On the Gurugram-Faridabad highway, there is an ancient grove called Mangar Bani. Guarded zealously by the local Gujjar community, this is said to be the last sacred grove in the Aravallis. Protected by the spirit of a local sage, Gudariya Baba, there is a temple dedicated to him in the forest. Legend says that a curse would befall the community should a tree be felled. Thanks to this, the forest is now the ‘green lung’ of the region. And it’s a treasure trove for those who love Nature, being home to many species of birds, butterflies, plants and mammals too. Leopards, deer and nilgais have been sighted here
Another blessing in disguise is that this acts as a water catchment. The water flows to the picturesque Damdama Lake in Sohna (just a 50-minute drive from Mangar). Here simple pleasures of boating and picnic prevail. Sohna also has an ancient Shiva temple built by Bhai Lakhi Shah Vanjara, a devout and brave Sikh who risked his life by cremating Guru Tegh Bahadur’s body by burning his home. Among the more historic structures is Shah Nizam ul Haq Masjid in ward no. 4, Khatiqwara mohalla near the gurudwara. An inscription dates this to 1461. It is also said that educator Sir Syed Ahmad Khan’s grandfather is buried here. Some also say that it was the site of a temple. Decorated Islamic arches, floral patterns and Arabic inscriptions, the red sandstone structure also houses other tombs.
fort turned into a luxury hotel, the 11-tiered Neemrana Fort-Palace is known as a lavish wedding destination. But that’s not the only reason to visit it, this is the place to enjoy zip-lining (pulley suspended on a cable), camel cart and vintage car rides in the nearby village. There is an 18th too in the area. The hanging gardens, spa and cultural performances on the weekends are more pleasurable activities here
The fort dates to 1464 and was the third capital of the descendants of Prithviraj Chauhan III. They had fled from Delhi in 1192 after being vanquished by Muhammad Ghori. They also did not bow to the British and lost their land to Alwar, Patiala, Nabha and others. A crumbling façade forced Raja Rajinder Singh of Neemrana to move to Vijay Bagh in 1947. For 40 years, he tried to find takers for this crumbling structure, but it was only in 1986 that help came. Restoration work began and in 1991 Neemrana Fort-Palace opened its royal doors with a raised façade and 15 livable rooms. Neemrana won the INTACH-SATTE award for restoration & tourism in 2000. In 2004, Neemrana was nominated for the Aga Khan Award. By 2008, the luxury fort hotel had 72 rooms, rampart gardens, pool, an amphitheatre, hanging gardens with a salon, a restaurant with a roof-top garden, conference rooms and special suites
ously interconnected, the seven lakes are part of the region’s fragile ecosystem. The seven lakes are: Purna Tal, Ram Tal, Sita Tal, Laxman Tal, Nal Damyanti Tal, Sukh Tal and Garud Tal. The clear emerald waters, the unspoiled environment make the area a nature lover’s hideout. It is said to be one of the unpolluted freshwater biomes in the country. It is home to around 500 species of birds, almost 20 species of mammals, over 525 species of butterflies and over 11,000 species of moths, beetles, bugs and insects. The area is rich with plants ranging from orchids, rare climbing plants, ferns, lichens, fungi to medicinal herbs and shrubs. Sit back and forget the world. And when you are done, walk or bicycle to discover more green spaces.