By Swanzal Kak Kapoor
“The forest is a peculiar organism of unlimited kindness and benevolence that makes no demands for its sustenance and extends generously the products of its life and activity; it affords protection to all beings”
– Buddhist Sutra
In one corner of Gurgaon, a dream is slowly taking shape. Over 350 acres of scarred land is being slowly restored to a green oasis within our rapidly developing city. For the first time, environmental degradation is being countered and the native Aravali forest that once existed is being reclaimed.
The iamgurgaon team has been working with the Municipal Corporation Gurgaon to nurture the vision of a space that can heal our frayed nerves and help citizens from all walks of life to reconnect with Nature. Truly, the Aravali Biodiversity Park is a home for many lives!
Since its inception on World Environment Day, June 5th, 2010 the park has become a living example of ecological, sustainable design solutions through its stone gabion boundary wall, porous concrete walking paths, water recharging parking lot and much more. Located near the Guru Dronacharya metro station, the park is a window into a world of dramatic cliff faces, softly undulating grasses and the quiet solitude of the natural world.
“The wilderness and the idea of wilderness is one of the permanent homes of the human spirit”
– Joseph Wood Krutch
Over the last four years,65,000 saplings have taken root in the park as part of the milliontreesgurgaon project initiated by iamgurgaon in 2011. Many of these saplings have been grown in our two native plant nurseries at the park supported by Coke and KPMG.
The path has not been easy…guided by naturalist, Vijay Dhasmana, the nursery team has collected seeds from forest nurseries, experimented with different plant propogation methods and aims to grow over 150-200 native Aravali trees, shrubs and climbers. Many of these species are being reintroduced to this part of the Aravalis, having been lost due to environmental degradation.
“ There is always Music amongst the trees in the Garden, but our hearts must be very quiet to hear it.”
– Minnie Aumonier
Along this journey, a large part of the joy has been seeing the fulfillment in the eyes of the many schoolchildren, corporate volunteers and citizens who have experienced the simple joy of planting a tree and connected with the rugged beauty of this beautiful forest in the making, the Aravali Biodiversity Park.
While our dream may take a few years to become a reality, as the saplings grow with each passing year, we urge you to join us: plant a tree, volunteer, help us raise funds. Come and experience the magic of the Park.. let us gift our city a treasure that will keep on giving.