During the three years of my stay in Gurgaon, not even once did I hear of this place. Every weekend, I would wake up & make new plans to spend all of my hard-earned salary & some of that of my parents. And yet I would end up exploring the pubs, the movie theatres, some cafes & shopping malls. Our office trips began & ended with Cyber hub. And I couldn’t move beyond Sector 29 & Galleria market barring occasional visits to movie theatres, restaurants on Golf course road & a few malls. Pretty standard. Quite mundane actually. A lot like assembly line fun (because this is what every other person in Gurgaon does).
Little did I know that there existed a calming place only 45 mins away from the glitz and glamour of Cyber Hub in Gurgaon, and it’s called Sultanpur Bird Sanctuary – home to birds, both residential & migratory. Not that I would have done much about it if I had known about this place back in 2013; it’s a loss anyway. Back then, neither I had the interest nor the wits. Now? Can’t say much about the wits even now, but I sure got an interest.
By the way, fun fact – did you know that Sultanpur was named after the Rajput ruler, Sultan Singh Chauhan, who belongs to the lineage of the great Prithviraj Chauhan. Sultanpur park, however, looks nothing like its name suggests. It’s a quiet bird sanctuary where you can easily spend a day walking & roaming trying to catch a glimpse of grassland birds, or spend hours watching & shooting (via camera) the waterbirds.
You can’t miss the Painted Storks & Cormorants
As you enter the park and walk for 10 mins., you will reach the spot from where you can watch hundreds of painted storks doing all sorts of stuff – collecting twigs for their nests, feeding their kids or just generally flying. Painted storks are often found in wetlands (which is why it’s easy to spot them), and nest in colonies on trees (which is why you can spot hundreds of them). If you have to choose a bird to demonstrate collaboration in diversity for your office assignment, this is your bird. You can see plenty of other waterbirds living with painted storks in harmony, like a big & happy project team where everyone cares about shared success & not about who’s getting how many rewards. 😉
Go for a walk with your binoculars & stay hopeful
Other than Painted storks & Cormorants, the place is full of interesting & beautiful birds such as Red Munia (oh, so beautiful, I wish I had a dress like her plumage), Coots (so many of them), White-throated kingfisher, Black-headed ibis, shoveller, Grey Heron & Oriental Magpie Robin.
You can see shovellers, coots, little grebes, ibis along with painted storks & cormorants in the same area. Jackpot, right?
You can find yourself a nice spot, park yourself there, forget that you have a smartphone, resist the temptation to Google every bird you spot or notice & spend time – birding. Simply birding! It’s some sort of meditation that they haven’t yet discovered. It’s soothing & it’s calming. Do we need anything more? Maybe internet. Or friends. Or a cure for loneliness perhaps. 😀
But really, you won’t need anything more there at least for a couple of hours.
By the way, every now & then, you will see an antelope bombing your photos – our very own Nilgai. They are mostly harmless unless you are really encroaching on their inner circle or it’s not your lucky day.
If you have the patience or the curiosity for it, do pay a visit to Sultanpur Bird Sanctuary, you would be surprised. If you need more reason than this, get a load of this: Sultanpur has recently been named a Ramsar site. In case you don’t know, it’s a big, big deal almost like you getting an award from your CEO, or getting your name on your company’s wall of fame. Over 250 species of migratory birds & hundreds of residential birds are found in Sultanpur. People from Delhi NCR, Gurgaon, do plan a weekend here, you will get to do something new, something interesting.
Or if nothing else, this is at least a new hobby to add to your profile. Till when will you continue to write – reading, writing, travelling & making music – as your hobbies on your resume?! 😀