Tale of Mangar Forest

Mangar Bani
Img credit: Aditya Batra , CSE

Chances are you haven’t heard of Managar forest even though it is so close to you that if you’re an Indian and live in north India, you are bound to have been in its vicinity sometime or other.

Mangar Forest is the last remaining natural forest near Delhi. Spanning an area of just 50 kms, it is famous for the Mangar Bani forest grove which is considered sacred by the local Gujjar population. If you have crossed the Gurgaon-Faridabad highway, you know what am talking about. The sacred forest grove is also famous for Gudariya Baba, a local sadhu. As per local beliefs, any harm done to the forest will unleash nature’s fury on them.

It is the only forest in Haryana that has got Dhau trees or Anogeissus pendula. Dhau is unique because it has managed to survive the changes in climate and the rough weather and there is no other forest in all of Haryana with such thick growth of Dhau trees.

The National Capital Region Planning Board (NCRPB) had earlier declared it as natural conservation zone (NCZ) which provided it some degree of protection from rampant illegal construction activities. However, in 2012, revised guidelines allowed for tourism, parks and recreational activity. The PMO intervened asking the NCRPB to first seek approval from MoEF.

Recently Black eagle was also spotted in the same area which is significant because it is the newest sighting in over 100 years. It also acts a last resort for Dhau trees and as a buffer area for the Asola sanctuary which again is the only wildlife sanctuary in Delhi.

The area is also close to the Aravalli Hills which is one of the oldest mountains in the world.

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