|Kanheri from Borivali
|Estimated net time||3-4 hours|
The route runs on road all the way to the foot of the mountain, from where it is various types of path.
|Drinking water||There is a fountain at the start of the route, but else nothing.|
|GSM coverage||Coverage at trail head, else unknown (June 2012).|
|Parking||It's recommended to get to the trail head by means of taxi.|
|Start height||25 metres|
|Vertical metres||250 metres for the roundtrip.|
|Trip distance||13.9 km|
Drive north from Mumbai city centre, on the Western Express Highway, to Borivali. This is where you find the National Park flyover, and Mahatma Gandhi Road goes left. Turn right towards the Sanjay Gandhi National Park main entrance. It's recommended to get here by taxi. From the city centre you can expect to pay INR 500 (~EUR 7) per 2012, and you might well get away with twice that for a return fare and the taxi waiting while you hike.
Pay the park entrance fee at the gate (INR 30 per 2012, ~EUR 0.4), and then stay on the main road for 6.4 km, to the entrance of the Kanheri caves area. You need to pay another entrance fee, after having climbed the first set of stairs, this time INR 100 (per 2012) for tourists (but considerably less for locals).
There are a number of stairs and paths leading up to the highest point above the caves, and the summit is not marked in any way. However, the real summit of Sanjay Gandhi National Park lies almost 2km further north-east, and would be a natural target for most hikers. But one is strongly discouraged to attempt this part of the hike since there are both snakes and leopards; a number of people have been killed by leopards, with a peak of 20 deaths in 2004. During the last few years (before 2012) a number of leopards have been relocated, so the danger should be considerably reduced now, but the locals still strongly advice against this hike.
Descend by reversing your ascent route.
24. June 2012
I arrived in Mumbai late Saturday night for a number of meetings and workshops in our Mumbai offices the following week. This Sunday would be spent preparing for the coming week, but I also wanted to get some fresh air after a few days of hard work and a lot of travel.
I had set my eyes on the Sanjay Gandhi National Park, with its highest point of almost 500 metres (and primary factor also almost 500 metres), and asked at the hotel reception what it would cost to get a taxi to the national park, and if the area was suitable for hiking. The receptionist gave me first class help, and informed me that there was a fixed price for the taxi drive of INR 475.
At the national park entrance I was asked if I wanted to get onto one of the coaches, but I wanted the longish walk, and also did some easy running here and there, quite desperate for some activity. When I got to the cave area I started to search for a path to the highest point in the national park, but after having searched in vain for a few minutes, including trying a couple of paths taking me into the bush, I decided to head up to the highest point above the caves and ask for directions. The first guy I spoke with told me there was a path going up to the summit from south, but he also added that it would be dangerous. I asked if it was because of snakes, and his reply was that it was more because of leopards. Not yet convinced, I asked more people, including a guard, and they all gave me the same answer. And with no intention of ending up as cat food, I concluded that my quest for the summit would end here at Kanheri.
Not terribly happy with what I had achieved this Sunday morning I had no other option than to start the walk back to Borivali. Here I found my taxi driver waiting outside the main entrance, and when paying the taxi fare back at the hotel I got confirmation that he wouldn't charge me for waiting more than 2½ hours. My assumption is that the petrol cost for him if driving empty back to Mumbai would out-cost the lack of money he could potentially make if waiting for me and be guaranteed a paid return ride.