Best Parks in Mumbai: an insider’s guide

Wondering what are the best parks in Mumbai? Here is a list of my favorite green spaces in the city you may find agreeable. Check them out!

A few weeks ago my husband took a picture of me enjoying the sunshine on a green lawn adjacent to an apartment complex nearby our house. I shared this picture in my Instagram stories, and one of the followers was like, wow, you have some greenery in Mumbai! Apparently, he imagined the maximum city to be the concrete jungle in the full bloom of its raw aesthetics 🙂 And who is there to blame him for having such an idea of Mumbai, a city with 20 million inhabitants and 32 thousand people per square kilometer, a city with real estate prices soaring beyond imaginable?

But yes, we do have gardens, parks, lawns and all sorts of green spaces here. Perhaps they are not as large, shady and forest-like as I would like them to be (can’t help thinking of the beautiful Lodhi Gardens in Delhi), but they definitely hold a special charm. So let’s mention some of the best parks in Mumbai I’ve been fortunate to visit.

Best parks in Mumbai

Mumbai Zoo (Jijamata Udyaan)

What is now known as Mumbai Zoo (or Byculla Zoo, to be precise) was actually intended to be a sprawling botanical garden. For this purpose, the British administration granted a big plot of land to the Agro Horticultural Society of Western India in the first half of the 19th century. The newly opened garden was names Victoria Gardens in honour of Queen Victoria, and was commonly known as Rani Baug (the Queen’s Garden).

It was home to an impressive collection of exotic plants from all over India, and it still retains its attraction. I’ve been to the Byculla Zoo a number of times (after all, I’m a mom of four, so no wonder 🙂 ), and I always found the park much more impressive than the zoo itself. Yes, there are lots of empty rusting cages, but who cares when there are also mighty trees, cosy alleys, and pretty flowering plants? The British Colonial monuments, scattered across the garden’s area here and there, make the place even more charming. All in all, I consider it one of the best parks in Mumbai.

The best parks in Mumbai to visit

Imposing entrance to the gardens

A huge baobab near the entrance

A statue of Britannia, a female personification of the British Empire

Best parks in Mumbai for relax and unwind

This picture was taken in the Mumbai Zoo’s garden shortly after my shift to India. I used to find every single plant so exotic and wonderful, and now it’s all taken for granted 😉

Hanging Gardens

The Hanging Gardens, or Pherozeshah Mehta Gardens, are located atop the Malabar Hill, one of the most upmarket neighborhoods in South Mumbai. The terraced gardens were laid out in the end of the 19th century over the city’s main water reservoir, which explains the name.

Although it sounds rather promising, don’t expect anything extraordinary from this park – it has nothing to do with the concept of the Hanging Garden of Babylon or anything of the sort. It’s just a fairly large and pleasant park with lots of flower beds, pretty corners, and hedges, trimmed into the shapes on different animals.

Best parks in Mumbai, green spaces and gardens

My face says it all, doesn’t it? 🙂

My mom shares my feelings, too

Hedges shaped like animals

… flowers …

Best Parks in Mumbai to find flowering plants

Flowers…

… and even more flowers!

Best parks in Mumbai to visit alone, with friends and family

Pretty green corners.

Kissed by the sun 🙂

Kamala Nehru Park

Across the road from the Hanging Gardens you’ll find a lovely green space called the Kamala Nehru Park. This charming place has a number of things to offer:

  • A beautiful view over the Marine Drive (3.5 km long promenade, also known as Queen Necklace).
  • A giant show for kids to explore (inspired by the nursery rhyme ‘There was an Old Woman Who Lived in a Shoe’).
  • A permanent bonsai exhibition in one part of the garden.
  • A nice playpark for kids with swings, slides, and merry-go-rounds.
  • A wide variety of trees and flowering plants.

I have lots of nice memories connected with this place, but my opinion is not biassed when I say it’s one of the best parks in Mumbai.

Mumbai's best pars to visit

Bonsai exhibition

The view from the Malabar Hill

Manicured flower beds 🙂

The giant shoe

Oval Maidan

The Oval Maidan can hardly be called a park as such: it’s rather a huge cricket field lined up with a bit of greenery, but the place is so unique that I couldn’t help including it into this list. The surrounding area is studded with architectural masterpieces (the Gothic Revival ones from one side, and the Art Deco – from the other), and no matter where you stand, the view is bound to be fantastic.

The oval Maidan with the view on the Rajabai Tower in the distance

Horniman Circle Garden

Another park that boasts a winning location, the Horniman Circle Garden is surrounded by India’s leading banks, housed in exquisitely beautiful colonial buildings. Dating back to the 18th century, this garden is one of the oldest in the city. It was initially known as Bombay Greens, and its purpose was to provide some space for people to enjoy fresh air, sit back, and relax in the middle of a busy district.

A vast array of plants can be found within the park, and no matter what season you visit, there are always seem to be some trees in blossom. The garden has a comfortable walking area and a cute little play park for the smallest visitors.

Most beautiful, best parks in Mumbai

Sanjay Gandhi National Park

And last but not least, Sanjay Gandhi National Park. No list of the best parks in India can go without mentioning this place. A huge national park is located within the limits of the city, and makes a wonderful one day trip. The park encompasses the area of 104 km2, and it’s flora and fauna is extremely diverse.

Home to more than a thousand plant species, fifty thousand species of insects, and countless species of reptiles, birds and mammals, this park is a major attraction for all the Mumbai’s nature enthusiasts. It also houses the Kanheri caves – and ancient rock-cut cave complex. Apart from that, you can go on a lion safari, take a toy train or explore the park on a bicycle.

The karvi shrubs from Sanjay Gandhi National Park which which bloom only once in 8 years. 

The toy train

Stopping near the stream

Extremely photogenic trees

The vastness of the park

If I happen to discover other places, which are worthy to be included in the list of the best parks in Mumbai, I’ll make sure to add them to this post. Stay tuned!

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Best parks in Mumbai to have a relaxed walk

 

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3 thoughts on “Best Parks in Mumbai: an insider’s guide

  1. Sanjay Gandhi National Park is just too good. May I also add two parks in Malad West Mindspace area. I don’t know their names but they are very good.

    One is behind the Infinity Mall. It’s actually a hillock with abundantly growing natural vegetation, the kind of parks I like. The trails undulating, adding to its appeal.

    The second is also behind Infinity Mall Malad, but touching the Malad Creek. It’s a bigger park and also has a small amphitheater kind of space. You can view the Malad Creek and all the waders over there.

    And Jogger’s Park in Bandra Best is also very very nice… (make that three more parks).

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