Wednesday, October 21, 2009

Hiking in Noida

I've been doing some hiking with our neighbors (Mini and Shail) over the past few weekends... The treks have started at the gates of ATS where we head out on foot to explore 'rural' our Noida. The weather has cooled down considerably here (upper 80's during the day and between 65 and 70 at night now) making it a great time to hike.
Our first recent trek took us south - in search of the river Yamuna... which we did eventually find. This is the waterway that divides Noida from Delhi. The river itself is less-than spectacular. Without much rain the Yamuna is reduced to a slowly moving swamp. But the five kilometre journey to the water's edge was interesting...
Our first barrier was the Greater Noida Expressway. This is a four lane highway that runs past ATS. It gives us easy access to New Delhi, but cars typically drive too fast and the highway has a reputation for really bad trucker accidents. The three of us scrambled across this road at about 7:15 am in the early morning mist.
Very quickly we ran into the last thing I would have expected... the Indian Air Force. The IAF's local shooting range, oddly, is in the farm fields to the South of our complex. Hoping their rifles were routinely pointed in a less populated direction, we gave the troops plenty of space as we hiked on.
As we traversed planted fields, we came across quite a few birds including several eagles, a male peacock and many small songbirds.
We saw many farm families working in the fields. Corn, wheat, rice and radishes seemed to be the main crops growing in the area at this time of year. We also walked through several local nurseries. Maybe these are a bi-product of all of the new construction - both commercial and residential -going up on along the Expressway? India loves her beautiful, ornate gardens... so more and more of these are planted with the completion of each new construction project.
Perhaps the strangest encounter along the way was discovered as we walked along a narrow, bricked village alley. Over the top of a stone wall we saw the large statue of a figure standing in a private garden. Shail spoke to some guards at this compound's gate, and with a little insistence they let us in. There, towering in front of us with the figure of Nehru himself, the first PM of India. The guards told us we had entered the workshop-retreat of an apparently famous state-sculptor! There were fiberglass statues (probably molds) and a few bronze ones scattered throughout this enclosed garden. All famous politicians or historical figures. Evan a large horse and the head of the god Brahma. For me, the place was a little creepy - random statues standing in the relative quiet of this slightly over-grown, hidden garden...


IndicCrusader said...

Interesting read.. never thought hiking around Noida could be fun !

HouseBoy said...

All sorts of places to explore around here... Thanks for reading.