If there’s one thing that we all associate with the city of Mumbai is the population, pollution and pandemonium. Being the busiest metropolis of the country, you would hardly expect a healthy amount of greenery amidst this concrete jungle. But we have good news for the ardent lovers of nature and all things natural. Believe it or not, the City of Dreams has safely kept a number of green zones with scenic natural beauty, in its deepest corners. If you’re looking to explore Maximum City’s green pockets, we recommend booking a taxi in Mumbai for the ultimate experience.
Spread across 40 sq. miles of forested areas, this park is the largest cover of lush greenery in Mumbai and the quietest zone of the bustling city. Home to innumerable flora and fauna, this park has evolved to become Mumbai’s very own natural retreat. Experience the magic of nature with a hiking, trekking or walking expedition across the natural trails, lakes and caves. For the photography fans, this is the perfect place to capture the wild side of nature, where you might randomly spot a leopard, deer, monkeys and other animals taking shelter within its dense foliage.
Spanning an area of 53 acres, Ranibagh or ‘Jijamata Udyan’ is Mumbai’s only heritage botanical garden. Established under the British Raj, about 150 years ago, this extent of greenery was developed in honor of Queen Victoria, as a conservatory to save the city’s unique foliage of its time. This completely natural reserve houses more than 850 species of plants, which includes at least 286 varieties of trees like Baobab, Indian coral tree, fig tree and more. If you are in time, you might be able to spot the Indian Flying Fox- the largest Indian bat species. Apparently, this botanical garden houses their entire colony. Open from 9.30am to 5.30pm, Ranibagh is a must-visit for a dose of greenery.
Sewri Mangrove Park
Far down south of Mumbai, in the area of Byculla, you will find the Sewri Mangrove Park- a natural habitat of migrating flamingoes. Every year from November to March, thousands of flamingoes and other migratory birds find home in this jetty landing area of South Mumbai. If you are a bird-lover, then Flamingo watching is a must-do activity for your winter months. For a better viewing, drop by early morning or just before sunset to witness the convention of these pink feathery beauties. Joining the pink team, are other avian members like the Black-headed Ibis, Western Reef Egret, Sandpiper, Herons, Cranes, Swallows and, if you are lucky, you can spot some more exotic species.
[Also read: Places to visit near Mumbai by road]
Tungareshwar Wildlife Sanctuary
Situated on the northern border of Borivali National Park, this sanctuary acts as a corridor between the park and the Tansa Wildlife Sanctuary. With a healthy mix of dense and light forested trails, this natural reserve is the perfect place for hiking, trail walking and bird-watching. Explore Tungareshwar in monsoon for the best experience of lush greenery and spot exclusive birds like the Rufous Treepie, Yellow-eyed Babbler, Crested Serpent Eagle, Brown-headed Barbet and more.
For a weekend day trip or a refreshing change from the hustle bustle of the city, drive down to Yeoor Hills in Thane- on another edge of the Borivali National Park. If you thought there can’t be extraordinary trees in this concrete jungle, then, the Yeoor Hills will prove you wrong with its clusters of bamboo, boar, apple, mango, red pine, amla, black currant, tamarind, turmeric, lotus, jackfruit almond and more such species of plants.
Next time, when you need a green therapy, rent a car in Mumbai, drive to one of these places to soothe your eyes and bask in the freshness of nature.