The old forts, buildings and monuments of Delhi, an epitome of its textured past, come to mind when you talk about places to visit around the city. Rich narratives of how the city transformed as power went from one dynasty to the other, often with a lot of bloodshed, dominate the storytelling here. However despite this overpowering flavor of history, with its weathered forts and their ramparts which mutely stand amidst the modern and mostly indifferent surroundings, our national capital territory does offer much more. In between the triangle of Delhi, Gurgaon and Faridabad is Asola where I had gone for a trek organized by “Delhi By Foot” few months back, a departure from the more famous landmarks.
As per the instructions on the page of “Delhi By Foot” the group had assembled in the parking lot of Manav Rachna International school in Surajkund. At the designated time, our caravan of vehicles, led by our trip’s organizer Ramit, had started to head towards the point from we would start the trek. It however had come to a standstill within a few minutes. Bholi, a resident of the village situated on the edge of the arid forests of Aravali had got late, he was the one to guide us through the forest. There was time to catch a cup of tea, wake up properly on a Sunday morning. Almost at the point when we would have got restless Bholi arrived, with a wide smiling face he apologized for being late and got us going again. Only a few kilometers inside the Surajkund – Delhi road we reached the point from where the trek was to begin.
We had left our cars behind, slowly the group headed into the forest mainly comprising of thorny bushes and trees. The terrain was ok with not many steep slopes to negotiate. The signs of urban life were left behind with even the cellular network giving us a miss at some points. A few kilometers into the trek some of the members had started feeling the brunt of the sun. There were some groans and whispers of impatience but the group soldiered on. Bholi kept egging us on by saying that we did not have to walk much further.
We were actually heading to one of the lakes which have been formed in this area after a prohibition was put on mining in order to safeguard the ecological balance of the Aravali range. The pits which were once dug up by the miners have now been filled up by water, forming the hidden lakes of Asola. While we marched on some people ran past us, I realized that there were markers all around , a marathon was going on. I don’t know about others but I was embarrassed at my fitness after looking at these runners. Suddenly there was a spring in my step , if they could run I could certainly walk a little faster. So there was us on a trek and these runners and there were the women from the nearby villages who were out to get some wood for their Chulha, the contrast could not have been wider. Leisure, competition and livelihood all at the same place, only the profile of the seeker changed. There were places where we stopped on the way, like a small hillock of white sand where climbing up and sliding down it ( as some chose to do ) was a break welcomed by all. After a walk of a nearly an hour we finally descended a slope which took us to a pretty little lake tucked away in these hills with mini beach of its own. The munchies and snacks were out as we refilled ourselves for the walk back. The tranquility of this neat little space which somehow has been carved out could not be ignored amidst all the chatter. There was water , there was sand and there was greenery around, in mid of nowhere the spot was perfect for a picnic.(Always advisable in a large group though with someone who knows the way around here). After spending sometime at this wonderful and obscure manmade lake Bholi led us back. The hunger pangs now motivated us to reach the end of our trek where a sumptuous breakfast awaited us. Another hour of walking and we reached a building where we were treated with delicious Parathas and Chatnis made by one of the villagers. Overall it was a pretty satisfactory day where I burnt some calories , explored a new location and rounded it all off with a perfect meal.
Courtesy: Delhi By Foot