Game for a pond trail?

Jul 18, 2012, 08:28 IST | Dhara vora

Once a centre for stone quarrying, the Manpada end of the Sanjay Gandhi National Park is now home to several species of bird, insect and flora, particularly in the monsoon. Now, you get to discover this and much more through a one-of-a-kind pond trail organised by the Bombay Natural History Society

It’s a given. A visit to this verdant region within the Sanjay Gandhi National Park not only reconfirms the proximity to natural beauty but also our ignorance about these rare gems. This Sunday, as a part of it’s monthly Thane chapter of eco trails, the Bombay Natural History Society (BNHS) is conducting a Pond Trail at Manpada.

Sunbird. Pic courtesy / Sujit Narwade

The Manpada end of Sanjay Gandhi National Park was a one-time hub for stone quarrying. After several efforts from Thane NGOs, including Hariyali, the Government was able to put a stop to it. “The Manpada end of SGNP has a hilly terrain. The area had become a barren section within the National Park because of quarrying. But after the ban, several NGOs conducted mass tree plantation drives and gradually, it got its greenery back,” says Kaustubh Bhagat, Education Officer at BNHS, who will be conducting the trail.

Plants such as flowers of wild grapes

“What is unique about this region is that the quarries get filled with water during the monsoon, as a result of which it turns into ponds thereby attracting a lot of insects. Also, once you cross this hilly area, a plateau-like space on top becomes visible where it’s possible to get a great view of Thane. One can see how the city has expanded over the years,” he adds. Visitors will also get to spot the Thane Creek and Kalu River from the Manpada-end. Earlier, these ponds were used for Ganpati immersions; this practice has been discontinued now.

Hill Turmeric

One will be able to spot several different kinds of insects and beautiful butterflies apart from birds such as sunbirds, tail birds, cormorants and monsoon flora such as pretty Yellow Ground Stars and different types of climbers.

Morinda flower

The section also houses the Forest Department’s Nature Interpretation Centre, where one can get information about resident species of wildlife and also check out several old photographs of Thane city.

Butterfly egg. Pics courtesy/ BNHS

How to get there
Board a State Transport or BEST bus towards Borivali/ Mira Road/ Bhayendar from Thane (W) station. Get off at Manpada Bus stop. Another option is to board a TMC bus going to Tikuji-ni-wadi. The entrance is a three-minute walk from Tiku-ji-ni-wadi.
Cost `100 for adults and `50 for children below 10 

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