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After this, an independent unit of the Forest Department called 'Borivali National Park Sub-division' was created and the Krishnagiri National Park was renamed as 'Borivali National Park'. In 1981, it was once again re-christened as 'Sanjay Gandhi National Park' after Sanjay Gandhi, the son of ex Prime Minister of India Indira Gandhi, who was killed in an air crash.
The park boasts more than 1000 species of plants, 40
species of mammals, 251 species of birds including migratory and water
birds, 38 species of reptiles, 9 species of amphibians and a large variety
of fish, insects and other life forms. The park comes alive during the
The fauna of the park includes Mongoose, Four-horned
antelope, Sambar, Mouse deer, Wild boar, Languor, Monkey, Magar
and the much talked about but rarely sighted big cat like Panthers. Panthers
are, in fact, the largest predators that roam this forest and can easily
be spotted when the forest water holes dry up in the hot summer months
even in the afternoons as they emerge for a drink of water.
The Reptile family is represented by Python, Snakes, Russell's viper, Bamboo pit viper and Ceylonese cat snake, Cobras, Monitor lizards and crocodiles. Among the reptiles, crocodiles can be seen in the Tulsi Lake and Vihar Lake. The park also supports a variety of turtles and amphibians.
A large variety of butterflies and moths also flourish
in the park. The butterflies are best seen between August and November.
Inside the park there is also a small zoo, Gandhi Smarak on Pavilion Hill, and a Toy train, Vanrani (Jungle Queen) that runs on a narrow gauge rail line. And 5 km from the northern park entrance lies the Kanheri Caves (Open daily from 9.30 am to 5.30pm) - a 1000 year old marvel of archeology which is accessible from road. On the way is an interesting Jain Temple with three huge carved idols and ideal spots for rock climbers and nature lovers.
There are facilities for Lion Safari and Tiger Safari in fenced areas 1 km inside the northern park entrance. These safari's which has been drawing people to the park ever since it started is the main attraction in Sanjay Gandhi Park. There are about half a dozen tigers and 25 lions in the respective enclosures and they can be viewed as close as six feet away. Many of these animals were released from zoos or rescued from circuses.
Safari trips in special park vehicles run daily, except Mondays, every 20 minutes between 9 am and 1 pm and between 2.20 am and 5.30pm.The trip lasts for about half an hour. Closed on Tuesdays also, if Monday happens to be a public holiday. Buses are available at an interval of 20 minutes.
Entry to each safari cost Rs.30.