Mangar Bani forest grove, a striking valley amidst the old Aravalli ranges are nothing but a miracle, the fact that it serves as a last green patch between notoriously polluted Delhi and concrete Gurugram. It has been opined by several experts that the Mangar forest is the last remnant of the original forests of the Aravallis. The startling beauty of this small valley has a magical charm that’s prominent even during the harsh winter months when trees are stripped off the green foliage. The forest owned is owned by a local Gujjar community and derives its name from ‘Bani’ meaning forest and ‘Mangar’ which is the name of the community. The forests also attract indigenous and migratory birds. There’s no doubt then why people book hotels near Faridabad to flock to the area, often armed with binoculars to spend hours in the jungle.
Tale of the Old Grooves
It is a common belief among the locals that the sacred forest grove is protected by the local cult of “Gudariya Baba”. Legend has it that he visited the village several centuries ago to attain enlightenment and vanished in a cave in Mangar Bani. The word soon spread that anyone who subjects the forest to any harm would face the wrath of nature. This resulted in villager guarding the forests zealously, ensuring no tree is cut, no matter the purpose. As a result, the trees of the forest began to be worshipped and the entire area soon became an abode to a variety of animals including rare species of peacocks and birds. White-bellied drongo, the Indian pitta and black-headed cuckooshrike to name a few! The black eagle that was spotted decades ago was also seen at the Mangar Bani forests recently.
The steep slopes of the forests also have a magnificent camouflage of dhau trees which are spotted otherwise in the forests of Ranthambhore and Bundelkhand. The presence of leopards, golden jackal, the striped hyenas, small Indian civet and grey mongoose which are considered rare for the region add to the coveted appeal of the forests. There’s also a temple dedicated to gudariya baba. Situated at the edge of the Aravalis, India’s oldest mountain range, the forests are also believed to be the last stretch of habitat for wildlife in that area.
Best Time to Visit
The best time to visit the place is during early mornings. When visiting during rains, tiny red velvet mites whose luminous bodies stand in stark contrast with the greens around them are a common sight. A walk down the valley is a promising way of encapsulating oneself in the natural beauty that’s extremely difficult to find in the fast receding green cover of the city. Environmentalists have often voiced their concern over the alarming levels of pollution in the NCR. Mindless deforestation is believed to further aggravate the problem. Mangar Bani forests- the last stretch of virgin forests in the NCR also stands the risk of being uprooted.
Why not book one of the best 5-star hotels in Gurgaon and head to Mangar Bani- the perfect respite from the regular hustle bustle of the city this weekend?