My visits to National Parks started as a child growing up in Bombay (now Mumbai). I fondly remember the trips to Kanheri caves with my parents. These caves, located in the Borivili National Park (Sanjay Gandhi National Park), were carved out of basaltic rock. They date from the first century BCE to the tenth century CE. The caves had once been Buddhist monasteries. The carvings and inscriptions show the influence of Buddhism in India.

As a child I was fascinated by the scenery that unfolded every time I hiked up the path to the caves. I loved to see the monkeys swinging from the trees, chattering away and mimicking the picnickers. I can still smell the caves in my mind—the smell of bats. Sometimes you could see them flying or hanging in the dark corners. I looked forward to visitors staying with us, as a trip to these caves and a picnic were always on the agenda. A treat indeed!

Years later my love affair with National Parks continued as I started visiting them in the United States with my family. The rich history, differing geology and ecology, all offer an endless opportunity for knowledge and growth. Whether lush and green or brown and desolate, nature in these parks is always at her best – breathtaking and awe-inspiring!