Field Trip to Ovalekar Wadi Butterfly Park, Thane, Maharashtra, India

October 19, 2011 By:

I had heard of Ovalekar Wadi Butterfly Park since nearly a year, and I was looking for the right time to visit this unique private butterfly park near Thane. As readers probably know, Thane is adjacent to proper Mumbai, and is governed by Thane Municipal Corporation. It is a fast-growing bustling city that is part of the Mumbai metropolitan region. Serviced by buses that are run by the Thane Municipality, trains run through it both ways on the Central Railway, and one can reach Thane easily from CST in less than an hour.

Dark blue tiger butterfly



Rajendra Ovalekar recounted how he and his brother, assisted by other family members, decided to develop a butterfly park privately. They owned these 2 acres of land in Ovale village, and, as Rajendra reminisces, he was always awed by the colours and varieties of butterflies as a young adult. He decided that he would do something about this after his viewing of these beautiful fliers during some of the nature trips he undertook on behalf of the Bombay Natural History Society in the early 2000’s.

Researching the whole thing, he began to first plant trees and shrubs which would a) encourage butterflies to visit his park for nectarine flowers and b) encourage butterflies to lay eggs and breed on his park’s plants. Thus began a development journey that led to this amazing tourist attraction that opened to visitors last year.

Plain tiger butterfly

Almost looks like a dry leaf - A good camouflage

To reach the park, one has to catch a train from any station on the central railway network and get off at Thane. From the Western side, one can climb on to the ramp that leads to the Thane Municipality Transport (TMT) bus depot, and ask for buses that go towards Yeoor Hills or Suraj Water Park. Or one may choose to hire an auto-rickshaw and ask the driver to take them directly to Ovale village that is just beyond Patlipada police station or the main entry road to the Brahmand complex. If one is driving from south Mumbai, one has to reach the Eastern Express highway (NH 3) and drive straight down it till the turn off for the Ghodbunder Road. The distance from Byculla to Ovalekar Wadi is about 41 km and can be covered in an hour or less if you drive there in the morning. The left turn to reach the Wadi is just a few hundred meters after the main entrance to Suraj Water Park. It is a thin lane, and one bypasses private wadis and residences. The main gate of Ovalekar Wadi is about 700 m inside the turn off.

Mr. Ovalekar is there at the gate with a big smile as he guides cars and walking visitors inside his park. One has to enter their name and contact number in a ledger and pay Rs. 50-60 per head as the entrance and guide charge. One has to drive one’s car down a narrow kachcha road for about 50 m and then turn it on to a verdant green open space where at least 20 cars can be parked in decent comfort.

Common crow butterfly

When my daughter and I reached in our own vehicle at 8:00 a.m. on Sunday, 16th October 2011, busy shutterbugs were already spread out all over the place, mounting their expensive digital SLR cameras on equally expensive tripods and moving from shrub to shrub, taking photographs for their own collection. Butterflies were visible all around, and the sight of all this hustle-bustle was so exciting that one wanted to immediately jump off the steering wheel and bring out one’s own camera and lenses to begin shooting. However, I maintained decorum and went and parked our car first. Then, we walked back to where Mr. Ovalekar stood with his ledger and wallet, imploring visitors to enter their names and gently demanding the ridiculously small sum of Rs. 50-60 per visitor.

We were told to look around and then assemble for the “official tour” at half past eight inside the shed created in one corner of the park just beyond the parking area, where there were chairs to sit, large illustrated boards which displayed paintings of the different species of butterfly and moths which are seen here, and also a counter where they would sell some snack items later in the morning.

One of the many flowers

Beautiful purple flowers

Our initial, untrained eye could spot just three or four species of butterfly. My daughter and I both got busy taking pictures, not just of the butterflies but also of the beautiful and colourful plants and flowering shrubs that were spread all around. There were yellow and orange cosmos flower-bearing shrubs all around the park, as also lovely white flowers with a crimson red centre, nectarine flowering plants (the Jamaican blue nectar plant). We were also told that such and such plants were Cosmos plants, and I have a photo of a cosmos flower here.

Probably a male rose butterfly

Striped tiger butterfly

After some 60-odd visitors had gathered, we were all assembled in the official area where Mr. Ovalekar spoke for about ten minutes on his passion and how he developed the butterfly park. After that, he started his official tour with the sighting of a blue tiger butterfly’s caterpillar. From then on, the group was taken all around the place and Mr. Ovalekar kept all of us in thrall as he pointed, first here, then there, then up, next down, as butterflies flew past us, unmindful of our need for them to sit in one place and let us admire them. We saw the Blue tiger butterfly, the Striped tiger, the Plain tiger, the Glassy tiger, the Dark blue tiger, the Common crow, the Common Jezebel, the Common rose, the Swallowtail, the Common grass, the common piaro, the giant mormon, the common Baron, the Bush brown, the Skipper, the Evening brown, the common wanderer and many more varieties of these lovely creatures.

Blue tiger butterfly

Gradually, the group thinned out as some of the visitors had had their fill, and began to leave or to go in the shaded area where “breakfast” was being sold at a rather high price (a wada-pav and a small plastic glass of tea was sold for Rs. 30/= each). Nobody minded since we had had a veritable visual feast for just Rs. 50/=!

Swallowtail butterfly

Another blue tiger

By around 11:00 a.m., My daughter and I had also had our fill of this place and we decided to leave. We took back with us about a hundred different memories of a morning well-spent.

About Taher Kagalwala

Taher Kagalwala has written 13 posts at Ghumakkar.

I am a practising Pediatrician (child specialist) from Mumbai India and have been writing since childhood. I love travelling and Nature-watching. My travels encompass India, Saudi Arabia and, in the past, a trip to Egypt

30 Responses to “Field Trip to Ovalekar Wadi Butterfly Park, Thane, Maharashtra, India”


  1. Nandan says:

    Welcome aboard Dr. Taher.

    Looks like a great option for Mumbai-tes. Since you could find so many people already, I would imagine that as time passes, it is definitely going to get big.

    Kudos to Mr. Ovalekar for the park.

    • Taher Kagalwala says:

      Thank you, Nandan, for your warm welcome and for being the first to comment on my write-up. I am a Nature lover, and this takes me in and around Mumbai almost every fortnight. The digital SLR helps to colour the narrative, but I hope to paint pictures with my words most of the time.

  2. Vibha says:

    Welcome Aboard Dr. Taher,

    And thanks for taking us to this unique, pristine place. It takes great vision and passion to set up a place like this and to nurture it for so many years. As Nandan said, kudos to Mr. Ovalekar for this.

    You seem to be doing wonders with your SLR already! Do keep traveling and keep sharing with us Ghumakkars.

    • Taher Kagalwala says:

      Thank you Madam Editorji, a.k.a. Vibhaji. You have put this up in a flattering manner indeed and I thank you for the kind gesture and for your even kinder words. I intend to use this site to put up more travel experiences in future.

  3. Anil Misra says:

    Lovely photos. Congrats.

  4. Mahesh Semwal says:

    I use to visit Mumbai atleast 3-4 times in a year but never heard about this park.

    Thanks for taking us to this park.

    Keep traveling , keep writing.

    • Taher Kagalwala says:

      Dear Mahesh,

      Thank you for your kind encouragement. I do hope you visit this the next year … the best time to do so is post-monsoon.

  5. MN says:

    Hi Dr.Taher, I am sure my 4 year old daughter will love to see these colorful butterfly pictures & will show it to her. She will love them. Just Awesome, nice post & details. Taking photos of wildlife one needs patience. One wonders at nature what it gives us..so many colors..keep it up..will love to see the world through your lense.

  6. sdpatwardhan says:

    hi Taher,
    Nice to see your article. Congrats

  7. Vin says:

    Hi Taher,

    The Google Map marker in sidebar seems to be at Hinjewadi near Pune while Ovalekar wadi is on Ghodbunder road at Thane near Mumbai.

  8. Nisha says:

    Welcome to team Ghumakkar, Dr Taher.

    There is no dearth of getaways in the neighborhood of Mumbai. And so many of us are still trying to cover them. :-)

    Your DSLR has started showing its charisma! :)

  9. AUROJIT says:

    Hi Doc,

    welcome to Ghumakkar family.

    The post is very interesting – DSLR pics complementing it.

    Parks like these should be a great draw for adults and kids alike. Great job by Ovalekar sahib;
    and you for bringing it out.

    Thanks for introducing us to it,

    Auro.

  10. ashok sharma says:

    nice snaps,beautiful butterflies.

  11. Hello, Nice photos as well as nice blog. Thanks for introducing us to it. This is really wonderful. I appreciated your work Doc.

  12. drtaher says:

    Thank you all – MN, Shrihari, Vin, TTIndia, Auro, Ashok, Nisha – for your looking at my article and for your appreciation of my words and pictures. For those wishing to read more from me, do visit http://www.writing.com/authors/drtaher.

  13. drtaher says:

    Thank you, Mr. Somnath Paldas for your kind comment.

  14. it was outstanding and i like if there is any membership.am glad to work with this park.reply me.

  15. Rishma says:

    My parents live in Ghodbander Thane since 2004 (I live in Bangalore) and I never know of this hidden gem in our neighbourhood. I am soo excited to learn about this place (I accidently bumped into it thru TCS’s photography club who recently had a photoshoot day there)

    I am so eager to tell my family about this place, and we will surely pay a visit as soon as the butterfuy season opens up again in September. Thank you for this great article and super great pics..!

    I will be sure to bring my camera, as I love photography too..
    Thank you sir…!

    Best Regards,
    Rishma Shetty

    • Taher Kagalwala says:

      Thanks, Rishma. I am glad you are happy to read about this neighborhood site! Do write about it after you have visited it.

      -Dr. Taher

  16. Nidhi says:

    hi,
    this place looks really exciting! m planning to visit it soon..! just wanted to know what is the best time to visit that place… like best month… and is the park working 24/7 or does it stay closed on certain day?

    • Taher Kagalwala says:

      Dear Nidhi,

      I cannot tell you the details that you are seeking. However, there is a much easier way for you to do this. Search for Ovalekar Butterfly Park on Facebook and “Like” the page. Then, you can ask Mr. Ovalekar yourself or search the “About” section for answers to your questions. Hope this helps. Have fun!

      Taher

  17. nidhi says:

    Hi! thank for your reply… I found some info on the net which i think would be useful for other readers :)
    How to get there: Drive down Ghodbunder Road away from the city until you reach Owala village. The garden is down a narrow road next to Sangam Restaurant. The nearest landmark is HyperCity department store. Another option is to take the number 700 BEST bus running between Borivali (East) and Thane stations. Get off at the Owala village bus stop and follow the signs.

    The garden is open to visitors only on Sundays. Gates open at 8 am and tours are conducted until 12:30 pm. Entry fee is Rs 50 per head. An Indian breakfast with tea is also available for Rs 25 per head.

    Add: Ovalekar Wadi Butterfly Garden, Owala Village, Ghodbunder Road, Thane (West)

    Tel: 9820779729 / 9869256054
    would pose soon as m visiting the park soon!!

  18. Riddhi JK says:

    This is lovely write up of the place. Almost as if someone is talking.

    I am wondering if its safe to take my 18 month toddler to this place. Please let us know.

    Thanks,
    Riddhi

    • Taher Kagalwala says:

      Thank you for your kind words, Riddhi. Yes, it is absolutely safe even for a newborn! Just don’t allow the kid to have the rather unhealthy wada pav, ;-)

      Best wishes,

      Taher

  19. jaishree says:

    What a coincidence!

    these days I am reading about butterflies and wild flowers ( to make the most of my trip to interiors of Khasi hills in Meghlaya) your post just appeared, as an appetizer!

    If you or anyone on ghumakkar, know any good field guide about butterflies and wild flowers, please let me know. I have tried a few and heard about some from BNHS but none turned out to be as good as Bird field guides are.

    And yes, welcome back.

    • Taher Kagalwala says:

      Thank you Jaishree. No, I do not know of any extensive books, but I suggest you browse through amazon.com, Flipkart, Google Books and other similar sites.

      And what did you mean by “Welcome back”. Back to what? :-P



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