So today we went back to Sanjay Gandhi National Park, which was very nice. It’s green, it’s less than an hour from the city, and given that there are 16 million people in this town, there were surprisingly few people in the park. There were a bunch of rather loud teens in party mood (including beer and whiskey bottles), but most were families on a picnic. Even the trash was quite a bit less obvious, although we did see a monkey playing with an empty bag of junk food. Yes, there’s monkeys there; they like to hang around people, who usually feed them, unless they are as scared as Ksenia, who was very much afraid that they’ll jump onto her head and bite her.
We didn’t really see much of the park though. There’s a lion and tiger safari to see, but we went straight to the Kanheri Caves, which are over 2000 year old, and later became a center of Buddhist teaching and meditation. Most of the over 100 caves were quite simple, but a few were very impressive. There was a rather large church-like one with very high ceilings and huge statues. Even the simpler ones had some pretty interesting details, and were bigger and seemed more sophisticated than the Maya caves we had seen in Mexico.
Apart from the teens and families taking a plunge in the little river that ran through the area, we heard some people sing Hare Krishna. I was a bit surprised when we later saw them, because none of them had the Hare Krishna clothes I had expected, nor did they look like the Buddhists we had seen earlier. Instead, they were all dressed in regular clothes, and there were no women.
Strangely, there was also a temple in ruins that looked like it had been built with Soviet white marble. It didn’t really make any sense to us, but there it was, with an odd little public bathroom size construction next to it, a statue that was cut off at its hips, and someone was kind enough to put some fresh red flowers on the steps.
Anyways, it was a nice little excursion. Good to know there’s a place this close where one can actually breathe some fresh air (even though it was very humid). We didn’t have time for the tiger or lion safari, but we’ll definitely be back.