Forum > Nature Trails > Sultanpur Bird Sanctuary, Gurgaon

Posted by Shashi Kant Sharma on January 27, 2013

Have been visiting the Sultanpur Bird Sanctuary since the late 70's. Today, the 27 January, 2013 we visited it again to spend some time birding in the company of some old colleagues and friends - all retired/semi-retired.
A much anticipated outing since this is the time for many migratories being seen at the sanctuary. Experienced mixed emotions - driving on roads much improved from the old times and getting to the Sanctuary in much less time than in the old times. We noticed how a new Manesar-Dwarka Expressway has resulted in miles and miles of lands being taken over by Colonizers, big and small. Drive to Sultanpur was almost entirely through an already congested/inhabited area. Gone was the romance of driving to the place on muddy roads, raising clouds of dust in the wake of my car as used to be the case in the 70's. Today it felt as if we were in Sultanpur, having hardly got out of the urbanised/much colonized area (an extension of old/new Gurgaon thanks to the Manesar-Dwarka Expressway). 
We were among large groups inside the Sanctuary itself as well and the parking place provided was choc-a-block with the latest models of cars. families inside the sanctuary wielded the latest DSLR cameras (one with each member of the family) .................In the 70's I recollected having gone to Sultanpur from Delhi and stayed in the tourist huts for a weekend...the experience was that of visiting a Sanctuary far from the madding crowd and stay in the hut was in sync with that feeling....................Today things have changed, smoother roads, flyovers providing access, lots of festive tents both sides of the roads (sales/marketing offices put up by Colonizers for prospective buyers).......... So did I expreience the quietitude and peace of old times while driving to the sanctuary or walking  around the lake inside. We did see many more birds and also a Cobra and took many photographs.......our mood fluctuated from happy, relaxed,  worrisome, 'happy-sad' not 'happy-happy' ...............the large groups were too noisy, the walking trail inside had too many plastic wrappers, visitors were all over the place. We remained in touch with the fear that as colonizers construct all the way to the gates of the sanctuary, will it survive? Number of birds coming will surely go down since the fields/trees and vegetation on both sides of the road has nearly disappeared already (with agricultural lands usage having been converted to urbanised area already) fewer trees/bushes for them to pearch on and more people engaged in the business of life----more vehicles, lots of electric lights, Mobile Towers.....Radiation...........
Given the pressure of numbers, will it renew and regenerate itself..Have my doubts.  Do we wish to eliminate the probability of our children/grand children having some place to experience Nature and Unspoilt Surroundings at their healthiest and least spoilt state of being......Of course there was plenty of water in the Lake, lots of birds were there but there was also an old/very ill-looking blue-bull. Did it pick up an infection something from the domestic cattle that were roaming around the Sanctuary in plenty. .................I continue to believe that we have to save some islands of peace and quietitude away from constructed areas ----merely designating an area a Sanctuary will not ensure that. We as a society will have to persuade ourselves to not monetise every inch of land that we see around us
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