Tuesday, June 23, 2009

Maharashtra Nature Park

Last Saturday, decided to fulfil the long pending desire of visiting the Mahim Nature Park which is now known as Maharashtra Nature Park, near Dharavi.

Had heard and read a lot about this place being ‘the’ place for a nature lover. I love nature and I wanted a peek into this heaven. Conceived by the WWF-India in the late 1970s, an area of about 37 acres in the "H" Block of Bandra-Kurla Complex, which was earlier a garbage dump or land fill, was decided to be ecologically restored and developed as a Nature Park by MMRDA. It is located on Bandra-Sion Link Road at the Southern bank of Mithi River.

MNP plays host to a large number of butterflies and more than 80 species of birds.

Butterfly species commonly found in Mumbai are Swallowtail, Common Mormon, Blue Mormon, Tailed Jay, Lime Butterfly, Red Helen, Commander and Common Blue Bottle.

Also, as many as 200 tree species have been listed, many naturally planted by birds and insects!

Alongside the Park is, the Mahim Creek, which supports a lush evergreen mangrove forest.

This estuarine vegetation and the surrounding mud flats are home for migratory and aquatic birds that winter in the Indian subcontinent. Hence, the park has become a particularly popular spot for birdwatchers from mid-October all the way to February-March.
Though the waters of the Mithi river are very polluted, the park and the surrounding mangroves provide resting spots for thousands of birds.
Unfortunately my visit to the park was unseasonal. Yet, I was not disappointed.
Though, apart from being able to identify crows and sparrows, I enjoy bird music and was fortunate to be accompanied by a passionate birder, who has now got me hooked onto birding. He pointed out different species and taught me to associate the different bird calls with the species.
I indulged in capturing as many beauties as I could on my camera and thoroughly enjoyed the experience.
It sure made me realize how we tend to neglect the beauty in our backyard. I have now vowed to visit this park at least once in a couple of months and learn to spot and capture a different bird every visit.
Visitors are provided a guide cum interpretation facility on request, for which advance intimation is necessary.
Timings: Monday to Saturday between 0930 hrs. and 1800 hrs. (On Sundays and National
Public Holidays too, visits are possible, but with prior intimation.)
For individual visits the entrance fee is Rs.5/- per head.
Parking space available.
For group visit and further queries please contact the office of the
Dy. Director, MNPS, Maharashtra Nature Park Society,
Maharashtra Nature Park,
Near Dharavi Bus Depot,
Opp. P.M.G.P. Colony,
Dharavi, Mumbai 400 017.
( 2407 7641/9939. )
E-mail: mnps@bom7.vsnl.net.in