Tuesday, April 26, 2016

A weekend in the jungles of Corbett National Park

Jim Corbett National Park is a forested wildlife sanctuary in northern India’s Uttarakhand State. Rich in flora and fauna, it’s known for its Bengal tigers. Animals, including tigers, leopards and wild elephants, roam the Dhikala zone. On the banks of the Ramganga Reservoir, the Sonanadi zone is home to elephants and leopards, along with hundreds of species of birds.

The planning
We planned an office trip to Corbett with barely 2 weeks in hand. Two of my colleagues were in constant talks with the tour operators for 2 weeks to get us the best possible deal. Finally we did get the best possible deal at INR 6000 per head which included:

·        -Travel to and from Noida to Corbett in a 26 seater AC bus
·         -Stay for 2 nights in Saalvan Resort and Spa , a 4 star resort
·         -2*Breakfast, 1*Lunch, 2*Dinner – Buffet system
·         -Tiger Safari
·         -Trip to Garjiya Devi mandir

The Journey
We departed from our office in Noida on 11th March at around 1 PM in the 26 seater AC bus which was way above my expectations. The driver was a very jolly fellow and didn’t create any issues. We played music and were enjoying till we stopped at Gajrula Bikenarwala for a late lunch. A big disappointment as the charm of having dhabha food while travelling was lost. However as we were a large group, we enjoyed the Cholle Bature together and clicked lot of pictures before heading back to the bus.

The rest of the journey was more fun as we played antakshari and were amazed by the collection of songs everyone had up their sleeves. We finally reached our resort at around 8-9 PM, it took almost an hour or so to reach the resort after entering Corbett.
Once we saw the resort, the long journey was worth it. Am glad we did not book a resort near to the city as we would have missed the nature’s beauty which we enjoyed from our resort.

The Resort
SaalVan Resort and Spa

We were 20 of us so we got 10 rooms allotted to us, out of which ours was the biggest of the lot. All rooms had a private terrace and ample space in the rooms. After freshening up a bit, we headed to the dining hall for our Dinner. As a foodie, I was more than delighted after seeing the vast array of food items laid on the table. There was soup, 2-3 main course veg dishes and 2 non veg dishes as well apart from Gulab Jamun as sweet dish. The food was deliciously amazing, the meat was tender and cooked perfectly. We made it a point to try each and every dish on the table. A perfect meal after a tiring day.

Post dinner, the whole group came in our room, and we had a hell of a time, playing music, jumping around of the mattresses and doing masti. Once everyone went back to their rooms, 4 of us got the mattress out on the terrace and lay down gazing at the view of the clear sky with stars .It was something which we just couldn’t do in Delhi and all. We lay for an hour or so before crashing on the bed and finally bidding adieu to the event full night.

The Destination

Our safari was scheduled at 6 in the morning, but due to rains it got delayed and it ultimately started at around 7 AM. As we only had 2 weeks with us before the trip, we weren’t able to get the safari slots for the other zones such as Jhirna, Dhikala. We only got the booking for Durga Devi zone which only had 5 of 250 odd tiger’s in Corbett .This we were informed by our safari driver.

A photo posted by Arnav Mathur (@eat_travel_live_repeat) on

Nevertheless, we enjoyed the lush greenery and jungle at its best during the safari. We were able to spot 4-5 deer’s but that’s about it. We did click a lot of pictures and made some good lifelong memories. The air was so clean and pure and the cold wind blowing was so relaxing. On our way back, it started raining, so we got wet but enjoyed the safari to the core.

We reached back to our resort at around 10 AM and headed for the breakfast table. Again I was delighted to see so many options for breakfast. They had everything on the table, right from fruit juice and fresh fruits to idli sambar, bread omelet and chocos as well. We had a king size hearty breakfast and then headed to the Ram Ganga river which was a 2-3 km trek from the resort.

The sound of the water flowing in the river and hitting the rocks was so soothing to the ears. We played for some time in the river and then just sat at a boulder with legs dipped in the cold water, listening to the sound of the river. The whole experience was so rejuvenating and therapeutic. It was so calm there that I feel like heading to the hills every now and then just to get a break from the noise and pollution in Delhi.

We came back to our resort at around 1 PM and immediately headed to the swimming pool. We witnessed extreme sunshine and rainfall in a matter of 30 minutes when we were in the pool. Swimming made us tired like hell, so we went in our rooms and took a good hot shower and relaxed in the room until lunch time.

There was a pahadi mutton dish in lunch which was so tasty .The meat was tender and cooked to perfection. Dahi Aaloo was also something which was enjoyed a lot. After hogging on the tasty lunch, we retired to our rooms to take a much deserved nap.

In the evening, the resort had a musical evening planned in-house, which was so relaxing. Even though the guy was singing in chinki accent, but the song and tune were so soothing. He even made us play a few games over the bonfire which were enjoyed by one and all.

Dinner comprised of some yummy hot and sour soup, laal maas, paneer lababdaar and some other yummy dishes. There was no compromise on the quality nor the variety in food during our entire stay. As we were scheduled to leave early morning by 8 we headed back to our rooms and called it a night.

Once again, the clouds started thundering and it started raining cats and dogs and even ole in the morning at 7 .The view from the room was indeed splendid with the different hues of clouds. Seeing the rain, everyone got lethargic and instead of leaving by 8 we ended up on the breakfast table at 8 and left the resort at around 9 AM.

The whole stay was so amazing with facilities exceeding our expectations.

After leaving the resort we headed to Garjiya Devi mandir .The mandir is located on a hillock with the queue running almost 250 m. Once we were done with paying our respects to the deity, we clicked some photos and headed back to the bus and started our return journey.
We stopped at Sagar Ratna for lunch, and it was the most pathetic franchisee I have ever been to. Very poor service and extremely poor quantity and quality. The cost did not do any justice to the quantity nor the quality of food. Ultimately we filled our tummies with chips and coke. We finally reached back to NOIDA at around 8 PM and thus the journey came to an end.

It was indeed a trip to remember, which even strengthened the bonds between colleagues and at the same time a very good and relaxing break from Delhi.

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