When it comes to a weekend getaway from Delhi, Uttarakhand and Himachal Pradesh seem like promising options. But Mangar and Dhauj—villages in Haryana’s Aravalli range—hold little known secrets best suited for adventure enthusiasts. The region also prides itself as a nature’s oasis. Here, Nilgai—Asia’s largest antelope, and birds such as the yellow-crowned woodpecker and black-headed cuckooshrike reside freely amongst the locals.
Situated in Faridabad, around 15 kilometres from South Delhi, the twin villages act as a base for rock-climbing and hiking. Dhauj experienced a wave of climbers in the 70s’, and the trend made a comeback in the following decades.
Day passes are available from Rs1,000. For more information on the festival, visit www.gritfest.in
30-year-old Namgyal Phuntsog climbs the 45-feet tall classic ‘problem’—a terminology used in climbing to often refer to a route on a rock’s surface. This problem in focus, located in a zone called the Sanctuary, is named Comfortably Dumb. Here, Phuntsog is seen hanging with only a harness attached to a rope for safety. This problem was first conquered on November 9, 1992 by Deepak Jhalani, Annie Jacob and Paramjit Singh.
Dhauj’s Aagman Farm Stay, an eco-camp situated in close proximity to the Sanctuary, provides accommodation, food and lodging facilities in collaboration with GRITFest. Guests can opt to stay in one of the seven luxury tents or pitch their own on the open ground.
A hike to the Lake Shail starts from the Aagman Farm Stay, visible in the backdrop juxtaposed with the rocky terrains in the Sanctuary. Subu, a member of the organising committee, is seen leading the group as the sun burns in the afternoon sky.
A group makes its way to Lake Shail, an hour’s hike from the camp. The walk introduces one to the biodiversity of the region, and winds through the forests of Dhauj and Mangar.
Lake Shail is also accessible via a detour from the main road, which is estimated to cut down the time of the hike by 40 minutes.
The Prow area offers easily accessible lines—such as Talwar, as seen in the photograph—which are best suited for rock-climbing novices.
Sayandeep Roy is fond of exploring places without a fixed plan. He finds joy in stumbling upon lesser known trails, waterfalls or sleepy cottages. A collection of short stories by Ruskin Bond, and a camera are his constant companions along the way.