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Mumbai’s green thumb

Paul Noronha | Updated on November 29, 2019 Published on November 29, 2019

An urban forest in Mahim provides the city with a chance to get away from itself

The trees of Mumbai have been in the news. In October this year, protests broke out in parts of the city and on social media after more than 2,000 trees were felled in Aarey Colony, to make way for a car shed and depot for the Mumbai Metro Rail Corporation Ltd.

About an hour away from the green Aarey belt in suburban Goregaon, Mahim’s Maharashtra Nature Park (MNP) tells a contrasting story.

It was 25 years ago that a 37-acre dumping ground on the banks of Mithi River was converted into this green oasis. The foundation for MNP was laid by ornithologist Salim Ali, who planted its first sapling. Over the years, hundreds of trees were planted here by students of schools and colleges, helping MNP become one of the greenest spots in Mumbai today.

At last count, it has over 13,500 trees, 63 species of birds, 40 varieties of butterflies as well as a sizeable population of other insects and snakes.

Apart from being a favourite among birdwatchers and nature enthusiasts, the MNP is also a big draw for photographers. Guided tours of the park are held on a regular basis, giving the people of Mumbai a chance to get away from its frenetic pace of life. MNP also has an exhibition hall, an amphitheatre, a nursery and a library, all solar-powered.

Published on November 29, 2019