Tucked behind a bright-blue entryway in one of the busiest parts of south Mumbai, Bombay Panjrapole is one of the oldest animal welfare organizations in the city, one that dates back to the 1830s. Today this two-acre sanctuary houses hundreds of cows and other animals, including donkeys, dogs, goats, and all sorts of avian species.
This massive animal shelter traces its roots to the middle of the 19th century, when a British decree stated that the street dogs and pigs of Mumbai should be killed. Cows were later added to the mix (presumably to provide milk), and today they make up the majority of creatures here. It's worth stopping by if you happen to be visiting other area attractions such as the Bhuleshwar Bazaar and Mumbadevi Temple; additionally, some walking tours include the shelter on their itinerary.
Things to Know Before You Go
- This is a must-visit for families or anyone with an interest in animal welfare.
- Wear clothes that you won’t mind getting dirty.
- While entry is free, donations aid in animal care and facility maintenance.
How To Get There
Bombay Panjrapole is located in south Mumbai’s busy and congested Bhuleshwar neighborhood, just north of the Mumbadevi Temple and about a 10-minute drive from Chowpatty Beach. The Charni Road railway station, right on Marine Drive, is about a 15-minute walk away, and the Sandhurst Road and Masjid commuter railway stations are each about 20 minutes away on foot.
When To Get There
Bombay Panjrapole is open daily from 9am to 6pm. It's largely outdoors, so travelers may want to plan their visit time accordingly—temperatures are cooler earlier in the day. Although it’s open year-round, rain or shine, the shelter isn’t that much fun during monsoon season.
Cows in Indian Culture
Spend any amount of time in India and you’re likely to see more than a few cows wandering the roads, often begging for food from locals. Cows are considered sacred by Hindus, and their slaughter is illegal in most parts of the country. Mentions of the sanctity of cattle can be found in many of the oldest Vedic texts, and their milk is often used for the ritualistic bathing of idols.