Incredible as it may sound, these were clicked right in the heart of New Delhi, otherwise a conjested metropolis with crazy traffic. But there are pieces of green in the city where you can spot a rare shrub or flower, colourful birds and more…
It is not necessary to go to a wildlife park or a reserved forest area to see the wealth of animal and plant life in India where there is huge bio diversity because of the differences in geography and weather across a country that is bigger than Europe. Even a metro like Delhi has enough green spaces and walks where you can indulge in some bird watching, watch the antics of monkeys or squirrels, watch a peacock unfurl its colourful plumage in all its splendor and even spot a deer or two. In East Delhi, where I live, it is quite common to, in fact, find a peacock dancing away when it rains and we often hear cries of a young one or one calling its mate. Similarly, colleagues from my office take their morning walks in “Sanjay Van”, “forest” that sits in the midst of a very crowded urban neighourhood. When I walk a couple of blocks to my office from where I park my car, it is past a Muslim graveyard and haunting aside, there is every chance of meeting up with monkeys and sloths.
Contrary to all perceptions and expectations, Delhi is quite a city to walk through. The Delhi ridge borders the north and west of the capital, and though depleted and threatened by reckless construction, it is still very green and thick with growth — at least in parts. The ridge is a part of the Aravali mountains and protects the city from hot, dry winds from the desert of Rajasthan during summer, and also helps bring in rain by blocking the monsoon clouds. Walk into the green and idyllic campus of the Jawaharlal University, and you’ll find portions of a very green ridge. There are ancient trees and caves around which students sit sipping tree from the Ganga Dhaba and watching airplanes take off (the airport is fairly close). This is also the spot for any one interested in a bit of photography—like my colleague Amit Ranjan Rai whose brilliant pictures you see here.
You can wander through the gardens of Humayun’s Tomb, the final resting place of the great Mughal, full of many small architecturally significant buildings too, and a place as charming (or perhaps more) as the Taj Mahal. You can go to the Delhi Zoo, not just to see those poor zebras and giraffes in captivity but to also walk unbridled through trailing paths around the Old Fort dating back to medieval times, and finally if you are a “power walker”, you can thrive on walking in the Lodhi Gardens (once again full of picturesque ruins and tombs belonging to the Lodhi dynasty that ruled India in the 14th-15th cen). Many of Delhi’s influential and famous people walk here regularly.