Last summer, I spent many a hot summer Sunday morning yomping round the Aravali Biodiversity Park in Gurgaon with my trekking buddy Sunil Nehru, as we trained for our high altitude trek in Ladakh. Gurgaon might not be all that hilly, but we found the park a great place to train, as my review said at the time.
Fast forward almost a year, and Sunil, his delightful wife Nina and I met up last Sunday for a yomp. They are going off on a trek later this month, I am planning a climb in August, so with our backpacks on, we did 3 rounds of the park. Quite like old times.
But, sad to say, it’s not q-u-i-t-e as unspoilt as last year.
There is more barbed wire than I had remembered.
Plus a nice new perimeter wall, which is good. But for some reason, fancy metal gates have been installed at several points along the path (I’d actually seen this back in January when I came running here) but now they have been semi-chained and padlocked – the way the grills outside nationalised banks are – which meant we rucksacked folks had a bit of a struggle to get through. As did everyone on a bike. You squeeze through, precariously, one at a time.
Don’t see the point of chaining the gates.
Other than that, the sunrise was every bit as lovely as I had remembered.
No nilgai or jungle cat this time, but flowers.
And, of course, Sunil’s famous jam butties.
We always have a picnic breakfast thanks to him, and (I suspect) that British Public School education he received as a teenager, which must have marked him for life.
As on every occasion I have visited this great public facility, I felt perfectly safe. It is clean by any objective standards and by Delhi/Gurgaon standards it is spotless.
I especially love the views, below – for a few minutes as you crest this slope, you really do not feel you are in a crowded city at all.
It was amazingly green on Sunday, despite the heat – doubtless the result of the rain we had in March. Gardeners were out at work, there is a massive drip irrigation system in place, which will be brilliant when the summer really takes hold.
All you Gurgaon people – get out and enjoy a facility that is on your doorstep, that is free, and that is clean and safe. It is rare to have such a wilderness space, so use it and cherish it.