Address : Western Express Hwy, Borivali East,
City/District : Mumbai
State : Maharashtra
Sanjay Gandhi National Park is a 87 km² protected area in Mumbai, Maharashtra State in India. It was established in 1996 with headquarters at Borivali. It is notable as one of the major national parks existing within a metropolis limit and is one of the most visited parks in the world.
The Sanjay Gandhi National Park area has a long written history dating back to the 4th century BCE. In ancient India, Sopara and kalyan were two ports in the vicinity that traded with ancient civilisations such as Greece and Mesopotamia. The 45 km (28 mi) land route between these two ports was partially through this forest.
The Kanheri Caves in the centre of the park were an important Buddhist learning centre and pilgrimage site sculpted by Buddhist monks between the 9th and the 1st centuries BCE. They were chiselled out of a massive basaltic rock outcropping.
The Brihanmumbai Municipal Corporation (formerly Bombay Municipal Corporation) acquired the catchment areas of the Tulsi and Vihar lakes, and also added the land from the government dairy of Aarey under protection. The Krishnagiri National Park was established under the Bombay National Park Act in 1942. At that time the area of the park was only 20.26 km2 (7.82 sq mi). The dairy development board began operations near Krishnagiri National Park in 1954, but outside the area of the park. In 1969, 2076 hectares of land of the Aarey Milk Scheme (now known as Aarey Milk Colony) was transferred to the forest department. However, this area was not notified as reserved or protected forests. In 1976, an area of 68.27 km2 was officially designated as Borivali National Park.
The Forest Development Corporation of Maharashtra Limited (FDCM), Nagpur sent an official communication to the Regional Manager, FDCM, Thane on 22 July 1980 stating that the 2076.073 hectares of revenue land that was transferred from Aarey Milk Scheme was to be included in Borivali National Park. The communication also directed that 575 ha of the revenue land should be used to build a recreational zone, while the remaining 1501.073 ha will would remain a part of the Borivali National Park. On 10 October 1980, another communication from the FDCM, Nagpur to Thane directed the latter to declare the area as either as reserved or protected forests to allow the department to have stricter legal control. However, no such declaration was made.
The park was further expanded to a total area of 82.25 square km in 1981. The park was renamed Sanjay Gandhi National Park in 1996, after Sanjay Gandhi, the son of former Prime Minister Indira Gandhi. The same year, some forests from the Thane division were merged into the park, further expanding its total area to 103.84 square km.
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