed to enter some cordoned off core areas, for reasons of safety. That did not really bother us, as we had seen enough wildlife until then in the non-core area, that we had some sense of satisfaction.
It is certainly hard to fathom, that, at only about 4 kms away, is the entrance of the Park, beyond which is a mega-city, filled up with a man-made jungle and vehicles. It is certainly a great initiative by the government, to have declared this area as a National Park and for the conservationists to have protected it from the land sharks until today.
There are certainly national parks & wildlife reserves much bigger than the size of SGNP, but, what makes this experience completely different is that you are aware that this is an island of jungle with real and free animals within a city bursting at its seam. Just to think of this fact, makes it so special and to an extent proud, that amidst all the greed outside of this park, there is some hope left yet!
PS: For staying options and booking, you can contact the office at the entrance of the Park.