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Enigmatic India

This blog captures the life experiences of the Enigmatic India team in the beautiful and enigmatic country of India.We capture our experiences through our writings, photos and products that depict the very essence and fabric of India.Through this platform, we invite you to join us in our journey as we explore.

Saturday, August 14, 2010

Trip to Jim Corbett National Park

Tusker at Corbett
During our childhood days my sister and I had grown up listening to a lot of stories during bed time from Nana. The whole spectrum - epic, Jataka tales, folks, Nick Carter, James Bond and finally animal tales was wonderful. The most memorable ones were the Jim Corbett tales - especially the man-eaters of Kumaon and Champawat, Leopard of Rudraprayag, etc. The stories of Jim Corbett and his dog Robin was always etched in my mind. As the years progressed, I grew up and got caught up with pace of life. Back in 2007, something reminded me that I need to connect with Nature and since then my favorite haunting grounds have been Tadoba, Pench and Kanha, apart from a few other places.

I was gifted a book on Jim Corbett and reading it brought back the memories...and all the while a gentleman Kevin Smith (who is a great photographer) and I got connected through photographs (thanks to Picasaweb). Kevin has been visiting India since many years and made Kaladhungi (ChotaHaldwani) his second home. His bird photographs from this area excited us and finally this year in May we decided that its time to make our first trip to Jim Corbett National Park.

Dhikala Forest Rest House
View of the meadows
 from Dhikala Rest House
My parents and sister decided to join this journey in the peak summer season. So, we all landed up in Delhi and proceeded to Ramnagar. The roads were very dusty and at many places the visibility was zero and the roads were bad...The demographics of the uber rich of Delhi, to pathetic polluted conditions in Ghaziabad and the visibly poor rural India in UP was quite a spectrum. 

Once we were off the highway, the roads to Ramnagar was good...and we entered Uttaranchal state...everything looked green...Vivek Pant a classmate of mine...was there in Ramnagar to meet us (we were meeting after 20 years...and it was quite emotional)...Got ourselves booked in Dhikala Forest Rest house inside Corbett park. The rates were quite expensive and why not ..a lot of foreigners visited this area. What was shocking to see was the number of resorts - no wonder conservation experts have been fighting a loosing battle in this part of the country.

The 35+ odd kms drive to Dhikala was without any surprises and we arrived at Dhikala Forest rest house. We were amazed to see the infrastructure put up by the Government - compared to other states where I had visited Forest guest houses were in a bad condition. The Dhikala Forest Rest house - cabin hut probably the most expensive one...a 150+ years old log house overlooks the Patli Dun Valley and the Ramganga river. As the evening approached we could see herds of elephants walking towards the water body excitement started building up.

You can have food in the forest restaurant or there is a Dhaba nearby...the Dhikala camp is covered by electric fences to protect from the wild elephants. The food was good and we decided to call it a day. Next day morning the attendant for the log hut woke us and served hot tea and packed some sandwiches. The trips in the morning are  two i.e. between 6 9 a.m. and 9a.m. to 11 am and in addition there is also an elephant safari for two hours. We did three trips, and we were happy to see herds of elephants, wide variety of birds and ungulates. however the majestic tiger eluded us..

Corbett Falls
The third day morning we decided to move to Nainital(the city of Lakes) in the Kumaon hills and the drive was fantastic through the ghat roads. The sudden heat gave way to cool breeze and we finally reached Nainital. Quickly changing into something warmer we moved out to do boating in the Naini Lake, visited the malls and also visited the NainaDevi temple. The view from our guesthouse was beautiful and the lights dotting the lake was spectacular. Next day we had to return to Delhi and thought of trying out the Naintal Zoo, Governor house, Eco-tourism caves, however nothing seem to open before 10:30 am. Well beautiful hill stations can be termed sleepy towns.
Corbett House

We agreed to start our journey back and on the way Kaladhungi the place where Jim Corbett lived was a pit stop… and visited his home(Corbett House) and also saw the burial place of Robin. Had heard/read about I was seeing these things...from there were moved on to Corbett Falls, a small one but a good sight. Finally our journey in this part of the country was over and we headed back to Delhi only to decide that visiting Jim Corbett was definitely on the cards again.


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