Sultanpur Bird Sanctuary- An Oasis in Concrete Jungle of Gurgaon
We live in concrete and glass jungle called Gurgaon the city that encroached on the fertile lands of Haryana, taking over one field at a time. Most of the ponds that enriched the water table were filled with the construction debris and the oldest mountain range in the world Aravalis was brutally mutilated by the mining lobby. But among all this lies the Sultanpur bird sanctuary in Gurgaon on the other side of the highway close to ancestral village of Nawab of Pataudi. Sultanpur bird sanctuary is a less famous compared to its cousin of the more illustrious and famous Keoladeo National Park in Bharatpur, but is still amazing that it is surviving in the city of Gurgaon. I am sure in a few years it will be within municipal limits of Gurgaon city ( it might already be for all you know)
In December I read an article in one of the newspaper about birds flocking to the sanctuary as the rainfall has been good. I decided to go their with my elder daughter, now since some of her cousins were visiting us during the winter vacation. All the kids were very exited at the idea of visiting a bird sanctuary and see some birds in their natural habitat. The youngest of them being our daughter who was yet to turn 7 and the oldest was her cousin around 12.
So a day before the visit the kids asked me all kind of questions about the trip and I was amazed at some of the questions:
• How much time it will take to reach there.
• Would there be any tigers , bear or Fox in the jungle
• Are we going to catch bird flu by going to a bird sanctuary
• Are we allowed to feed to the birds
• Can we touch them
• Would the birds be knowing some tricks
• What all birds we will see in Sultanpur Bird Sanctuary
The 3 moms (my wife and here 2 sisters) were surprised on learning our plans and were not very enthusiastic at the idea. You can’t blame 3 young mothers of not trusting a man who wants to take their kids to see birds around 5 in the morning (so what if one of the mothers is my wife and one of the kids is my own?)
It took a lot of persuasion on the kid’s part so that the mothers will allow the kids to come with me. So in the evening we packed our camera, binoculars, wafers, biscuits, juice packets etc.
All the kids were up and ready to go before me in the morning around 5 am (Question: Where is this enthusiasm when they have to get ready for school?) The moms packed some cheese sandwiches to be devoured by hungry kids once they get tired of all the bird watching and trekking in the sanctuary.
When we left our apartment in the morning around 5:15 it was still dark and foggy but we decided to go ahead and watch the birds with the sun coming up. I have already taken a printout of the route from the internet. But we are a long way from reaching the refinement that you find in the maps that are available for the US cities. Any ways the road was bumpy and dark and we had to stop and ask for directions multiple times. It was tough to concentrate what with all the kids insisting on telling their stories to each other leading to multiple stories being told at the same time. But I really enjoyed the fact that each one of them was trying to get my attention I never felt more important in my life.
On both side of the road to Sultanpur Bird Sanctuary we saw boards of more construction coming up from all the builders operating in NCR of Delhi and Gurgaon. We saw hoardings from various builders and I was wondering what will happen to the lush green fields on which the hoardings were erected. More concrete jungle is taking over the green fields. Finally we reached the bird sanctuary and parked the car. There on the entrance was one gentleman wearing a thick shawl and smoking under the no smoking sign indicating that the Sultanpur Bird Sanctuary is open for business. We bought the tickets and entered the precinct of the sanctuary.
Entry Fee to Sultanpur Bird Sanctuary:
40 per person for foreigners
10 per person for camera ( no charges for Cell phone Camera )
500 per person for video
Here is a more recent post on our next trip with Kids to Sultanpur Bird Sanctuary.