Anticipating that we would miss our 4pm train due to delay done by one of the travel companions (because well, this one takes the concept of quality time while bathing way too seriously) we were walking towards the Old Delhi Railway Station faster than the speed of light (ok, that’s an exaggeration).
But as usual, hail Indian Railways, the train started 15 minutes late. We were on time. My two friends and I were on board to Ramnagar, where after four hours we would meet Ayu, The Great!
Well, the train journey was like every other train journey. A grumpy middle aged man who wouldn’t give up his window seat to someone who wanted to sit together with their friends, which does not make sense, because he did not use that window the entire journey (not even to rest his head while sleeping); young couples with their even younger kids jumping all over the place like excited and hyper bouncy balls; a girl reading SSB book for entrance perhaps; and just some other extraordinary Indian population. Four hours passed by looking at these excited kids, talking to bhelpuri uncle, and staring into emptiness outside the train door. Ayu was there at the station to take us to the mesmerizing resort Aahana-The Corbet Wilderness.
When we entered the gates of Aahana, I immediately remembered my previous trip to Corbett on the same dates a year back, with Sneha, Queeny and Shreyaa and how we were amazed by seeing the grandeur of the resort- same was the reaction of my current trip partners. They were awestruck .
Well, we started with the nightly ritual of Aahana , listening to the musicians besides the bonfire but this time we had came with our own musician, who took the controls of the guitar and started flirting with the Beatles tune. No one can get enough of music, can we? So we had to stop filling our souls with music, so that we could start filling our empty stomachs, with some great Aahana food.
The next day was supposed to be a big one. A 5am morning safari, where we were not as lucky as the last time and didn’t get to spot a tiger but the newbies were happy seeing the first ray of sun cutting through the fog and having a delightful conversation with the rich flora and fauna.
The catch of that day was when we went for cycling on the road that ran parallel to the National Park – no that’s not the catch- the catch was, while returing to Aahana, our path was first crossed by a giant Tusker followed by its kids and then one more Tusker. We couldn’t contain our excitement but according to Ayu we should be petrified, so well, we became petrified, yes! and waited for the kings and the queens to leave so that we could peddle our cycles as fast as we could till we reach our resort.
So, when you come to Corbett make sure to :
1. Stay at Aahana (Winner of numerous Travel and Tourism awards) even if you don’t step out of the resort, the resort is a travel destination in itself. The Bijrani Range of the Park is right behind it, and you might even see some wilderness from your balcony.
Although, if you are on a limited budget trip then there are numerous reasonable guest houses there.
2. Not miss the safari. There are morning as well as night safaris. And if you are luck , you will get some very interesting and entertaining driver and forest guide. National Park is closed during the month of October, when the authorities do their regular surveys and checks.
3.Watch the sunset from the river bank.
4.Explore the nearby Negi village. People there are one of the most heart warming people I have ever met. So, while wandering around the village we spotted a wedding house and decided to go inside, the people were highly welcoming and made us meet the bride and other family members (one of whom asked me to marry her son)
In the evening we left for Nainital, and it took us around 1 and a half hour to reach the town in a car. The twinkling lights and the crystal lake welcomed us along with chilly winds.
We strolled around the town where we could hear the Azaan of Masjid, Bells of the church, Prayers of a Mandir and Gurbaani of a Gurduwara at exactly the same moment. Nothing can make you trip better than something like this, isn’t it?
Shopping a little at the famous Tibetan Market where people sitting around warm bonfires shared even warmer conversations and neighborly love.
We decided to go for a boat ride in the Lake and I very confidently asked the guy to let me row the boat and to everyone’s disappointment as usual, I could not do it.
When life brings you to a wedding, crash it! We found a wedding to barge into in Nainital as well. We got ourselves clicked with the groom and the bride; danced with some seriously drunk people on Punjabi DJ, hogged the food and left for our own good.
The next day we left for the famous China Peak, but known for being a little spontaneous and random in life, we went off route and rather chose this path on a normal hill alongside the road. We decided to trek this untouched part of a hill no matter what. Not prepared for such a trek, my poor shoes sacrificed themselves and with no option around I had to make the sole stay at place with some piece of cloth I found in the hill.
When we finally reached the top, I could feel the freshness of the sun piercing through my body and the melody of birds filling my soul with tranquility.
I would have stayed there the whole day but you don’t always get what you want, rigt?
The downhill trek was a disaster, holding each others’ hand, tripping over the stones, falling on each other, sometime to serious measures. Before leaving we decided to put a rock somewhere in a tree and write our names on it, one of us also placed a two rupee coin with it. I don’t know why that was done but at that time it felt in sync. The saddest part of this trek was the number of plastic bottles we found up there. Really? Spare some places at least. Actually why some? Be a little civilised and do not litter.
Some things and places you should go to in this beautiful small town:
1. Visit this shop ‘Himjoli’ run by an NGO that sell locally produced items like diaries, cushion cover decorated with tradition Pahari paintings and thread work, made by people who are supported by this NGO.
- Visit the bakery shop – Baker’s Hut- the only place that sells blueberry cheese cake in the entire town.
- if you are lucky you might barge into this guy who was the first one to go o Mount Everest from Nainital. I met him in a tea stall near the High Court
- And the High court too is a beauty of British Architecture.
- Crash a wedding!
The next morning hours we left for Ramnagar and from there in the Evening we took an UPSRTC to Delhi. Oh man! If you have never travelled in a local U.P Bus you have seriously missed on half of the fun in your life. You will see these spectrum of people there, from thugs who receive to pay for ticket to the socially responsible conductor, a funny old man threatening the trouble makers and what not. Its just so much fun! And the cherry on the top was the wedding we passed by while on the road.
I think this trip and weddings had some serious connection.
How to reach these two destinations:
I took Uttrakhand Sampark Kranti at 4PM from Old Delhi Railway station till Kathgodam (9:00pm) and then from there by road to Nainital. A bus from I.S.B.T Anand Vihar also goes to these two destinations.