City Hangout – Ranji Jhansi Park, Mehrauli
A dreamworld of grass and ruins.
[Text and photos by Mayank Austen Soofi]
It isn’t every day new parks in Delhi make their debut.
But this setup in South Delhi’s Mehrauli village frankly feels like a little Lodhi Garden next door. You’re within touching distance of ruined monuments if you aren’t just lolling about—an enticing enterprise here in pleasant Rani Jhansi Park.
“I used to spend hours hanging around in the adjacent archaeology park,” explains teenager Vikas, who’s taking it very easy. “But now I just like being here!” he says, running his hands lazily over the wet grass.
Vikas is of course referring to the Mehrauli Archaeology Park just across this garden, that’s crammed with monuments from Delhi’s long history. But somehow, the new park feels more amenable, in his opinion.
A bunch of boys are now spotted playing ludo on their cellphones, totally oblivious to the unknown graves scattered around them. Scores of women are lounging about, too, in sharp contrast to the archeology park where they felt uncomfortable, particularly after sunset.
Until very recently this sloped area was thick with thorny Keekar trees. With upper branches heavily burdened by garbage hurled by locals from their kitchen windows nearby.
But now, a brand-new park. As the sun slowly sets, scores more citizens are enticed to its garish-green; their world somehow feels like a better place.
The hyperlocal Lodhi Garden