As we approached the woods, the asphalt quickly became a dirt road and then random trails and brushy forest - mainly eucalyptus trees. Locals were watching us as we entered the woods... looking quite perplexed. These stares always give me the feeling I've shown up at the wrong wedding reception. A few asked why we were there? Shail helped explain that we were, "just out trekking." I think this confused them even more. Especially because it was Diwali.We walked the perimetre of the forest for a bit, but then managed to find a pretty good trail to follow. Once inside, the forest let us momentarily escape the urban-Noida landscape. I could hear the breeze through the leaves of the trees. We started to see animal tracks that we couldn't identify... and then after a short distance, sure enough, there were some very large deer peering at us through the underbrush!
At first we just saw one or two. Then we quickly realized there were as many as fifteen healthy, large Nilgai in a herd. They kept watch of us, and would let us get to within 75 or 100 feet of them, then shy back away into the woods. We followed and enjoyed watching the deer for a little while and then finished our walk, passing a local Temple near the far side of the woods.
It was great to know these large animals are surviving, despite the rapidly changing landscape that surrounds them!