Thursday 3 September 2015

Travelling through Alma Mater, JNU

After several years I got a chance to visit, rather revisit JNU, my alma mater. It is hard for an outsider to think of JNU, a 1000 acre campus, as part of the congested capital city. There are plenty of open spaces, even wild, practically untouched spaces.

The various JNU school buildings in the foreground with Vasant Kunj in the background

The Aravali hill on which JNU is located, is lush green, especially in monsoons. Despite many new university buildings coming up in the past few years, the forest-like impression persists and there is still a lot of undergrowth.

The JNU Library

The green cover and the buildings are integrated together in such a way that they blend into each other.

Purvanchal & Mahanadi hostels in the foreground with Qutub Minar in the background

The aerial shots from the top floor (10th floor) of the university central library show a dense green cover. The Mehrauli area in general and Qutub Minar in particular is clearly visible.

Qutub Minar & Alai Minar seen from JNU

The Alai Minar, the unfinished Qutub Minar like structure which Alauddin Khilji planned to build two times higher than Qutub Minar is also visible.

Adham Khan's tomb in Mehrauli seen from JNU

The Adham Khan’s tomb in the Mehrauli area is also clearly visible from the JNU.

NII, Munirka in the foreground and Lotus Temple in the background as seen from JNU

On a clear day, one can even see the Lotus Temple and Nehru Place which are several km away. If you observe the photo carefully you can see the lotus temple in the far centre. Only when I saw the photo at leisure on the laptop, I realised that the photo captures the temple.

The new manicured look of JNU campus

Fortunately, the nature is allowed to be, although there seem to be attempts here-and-there to give it a manicured lawn look with potted plants and hedges that, in my view, looks out of place with the overall grandeur of undergrowth and huge trees.

The campus is ideal for walking, jogging and cycling. JNU is a paradise for bird-watchers. Peacocks are common. Some JNU residents swear that they have seen owls and snakes. Wolfs and Nilgais (Asian Antelope or Blue Bull) are not exactly uncommon. Caves exploration and rock-climbing is another activity which I indulged in during my student days here.

Parthsarthi Rocks, JNU

And how can I complete this post without mentioning Parthasarathi Rocks (named after the first VC of JNU). It is the highest natural vantage point in JNU and functions as an open auditorium and venue for various late-night parties. One can sit and view the beautiful sunsets from here.

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