Delhi doesn’t shy away from death even when it’s in the air we breathe. In fact, we have found an adventurous pursuit of it in Faridabad. Death Valley is a deathly quiet getaway, two hours away from the city’s hustle-bustle.
What is it
Illegal mining until 1991 left a collection of seven abandoned mines behind. Legend has it that miners hit groundwater filling areas around the mines with crystal clear water. Whatever the cause, we love the result. The lake is a vision in India’s capital of noise and pollution. If like me, you’re looking to cash in on pending paid leaves before year-end, this is the perfect getaway for brief relief.
Where is it
Death Valley is within the Asola Wildlife Sanctuary, a twenty-minute walk from Faridabad’s Surajkund. The getaway is just removed enough for tranquillity and not too much for it to be unsafe. The area has become a sanctuary of flora and fauna. Endemic bird species, hyenas, blue bulls and friendly deer coexist here, unperturbed. Since the area is privately owned, it has been kept out of the public eye and is generally mute. Exactly what the doctor ordered, isn’t it! However, be careful to run into locals who have been reported to demand some money to pretend like they ‘never saw who’. Well, we all know peace comes at a cost and for such a small price, I’m all in. Besides, the hiking trails make up for it.
Why the name ‘Death Valley’
Full disclosure, Death Valley is also called Khooni Jheel. [Intense, I know!] Before the beautiful blue water, there was barren land. Underneath all that serenity, big pointy rocks from mining rest just as quietly. Swimming is banned in the lake for safety concerns over its depth and unpredictability. However, nothing hinders the zeal of over-confident amateurs. Tragic accidents have bestowed a cautionary name so one never forgets the risks people inadvertently sign up for. Locals believe the lake demands three human sacrifices a year but these superstitions fail to account for India’s gold star in negligence. The absence of safety measures is probably one of the reasons for keeping this getaway secret. Now that the secret is out, make sure to keep safety in.
A short drive away, this place is god’s gift for city dwellers, and it must be treated as such. Remember, no plastic, no littering and no reckless swimming. If the gods don’t teach you a lesson, the monkeys there surely will. So beware and be adventurous!