….Our task must be to free ourselves from this prison by widening our circle of compassion to embrace all living creatures and the whole of nature in its beauty.’’- Albert Einstein
The bustling metropolis of Delhi-NCR is home to over forty five million people who wrestle the heavy smog and endless traffic jam to eke out a living in the largest city in the South Asia. Although the reverberating ringing of bells in the temples, chanting of prayers & singing of hymns at gurudwaras, summoning sound of adhan at masjid, liturgical lighting of candles at church and innumerable events & festivals round the year keep the human soul alive; monotonous life stuck with the daily chores and professional challenges fervently look for an escape route.
Working and living in and around Delhi-NCR have its own prospect unlike any other city, as it offers plethora of amazing destinations to pump up the adrenaline rush and rejuvenate the body & soul without burning a big hole in the pocket or wasting over long travel hours for the overcrowded popular locations. A group of enthusiast in our office floor (LnT SnL), in between the array of meetings and conferences to meet the unrealistic deadlines avoiding piercing reminders for the stern assignments, managed to plan for a family picnic . When offered, I readily agreed to be a part of the gala day.
Talking about the location chosen, Damdama lake at Sohna, situated at the foothills of Aravali Range, is one of the many gifts from the rule of the British Crown in India. Dedicated to the promotion of sustainable water resource by rain water harvesting, the huge stone and earthen water body fed mainly by the monsoon pour, is home for several species of migratory birds those flock to the tiny island formed in the midst of the lake throughout the year. Biodiversity of the ancient Aravali hill also offers the glimpse of pleasant peacock very often.
As the blanket of fog gave way to brilliant sunshine, we sized the opportunity to make full use of a lazy Sunday in mid-December for the much awaited outing. While approaching the Damdama Lake on the clear winter morning; scenic meadow of mustard flowers, beautiful farm house and orange orchard mesmerized us inside the cozy comfort of the luxurious coach. Breakfast arranged inside the bus and the music played from the soothing playlist had added an extra fascination in the journey. Perfectly amoeba shaped lake came into view, as we reached the destination being greeted by the volunteer of the state tourism department for the day. Spot selection for the picnic inside the lawns on the bank of the lake was found to be little troublesome as the same required negotiation with the volunteers & other picnic groups and is completely on first come first serve basis. However, finally we succeeded to acquire the spot of our choice fulfilling all the requirement of our need and made arrangement for the cookout at our own. Although the instructions on the board inside the lawns were not favoring the interest of the visitors for the outdoor games, enthusiasm of our group especially, the toddlers could not restrain from playing badminton, cricket, football and other fun making games. Some people were also engaged with adventurous activities like camel riding, rope sliding, commando net climbing and boating with the support of guide and extra payment. People, who preferred the quite, found a restful spot in the lake shore for soaking in the tranquility of the lake. The spot offered decent enough along with offbeat experience for one day tour. Opportunity for exploring flora and fauna in the deep hill was also available for the trekking lovers. The stay tended to feel longer than usual for connecting better with the nature. Overall, it was a unique liberating experience away from the hectic daily routine and in the lap of nature.
Humanity has witnessed its ubiquitous nature throughout the journey. People, who aren’t born with the God’s grace, are never abandoned by the fortunate ones. The social creature within us relishes the joy of sharing the feast with the little children of the countryside, as one of our friends make this idea to happen all of a sudden, conquering the inadvertent barrier created by the Almighty himself, might be to test the world-changing power of love and redefine the traits of the greatest creation of the Omnipotent.
The lakeshore of Damdama, set on the backdrop of Aravali range is a stark contrast to the name of popular places of tourist interest. Damdama’s novelty lies in its utter and complete lack of USP. It doesn’t have the splendor of the hill stations with the array of star rated accommodation option nor the chilling experience of the snow laden valley with lots of adventurous opportunity or thrilling experience of the wildlife in National Parks. It was never a major center for trade & commerce, no prominent religious legacy of pilgrimage or heritage of history either. Instead, Damdama has in abundance an honest, straightforward charm that creeps upon visitors like the healing scripts of the hypnosis. The place is fairly ordinary, but with such a serene lake at its center, who needs extra sedative?
Expanse of Damdama Lake with Aravali Hill in the Backdrop
Floral bloom – a common sight in the region
Pleasant winter noon – visitors basking in the sun
Livelihood in countryside – Firewood collection
Joy of riding on Camel and Horse
Looking for catch of the day – Black Winged Stilt
Adorning the lakeside – flock of Black Winged Stilt
Waiting for the golden moment – Kingfisher
Togetherness – White backed Stilt
Diving into water for life and living – White Backed Stilt
Very common view of water birds – Great Egret (white heron)
Indian pond heron and White Backed Stilt
Foraging in the lakeshore – White Stork
The did-he-do-it Bird – Red Wattled Lapwing
Game is on
Adventure lover enjoying the ropesliding
Arrangement for lunch – A unique opportunity to showcase the culinary expertise within
Joy of sharing the feast with the little children of the countryside
Lake and Leisure
Winner of the games – felicitated with attractive prizes
Family and friends together – with a hope for a better tomorrow
Courtesy: Text and Photographs by Avijit Maity