Ever since Smriti Van first opened in Jaipur, close to 15 years ago, it became popular among dating couples. A few portals recognizing the potential of clickbait started addressing Smriti Van as Jaipur’s most romantic place for couples. In point of fact, it is a landscaped forest of a sizeable number and allows people, especially couples enough privacy in a public place. Back then, there weren’t many options for young couples, especially in public places. Needless to say, things and attitudes have changed considerably over the last few years in Jaipur and elsewhere in India. More on this further in this blog on Smriti Van.
Kulish Smriti Van Jaipur | All you want to know
What is Smriti Van?
Smriti Van in Jaipur is a large forest land in the heart of the city on JLN Road that connects Jaipur airport with the city. Its complete name is Kapoor Chand Kulish Smriti Van. Kapoor Chand Kulish was the founder of the popular local Hindi daily, Rajasthan Patrika. I’m unsure why his name is associated with the forestland under Rajasthan Forest Dept. Maybe Rajasthan Patrika has contributed financially to developing the area. Kulish Smriti Van is a joint effort of the Rajasthan Forest Department and the Jaipur Development Authority.
Smriti Van is a biodiversity forest and its size is close to 108 acres. The origin of Smriti Van is tied to the Jaipur floods of 1981. A vast tract of forest land adjacent to the Officers Training station better known as OTS was washed away in the deluge. Until the mid-2000s, it was a dry forest land with Acacia trees and ravines. At some point, it was also linked with the Jhalana forest that now hosts Jhalana Leopard Safari. Significant land north of Smriti Van is home to many institutions & government offices, called Jhalana Institutional Area. It was under the BJP government’s reign the park was conceived, developed, and inaugurated on 10 December 2007.
Smriti Van forestland has been remodeled on local microclimatic conditions and available natural resources. Conserving local flora and fauna was one of the guiding principles of Smriti Van along with providing a breathing space to the people of Jaipur. Smriti Van seeks to promote health & wellness. Close to 100 different medicinal plants, herbs, and trees were part of the conservation plan. Unknown to most people, the stabilization of sand dunes was also part of the project using grid-like plastic mesh.
All about the forest
The entry to Smriti Van is from JLN Marg and there is a dedicated parking lot that can accommodate close to 40-50 cars. A passageway flanked by tall Eucalyptus trees leads one to the main walkway with an eco-environmental museum on the left. I have been to the museum on a previous occasion but during my recent visit, the exhibition rooms were closed to the public. During my previous visit, the walls were adorned with pictures of the fauna of the surrounding region.
As one progresses on the walkway inside the forestland, sign boards indicating various zones can be spotted. The park has been divided into a variety of zones.
In all, Smriti Van park has been divided into 10 areas.
- Biodiversity forest
- Xerophytic gardens
- Experiential natural garden
- Holistic wellness park
- Wetland and water bodies
- Soil conservation plantation zone
- Eco-environmental awareness center
- General activities
- Garden theatre
A spacious garden occupies the space on the right and the board mentions- Yogasthal; it falls in the general activities zone. The walking trail also is part of the general activities zone. It is definitely one of the best places for yoga in Jaipur.
From here you can choose the walkways that steer you on a circuitous path traversing in a clockwise direction. This route encircles a small hillock. One can climb atop this through a trail. It isn’t overly elevated but does provide you with a 360 view of the surrounding area.
Butterfly Valley in Jaipur
Another path leads to butterfly valley and moves in an anticlockwise direction. This route accompanies one toward the north side of the park near the Jahlana Institutional area. There was a large soil erosion of this forestland in the Jaipur floods of 1981. The butterfly valley is created in this area. One of the most attractive areas of Smriti Van is Butterfly Valley which has a stream of water running through it.
For once, you might think you are not in Jaipur because the landscape and flora are generally not found in this region like Bamboo trees and a stream.
Smriti Van is one of the few places to witness butterflies in Jaipur. Detailed information can be obtained in the park on the species of butterflies that can be spotted in Jaipur, especially in the forest.
Peacock Valley in Jaipur
Along the pathway, one will also find peacock valley. A large number of peacocks can be spotted in Smriti Van and it is one of the surest places to watch peacocks in Jaipur. Peacock bird holds a special place among Indians; it is one of the most beautiful birds, as well as the national bird of India.
Many travelers visiting India are thrilled to see this peacock and peahen. If you are the one who is fascinated by peacock birds, plan a visit to Smriti Van in Jaipur. Here is a silhouette of a peacock in Jaipur from this forest.
Smriti van Vs Kishan Bagh
I would like to mention a similar forestland in Jaipur that was made accessible last year, Kishan Bagh. Kishan Bagh is a restoration project approached differently. While Smriti Van contains many large trees, Kishanbagh is different in that respect. In Smriti Van, medicinal plants have also been planted. Apart from the local trees, one can spot a substantial number of Bougainvillea. It is not a native plant and I’m not quite sure if it is a part of the original plan. One of the roads where one can find Bougainvillea flowers blooming in large numbers is Amer Road, near Ghati gate, just after Kanak Ghati. During the month of March, it is a magnificent sight. Kishan Bagh was jointly developed by Mr. Pradeep Krishen and Jaipur Development Authority. Smriti Van, on the other hand, is under Rajasthan Forest Department; it was jointly developed by Jaipur Development Authority and Rajasthan Forest Department. Kishan Bagh is devoid of imported tree and plant species as it focuses on native plants. Read the complete post-Kishan Bagh | The most scenic point in Jaipur
Extension of Jhalana Forest & Leopards
Visitors must understand that essentially Smriti Van represents an extension of Jhalans Forest. There have been innumerable instances of leopards being sighted in Smriti Van. At one point, the park was closed for months for the morning walkers because of this reason. Even now there are warning boards in many places in Smriti Van. One can find animal traps in a few spots.
A stream flows through the valley in Smriti Van. The water flowing through the park is from STP and is treated water. It is an excellent idea to reuse the water for developing this scenic landscape.
Birding in Jaipur At Smriti Van
Bird lovers and birders in Jaipur often visit the Smriti van. A forest full of trees, plants, and shrubs is an ideal home for birds. On one of my first visits to this forest, I saw the eco-museum displaying pictures of birds frequently spotted here. At many places in the forest land, boards with information on birds can be found.
Cafe near Smriti Van
Recently, a cafe cum restaurant in Smriti van has also come up called Cafe Magnolia. The entrance to Magnolia Cafe is not from the same gate. This entry to this cafe is near the SmritiVan entrance, and this area was previously called Jaldhara. Cafe Magnolia has a large seating capacity both indoors and outdoors. Read more about this cafe in Best Cafe & Restaurant in Jaipur
Entry Charges & Timing
There are no entry charges for Smriti Van; it is free for everyone. The timing of Smriti Van is in line with the general Rajasthan Forest Department guidelines and is open during the daytime. I remember previously the entry would close by 4.30 PM. Even now, the forest department has issued guidelines. A few of these mandate walking between 7 AM to 9 AM, walking only in a group, and walking only on the walking route. The information boards have been placed at many points in the park providing information to the visitors.
A good romantic place for couples?
Is it a good romantic place for couples in Jaipur? In my opinion, Smriti Van is a forest land; as per guidelines, visitors should not hang out in secluded spots. Many wild animals are regularly sighted in Smriti Van. Among these are panthers or leopards, hyenas, snakes, porcupines, and frequent Smriti Van. .