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Photos of Mumbaikars, We Have Your Weekend Plan Sorted. And It's For Less Than ₹50... 1/21 by Dipanwita Chakraborty
A Caterpillar - Unknown Species

NAGLA BLOCK

The northern chunk of Sanjay Gandhi National Park in Mumbai is a place frequented by a select few since this part of the conserved land remains in unawares and away from the usual din. Tucked by the mangrove patch of Vasai creek, Nagla Block is a 16 square kilometer boscage that houses a large variety of flora and fauna, offering an absolute visual treat.

Photos of Sanjay Gandhi National Park, Mumbai, Maharashtra, India 1/4 by Dipanwita Chakraborty
Photos of Sanjay Gandhi National Park, Mumbai, Maharashtra, India 2/4 by Dipanwita Chakraborty
Photos of Sanjay Gandhi National Park, Mumbai, Maharashtra, India 3/4 by Dipanwita Chakraborty
Photos of Sanjay Gandhi National Park, Mumbai, Maharashtra, India 4/4 by Dipanwita Chakraborty
Photos of  1/1 by Dipanwita Chakraborty

This place best serves as a weekend getaway for the likes of photography enthusiasts, serious nature lovers, bird watchers and trekkers. The forest trail leads uphill from Sasupada, the starting point or the base village. It is best if you go with a guide who can help you recognize and differentiate between various species of butterflies, spiders, wasps, moths, millipedes, caterpillars, grasshoppers, snakes and birds. You get sightings of diverse fauna right after walking for few meters from the start of the trail. If you are lucky enough, you may also witness the mating of butterflies, bugs and skippers. Occasional sightings of leopard pug marks are a reminder that the beasts do stroll around in this part of the forest. The deeper you advance into the woods, the greater are your chances of witnessing its heterogeneity.

Photos of  1/3 by Dipanwita Chakraborty
Photos of  2/3 by Dipanwita Chakraborty
Photos of  3/3 by Dipanwita Chakraborty

Out of the many species of butterflies, one can spot The Oak-leaf butterfly, Common silverline butterfly, Red-eyed butterfly, Rice swift butterfly, The Monkey Puzzle, The Rounded- pierrot butterfly, Angled pierrot, The Gaudy Baron, The Nawab, Plum judy butterfly, The Brown Awl, Acacia blue butterfly, The grass demon, The sunbeam, Common Dartlet butterfly, Yamfly, Baronet and many others. I could only manage to capture a few though, as rains did not allow me to flaunt my camera in open the entire time. This happens when you do not carry proper camera gear.

Photos of  1/5 by Dipanwita Chakraborty
Photos of  2/5 by Dipanwita Chakraborty
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Photos of  5/5 by Dipanwita Chakraborty

The multi colored grasshoppers and tortoise shell beetles are a treat to the eyes. And then you witness the great architects in spiders. The Signature spider is a common sight along with Jumping Spiders, Wolf Spiders and many others. The further you go, the denser the forest becomes. There is a small machaan you can climb up on, for best bird sightings. Oriental Dwarf Kingfisher (ODKF) was the highlight of out trail. We could not catch sight of many birds due to intermittent rain showers. The sun was upon us for a very little time. The empty snake holes remind you to watch out for the serpents that take shelter among the shrubs during monsoon.

Photos of  1/5 by Dipanwita Chakraborty
Photos of  2/5 by Dipanwita Chakraborty
Photos of  3/5 by Dipanwita Chakraborty
Photos of  4/5 by Dipanwita Chakraborty
Photos of  5/5 by Dipanwita Chakraborty

Towards the end of the trail, you come across a deserted structure which had served as a check post of forest department earlier and a jetty leading to the Vasai Creek. There is also an information centre that offers knowledge about the vegetation in Nagla.

Photos of  1/2 by Dipanwita Chakraborty
Photos of  2/2 by Dipanwita Chakraborty

The Common Know-how:

Best time to visit – Nagla Block can be visited all year around however, to get the best of the sightings, you may avoid monsoon months.

Closest Railway station – Mira Road

How to reach – Walk towards Vasai from Fountain hotel at Kashi Mira signal and take the first right turn that leads to village soon after the Indian oil petrol station. You would see a green arch that looks like an entry but there isn’t any proper gate. Just keep walking uphill and you come across a small entry cabin on the slope that serves as the ticket counter.

Entry Fees – INR 40.00

Pro Tip – Please carry sufficient water and eatables since you will not find anything inside the forest.

Since it is located off the well trodden path, Nagla Block is free from otherwise messy crowd. However; it is recommended to not venture into the forest alone. Please make sure you are accompanied by group of people.

Have you been to Nagla Block? Share you experience in the comments below.

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