The big red and orange sun bopped gently in the water as it quickly set in the evening sky. The water stood dark and still. Not a soul. Not a sound, except for the twiddling of the birds among the green groves and creaking creepers that hung wildly over the trees. A few monkeys hung around listlessly. They appeared harmless. They made no move towards any passer-by and seemed at peace. Life should be such. Peaceful. It's, indeed, peaceful here at Delhi's Okhla Bird Sanctuary by the river Yamuna.
The Sanctuary, situated at Okhla Barrage on the Noida-Delhi border by the river Yamuna opens at 7 am and closes at 5.30 pm. It's a quiet and long road inside, leading to the watchtower where one can watch hundreds of birds around. Over 300 bird species, especially waterbirds, are said to be found in the sanctuary. It was once home to some endangered species such as White-Rumped vulture, Indian vulture, Baikal Teal, Baer's Pochard, Sarus Crane and Sociable Lapwing.
The cold has set in. It's early November. Perhaps, a little early for the migratory birds to reach here. One could spot just a few. Usually by this time the birds dot the river bank.
"The din of heavy traffic on the highway may be the reason for less number of migratory birds this time," the guards say.
Although one may have to wait long for the birds to appear, the canopied pathways and trails inside the sanctuary are enchanting. The place could have been better maintained, but it's beautiful here. Apart from bird watching, one can sit by the river bank and blissfully watch the sunset in the Yamuna. It's a splendid sight. Or, take a long walk in the cool of the morning and be with one with nature, away from the dust and smog, and heavy traffic nightmare in the city. One can also hitch a cool rickshaw ride inside. Anytime you need a quick break from the chaotic environment of Delhi, you can get away here.
How to reach Okhla Bird Sanctuary
It is located in Noida, Gautam Buddh Nagar district, on Delhi-Noida border, near Kalindi Kunj. One can travel by car or the metro railway. The nearest metro station is the Okhla bird sanctuary metro station. And from there, you can catch an autorickshaw here.
How much you have to pay for the entry?
The tickets are priced at Rs 30 for locals and Rs350 for foreigners.
When is the best time to visit Okhla bird sanctuary?
Given the fact that it is a beautiful getaway from the hustle and bustle of the city, one can visit the place any time of the year. But winter months from November to February are the best.
What is the visiting time to the sanctuary?
Okhla Bird Sanctuary opens from 7 am to 5.30 pm, all days. However, the ideal time to watch the migratory birds is early morning.