The Delhi Ridge, an extension of the Aravalli Hill Range in the National Capital Territory (NCT) of Delhi is a rocky hilly, forested area which lends a unique geographic character to Delhi. It is also called the green lungs of the city, lowering the effects of pollution & providing a natural green belt to the city.
The Delhi Ridge is the tail end of the ancient Aravalli Hills, which are around 1500 million years old & stretches around 800 Kms from the State of Gujarat, through Rajasthan & Haryana & finally ends at Delhi. It is home to a wide variety of flora & fauna native to the Delhi region, preserving the ecological biodiversity of the NCR.
Divided into Four Zones
The Ridge in Delhi has been segregated into 4 Zones for administrative purposes:
The Northern Ridge (also called Old Delhi) comprises of the area near Delhi University. It is approximately 87 Hectares and was declared a reserve forest in 1915.
The Central Ridge (also called New Delhi) consists of around 864 Hectares of forested area, from south of Sadar Bazaar to Dhaula Kuan. This was declared a Reserve forest in 1914.
The South-Central Ridge (also called Mehrauli) consists of 633 Hectares of forested land around the Sanjay Vana area, near Jawaharlal Nehru University (JNU).
The Southern Ridge (also called Tughlaqabad) consisting of 6200 Hectares is the biggest area of the Delhi Ridge. This area includes the Asola-Bhatti Wildlife Sanctuary. All the 4 Zones make up for a total area of approximately 7784 Hectares spread over the entire city in different patches.
Plenty of Wildlife
The Asola-Bhatti Wildlife Sanctuary, near Tughlaqabad in South Delhi is the best protected area of the Delhi Ridge. This wildlife sanctuary is the best showcase of the ridge's flora & fauna; most of Delhi’s region’s native tree & plant species can be found here along with around 200 species of animals (including mammals, birds, butterflies & insects). Some of the animals which were in abundance in Delhi around a 100 years back can now only be found in the Asola area such as Nilgai, Blackbuck, Black Naped Hare, Porcupines, Civets, Jackals & Jungle cats.
The forest department of Delhi has set up a conservation Education Centre (CEC) to encourage awareness & also disseminate information on the rich biodiversity of this wildlife sanctuary & the Delhi Ridge. In order to conserve more areas of the ridge, the Delhi Govt in association with the DDA has developed the Aravalli Biodiversity Park on the South-Central ridge, covering an area of 692 Acres. The park is rich in native tree species & birds. The Delhi Govt also plans to develop similar parks in the future at other ridges.
The Delhi Ridge is one of the best places to get away from the urban life within the city itself. There are a number of nature groups which lead walks in the winter & monsoon seasons. So don’t miss out & take a walk into the wild side of the city at the Delhi Ridge.