The great outdoors can mean different things to different people. For some, it’s being at peace surrounded by nature. For adrenalin junkies, it’s a canvas upon wish they can create their ambitious feats or flights of fancy. I’ve always been the sort of person who keeps her feet firmly on the ground. Outdoor adventures for me usually involve arts festivals, or drive-in movies with a bucket of popcorn. Happily, Delhi caters to both kinds of enthusiasts. While we don’t have drive-in theaters, you can catch an occasional movie screening at outdoor venues like Zorba, and you can lift off in a hot air balloon or take a hike in any number of good spots. We’re also lucky to have cool days with warm sun for a few months of the year; it’s perfect for al fresco dining or ambling through the city’s many markets. And admittedly, at most times, just that is enough. But if you’d like to take it up a notch, here’s my list of the five best plays in Delhi to play outside.
If you’d like to bicycle off into the sunset, the cycling trail at Surajkund is extremely popular—and safer than navigating Delhi traffic. Vivanta by Taj, Surajkund rents out cycles to its guests, but if you’ve got access to your own set of handles, clubs like Pedalyatri and Firefox Bikes organize rides.
Ah, what it must feel like to propel oneself inside a giant see-through ball. (Well, actually, I wouldn’t know.) But friends who’ve gone “zorbing” love it. Rocksport is an outdoor adventure sports company—with its grounds at Camp Tikkling in Gurgaon—and they also operate hot air ballooning. If you like coming up against a wall, try the vertical rock-climbing expedition at Indian Mountaineering Foundation.
If you want to boost your street cred, join one of Raahgiri’s events. Usually held on Sunday mornings in Gurgaon (except during the summer months), Raahgiri is an initiative to take more vehicles off the road and let citizens roam free. It started with the aim to encourage people to walk or cycle more often, but it has now evolved into something of a street festival with bands, yoga clubs and dance performances sometimes coming along for the ride.
Aravalli Bio Diversity Park
If you’d had too much city life and need a little time out in Mother Nature, venture to the Biodiversity Park, which has carved out 576 acres of green space between Delhi and Gurgaon. Indigenous species of flora and fauna are actively protected and cultivated, while wet ponds attract migratory birds.
Cultural Evenings at Zorba
We’ve come to love our evenings at Zorba, a farmhouse in Chatarpur that occasionally opens its gates to the residents of Delhi for diverse cultural events in a pleasant open-air setting. Whether that means Sufi music evenings, movie screenings or jazz orchestra performances, it’s a lovely venue that keeps things interesting.