Nilgai Forest Trail
A 90km single-loop through the forests of Delhi, Faridabad and Gurugram to capture the natural essence of the entire NCR.
The Nilgai Forest Trail is a continuous 90-km long route connecting local forests and trails in the Indian NCR. The route, which is also the longest continuous running loop in NCR, is part of The Nilgai Trails Project by CapitalTrails.
Through this route, we aim to create awareness among outdoor enthusiasts on the natural beauty of the region. The NCR is home to diverse species of flora and fauna - domesticated as well as wild - and through this route, one can get a first-hand experience of the blooming biodiversity this region has to offer.
The route also offers picturesque sights of lakes formed in reclaimed mining pits, sunrise views through the low-lying hills, green valleys and wildlife corridors, and gorgeous skyline views of some of the surrounding cities.
The entire route has been mapped with runnable trails that bypass access or permit related issues (as of March 2022). Key landmark sites of the region, such as beautiful lakes, green corridors etc. have been included to enrich the experience.
The route starts at gate #2 of the Sanjay Van forest near the rear gate of Indian Institute of Foreign Trade at Qutub Institutional Area. Entering Sanjay Van, the initial section is over the historic Lalkot fort bastion. From Sanjay Van, the route goes southeast towards Mittal Gardens, another protected green area which opens up into Maidangarhi village. Via the Maidangarhi area, the route continues southeast to enter Tilpath Valley and move towards Asola Wildlife Sanctuary. Till this point, this route follows the Nilgai City Trail, before diverging and moving further south at Bharadwaj Lake. The route runs along the boundary sections of the sanctuary, moving further south towards Manger and then to Panikot Lake via the village of Kot. The next stop is Damdama Lake, which is the southernmost point on the loop. From Damdama Lake, the route takes a turn north towards the city of Gurugram. Exiting the trail at The Dome cricket ground in Alahawas, the first long road section needs to be covered at this point to get to the Wazirabad-Chakkarpur Bundh EcoRestoration Trail. At the Chakkarpur exit, the route connects to the Sunset Boulevard road and moves towards Aravalli Biodiversity Park in Gurugram. The trail will continue further north via the Rajokri forest and lead to the Aravalli Biodiversity Park in New Delhi. The final section back to Sanjay Van and the start location is by the main road around the Jawaharlal Nehru University northern boundary.
JNU Northern Boundary
Nelson Mandela Road, Baba Gangnath Road, Aruna Asaf Ali Road
Vasant Kunj Institutional Area, Aravali Biodiversity Park (Delhi)
Aravali Biodiversity Park (Gurugram), Rajokri Forest, Sultan Garhi
Gurugram-Faridabad Road, MG Road
Eco Restoration Trail
Wazirabad Bundh, Chakkarpur Bundh
Golf Course Road
Golf Course Extension Road, Golf Course Road
Damdama Lake, Rithoj, Kadarpur, Alahawas
Summer Sprint, Dhouj Rocks, Kot, Panikot Lake, Manger
Pali Stone Crusher Zone, Mohatabad Stone Crusher Zone
Asola Bhatti Wildlife Sanctuary, Bharadwaj Lake, Sanjay Colony
IGNOU Road, Tilpath Valley Biodiversity Park, Sangam Vihar
Sanjay Van, Qila LalKot, MG Road, Mittal Gardens
Things to Know
In the true spirit of FKTs worldwide, this should be attempted with careful planning. The FKT may be attempted as unsupported, self-supported or fully-supported; individually or as a group; in accordance with the FKT guidelines. Here are some pointers to assist in planning the FKT attempt(s):
Gates: There are 3 parks on the course and each may have different open and close timings depending on the season - this information can be found online. Additionally, there may be barriers on the Sangam Vihar and Rajokri trails as these are reserved forests.
Permissions: The entire course is open and its segments are used on a daily basis by locals. However, there is a tendency for barriers to be sprung up randomly as some of these areas are reserved forests.
Direction: The route/FKT may be attempted clockwise or anti-clockwise. Both have their own advantages and disadvantages arising out of various logistics. The route can also be started from any point on the loop.
Terrain: The course is relatively flat and the terrain is mostly non-technical. However, there will be bushes, thorns, loose stones, rocks and gravel that you’ll encounter. Expect slushfests if attempting this in the monsoons.
Time: It is best to avoid certain forested areas after it gets dark. It is also best to avoid road connections once it gets dark. It is advised to start early and choose a start point that ensures avoiding night-time running in risky areas.
Safety: The route is generally safe for men and women. However, it is always advised that you be alert and carry your own personal safety gear at all times. It is also recommended that any first attempt on this route be made in a group of at least 2 runners.
Wildlife: There are wildlife corridors along the route and you’re more than likely to encounter birds and animals in the wild. While most of them are harmless, do watch out for the tricky ones - monkeys, snakes and leopards. Yes, there are leopards here and even though they’re active only in the night, the entire Asola Bhatti, Manger and Damdama forests need to be traversed with utmost caution.
Villages: The route is home to many villages. For many of these locals, you may appear as a spectacle. You may be looked at, laughed at, enquired about your backpack (or oxygen tank, as the locals call it here), but never met with hostility unless you end up intruding their private spaces. It is advised that you greet and treat them with respect, as you’re the one passing through their territory. An eye contact with a ‘namaste’ and a smile will go a long way.
Climate: This region is home to extreme heat, cold and rains. Even in cold weather, the attempt will get painful as there’s minimal tree cover in the forests.
Amenities: The checkpoints on the route are all accessible by a car or cabs, and are well connected to shops and basic amenities. If doing a fully-supported attempt, these may be used by your crew. If doing self-supported, you may find small shops for water, candy, chocolates etc.
Traffic: Unfortunately, at this scale, roads and traffic are unavoidable. There are 4 road segments, and all of them have heavy or fast-moving traffic all day long. It is advised that you run facing the incoming traffic and carry enough illuminated equipment (reflective clothing, headlamp, tail lamp etc.). Wherever available, run on the sidewalk or the cycling lanes and not on the main road. If you see traffic on the wrong side, stop immediately and do not try to out-manoeuvre them.
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