The twin cities of Hyderabad and Secunderabad, in south-central India, are known as a center of high tech industry. Like any Indian metropolis, they have their share of traffic and smog, blaring horns and crowded streets. But right in the middle of town there’s a green oasis full of birds. As you hike the dusty trails, trees and shrubs mute the distant sirens and motor bikes. Birds chirp. Sunlight filters through to warm your shoulders. If you find yourself in the area, I highly recommend birding Osmania University.
New Delhi is a huge city of over 21 million souls. If I had to describe it in one word, it would be “intense.” The colors dazzle, the horns blare, and the food can sear your taste buds. We were there in early November, when farmers in the surrounding states burn their fields. The air was thicker than pea soup, visibility could be measured in tens of feet, and schools and factories were closed. I only had a few days to explore, while Pete was in meetings, so of course I went birding. Breathing is highly overrated.
Having walked for hours through the Oklah Bird Sanctuary the day before, my 20-year-old companion and I were hoping for more convenient location closer to downtown and our afternoon meetings. Someone suggested Lodhi Gardens, so off we went.
India is a fascinating country, diverse, multicultural, and intense. It assaults your senses. From the flavorful, spicy food to the bright colors, honking cars and trucks (it’s considered polite to let others know you’re there), and constant motion of both pedestrians and traffic, it’s easy to overload. I love India, but it wears me out!
We landed in Delhi after an uneventful flight from Bangkok, collected our baggage, and piled into a taxi for the ride to the hotel. Because we were there primarily for my husband to attend some meetings, any birding I managed to fit in would have to be local. Would I find any birds in a city of 25 million? Continue reading