Where to run in New Delhi : Sanjay Van

Where to run in New Delhi : Sanjay Van

The only way to start this post is with “Better late than never”.

Better to have discovered Sanjay Van later, though why it has taken me this long is a complete mystery.

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A huge lovely forest, with monuments and tombs scattered liberally all over the place, & where dogs are allowed to run off leash. Seriously, what’s not to love? Add parking, and a feeling of safety, and I repeat, what’s not to love?

I just ran a half marathon in Sanjay Van on Sunday, and some of us from my running group did a pre-HM recce a couple of days earlier, so I have run there twice in 3 days, and will certainly return there.  Definitely.  And with my dogs.

The forest (“van” means forest in Hindi, and I imagine the Sanjay is for Sanjay Gandhi?) is huge, covering about 10 sq km, and has good road access.

I parked both visits outside the gate on Aruna Asif Ali Marg, and would confidently have said it was safe as houses…Except that one of my running girls, Anita, had her car stolen while we were running on Sunday, so that’s pretty shocking.

Nevertheless (and coming after a car theft, it is a pretty big “nevertheless,” I agree) so – yes – nevertheless, Sanjay Van feels safe, partly because there are so many people there, all out running and walking and cycling and exercising their dogs and doing yoga. The trails are well maintained and well marked with detailed route maps at many spots, in case you get lost – which we did the first time there.

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There are tombs and shrines scattered all over the forest, and water bodies and challenging steep sections…one particular stretch in the final 7km loop on Sunday felt more like Kilimanjaro, to be perfectly honest, but I was pretty tired by then…

There is shade, there were birds (& monkeys at one point), peaceful stray dogs – all very nice.

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Overall, not too much litter, which is a joy, though the garbage right next to a little mosque was heartbreaking.

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One imagines all the polystyrene food-stained plates were from an Iftar dinner…why in God’s name can’t people put their rubbish in a bin? It defeats me. Utterly defeats me.

That whole godliness and cleanliness thing just doesn’t seem to apply most of the time in India.  And that includes hanging plastic bags full of flowers in the trees…I know, I know, the flowers, once offered, shouldn’t touch the ground, but PLEASE, why can’t they just be draped, like that, in the trees?  Minus the non-biodegradable plastic?

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Anyway, back to Sanjay Van, before I start ranting about rubbish and the desperate need to clean up this country.

So yes, apart from these stray patches of revolting rubbish (and, sadly, whatever was clogging up the lake) the forest is pretty clean.


Yes, at the DDA hut, but they were locked at 5am on Sunday when I needed it, so can’t speak for their condition.


Yes, loads outside but remember what happened to poor Anita.

I am very impressed after two visits, and fully intend adding Sanjay Van to my list of running spots in Delhi, mainly because it is such a joy to run in a forest, away from traffic and on a dirt track, not a hard road.  Plus I can take my dogs, though they will hardly help with streamlined running, I suspect.

What else?

Oh yes, there’s a lookout, with a great view over the tree canopy and you can see the Qutb Minar on the horizon, which is pretty fab.

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Ooh, yes, how could I forget?  Sanjay van is supposedly one of the most haunted places in Delhi…must be all those spirits not allowed to sleep in peace, because of all the early morning runners and cyclists and dog walkers pounding past 🙂

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Here is my track log from my half marathon on Sunday. As you can see, lots of space to run amidst lots of forest.

Sanjay Van


  1. Hey Christine,
    May be nuances, just wanted to ask. This is an year old article. Are you still going to Sanjay Van. From the maps, it looks very big, was comparing it to Lodhi Garden and felt so.
    The running tracks, are they strewn with pebbles or its just a very good mud/dirt track. Am just curious, if while running we have to take a lot of care and be always conscience about our next step. Sometimes, it is too much and takes the fun away if I have to worry about. By the read, I feel, am going to be there once at least to see for myself.
    Thanks for the intro and onfo.
    Enjoy your runs….


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