ETAWAH KA BULAWAH
Relatively unknown District of Etawah appears non-descript till you actually plan a foot fall. Surrounded by Agra, Firozabad, Mainpuri, Kannauj, Auraiya, Jalaun and Bhind (MP) Districts, it is not far off from the ultimate tourism destination of Agra (120 kms), princely state of Gwalior (110 kms), epicenter of bangle industry, Firozabad (50 kms) and Shan-e-Awadh, Lucknow (250 kms).
Infinite patience helps when journey is long even if one has access to the latest Japanese SUV, moving at a dumbfounding speed of 90 kms per hour. The first break after three and a half hours enables one to avail of public convenience in addition to a quick bite of two varieties of parathas (potato and paneer) and curd. Before the belly is filled up, a walk at a leisurely pace looking at road side villages cannot be resisted.
Famous for Rabri, Peda and its gun loving populace, of late, the vibrant Sub-division of Saifai has added fresh feathers to Etawah’s cap by making possible super speciality medical care, world class sports centres, plethora of educational institutions and a 2700 metre long ‘uncontrolled’ aerodrome. Other notable townships-Jaswant Nagar and Bharthana, surprisingly, are lagging behind. The overall prosperity reflected from the upgraded infrastructure, however, does not seem to have made any dent on the sanitary standards and attitude towards the fair sex.
On reaching our abode for one month (in two phases), one gets an impression that this was the place where one could relax, unwind and regain one’s peace of mind. While chirping of countless, colorful birds touch your heart, you also have a chance to watch slow and graceful walks of Crocodiles, Peacocks, Barasingha Deers and Nilgais. Existence of natural wet lands and pools of water due to spill-over from the tube wells, has, perhaps, led to proliferation of fauna if not flora. You are privileged to see everything: Parrots, Eagles, Cranes, Wood Peckers, Snake birds, Pigeons, Black & Brown Crows, Crows with long tail, Koels, Mynahs, Neelkanth, Dhaurayyas, Titar, Mahuka, Gulgulia, Chanduls and Swans. Resultantly, one feels as if the whole place resembles an open, unpolluted and undisturbed sanctuary.
The very first outing takes you to a different world. If Mustard fields are stunning, those growing Potato, Garlic and Wheat look enchanting to an urban dweller. The healthy growth of Sugarcane reminds one of one’s childhood, when there would be scramble between the Siblings for the best ‘cut-piece’. In the vast ‘ocean’ of green fields, there are alkaline ‘islands’ (Usar land) as well. Chemical treatment makes such plots worthy of wheat cultivation.
The Sumer Fort area (originally built 1100 years ago) lures you with its unusual beauty and green landscape in the backdrop of often talked about ravines. While Yamuna is right across, Chambal is barely 10 kms away. Former, despite attracting birds is as polluted as in Delhi. Latter looks somewhat clean and calm. A motor boat ride on the river ahead of Hanumantpura takes you to an exhilarating interface with crocodiles looked after in a sanctuary.
In the glaring light of the mid-day sun, gradually you see baby crocodiles basking and relaxing on the beach, while the adults enter blue deep waters in search of some ‘catch’. The Swans, Cranes and Snake birds do appear every now and then. While they enjoy, they enhance the beauty of the surroundings. The best way, however, to have a feel of the place is to leave the motor boat and walk slowly along the bank to relish the moments of solitude.
The Chambal river has been witness to tales of valour and miseries associated with the dacoits, many of whom turned to kidnapping before withering away. Their influence over the ravine villagers has been full and complete, so much so that either the latter would not vote or exercise their franchise according to whims and fancies of the former. During the recently concluded elections, the scenario, however, was positive (60 %) and reverse.
Coming to the look or the effect of Sun, while its rise from the Fort can be awesome with cool breeze blowing from Yamuna, its ‘setting’ behind Chambal river is equally breath taking and mesmerizing. You simply draw incalculable pleasure out of the gradual ‘slide’ of the ‘red ball’. The sight of rise of Moon with a twinkling star in close proximity is also something one can concentrate upon, almost every evening. Such experiences give you comfort and courage to forget your stress and enable you to move ahead with renewed vigor and vitality in your regular work place.