The Nilgai City Trail is a 35km loop that connects the entire forest belt that lies at the southern boundary of New Delhi. The loop is a mix of trails and roads, with a total of over 70% of the route on wild rocky, dusty, thorny jungle trails. The Nilgai City Trail is also a historical route as it goes through forests, forts and establishments that date back to the periods between the 8th and the 14th centuries AD and form 4 of the 7 historical 'cities of Delhi'.
The route goes through the following key forests and areas:
- Sanjay Van / Qila Lal Kot - a historical forest in the heart of New Delhi, which also happens to be the very first establishment of Delhi as a city. The forest houses ruins of fort walls that date back to the 8th century AD.
- Mittal Garden - little-known forest that exists on the borders of another historical establishment of Delhi - Qila Rai Pithora - most well-known as being the seat of the ruler Prithviraj Chauhan who was at the heart of the battles and conflicts that started a string of invasions of Delhi and, eventually, the whole of India.
- Maidangarhi - an old village/settlement in South Delhi that acts as a bridge between multiple forests.
- Tilpath Valley / Asola - the latest in the series of biodiversity parks of Delhi, Tilpath Valley offers spectacular views and running trails amidst the green cover.
- Bhatti Mines - one of the most popular trail running destinations of Delhi; abandoned mining pits that have given way to some pretty awesome lakes in the area. Also known as Bhatti Lakes, these trails host the oldest annual trail/ultra running event in India - the Bhatti Lakes Ultra.
- Tughlakabad - another historical area, the main attraction being the fort that dates back to the 14th century as the city that seated the Tughlaq dynasty.
- Jahanpanah Forest - another city forest (probably the only forest with a road) that dates back to the same time as the Tughlaq dynasty.
- Saket / Khirki - though this is a road section, it's a perfect vision of Delhi as a balance of the modern and the historical. With the swanky malls on one side and the Khirki village, dating back to the city of Siri from the 14th century and filled with artful expression, the otherwise monotonous 6km road gives a great sense of pride and belongingness in the modern city of New Delhi.
The Nilgai Trails have been conceptualised and mapped by Kshitish Purohit and Nakul Butta, co-founders of Delhi NCR’s largest trail running community, CapitalTrails. The Nilgai Trail Project aims at developing new routes and connections between the different green areas of the region in the hope of getting people outdoors for recreation, appreciation, conservation and competition in the National Capital Region of India.
More details can be found on the The Nilgai City Trail here.