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Delhi Ridge

This is located in the Territory of the National Capital and is believed to be in existence for about 1500 million years as against the Himalayas which have been existing for about 500 million years. The Ridge originates in the Aravalli mountain range and it is just an extension to the northern area of the mountain rage. The ridge runs for a distance of around 35km and contains quartzite rocks all along its way. At the Bhatti mines, this Ridge extends from the south eastern regions. It does not follow a clear direction and keeps wavering on the river banks of Yamuna near Wazirabad.

This Ridge is often referred as the “green lungs” of Delhi as it shields the place from the scorching heat waves from the desert areas of nearby Rajasthan. It is also because of this Ridge, that many birds visit the place thereby making Delhi second richest in the world in terms of number of birds, second only to Nairobi in Kenya.

Geographical Segments

There are four main zones that the Ridge is categorised into for operational reasons. They are explained below:

  • Old Delhi or Northern Ridge - This is the smallest portion of the Ridge. In 1915, there were around 170 hectares of reserved forest land here, but today, only 87 hectares remain. The Delhi Development Authority (DDA) plans to convert this into a Biodiversity Park. This is located on the areas near the hills of Delhi University.
  • New Delhi or Central Ridge - Though originally of 864 hectares in 1914 when it was converted into a reserved forest, today, one can notice some parts of lands have eroded away. This extends from the southern area of Sadar Bazaar to Dhaula Kuan.
  • Mehrauli or South Central Ridge - This was originally of 633 hectares, but now, large portions of lands have been taken over by inhabitants and traders. This is located in close proximity to Jawaharlal Nehru University, on Sanjay Vana.
  • Tughlaqabad or Southern Ridge - This is the biggest segment and encompasses over 6200 hectares. The farmlands here are village and private owned and it is home to the Bhatti and Asola wildlife sanctuaries.

Plenty of Wildlife

In the Southern portion of the Delhi Ridge, the Asola-Bhatti wildlife sanctuaries are there. These are well located in the densest areas and it highly shielded. It contains some of the rich varieties of flora and fauna. In addition to this, around 200 different and rare species of animals, mammals, birds, insects, butterflies etc. are housed here. The Jungle Cats, Jackals, Civets, Porcupines, Nilgai, Blackbuck, Black Naped Hare etc. were some of the species that were in plenty around a century ago, but these have gone rare now. These rare varieties too can be spotted at these sanctuaries.

Various Initiatives

To encourage awareness about the importance of wildlife, flora and fauna conversation, the forest development department of Delhi has set up Conservation Education Centre at such important places. In order to avoid public infiltration and to ensure that the wildlife and all other rare species of animals and birds are safely housed within the remote walls of the forest, the Government of Delhi, Forest Department and DDA have joined hands to set up the Aravalli Biodiversity Park on a sprawling 692 acres. This can be found on the south central portion of the Delhi Ridge. There are interesting and rare varieties of birds here and there are also plans to set up many more parks of this sort to protect the wildlife of the place.

This is the perfect place to unwind after a hard day’s work that goes in maddening pace in a mechanical environment. One can indulge in group walking sessions during winters and monsoons to feel rejuvenated physically as well as mentally.

Aravali Biodiversity Park

This park is a result of the joint effort of the Government of Delhi and DDA. This is set up on an area of 692 acres on the South Central portion of the ridge on the Aravalli mountain range. The JNU, Mehrauli – Mahipalpur Road, NH8, Vasant Vihar’s southern boundary etc. are some of the areas within the vicinity of the park. The authorities maintain this park very well and spend a considerable amount on this every year as part of development and maintenance.

The area in which the park is now situated was once exclusively used for mining by Martha Shinde. He had a license to mine almost 75% of the land and he used it extensively. He utilised all the natural resources of the land. All the resources that the land provided like minerals, mica, water, rocks, sand, stone etc. was used by him and what was once a very fertile land full of greenery, became a barren land with heaps of rocks and stones everywhere. That is why, there arose a need of planting native plants in a very systematic way in the lands so that there is uniform greenery everywhere and all unnecessary growth of grass or weeds are cut off. Around 10 ecosystems and 40 biotic communities were put into practice in the park by scientists from the Centre for Environmental Management of Degraded Ecosystems.

The part of the park which is located in Gujarat is green and fertile however; in the south central part of the ridge the land is still barren due to the impact of increased effects of mining that happened in the earlier days. Therefore the Delhi Government works in tandem with DDA to ensure that native plants are planted in such a way to develop the local flora and fauna. The Anogeissus pendula, commonly known as Dhau, Acacia nilotica, commonly known as Babul, Capparis decidua, commonly known as Kair and Butea monosperma, commonly known as Dhak are planted here systematically. One can find different varieties of butterflies, fernery and orchidarium here.

The Aravalli is one of the oldest mountain ranges in the world and it has been in existence since 1500 million years.  It covers Gujarat, Haryana, Rajasthan and Delhi. It is in Delhi that the extensions of Aravalli mountain range are known Delhi Ridge and it is divided into northern, central, southern and south central ridges. The Aravali Biodiversity Park was aptly inaugurated on June 5th (World Environment Day) during 2010.

Historical Monuments in North Ridge

There are many monuments with a rich history along the northern ridge which belongs to the Kamala Nehru Forest. They are:

  • Ashoka Pillar - These pillars are strewn across the northern areas of the country. There are total 19 pillars and the columns of these pillars have Ashoka’s edicts inscribed strongly on them. Out of the 19 pillars, two can be seen along the Northern Ridge in Delhi. In 1356, these pillars are believed to have been brought to Delhi from their original locations of Meerut and Topra by Feroz Shah Tughlaq.
  • Flagstaff Tower - This was set up in the year 1828 by Indian Army during the British rule in the campus of the prestigious Delhi University. This was originally a signal tower and played a great role during the siege of 1857 as it provided shelter to many British families who sought refuge in the room of the tower.
  • Pir Gharib - This was constructed by Feroz Shah Tughlaq and is located along the Northern Ridge. This initially served as an observatory and a hunting lodge during the 14th century.

General Information

  • Location - One can find the Ridge in close proximity to the Bhatti mines and it is on the south eastern direction of Tughlakabad.
  • Time to Visit - It is open for public viewing all through the week.
  • Preferred Timings - To get maximum view from the Ridge, one must visit this place anytime between 10AM and 4PM.
  • Admission Fee - One can view the Delhi Ridge free of cost.
  • Photography Charges - Tourists are not charged for taking pictures of the Ridge.
  • How to Reach Delhi Ridge - The ridge is well connected with other major cities as there are lots of bus services that are quite frequent. Auto-rickshaws, taxis, metro rails etc. can help tourists to reach the Ridge.
  • Nearest Railway Station - The New Delhi Railway station is the one that is very close to the Delhi Ridge
  • Nearest Metro Station - The metro station that is very close to the Delhi Ridge is Rajiv Chowk station.

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