About Vihar Lake
Vihar Lake is the largest lake in Mumbai. It is located within Sanjay Gandhi National Park near Vihar village on the Mithi River. The lake was built from 1856 to 1860 by the British government to overcome the drinking water woes of the people of southern Mumbai. It gets its water from The Powai-Kanheri hill ranges in the catchment area.
Today, the lake meets about 3% of Mumbai's drinking water needs and has evolved into one of the most alluring picnic spots in Mumbai. The scenic beauty of the lake makes it a great spot to hang out with friends and family and enjoy some Kodak moments with a picture-perfect backdrop. In the evenings, eateries, restaurants, and cafes around the lake serve piping hot food taking every visitor to the lake on a food tour.
This beautiful lake has a dense population of Khair trees that invite a lot of migratory birds. It looks glorious during the monsoon season. A creepy fact about Vihar Lake is that it is indeed filled with a good number of freshwater crocodiles, also known as Mugger or Marsh crocodiles.
One can visit the Crocodile Park near the lake to witness these reptiles in various sizes and forms. Also, the lake has strong currents when full and hence, visitors are strictly warned from venturing into the waters here. Entry to Vihar lake is restricted since 1993, and one needs to seek prior permission from the authorities of the Sanjay Gandhi National Park.
How to Reach Vihar Lake
From Mumbai Airport-
Vihar Lake is just about 16 km from Vihar Lake and the fastest and most convenient way to cover the distance is by a cab/taxi. It takes close to an hour to travel from Mumbai Airport to Vihar Lake during the peak hours.
Best Time to Visit Vihar Lake
Vihar Lake can be visited all round the year. However, to enjoy the beauty of the lake in its full glory, visit the lake during the monsoon months from July to September.
What Not to Miss at Vihar Lake
Situated within the forests of the Sanjay Gandhi National Park near Borivali, Kanheri Caves is a group of ancient rock-cut cave monuments that are created by basalt formations. Dating back to somewhere between the 1st and 9th centuries, these caves were used by Buddhist monks as a study hall, a prayer hall and a place to live. By climbing up the rock-cut steps, one can enjoy sightseeing the caves, a congregation hall, intricately carved pillars, Buddhist stupas, and water channels. While the older caves of the Kanheri cluster look pretty raw, the paintings and sculptures are found in the relatively newer caves.
One of the most romantic places in Mumbai, the Upvan Lake is surrounded by Yeoor Hills and looks breathtakingly beautiful. The fountain at the lake and the huge statue of Lord Shiva constructed in the middle of the Upvan Lake are visual delights to revel in. The lake also provides boating facilities so that you can enjoy the serene environment as you paddle through the waters. There are a number of eateries serving delicious food and snack items around the lake; making it a great hangout spot to spend an evening with friends and family. The lake gets festive during the Sanskruti Arts Festival when live music and dance are hosted.
KidZania Mumbai is located at about 16 km away from Vihar Lake in Ghatkopar West and is heaven for those with kids. This indoor theme park has a plethora of more than 100 role play-based activities for toddlers and kids that just not entertain but also educate them in a fun-filled way. While the kids mimic the roles in a supermarket, fashion studio, clinic, elementary school, stock exchange, driving school, and many others, adults can either choose to enjoy playing with kids or lounge in the adults' area that has free WiFi.
Chota Kashmir Boat Club
Located amidst the lush green surroundings of Aarey Colony, Chota Kashmir Boat Club is a great place to enjoy a weekend. Visitors can enjoy boating on the swan-shaped pedal boats and soak in the beauty of the surrounding greenery. The lush garden around the lake makes up for great photoshoots and the place is frequented by locals and tourists alike. With verdant gardens, chirping of birds, fresh air, and the cool breeze, Chota Kashmir Boat Club is indeed a holiday spot for any Mumbaikar who cannot afford an expensive vacation. The affordable entry and boating charges are just some other reasons why this place is much loved by all!
Sanjay Gandhi National Park
Spreading over 104 square kilometres of the protected area, Sanjay Gandhi National Park is one of the most visited national parks in Asia. It is the home to a number of Tigers, Leopards, Macaques, Wild Boars, Lions, Flying fox, Kingfisher, sunbirds and many species of butterflies. The thick and tall evergreen trees within the park form an alluring canopy while keeping the place cool. It also two artificial lakes where crocodiles and several migratory birds can be spotted. The vintage toy train ride, called Van Rani (jungle queen) is a huge attraction at the park.
Other Essential Information About Vihar Lake
Location: Within Sanjay Gandhi National Park at the about 30 km from Chhatrapati Shivaji Terminus
Timing: Restricted entry. One needs to seek permission from the park’s office to enter Vihar Lake.
Tips for Visiting Vihar Lake
There are a few things that you should keep in mind before visiting the lake:
- Being a lake with restricted entry, seek prior permission from the authorities of the park before stepping in.
- Carry a camera to freeze your moments at this scenic location.
-The lake has strong currents during monsoons and hence, never venture into the lake. There have been several instances of people getting drowned here.
-The lake is infested with crocodiles and many of them can be seen along the shoreline. Do not try to feed them as the situation might turn grave.
-Always travel in groups while visiting the Vihar Lake.