From this Saturday enjoy nature walk in President’s Estate

December 17th, 2008 - 6:06 pm ICT by IANS  

New Delhi, Dec 17 (IANS) Peacocks and deer lazing in the open. Water fountains rising and falling to the beats of different songs. The nature trail at the President’s Estate, which will be opened to the public Dec 20, is a 1.75 km walk right in the lap of nature.Aimed at making the President’s Estate or the Rashtrapati Bhavan estate an eco-friendly township, the Roshni project strives to set an example for Residents Welfare Associations (RWA) and others to make their respective areas more green.

Starting at the pond eco-system, a bubbling pool of aerated water which is later diverted into the Mughal gardens, the trail takes one through a maze of green patches of plants and vegetables you may have just heard about or, at best, seen on your dinner plate.

A biofuel park with jatropha plants, neem and castor to name a few, vegetable patches with a range of greens like broccoli, basil, cauliflower, cabbage, onion and garlic, medicinal plants like stevia which is anti diabetic and fruit orchards with trees of orange, mango, guava and even a grape vineyard meet you on the trail which was formally inaugurated Dec 13.

R.S. Tomar, the garden superintendent said that other than going to the main kitchen of the Rashtrapati Bhavan, all the vegetables of the gardens are being supplied to the orphanages.

“The vegetables are sent to five orphanages in Delhi,” Tomar said.

Since the attempt is also to make the sprawling 75-acre estate an energy efficient and zero wastage model township, there are vermicompost pits. Efforts are now on to use solar energy across the estate.

Going from one patch to the other through various ‘veethis’ or roads named after former presidents of the country, one reaches the spiritual garden - an initiative of former president A.P.J. Abdul Kalam.

Welcoming one with the thought ‘If all plants can live together, then why not human beings’, the garden nurtures various plants which are mentioned in different religious scriptures like sandalwood, gular, date palm, olive and tulsi.

Thereon comes the enchanting musical garden, another of Kalam’s initiatives. Dancing to the tunes of songs like the national song ‘Vande Mataram’, the water fountains rise and fall to the beat of the music.

The trail going into the Aravali Hill ranges further takes one to the Mica spot, where one can actually see tiny chips of mica on the ground gleaming in the sunlight.

The route, which can otherwise be covered in 20 minutes, takes a good one hour if one actually goes slow, soaks in the beauty around, probably even sits at one of the wood stumps and sees a few of the 84 animal species seen there.

For security reasons, the trail will be open to the public only on Saturdays to begin with. Though the trail will be open to the general public, the authorities are hopeful of drawing in more students.

One can simply call the Rashtrapati Bhavan reception and come for the trail. There will be no ticket system.

Also, instead of the regular staff, it will be the wives, sisters and other women relatives of the lower class employees in the estate that will form self help groups and man the trail.

“A lady’s perspective is different and more graceful than a man’s. The lady president whose initiative this is, has taken the walk twice and is pleased with the result. She hopes that this will bring the people closer to the Rashtrapati Bhavan and make it more accessible,” Archana Datta, the press secretary said.

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