Instead of going to Singapore to watch butterflies, one can visit Butterfly Parks located right in Mumbai. Mumbai boasts of not one but several butterfly parks like the Ovalekar Garden at Thane, Maharashtra Nature Park, Somaiya School Vidyavihar, Borivali National Park and the Byculla Zoo. Ovalekar Wadi Butterfly Garden is one of the best, set up by rajendra Ovalekar. He donated two acres of agricultural land in Thane to turn it into a butterfly park with the help of Isaac Kehimkar, an expert on butterflies.
The butterfly parks in Mumbai are located in different places. It may not be possible to cover all these in a day. It is best to spread out the tour of butterfly parks in Mumbai over two days and get around at your leisure. The best way to do this is to obtain a car on hire from Ziphop or get a bike from the same place, one of the best places to get a bike on rent in Mumbai. Formalities over, off you go on the Western Express Highway. Ovalekar is the first stop. It is at Thane, off Ghodbunder Road, past the tiny Owla village. One can also take the Eastern Express Highway from South Mumbai.
Walking through the park, a lush green haven surrounded by busy city life, is an experience in itself. One can watch some beautiful butterflies like the blue oakleaf, common rose, blue tiger, jezebel and peacock pansy.
By afternoon your visit is complete and you can drive on the Highway back to Mumbai. Stop at roadside restaurant (there are plenty of them) for lunch and arrive at Jijamata Udyan at Byculla and visit the two small butterfly gardens here to spot beautiful species like striped tiger.
Book yourself into a hotel and spend the night there. Walk around Byculla to explore street side stalls and munch on delicacies.
Start the day with breakfast at a south Indian restaurant and set off to the Bombay Natural History Society Conservation Education Center spread over 33 acres of land at Goregaon. It is between Borivali National Park and Goregaon Aarey Jungle. You could spend a couple of hours in this park and then go on to the Mahim Nature Park, a lush green year with over 35 species of butterflies to admire. This park is located in Dharavi.
What to eat?
There is no lack of restaurants and street stalls serving veg and non-veg food. Take your pick from expensive ones or economy restaurants or thali restaurants according to your taste.
Where to stay?
As in dining, there are dozens of hotels, guest houses and high end hotels in Mumbai. Dadar area has moderately priced hotels as does central Mumbai with the suburb located hotels being slightly more expensive.
Butterflies signify the ephemeral quality of life. Enjoy the sight of butterflies flitting from one bush to another. It is soul-elevating and satisfying, 48 hours well spent.