City Hangout – Ridge Watching, Between Dhaula Kuan and Delhi Aerocity
Into the forest.
[Text and photos by Mayank Austen Soofi]
Not everybody strongly senses the presence of that amazing rocky jungle running through the very heart of Delhi.
Known as the “Ridge”, it’s a part of the ancient Aravalli mountain range. And not at all easy to manage by foot or even by road.
So, how do you get to experience this jungle?
Well, the easiest course of action would be to glimpse it in parts of the North Campus of the Delhi University and also in the sprawling campus of Jawaharlal Nehru University.
A far better alternative is the Airport Express Line on the Delhi Metro—believe it or not. And you get to enjoy a truly breathtakingly panoramic view.
There’s this patch between Dhaula Kuan and Delhi Aerocity stops where the super-sleek train emerges into daylight on elevated tracks, built straight through the so-named Central Ridge Reserve Forest.
The area is so magnificently dense with trees and bushes (with nothing man-made to be spotted anywhere) that Delhi simply disappears amid this stunning sight. As if some evil fairy tale magician waved a wand and all the buildings and all the people went choo-mantar. All you see are treetops. Since the weather is a tad misty this morning it looks like an abstract painter’s canvas in progress: Each tree a brush stroke.
Gazing upon this remarkable scene, you might well wonder what it all would have looked like, if somebody had forgotten to build Delhi in the first place.
If you’re travelling along the airport-bound route you’ll note that the unhindered wilds are preceded by a semi-jungle where you’ll spot two famous 5-star hotels, looking as though they’d been airdropped into the middle of a forest.
The metro’s overland journey lasts for less than ten minutes. This means that the window-views of the forest last just long enough to amaze you into the realisation that what a fantastic city you are a part of.
Through the jungle