Aravalli Utsav; saluting our Ecological Heritage

Aravalli hills, Aravalli Utsav, IAMGURGAON, DLF Cyberhub, Environment, pollution, India, Aravalli biodiversity park, ecological issues
Aravalli Utsav; saluting our Ecological Heritage

“Greens seek reallocation of waste treatment plant in the Aravallis”
“Illegal mining spells doom for the Aravallis”
“Real Estate Boom puts ancient Aravalli Forest at risk”

These headlines scream at us every morning. By evening, it’s yesterday’s news and the story repeats itself in a dreary loop.

Aravalli Utsav wants to change that once and for all by shining the spotlight on the dire need to preserve, protect and promote one of our oldest mountain ranges — our green lungs, our buffer from complete desertification.
The 10-day tribute, which started on the 18th of February at DLF Cyberhub, showcases the priceless ecological heritage through a first of its kind documentation of the Aravalli Range, spread across Delhi, Haryana, Rajasthan and Gujarat.

Did you know that the sacred groove of the tranquil Mangar Bani is teeming with over 170 exquisite bird species and medicinal plants or that the old trees of the Parsoon Mandir in the Badkhal catchment are protected by priests? “In fact right here in Gurugram, next to the Guru Dronacharya Metro Station, is the Aravalli Biodiversity Park which is a shining example of how even a degraded mining site can be restored if the government and citizens work together as a team,” points out core team member Chetan Agarwal, an environment and forest analyst.

Besides aesthetics, the Aravallis “also provide critical ecosystem services by reducing air pollution, recharging groundwater, providing wildlife habitat, reducing temperature, preventing flooding and are key to the long-term sustainability and even survival of Gurugram and Faridabad,” according to the Utsav team, that includes ecological gardener Pradip Krishen, author of Trees of Delhi.

Iamgurgaon’s Latika Thukral, who is closely associated with the initiative, spoke to NewsMobile about how “her green brigade has been working tirelessly on reviving these native species to create more urban spaces for the citizens of Gurugram. The next generation needs to understand how important the Aravallis are to our future.”

Talking about Treescapes Of Aravalli, core team member, eminent photographer & visual historian Aditya Arya, says, “it’s a tribute to the resilient and hardy trees of the Aravallis that have withstood nature’s extremities but may not survive the desecration from anthropogenic pressures.” The initiative has been carried out under the aegis of the India Photo Archives Foundation by commissioning six photographers to document the landscape over a period of one year in a series of over 130 photographs.

Having grown up in the lap of nature, he recalls how the Delhi Ridge became his sanctuary, away from the hustle and bustle of life. “It made me realize what a great teacher nature is. It was therefore all the more distressing to see the onslaught of growing urbanization on the Aravallis.” Ironically, he says, “while globally-developed nations are striving to conserve forests, we have failed to protect our natural wealth. It’s time we take responsibility for the Aravallis to prevent the natural treasures from getting lost in the annals of history.”

The Gurugram: Aravalli Utsav; an initiative by iamgurgaon in association with Gurugram Metropolitan Development Authority, in partnership with India Photo Archive Foundation and supported by Ministry of Environment, Forests and Climate Change; is just another step in that direction.

The woods are lovely, dark and deep,
But I have promises to keep,
And miles to go before I sleep,
And miles to go before I sleep
Quoting Robert Frost, Arya remind us once again that “there’s a little bit of Aravalli in everything… and it’s our turn now to protect that Aravalli gene.”


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