To look at Mumbai from a distance, you wouldn’t feel there was any scope for getting close to nature in this urban jungle. However, it is among India’s most gifted cities when it comes to diversity of nature and access to greenery. Not only is Mumbai one of the only cities in India to boast a national park within its limits, it is also home to some spectacular ecosystems such as mangroves, wetlands, and creeks.
Located right behind the IMAX multiplex in Wadala, this sprawling park is part of the Bhakti Park gated community, which is home to well over 1,000 families. This fairly recent park has become an integral structure for the residents in Bhakti Park, which is a concrete jungle with several high rises. Featuring manicured gardens, wide and long walking paths and seating areas, it is also immensely popular as a dog park and is usually buzzing with visitors in the evening.
Covering 50 acres of some of the most beautiful green areas of Mumbai, the Raj Bhavan or the Governor’s residence is covered by the sea on three sides and features an exquisite array of wildlife and flora. Unfortunately, the Raj Bhavan is not usually open to the public, however, there are several guided wildlife tours and events that take place within that allow residents of the city access to the sylvan forests of the campus.
The IITB Campus in Mumbai is not only one of the biggest IITs in India, but also one of the greenest. It is the second oldest IIT to be established in India and is spread over 550 acres of pristine green forest land in Powai. Once again, the campus isn’t usually open to the public, but access is granted during the various events and cultural festivals that take place almost every month.
IIT Bombay, Powai, Mumbai, Maharashtra, India,+91 22 2572 2545
Often called the green lungs that purify Mumbai’s pollution, the Aarey Milk Colony in Mumbai is one of the largest green areas located within the limits of an Indian city. Spread over 16 sq. km, it is located in the residential neighborhood of Goregaon East and juts the southern end of the Sanjay Gandhi National Park. In recent years there have been several projects that have threatened the area’s forest cover, but these efforts have come under strong protest from the general public and activists who want to preserve its greenery. Among other things, the park is also popular as one Mumbai’s best known haunted spots.
It might beggar belief that such a vast and densely populated city could be home to such diverse ecosystems, but one of Mumbai’s other greatest natural gifts is the Flamingo sanctuary in Thane Creek. Each year during the birding season, the creek hosts hundreds of flamingos and other bird species and attracts several birders and nature enthusiasts. Located right on the Ulhas River, it also provides some of the best views of the Arabian Sea in Mumbai.