Monday, November 23, 2009


 We started our walk at around 9.30AM on a sunny Sunday morning accompanied by experienced Mr Gupta. Was not sure what to expect. I was told that the forest is full of wide variety of flora and fauna.

Till now there was clear path we were following with woodland around and some people here and there out for morning walk. 

Back to history - Bhooli Bhatyari ka Mahal
Our first destination was Bhooli Bhatyari ka mahal. There are lots of stories attached to this place.

It was the biggest hunting lodge built by Firoz Shah Tughluq (1351-88), third Sultan of the Tughluq dynasty. Built in AD 1354, it lies on the ridge opposite to Karol Bagh's Link Road. The mahal is a rectangular enclosure entered by two gateways on its north-eastern corner. The southern and eastern walls are provided with bastions. 

A sad story in the lap of nature
Mr Gupta was leading us to some place that he didn't disclose. We reached a place that looked like an unused old building from outside. After going in we discovered its a large open air theatre "Rabindra Rangshala".
Conceived and created by Mr Nehru in early 1960s it has a seating capacity of 8000-10000 spectators. It has the 100 x 68 ft. stage that could be modified in three different dimensions proportionate to the needs of the performance. The make-up rooms, green- rooms, costume rooms, rehearsal rooms and workshop for performances flank the stage on both.
But all this is past. Its deserted now. All we could see now was a care taker Chaturvedi ji, some wild Jackals and lots of pigeons. It is in a deplorable condition. Such a huge construction now in ruins. It has hardly witnessed 1 or 2 events since its inception.

The Ridge invaded
We proceeded further to the main attraction of the day. Here a peacock scans the clouds from its vantage point on a tree while an owl hunts for game amongst the thick, thorny shrubs; The ground is golden and the earth wet. "Delhi Ridge" plays host to many such magical moments.
It's a northern extension of ancient Aravalli Range some 1500 million years old (compared to just 50 million for the Himalaya). The Delhi ridge is said to be the green lungs for the city. Its divided into four parts... The part we visited is the central ridge that stretches from south of Sadar Bazaar to Dhaula Kuan. It extends over 864 hectares. Others include Old Delhi (Northern Ridge), Mehrauli (South central Ridge) and Tughlaqabad (Southern Ridge). The area inhibits an astonishing variety of wildlife, including 120 species of plants, 100 species of birds, 25 species of mammals, amphibians, reptiles, and an innumerable species of arthropods.
We were lucky enough to get glimpse of good variety of birds and butterflies; The reptiles were hibernating; And rest of the species... some mammals, amphibians and arthropods were keenly watching us from somewhere but not giving us the chance to spot them.
At first we could hear faint sounds of the city life but after going further deep, the silence of the place made us forget that we are in the heart of a city. All we could hear was chirping of birds and peacocks screaming at times and that's it. The sight of golden ground covered with shrubs was amazing. Sounds, scent and sight of that place made it magical. Its was that magic only that made us walk more than 15 kilomters at a stretch. Another motivation was Mr Gupta. He is 60+ walking ahead of us, lost in nature. Twice I called him out to stop for a while to rest but he seemed to be so lost that he missed it both the times. So I too decided to get lost in the divine nature.

And back to the city
The sounds of city life made us realize that we are hitting the boundry. We made our exit at a place where some young boys were cutting grass for their cattle. Their curious eyes were asking us what were we doing deep inside there... a place that was perhaps the end of the world for them.
And there we saw crowds, buildings... honking, noises... polybags, stinking garbage... cars, traffic... oops we were back to the city.

 P.S. - Would love to get lovely comments from lovely people reading this :)
Read More »

Monday, November 2, 2009

Okhla Bird Sanctuary

It was a beautiful Sunday morning and the plan was to go to Okhla bird sanctuary. The time we decided was 5 am in the morning. All but one were game for it. Nabonita, the lazy one in the lot, wanted to start little late, but we had the majority, so started at 5am. Four of us me, Ani, Dipanjan and Nabonita had made this plan a night before while having coffee on the terrace. Alarms were set and batteries for cameras - A Nikon D 60 and a canon (not sure of the model) put on charging. All ready in jeans n tees n sneakers with cameras ready to shot birds, butterflies, insects and/ or whatever interesting we find on the way or on the spot.
Before reaching, we had some apprehensions about the place as never heard much about it, but all gone after reaching. It was a beautiful, peaceful place where only chirping of birds could be heard.
Sad part was the construction for Mayawati's park going on one side of it. I wonder how can we disturb a place like this for something so stupid.

Some facts about the place:

It is just behind the Kalindi Kunj on Delhi side and just across the main road between NOIDA and Mayur Vihar to the south of Noida Toll Bridge.
Over Three hundred species of birds can be spotted here. The spot is good for birding throughout the year, though best season is during September-March for Winter Migratory Birds.

Had a great time. Our heart fully satisfied but tummy empty. So thought of bothering a Journalist friend of Ani on the way, who might have slept at around 2am because of her odd shift timings. She has shifted recently to this flat of hers and we are going for the first time to her with 2 more guests whom she does not know at all.
Anyways, she greeted us with her beautiful smile inspite of us waking her up from sound sleep at around 7am on a Sunday morning. We were served nice breakfast – tea and poha (a different version though from what I knew till now) and it was really really tasty. Dont know if it was the taste or our grumbling tummies ;)
Thanks Pratigya for a warm welcome and a tasty breakfast!

And that's how we started our Sunday. The rest of the day was spent uploading pics on orkut and fb.
Read More »