Why Aya Nagar, Lodi Road is colder than rest of Delhi
The heart of national capital — Safdarjung — shivered at 9.4 degrees Celsius on Monday, the lowest day temperature ever recorded in over a century. But there were two other neighbourhoods in the city, where the temperature was lower than the record low.
Southwest Delhi’s Aya Nagar and central Delhi’s Lodhi Road observatories have been recording the lowest maximum and minimum temperatures in the city for the last four days. On Monday, the maximum temperature at Aya Nagar was as low as 8.3 degrees Celsius and the minimum temperature was recorded at 2.5 degrees Celsius.
This was not only lower than the rest of Delhi, but also several notches below the day temperatures recorded in some of the most popular hill stations — like Shimla, Manali, Mount Abu.
Even as Safdarjung observatory’s temperature recording rose to a maximum of 14.6 degrees Celsius on Tuesday, Aya Nagar continued to record 8.3 degrees Celsius during the day. The conditions at Lodhi Road has not fared any better. On Monday, the maximum temperature in Lodi Road was 9.3 degrees Celsius, which improved to 14.1 degrees Celsius on Tuesday.
Hindustan Times spoke to experts and took a look at the demographic profile of both these areas to see what is causing these areas to record such low temperatures.
Aya Nagar has been recording the lowest temperatures out of all the four observatories in the city. On December 28, the minimum temperature in this area plummeted to as low as 1.9 degrees Celsius. A primary reason behind this is the location of the area.
From the southern end, Aya Nagar is bordered by the Aravali ridge, which is a vast expanse of thick foliage. From the western end, the neighbourhood is surrounded by an Air Force station. On the northern end of Aya Nagar are a few office buildings, but mostly open spaces. All these factors combined keep the temperature around the Aya Nagar observatory lower than the rest of the city.
There are also over a dozen ravines in Aya Nagar, some of which even after drying continue to keep the ground moist and cold.
“Last four days have been terrible here. I was riding in a two-wheeler the other day for some work barely a kilometre away. But I had to stop my vehicle multiple times because my hands were freezing,” said Vedpal, area councillor.
He said while the geographical location of the area helps during summers with cold breeze and fresh air when the city reels under spells of bad air days, during winters it is turns into a curse.
“It has its negatives. For the last two days, we barely saw anyone walking outside in the cold. The situation was almost like a shutdown,” he added.
Scientists at the India Meteorological Department (IMD) said that even though Lodi Road is centrally located, the high green cover in the area keeps the temperature here low.
Apart from the 90 acres of Lodi Garden, which is the green lungs of the city, the area has a variety of trees, shrubs and plants in every corner. Another reason behind the extremely low temperature is the low population density in the area.
“Lodi Road area is not very densely populated. Though it does have some large bungalows, it is still not essentially a residential complex per se. This is one of the reasons behind the temperature not shooting up much,” a senior IMD scientist said.
Samreen Wadhwa, who works at the India Habitat Centre, said that since she spends most of the time inside her office building, she fails to notice the extremity of the cold in the area.
“It definitely is cold. But to avoid it, we stay back inside the office building during recess. It is a green area, so that might be adding to the low temperature here,” she said.