Saturday, February 22, 2014

Goa - How to go, places to see

Once in a while, all domestic airlines start a price warfare. Tickets to popular destinations are sold at throw away prices, which mean travellers have a bonanza. Even frequent train travellers start thinking of the airline option. It is a win-win situation for all. A similar event happened early 2014. Sometime in January, all airline companies started this price battle. Obviously, some of our close friends got interested and started making elaborate plans. With the same motive, I had called a close friend to convince him about the plan. I still remember our conversation quite vividly. 

"Hey, do you know about the airline ticket rates going down? Others are thinking about a holiday plan sometime in April. So, what do you say, don't think we can get air tickets this low!!!” I explained to him, hoping he would buy into the plan.

"Yeah, I know about it.", he replied calmly.

"OK Great! So, what do you say?”

"That's good. By the way, I already bought tickets."

"What? Where?”

"Goa"

"Goa!!!”

"Yeah, I already had a plan with a tours-n-travels company. I thought why not now." 

"Would you join?"

There was a pause in the conversation. 

Well, the other plan for April never took off, the air ticket prices had rocketed as well. So, eventually, I did join him. In fact, the tickets cost a lot more for me than what it cost for my friend. And it was just a matter of a day. So, that's how the plan to Goa took off. 

How to Go: 
By train:  Goa is well connected via two major stations Vasco-da-gama and Madgaon Junction. Trains from across the country travel to Goa on a frequent basis.  For people travelling from Mumbai, there are plenty of trains from 2000 to 2300 hrs, which arrive next day at Madgaon early hours around 600-900 hrs. 

By road: Details of road travel from Mumbai to Goa can be found in the blog - https://www.holidify.com/blog/mumbai-to-goa-roadtrip/ Yes, its the same route that Sameer, Akaash and Sid took in DCH. I am not sharing the details again, just sharing the video :) 


By air: Goa has an airport - Dabolim International airport. Flights from domestic as well as international shores arrive in Goa, which is quite popular with Indians as well as foreigners alike. Goa is a premier holiday destination. As you reach the airport, the setting outside isn't that great. There is a small restaurant just outside. One may have light snacks and cool drinks. There is the usual chaos of taxi drivers outside, with each one trying to lure you in to take their taxi. Government must take certain steps to curtail such behaviour, when dealing with tourists, especially foreigners. It shows our country in poor light. Unfortunately, except for Kerala, I have found it to be the same outside airports and even railway stations. There is a pre-paid taxi counter as well. We took one which cost us Rs.900* to Mapusa, that's where our hotel was. Although, rented scooters are best way to roam around the place, we had opted for a taxi. White coloured taxis with yellow registration plates, that is the signature of a tourist taxi in Goa. You get tour packages with such tourist taxis for all major tourist destinations in North & South Goa.

Places to see:
Our first leg of sightseeing started with North Goa. We started our journey after having a nice sumptuous breakfast at our hotel. Our first sightseeing was at a place which Goa is known for - the high seas. We had gone for a unique boat ride. 

Our tour guide-cum-driver took us to the narrow bay on the Aguada Siolim road near Nerul river. On our way, he showed us the Kingfisher villa. He mentioned it being the venue of Kingfisher Calendar photo shoots & IPL auctions. The villa had this massive door, almost making a statement on the kind of king-sized life the owner lived. It was closed though. But, that didn't stop us from peeking inside. It’s only when the guide reminded us that the calendar shoot happens once in a year, and not throughout the year, that's when we asked him, in a rather disappointing tone, "Aur kitna door hain?" How much far? (to our destination)
 
Boat ride
Soon we arrived at the jetty. We took the tickets for the boat ride. The tickets for the boat ride cost us Rs. 50* per person. We were provided with bright orange coloured life jackets. It was a 12-seater motor boat. There were two boatmen, who helped us get on the boat. We were seated at the back side of the boat.  As the boat started, we got all excited, purely, due to the unique nature of the boat ride.

The boat started slowly and went past the headland. Soon it made its way to the middle of the sea. Meanwhile, the boatman doubled up as our tour guide. We went past a massive old oil rig, which was a unique sight. The boatman showed some of Goa's famous landmarks that were visible from the sea. We saw the famous Aguada fort & its light tower. He went on to show us the Raj Bhawan & even the Central Jail. We hardly listened to his commentary, as we were busy clicking pictures. And suddenly there was silence...

The boat had stopped right in the middle of the sea. We turned around to check what was going on. There was another motorboat facing our boat. The boatman from the other boat and our boatman were talking in a low voice. The other boatman pointed to something far in the sea. Everyone in the boat including our boatmen looked in that direction. We didn't have a clue to what was happening, but, it did catch our attention. At that time, a boatman from a third boat, which was at quite a distance from the two boats, yelled something in their native language. At that very instant all three boats started racing at frenetic speeds. The speeds were such that they were almost flying in the air. It did become scary to be racing at such speeds.  Everyone in the boat held on to whatever they could. And then suddenly they dropped speed and started staring at the water, searching for something. And then one of the boatmen shouted at the peak of his voice, pointing towards the sea, "There it is!!!” Right, from the middle of the boats, out came two Dolphins! The three boats started chasing the mammal. It was like a dolphin hunt. The hunter instinct of the boatman was at display. It surely got our adrenaline pumping too. Two dolphins jumping out of the middle of Arabian sea were sights to behold. This sudden stops and rapid starts went on for quite a while, with everyone chipping in, trying to find the next location in the sea where the dolphin would pop up. Phew!!It was quite a ride...

Aguada fort and Light tower: 
Next up was the much talked about early 17th century Portuguese fort - Aguada fort. We treated ourselves to some fresh lime juice just outside the fort entrance. It was really a much-needed energy tonic, especially in the sweltering heat. There were shops selling juices, cold drinks, fruits, cucumber, hats & even clothes. We got ourselves some hats. Much like the state of most forts in India, there was no specific entrance so to speak. People just started walking through a wide-open space. We could see a few walls made of large stone bricks. With a few turns here and there, we are in the middle of a massive court yard. The fort built by the Portuguese served as a bastion to guard against any invasions from the Marathas and the dutch. The fort was named after the Portuguese word ‘Agua’ meaning water; it was named so because the area around the fort was rich with freshwater springs which supplied water to the ships that stopped by. It also contained a light tower, modernised in 1976. The lighthouse on the fort is oldest of its kind in Asia and offers breath-taking panoramic view of lush greenery and beautiful ocean. The view of Arabian sea from the fort was breath taking to say the least. Several Bollywood movies are shot at Fort Aguada, making it a popular destination for Hindi film buffs along with history loving tourists. 
Baga beach

Calunghute, Baga, Anjuna, Vagator : The rest of the day was spent visiting the four famous beaches of North Goa. Although, more time could have been spent on each of the beaches, however, we were on a tight schedule & had to wrap up North Goa in a day. Each of the beaches had their own distinct character that separated one from the other. Calunghute and Baga appeared to be the most commercial of the beaches. The entrance of Calunghute had a vast expanse of shops on either side of the road leading to the entrance. Shops selling variety of goods right from clothes, hats to even local liquor. No prizes for guessing which shops attracted most crowds. The beach had lots of activity going on. There was an array of shacks spread out over the beach serving drinks, snacks for beach revellers. We didn't spend too much time at Calunghute, so we moved to the next one - Baga beach. There is no clear demarcation as to where Calunghute ends and Baga starts. One of the most popular of the beaches of North Goa, Baga offered adventure sports like para gliding and para sailing, motor boats. Unlike other beaches, Baga had a lot of foreigners sunbathing. Naturally, we decided to wind off at Baga. We took a shack and spent some time relaxing on the beach. There were some sea guards in their jeeps keeping a close watch for any untoward accident, since the tides were getting bigger. The atmosphere was like a party with the neighbouring restaurants playing loud music. After spending some time at Baga, we decided to move on. The next two beaches Anjuna & Vagator were not as loud as the prior two. However, they were lot picturesque than them, the kind of beaches where you would sit back and just watch the waves.
Anjuna Flea Market
For Anjuna, you need to climb down the cliff, as the sea is down below, battering the rocks. Most people would settle on the rocks enjoying the sea breeze with waves kissing one's feet. There are lots of shops at the top. We treated ourselves to some cold drinks and refreshing lime juice. Anjuna is famous for its flea market. Although, we didn't go to the market, it is open only on Wednesdays. However, I would recommend to check with the locals, in case it is open on other days. Then, we went to the final beach of the day - Vagator. It certainly wasn't the biggest of the beaches, we graced that day. However, there was a unique feel to the beach. Probably, the calmest of the lot. Didn't find any shacks. The best thing about the beach was the breeze. It was already past dusk when we reached Vagator. So, it was slightly getting chillier when we were at the beach. We spent some time at the beach before moving on.

Basilica of bom jesus
Basilica of Bom Jesus 
The next day was spent visiting South Goa. We visited one of the finest examples of Jesuit architectures - the basilica of Bom Jesus church. The title 'Basilica' is bestowed upon large churches that are important as places of pilgrimage or for a specific devotion such as to a saint. In this church, the saint happens to be 16th century saint St.Francis Xavier, whose mortal remains are present there. The body is kept for public viewing every 10 years (last kept in 2014). As we approached the church, there were urchins selling some candles. We took a few of them & entered the church. We lit the candles in one of the inner chambers. The architecture inside was quite unique. We could see the body kept in a casket at a height. Although, the church is not in the best of shapes, but, it was far better considering the era in which it was built in. Even present day, it attracts thousands of visitors. 

Mangeshi Temple
Mangeshi temple: Next stop was the famous Mangeshi temple. We reached Mangeshi temple going through some old narrow lanes. As with any other temples, there were shops selling flowers, prasad outside. We took some flowers from an old lady and climbed the stairs to the temple. There was a shoe stand where we left our footwear. That's when we realised, how hot it was that day, it almost burnt our feet. The temple had this tall structure called deepstambha in front of it, within the temple complex. As we went inside the temple, we found there was a puja going on. The temple was in a good shape, especially considering it to be a 400-year-old temple. It gave a glimpse of the pre-Portuguese days of old Goa, which can barely be seen nowadays. Dedicated to Lord Shiva, this temple has a prominent Nandi bull. After our share of prayers, we got down, spent some time eating some raw mango pieces and some बोर fruit with a glass of fresh lime juice to wash it down. Yeah, we kept ourselves well hydrated throughout our trip.

Panjim jetty Afternoon was spent shopping and having our meals at restaurants near Panjim jetty. There were some ships along Panjim jetty, well, can't call them ships, as they were not big enough for ships, but can’t call them boats either, as they were bigger than boats. Gambling is permitted in Goa, these boats had these huge casinos on them. One had to purchase tickets to those casinos to enter. Obviously, we had no interests to part with our money, we chose to give it a miss. 

Donna Paula jetty Then we visited the famous Donna Paula jetty, especially for young ones and couples. It's also called the lover's paradise. There are a lot of mysterious stories about a lady named Donna Paula, after whom the jetty was named. One legend has it that she was the lady-in-waiting of the Governor-General's wife, and in course of time the Governor fell victim to her beauty and charms. They were found out and the governor's enraged wife had her stripped and bound and rolled over the cliff, into the sea, wearing only her string of pearls, a gift of love from the Governor. The fishermen of the area have a marvellous collection of ghost stories about Donna Paula. On moonlit nights, they say, on pitch dark nights, say others at the stroke of midnight, she rises from the sea and roams the area, wearing a string of pearls and nothing else. Seems straight out of a Bollywood plot. As a matter of fact, the famous movie of yesteryear Ek Duje Ke Liye was shot there. 

Miramar beach - And finally, we reached the Miramar beach. It can be reached easily, as it is well connected to the main road unlike other beaches of Goa. There is a large structure of a fish at the entrance of the beach. Obviously, we had to take some pictures around it. The beach itself was quite wide, slightly less populated than the other beaches we visited the previous day. Must say, it was much cleaner than the other beaches. We were just in time to see the sun go down, and with that our short trip to Goa. 

Summary: As we returned to our usual busy city lives, I can recall a thought that came to my mind - If one would wish to own a holiday home, what better than Goa. The day usually starts a bit late, there is no rush to go somewhere, do something. One can roam around from one corner to another in very little time. There are hardly any traffic jams, hardly any cars as well. Low pollution. The presence of tourists everywhere. Almost, as if it’s one big party. What I liked the most about Goa is, it’s a place, one would lie down and not think about all the big things one often wishes to do. It’s a place, one would lie down and not think of all the places one often wishes to go. It’s a place, one would lie down and not think of all the people we know. It’s a place, one would lie down...just lie down.....

Enjoy Goa !!! Enjoy Travel !!!

References : 

Sunday, June 24, 2012

Karnala Bird Sanctuary - How to go, Things to do

Note to readers : Its been a long time since we published any new blog. In spite of that, we have been receiving a lot of feedback from readers over the years. A big thanks to all.  Never thought the blog would be so well received. OK, now to clear some old backlogs.

Karnala Bird Sanctuary
Karnala Bird Sanctuary : It was the first trek of the monsoon season. As usual, the trek featured on the YHAI trekking (Mumbai unit) monsoon schedule. We had been with them on earlier treks. It is a fun group to be with. And what more, they are a knowledgeable bunch too.  The trekking location was extremely close to Mumbai, its a Mumbai trekker's must visit place. Its hard to believe such a trekking destination exists so close to Mumbai. Yes, we are talking about Karnala Bird Sanctuary. It featured as a trek that had a difficulty level that ranged from easy to moderate. Our initial thoughts were how difficult would be a bird sanctuary, that's when we realized there is a fort around which this sanctuary was built - The Karnala fort. We hoped the trek to Karnala fort shall be the start of a new season of treks.

History : When you talk about the fort, most people know about Karnala is that, it was probably some fort that was either conquered or built by Raje Shivaji. Perhaps, you can say the same for most forts in Maharashtra. But, beyond that a lot is unknown about Karnala fort. In olden days, it was said to have strategic importance. Looking at how the control changed hands from Devagiri Yadavs, Tuglaqs, Gujarat Sultanate, Portuguese, The Nizam of Ahmednagar, Shivaji Raje, The Mughals to British East India company makes one think, "What was so special about this fort ?"
In ancient times, India traded with countries like Syria, Egypt and pretty much the entire middle east. The goods from these countries obviously used to land on the ports of Gujarat and Sopara. In order to transport these goods, mostly on foot & horse, the  Bor Pass was the only way that one could get them from sea ports to the interiors of Maharashtra.  Which meant the one who controlled the fort, pretty much controlled Bor Pass. No wonder, many battles took place for the control of this very fort. The British East India company eventually built a railway line in the Bor Pass for easy transport of goods. This also meant the strategic nature of the Karnala fort was no longer important. And as the fort lost its importance, it remained unused, the biodiversity of plants and most importantly birds in the area around must have slowly changed over the decades making it home to some of the diverse species of birds and eventually it was declared a bird sanctuary at some point of time, which still stands even today.   

How to go : Located on the Mumbai-Goa Highway, Karnala Bird Sanctuary is located just around 15 km from Panvel station. In case you are travelling by private vehicle, take the NH17. As soon as you go past the urban areas of Panvel, look for a protruding thumb like structure on the eastern side. You could also look for the Karnala Bird Sanctuary sign board itself. And of course the locals are always helpful.

Public Transport : We had gone using public transport.We assembled at Panvel station on Mumbai's suburban harbour line. The trekkers arrived from various parts of Mumbai. After the initial introduction, we were all off to Karnala bird sanctuary via local auto rickshaws that carried around 6-7 passengers. It cost us around Rs 10.00 per seat. The frequency reduces after 6 pm. So, one is advised to wrap up ASAP and mostly you be able to wrap up as well. On the way, we stopped over at Dutta Wada Pav centre. It is the famous wada pav centre, which is "the eatery" of anyone who is in for a long drive on Mumbai-Goa road. After having a good breakfast, we were back on the road to Karnala bird sanctuary.


Entrance : Within 15-20 minutes we were at the entrance of Karnala bird sanctuary. There was a huge parking lot present. The entry fees to the sanctuary was around Rs. 20. One thing good about Karnala was, the authorities were keen to preserve the nature. If one had to carry a plastic bottle one had to make a deposit of Rs. 50 and register in their log near the entrance.The deposit would be returned only if you manage to get the plastic bottle on your way back. Quite a neat and effective way to ensure no throwing of plastic.
What is there to see : 
Right at the start of the trek, there were a few bird cages that had a few species of commonly found birds.Initially our thoughts were, is this the reason why it is called a bird sanctuary, then why so few birds? Truly speaking, one had these vivid imagination that there would be birds all around the park. We would get a lot of birding snaps. Unfortunately, the birds in the cage were the only ones that caught our eye.There must be a lot of birds in the sanctuary, but our eyes were not trained enough to spot them.We got our first lesson in birding. One has to be extremely patient about it. As the trail started, we were greeted by a tar road leading up to the interiors of the sanctuary. Although, we were ascending, it never gave you a feeling of ascent, rather a smooth walk. The walk was surrounded by tall trees. One could hear different sounds of birds all along our trail, evoking similar calls from the trekkers, getting the birds even more vocal. Perhaps they were some mating calls.

At the base of the fort :

Goddess Karnai temple
As the tar road concluded, we were in the midst of the dense part of the sanctuary. The trees got taller, closer to each other. Even the sounds of birds grew clearer, louder. That's when a light drizzle started. And soon, we reached a straight and clear route which led to the fort. All along what was hidden behind the tall trees, this tall, dark structure peeked out starting at us. We were at the base of the Karnala fort. On right side of the straight path to the fort, just near its base, the views were spectacular. One could see the entire sanctuary from there. Naturally, the scenes provoked some of the fellow trekkers to take some snaps in the titanic pose. There is also a temple of Goddess Karnai near the base the fort. Most of the trekkers prayed for a moment or two. 
The pinacle

The final ascent :

The climb to the fort from the base of the fort was slightly tricky one. On one side was earth and on the other side there was a free fall. Although, it wasn't dangerous, one could only fall back to the base of the fort. That's when the organizers stepped in. They placed their volunteers at strategic places, so as to help fellow trekkers valuable support. Even at the entrance, it was their volunteers who stood there and gave hand to every trekker to get in. And there we were, one by one each of the trekkers entered the Karnala fort. 


Within the fort : After passing through a series of openings, with a little jumps here and there, we were in front of the central structure of the fort, which was a tall pillar like structure, always known as pinnacle. In olden days, it was used as the watch tower. Climbing on the pinnacle was not allowed, as it is said to have taken lives of the climbers.  There were two water holes right next to the pinnacle. One must acknowledge our ancestors, every fort you go, how they used to store water in indigenous but enterprising ways. To pass from one section of the fort to other one had to pass through a corridor, with free falls on both sides. The wind were a lot stronger in those corridors, which made it difficult to pass from one section to the other. There was an open space at the far end of the fort. Most of us went to the other end. It was an open & plain land, we had our lunch there. We spent rest of the afternoon relaxing on the plains, where as some of the more enthusiastic lot continue to take more pictures, explored places around the fort.  
Water hole

Return : After getting out of the fort, with the help of the volunteers, we started our return. The way back down to the entrance of the sanctuary was quite easy. In fact, we reached the entrance in less than an hour. Everyone washed up, and then posed for one big happy group photo. Overall it was a relaxing trek. We can never imagine how crucial this fort may have been in olden days, however, the number of times it changed hands itself tells a lot about the fort's importance in those times. Even present day, attempts to conquer this land continues to happen with builders, politicians alike having an eye on this piece of history. Before that happens, do make a visit to the most pleasant and cheerful fort close to Mumbai. 


References : 

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Karnala_Fort
http://wikitravel.org/en/Karnala_Bird_Sanctuary

Saturday, December 17, 2011

Sanjay Gandhi National Park - How to go, things to see, places to eat

It had been a very long time since we went for an outing. Everyone was sure of one thing; no one was in a good shape for any trek or expedition. So, the plan had to be of moderate intensity. How about a cycling trip at good old SGNP? Recently, one of my friends had been there and had a lot to discuss about it. Obviously his experience and more importantly the photographs influenced me. Putting an idea to the group and convincing everyone's whims and fancies usually takes a toll. However, this time it was different. Everyone agreed almost immediately. So, that's how the plan came about and we were off to SGNP.

How to Go: 
Sanjay Gandhi National Park is located in Borivali. In fact, it is also known as Borivali National park or simply National park. It is this huge green land that occupies a major portion of North  Mumbai. Although technically one may say it has entrances from different parts of city, the main entrance is at Borivali. Just 10 minutes' walk off a straight road from outside Borivali (E) station will lead you to SGNP entrance on the Western Express Highway. One may enter the park by purchasing an entry ticket of Rs. 10.

History : Long before any of this, right in the midst of the forests, the Kanheri caves offered a staying place for the traders who used to carry their wares from the sister ports Sopara and Kalyan. Later, the wandering Buddhists monks converted this place into 109 Buddhist caves, outcropping from a single basalt rock. The remnants are still present and in good shape too. In pre-Independence era it was also known as 'Krishnagiri National Park'

What is there to see : 
Cycling at SGNP
Right near the entrance, we found a shop that rented cycles. Nice colourful bicycles of different sizes stood there waiting for their next riders, who incidentally happened to be us. They cost us Rs 50 for two hours. Soon we were busy in choosing the most suitable one, ensuring there were no issues with the cycles etc. We even tried riding them to get the feel. It almost felt like good old childhood days. Soon each one of us had chosen a nice bike and there we were, on our marks, got set and off we went...

After the initial lap, when each one of us tried to outrace the other, it was just a matter of time that we realized that cycling wasn't as easy as the last time we did, just a few twenty years ago. We took the necessary photo session and water breaks. Of course, we had to mark our territorial presence which was very important in the forest. So, we had to have breaks for that as well. We even egged each other on climbing a tree. I was definitely enticed into it, however, glad that I was able to pass the climb-a-tree test with flying colours. 

Stupa
We had taken the most popular Kanheri caves trail. It is a straight route from the entrance and then you take a sharp left. We were almost to the middle of it, when one of cycle's chains came off. After some failed attempts at give-that-thing-to-me-i-know-how-to-fix, the poor guy whose cycle was broken had to return to the shop to get a new one. While the rest of us had better things to do like taking photos of our ancestors. There were many monkeys in the park. Groups of them jumping, shrieking from one tree to the other. At the same time, another friend who was late initially arrived on a motorcycle. Yes, bikes are allowed in SGNP. Together we moved slowly so that the one who had gone back to get his cycle repaired or replaced could catch up. And as he joined us back, we were close to the Kanheri caves. Buddhist caricatures Kanheri caves are spread right in the middle of the park. There are some eating facilities near the entrance. We locked our cycles and decided to have some cool drinks. There is a nominal entry fee of 10 Rupees for the caves. The caves were numbered and authorities referred to the caves by their numbers. It is said that these entire range of caves was carved out of boulders. Each of these caves was different in size and probably importance as well. There is a tall statue of Buddha around 25-30 feet high. The cave in the centre had a huge inverted bell like structure, called stupa. Other significant sight in the same cave was the roof. It had paintings which still were pretty much in good shape with their colours’ intact. The people who painted them had very good knowledge of dyes. 

One of the caves was quite huge and looked as if it was a resting place of monks. However, the ambiance inside suggested the monks meditated there. The caves' caretaker gave out a loud call of बुद्धम शरणम गच्छामि "buddham sharanam gachaami" which resonated among the walls of the cave giving rise to tremendous energy which could be felt. After exploring and spending extended sessions of photography, we decided to climb up on top of the caves. There was a route to get on top of the caves from the backside. The view from the top of the caves was magnificent. One could see the towering skyscrapers of the West. On the other side, one could see the vast expanse of the park.We spent some time eating the snacks that we brought. 

Tiger safari: We decided to wind up at Kanheri caves and return. On our way back we took a small detour and decided to take up the tiger safari. The park authorities had buses with grills for the safari. One had to wait in queue for the next trip. It was a long wait between each trip. Luckily we everyone managed to get on the same trip. There were kids on our trip. Naturally their excitement was infectious. Everyone was asked to keep their hands inside.The tiger and lion enclosure had a huge gate. The ones you see in movies like Jurassic Park. Slowly the gates opened, the excitement increased. Soon after entering the park, the bus raced through and stopped at an unassuming location. There was silence. The birds started chirping in a peculiar way. All of a sudden, the park attendant yelled at everyone, "To the right". Everyone looked out of the window intently,there it was, "the king of the jungle". It was siesta time for the lion. It almost seemed that it was strategically placed there, so that people could see it. It just turned its head, saw who was bothering him and again got back to his slumber. So much for the excitement. After that, we went to the tiger enclosure. The tigers were at a distance. We could see them playing in a pool of water. After a brief stay, enough for a few clicks, we were on own way back, pulling down curtains on our great day at SGNP. We promised we would be back again to explore the other trails in the future.

Kanheri caves
Summary : As we returned, one observation about the trip seemed to bother us all. The tigers at the park looked very thin, almost malnourished. Such is the sorry state of India's national parks. Encroachments all along the borders of national parks have rapidly changed the fabric of this dense green land. The intense pressure from businessmen, politicians & builder lobby is unstoppable, relentless to acquire this land mass. And, they are winning, in a mighty way. The trees, the animals, the flora, the fauna & the sounds may not last for another 50 years. But until then, like nature always does, SGNP will continue to awaken the child within...

References :
http://www.mumbaikarsforsgnp.com/history_of_mumbai.htm
http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Sanjay_Gandhi_National_Park