A Sunday Walk With Dilli Meri Jaan

Other than the fact that the walkers have to take a Delhi metro to participate, not much else is sacrosanct about a #DelhibyMetro Walk. Of course it’s not completely random. We do start with an objective and destination. We do a decent amount of research. We have a planned itinerary, till the walk begins! At which point, we tend to go where the road takes us…This time we set out to watch fruit-bats on Janpath Road. IMG_20160905_123030140They roost on gigantic Arjun trees and seem to be wide awake in the day. We started walking from Central Secretariat Metro Station, just so that we could walk down Rajpath and allow ourselves, to wander off here and there. There is a metro station ( Udyog Bhawan) right next to the Fruit bat trees but where’s the fun of starting exactly where the destination is. So we sighed at the magnificent Rashtrapati Bhawan (President’s House) and “ooh”ed at the India Gate for the millionth time, on our way. Then we came upon the Archaeological Survey of India (ASI) Office and it’s bookstore.

This is just next to the National Museum and the bookstore has a permanent 40% discount. One of my favourite Delhi books, is the ASI – Aga Khan Trust funded book on Humayun’s Tomb for children. It helps you appreciate the 7 cities of Delhi through gorgeous illustrations by Anitha Balachandran. (Trivia Bomb: Did you know that ASI restored the Ta Prohm (Tomb Raider temple ) in Angkor Wat complex?)

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A goal-oriented walker persistently pointed out that we were walking to see the fruit bats, so we resumed our walk. One could hear the bats screeching just as one exited ASI Head Office and turn left. We all got all excited seeing their enormous wings and their unique fox like faces and stared at them as they fought, chased monkeys, and saved themselves from kites. As the crisp pre-autumn wind blew, we sat on a pavement shaded by Arjun trees; it seemed like a lovely way to spend a Sunday morning.

The author, Jayati Talapatra, is part of Team – Alpaviram, and promotes exploring Delhi responsibly through Alpaviram’s City Outreach initiative in Delhi, India – Dilli Meri Jaan. Ask her for customized walks at dillimeriijaan@gmail.com or ekalpaviram@gmail.com.

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