When we learnt Geography in the 8th grade, each one of us remembers learning about the Jim Corbett National Park. Yes, that place famous for the tigers. Remember the Core area and Buffer area ? We finally went there this weekend. Oh, and trust me, this place is better than anything we’ve read about. Or heard about. It is EPIC.
We left Delhi for Ramnagar, which is a couple of miles from Jim Corbett. Ramnagar is a small town in the state of Uttarakhand. It has paved streets, small stores, and very simple people. You will find very few Hero Hondas or Yamahas. Most men (there are more men than women, this is very evident) ride a cycle. We also spotted a lot of people flying kites from their terraces. It gave such a nice feeling, especially after seeing Delhi, day in and day out. This place was sans buildings.
After haggling with the auto guys at the station, we started for our resort. The route to the resort was a winding one, we could occasionally spot a deer. The wind that hit our faces was so pure and clean, that it felt so different from the Delhi dry and polluted breeze. This was like therapy for me. The 2 days that we had, were our own, like someone had given us a carte’ blanch. Upon reaching the resort and again, haggling with the hotel guys (we were not exactly overflowing with money), we kept our stuff in the room and decided to do a few water sports. The Kosi River, which circumvents the forest, is where most activities happen. The river was breath-taking. We did zip crawling, rock climbing, and free falling. I was doing all 3 for the first time, but it is an experience I’ll remember for the rest of my life. The free falling was the most adrenaline rushing moment in my life. It is that moment, when you have no idea about your coordinates. All you can think is ‘when am I going to hit the water?’ That was the moment when I lost fear of literally everything. We had aloo tikki and Maggi noodles for lunch after our little adventure.
It is literally impossible to describe the scenic beauty of Jim Corbett. It was a like a painting, which had virtually every possible shade of green.
That evening, there was a slight drizzle. We went on an open Jeep safari, where occasionally, I would stand up tall, and let the breeze own me. We were ecstatic, like school kids taken on a picnic for the first time.
Early next morning, we headed for a trek through the forest. Our guide specifically instructed us to be silent, giving each of us a mentos/mango bite, to give us a sudden burst of energy. We were all excited initially, but it was that excitement for seeing a tiger in the open. Later, we realized, we will not be seeing any. As we walked and walked, the terrain changed. Suddenly it would be dense forests, suddenly it would be plains. Sometimes, a small stream would find its way up to us. The guide would occasionally scare us, saying, “see, snake”, and I would scream. We must have crossed about 5 hills, some very steep. There were points where the girls would literally give up, sitting obstinately on the grass, saying, this is it, we are going back. The truth was, there was no looking back. We were in the middle of a huge expanse of dense forests. Without the forest guides, we would have been like Hansel & Gratel, lost in the woods. After 6 hours of trekking, we finally reached a small hut. We were offered water by the very hospitable and shy young girl who lived there.
We had a sumptuous lunch, hungry we all were. On the way back, each one of us am sure had so many great memories, that there wasn’t much to be said. The silence did all the talking. This was one of the best weekends I have had. I still think of the green foliage and green hills and green plains that surrounded us at Jim Corbett. It was beautiful.
Note : We stayed at Corbett Wilds, stayed there only for a night, reached Saturday morning by rail from Delhi to Ramnagar and took an Innova on the way back. Each water sport is around Rs 100. It was a budget trip, and cost each of us approx 5k. The Free falling is by far the most exciting activity.
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