If you have ever been to Karol Bagh, Patel Nagar or Rajendra Nagar in New Delhi, chances are, that you might have heard about “Pusa Road” or just “PUSA (Campus/Institute)”?
Karol Bagh is a very famous place with tourists as it’s centrally located and most of it’s narrow streets are filled with nice 2 to 4 star budget-friendly hotels, forex (currency exchange) and travel agents. But if you are a fitness freak and staying in that area, you might be aware that it can be very difficult and unsafe to run in the narrow streets of Karol Bagh.
The solution lies in the campus of Indian Agricultural Research Institute or simply known as Pusa Institute Campus.
How to get there: https://www.google.com/maps/dir//28.6400359,email@example.com,77.1742157,19z/data=!4m4!4m3!1m0!1m0!3e0 (This is the actual pinpoint location of the entry gate of the campus you can use to get the directions till there.)
The Pusa Campus marked on Google Maps: https://www.google.com/maps/place/Pusafirstname.lastname@example.org,77.1525453,14z/data=!4m2!3m1!1s0x390d02dcc9d26b51:0xb7130093dd61af17
Trivia: The IARI was originally established in 1905 at Pusa, Bihar, as Agricultural Research Institute (ARI), however the institute was damaged during the devastating Bihar earthquake of 1934 and thus the decision to shift the institute to New Delhi was taken by the Standing Finance Committee of the Union Assembly. The new campus at New Delhi was inaugurated on 29 July 1936 and post-independence (1947), the institute was renamed Indian Agricultural Research Institute.
Thus the name of the place where it was originally established, viz. Pusa, Bihar, stuck with it and the campus, although being situated in New Delhi, is still known as Pusa!
This is the board at the gate, it’s original text in Hindi:
प्रातःकालीन व सांयकालीन सैर करने वालों की समय-सारणी
प्रातः 5.00 बजे से 8.30 बजे तक
सांय: 17.00 बजे से 20.00 बजे तक
Rough Translation in English:
Morning and Evening walk schedule
Morning: 5.00 to 8.30
Evening: 17.00 to 20.00
It basically means that the campus is open to the public for walking(and other activities) only at the abovementioned times!
Pro tip: Even though they have imposed this time restriction for people who come here to walk/jog/run/ride, you can enter anytime during the day by saying that you have come to buy fresh produce (fruits and vegetables), even flowers, from the grocery shop in the campus, run by IARI, as it’s open for public and not just the residents of the campus!
And if you want a 24-hour access you just need to befriend someone living or working in the huge campus; it’s easy, most of the people living there come out for their morning and evening walks, just strike up a conversation with someone while exercising near them!
You just need 3 things to make the guard at the gate open that gate for you,
i. Name of a person living/working in IARI,
ii. a rough address or dept. of them,
The main thing is that you don’t need anything from the above if you exercise around 5 to 8:30 in the morning or 5 to 8 in the evening!
Now that you are inside, you can choose between the trail or road/footpath:
Footpath OR Trail
Okay Okay, I know that this might not be the idea of a trail for many people as usually when people hear the word “trail” or “trail running”, they think of trails as the beautiful pathways in forests, but this one too has got every right to be called a trail, you will find out as you read on.
Note: The day I went for my run and clicked these pics, it had rained just an hour ago, thus everything is wet, and a small storm had come the previous evening, thus, there are a few spots where you can see fallen trees.
I always prefer softer surfaces for running as they are less taxing for your joints and you get to enjoy the natural suspension of soft earth, thus, I always take the trail route in Pusa/IARI Campus. Both the routes run parallel to each other for about a kilometer (0.6 miles), then the trail ends and there’s just the road option left.
Enjoy the beautiful and pristine natural surroundings
There is no marked trail here, there’s this 30 feet wide space throughout, where you can run in any manner, and make your own route, your own trail. You even get to enjoy the sounds and sights of various birds in the trees around you, sorry, I was not able to click a picture of any though. It’s just like running through a trail in a forest with the soothing and healing powers of greenery, trees and natural sounds, occasionally, you can even hear peacocks but I never got to see one around here. The only disturbance can be the horns of vehicles that use the road parallel to the trail, but it’s rare.
This is a small selfie video that I recorded while rotating 720 degrees in the same spot, increase the volume of your device to clearly hear the awesome chirping sound of the birds! The first round is a bit too fast which destroys the background, but the 2nd round is smoother and you can see the surroundings!
Beware of two things
Once you start enjoying the views above, it’s easy to get lost in them, but beware, just like any trail in the wilderness, this one needs your attention to be on the ground as well! The two main things that one needs to be cautious about:
1. There’s a sewer line that runs below this place, and it’s open at a few places where you need to be really careful:
The spots at which these 4 openings are located get registered in your subconscious after you run to and fro on the kilometer long trail a few times and then you’ll automatically know when they are about to come and you dodge them.
2. There are a few spots where pipes come out of nowhere:
These are steel pipes which can hurt someone badly, and can be semi-hidden under fallen leaves, you need to keep your eyes on the trail, especially the first few times so that you know the exact locations of these places to be careful of.
Footpath after the Trail ends
After the trail ends, one has the option to continue for a longer distance loop on the footpath along the road or to just run loops in the trail.
A cute little doggy followed me for a little while, even stopping with me whenever I stopped running!
In this run I tried my new Armpocket® Ultra i-35™ for the first time, with the Xperia Z2(which isn’t in the armband because it’s capturing this pic)! I mentioned it here because that will remind me to a write a detailed review of it soon, just like I reviewed my sports headphones earlier.
I ran 14km in approximately 2 hours:
I know it’s bit slow, but this was after 2 months of my previous long run!
Here’s the map of the run, recorded using the Google app for Android, “My Tracks”:
When you are exiting (or entering) you can also check out the city weather statistics display outside the gate: