Bhoot Bangla Trek

Difficulty
Difficulty
Easy
Duration
Duration
1 Day
Trek type
Trek type
Trail passes through thick forests, caves and rivulets
Altitude
Max Altitude
ft
Required Fitness
Base
Sanjay Gandhi National Park
Best time to visit
Best time to visit
Monsoon

About the Bhoot Bangla Trek

Bhoot Bangla is the colloquial name of a forest rest house that was built during British rule. The British civil engineer, who was looking over the dam project on the three lakes, built this as a summer retreat. This dilapidated structure stands in ruins, in middle of the forest, looking very much like a bhoot bangla. One can still find remnants of a fireplace, a broken bathtub, servant quarters and a spacious three bedroom area. With a beautiful view of Tulsi Lake from its balcony, it’s not hard to imagine why they built this property away from the suburbs of Bombay.

The approach to Bhoot Bangla is via a trek of over 11 kilometres (one way) to the banks of Tusli Lake. It is in the middle of the National Park, away from most visitors and morning walkers.

From here, there are multiple trails shooting out in all directions. The trail going north connects you with “Yeoor hill trail,” which leads you into the greenest section of the park, all the way to Thane. The trail heading east connects you with “View point trail,” which is the highest point in Mumbai, and offers superb views of three lakes. The trail going south-east takes you to the Muland West Gate exit. One can return to Borivali East entry gate from Bhoot Bangla, taking the same trail to reach here.

About Author: 

Vaibhav is associated with Indiahikes as a Writer & Chief Explorer. He is an avid traveler with a passion for trekking in Indian Himalayas. With his roots in Shimla district of Himachal Pradesh, the love for the mountains is in his blood. When not travelling he likes to spend time interacting with like-minded trek enthusiasts and read books on travel and mountaineering.

Hiking on forested “phantom” trails

  • In the heart of a thriving Sanjay Gandhi National Park in the northern fringes of Mumbai, lies a relic from the British era. Its secluded location and spooky appearance lends it the name Bhoot Bangla (Haunted House). A trek to this house is a sheer thrill, not because of the “spookiness” but because of the beauty of the forested trail, especially post monsoon. A placid lake next to the house adds to the scenery and is reason enough to trek to this place on a weekend.
  • This lake provides Mumbaikars with drinking water. This trail is linked to an urban legend of a phantom hitchhiker, who keeps a close watch on the forest trail and asks for free rides from passers-by. And the forest guard swears by the presence of this dubious entity.  Needless to say, believers and nature lovers will both find themselves at home, hitch-hiking the phantom trails to Bhoot Bangla.

About the trek

Bhoot Bangla is the colloquial name of a forest rest house that was built during British rule. The British civil engineer, who was looking over the dam project on the three lakes, built this as a summer retreat. This dilapidated structure stands in ruins, in middle of the forest, looking very much like a bhoot bangla. One can still find remnants of a fireplace, a broken bathtub, servant quarters and a spacious three bedroom area. With a beautiful view of Tulsi Lake from its balcony, it’s not hard to imagine why they built this property away from the suburbs of Bombay. The approach to Bhoot Bangla is via  a trek of over 11 kilometres (one way) to the banks of Tusli Lake. It is in the middle of the National Park, away from most visitors and morning walkers. From here, there are multiple trails shooting out in all directions. The trail going north connects you with “Yeoor hill trail,” which leads you into the greenest section of the park, all the way to Thane. The trail heading east connects you with “View point trail,” which is the highest point in Mumbai, and offers superb views of three lakes. The trail going south-east takes you to the Muland West Gate exit. One can return to Borivali East entry gate from Bhoot Bangla, taking the same trail to reach here.

How to do the trek

Day 1: SGNP Entry gate, Borivali East – Kanheri Cave trail – Tulsi Lake – Bhoot Bangla – Muland West Exit Gate

  • Distance: 20 – 22 km approx.
  • Time taken: 5 – 6 hours

The trek starts from the Sanjay Gandhi National Park entry Gate at Borivali East, Mumbai. After taking entry pass from the Forest counter, one is allowed to drive all the way to Kanheri Cave. The distance to Kanheri Cave from the entrance is about 7.5 km. One can also take the shuttle vehicle that drops passengers at Kanheri Cave. One can also choose to trek this distance on foot, though this trail is crowded with visitors.

Forest view
Forest view of Sanjay Gandhi National Park

The trek is best done in monsoon, for its greenery and fully replenished water bodies. You might need to be accompanied by a forest guard if you’re trekking in the interiors of the forest. Trekking further to Yeoor Hill Trail, View Point Trail, Shilonda Trail, etc, would require a separate permit ticket. Since there might be leopards in the forest, it’s best to trek in a group. Avoid trekking solo. The trek from the entry gate to Bhoot Bangla is around 11 kilometres. If one takes a drop till Kanheri Cave, then the actual one way trek is reduced to 4 kilometres. The trail till Kanheri Cave is on a motorable road that goes across Gandhi Samarak. It takes about two hours to reach Kanheri Cave by foot.

Table top green ridge
Green Meadow ridge comes alive in monsoon season

Feel free to take a detour and see the ancient Kanheri Caves, with lovely Buddhist sculptures. From here, the trail narrows down and meanders into a dense forest. You now enter a restricted area of the Park, which requires permits from the Forest Department. There are multiple rivulets that pass by the trail. In monsoon, they are overflowing and look very inviting. The trail takes you all the way to the Forest Department Log Hut. This section of the trail is very picturesque. Look out for small herds of deer. They are very common on this trail. There is a wide array of flowers, especially wild turmeric and Crepe Ginger flowers. During monsoon, one can find many white crabs hiding behind thick foliage. As you proceed on the dirt trail, there are a few rivulets that need to be forded. In monsoon, the water levels are high and it is fun to cross over them bare feet. The Forest Hut from here is only half an hour away. From the Forest Hut, the route to Bhoot Bangla is an hour-long hike alongside the periphery of Tusli Lake.

Bhoot Bangla ruin
Ruins of Bhoot Bangla

On this trail, you’ll pass by a small meadow before entering a forest trail again. You’ll get your first glimpse of the Tusli Lake on your right close to the entry point to the Bhoot Bangla. The trail then takes a U-turn, as you reach the entry gate to the Bhoot Bangla. From here, the trail ascends gradually till you see a dilapidated building surrounded by forest cover. This is the famous Bhoot Bangla. The building is situated at a fantastic vantage point, with a beautiful view of the lake. It is plausible that British engineers used this as a summer retreat and for their favourite pastime, hunting. Walk towards the lakeside to get a beautiful view of Tulsi Lake and Vihar lake behind it. One can trek further to the View Point Trail to view the three famous lakes in the region.

Tulsi lake and Powai urban setting in far background
Tulsi lake and Powai urban setting in the far background.

You can exit from the building by taking the same route and leaving through the Borivalli East Gate. One can also exit by trekking via a new route south to Mulund West gate. However, one has to check with the Forest Guard for permission for the latter trail. Cover picture by Kothanda Srinivasan. Rest of the pictures by Sadanand Kamath.

 

Cardiovascular endurance

The secret to ascending any trail lies in building your cardiovascular endurance. You can begin by jogging everyday. Ideally, you should be able to jog 4 km in 20 minutes before the start of the trek. It takes time to be able to cover this distance in the given time. Start slow and increase your pace everyday. Swimming, cycling and stair climbing without too many breaks in between can help too. Strength This is another area you should work on. You will need to build strength in your muscles and in your core body. You can do some squats to strengthen your leg muscles. Do around 3 sets of squats, with 8 squats in each set. Apart from this, you can add planks and crunches to your work out.

Flexibility

Another aspect that will help you trek comfortably is flexibility. For this, you can do some stretching exercises – stretch your hamstrings, quadriceps, hip flexors, lower back muscles and shoulders regularly. Carrying a backpack, however light, can become a strain after a while. These exercises will help you to be in good shape before the trek. Working out indoors


If you can’t go out and jog because of time and space constraints,
here’s a video you can use to work out indoors.

backpack

The Bhoot Bangla trek is just a one day trek. You will only need the following things.

  • Small 20L backpack
  • Two litre bottle
  • A jacket or poncho in case of rain
  • Snacks

Complete trek guide

Last updated: April - 2019

 Complete trek guide