For those of us who live in New Delhi, or for people visiting this amazing city, there are many places to run, and we shall cover them systematically in a series of blog posts that kicks off today. They will come complete with route maps and useful info, and – it goes without saying – all feedback is welcome.
For a city as hectically crowded and busy as New Delhi, we are fortunate to have such extensive green cover, and this is an important consideration for a runner, given – no beating about the bush here – our shocking pollution levels.
For a visitor, it makes sense to combine some important landmarks along with their run, and there is nothing more stirring than a run down one of the city’s marquee roads – Raj Path – linking the Presidential place, Rashtrapati Bhavan – with the country’s War memorial, India Gate. (These are the two ends of the horizontal track log, below. India Gate is to the right and Rashtrapati Bhavan to the left).
If it doesn’t sound too vague, you can get to India Gate by many roads, as you can see from the map, and since all the streets in this pampered part of Delhi housing VIPs and politicians galore, are reasonably well maintained, have tree cover and security (thanks, VIPs) you can pretty much choose any starting point. If you are driving, parking is a consideration.
For a longer run, park at Nehru Park, where there is ample space. Otherwise, people park along Raj Path itself. I have never done this, since I always start my run from around Nehru Park, so can’t tell you first hand what it’s like, but there are enough cars there every morning, so it’s clearly allowed and safe.
Recommended time of day
Mornings, definitely. There is less traffic, less pollution, and the whole vibe around India Gate is way more relaxed than during the day.
The barriers at the bottom of Raisina Hill, leading to Rashtrapti Bhavan, are removed at 8 am, and then you can puff up the hill and get closer for a dekko at the official residence of the President.
Good. Loads of cops around – but a word of warning, Indian cops are not given to intervening unnecessarily. They tend to sit back and watch rather than actively “police”, but by and large you should be safe here. I’ve had one unpleasant incident in this area (outside the National Museum on Janpath) and the cops did diddly squat, sad to report.
Not bad at all, given that this is a gridlocked city for much of the day.
Condition of the road
For Delhi, this part of town (known as Lutyens Delhi) is well maintained.
You get fancy paving stones :
I generally try and run on the sandy tracks bordering Raj Path (below)
Hmmm…nope, not really.
In sheer desperation, I have on occasions talked my way into government ministries and a military clinic and the National Museum in the dawn hours, but I wouldn’t bank on that always working.
There is always always always something happening around India Gate, from changing of the guard to demonstrations to wedding photos, so prepare for a slow time, as you slow down to watch whatever is going on.
But the sightseeing and absorbing the city vibe is all part of the run.
The track log (above) is for a 13km run, by the way.