I am back after a wonderful 10 day trip to the north. The whole week preceding the trip was hectic with all the shopping for the yatra, turning 26 and winding up work for the 10 day bliss. There we were with our bags packed, travelling from different parts of the country to Delhi… our common meeting place for the great Indian Yatra.
The 1st leg of the journey was the Old Delhi station where me and S waited for the others to come with our luggage and theirs too coz moi decided to go shopping and meet up with a friend while we had half the day left in Delhi. Before I proceed any further I need to introduce my dear friends the two photographers D and Mite, D’s hubby and my darling hubby’s ex-roomie Srags, Krishna aka RGV, my bro in law RGV’s assistant J, my hubby darling S and moi!
The Old Delhi station was like any other big city station; sea of humanity, long queues that can drive you mad and people who are extremely RUDE! We had to go past a long line for the security check with people trying to push their way through. Between all this they had a baggage screening counter for which all u needed to do was go and stand somewhere close to the line and u will get pushed right through:P… all I remember is throwing my bag in and running to the other side only to find RGV in a heated argument with the lone security guard manning the screening counter… pelting abuses at him in English for throwing his laptop bag down.. and there on and on he went till the guard looked up and told him “Sir Hindi mein baat karo!” and there stood RGV taken aback and considering he was still pissed he resumed with whatever little he knew in Hindi :).
On reaching the platform was when we saw the number of luggage that each if us carried, 15 pieces and 7 of us! 🙂 and that is how it was gonna be for the next few days at any point everyone is to count the luggage and people lest something or someone got left behind! 😀
The train was as usual late and we whiled away time on an already overcrowded platform. There was ample scope for self entertainment with the police trying to make sure that people were in and not hanging out of an already overcrowded train, a wife making her husband comfortable on the platform and pressing his head and putting him to sleep :).After successful 45 mins of killing time, Ranikhet Express arrives on the platform right behind us… yes yes there was prior announcement so all we had to do was turn pick our bags and dash for the compartment:) .
Once comfortably settled the excitement began to slowly settle in… discussions ranged from whether we would see the tiger, RGV’s fluorescent Chaddi (shorts), photography D clicked a few pictures also 😀 and general tp stuff…we were extremely tired to be discussing anything else for the night with people slowly making themselves comfortable and catching some sleep for the Jim Corbett adventure! 🙂
Ramnagar/ Jim Corbett National Park: We woke up next morning as the train pulled into the Ramnagar the station… first impression it looked something straight out of Sholay…deserted!! for a min you would imagine a dacoit to jump down from his/ her horse 😀 and go off with u 🙂 For 5 am in the morning I do have a wild imagination:P The station was pretty small but well maintained and as we walked out we were extremely excited to see our ride waiting for us, two Maruti Gypsy’s . For us the journey is also as important as the destination itself, hence we knew that nobody was gonna miss a chance to make the most of it 🙂 Thrilled to bits we piled up the luggage and off we went into the jungle the cold breeze waking us up &.
We stopped at Sun Bird guest house and settled on the bed and the chairs in the room while the offices at Corbett opened to take necessary permission to enter the jungle. I comfortably made space on the corner of the bed and decided to sleep while the others sat around yapped, tried to catch some sleep and munch on the goodies in the bag packed by Srag’s mom! 🙂
The husband sat right behind me and decided to do some channel surfing and entertain the crowd and he decided the best thing for us to watch would be the Grammy Awards. And mind you they were extremely painful with god knows what they were trying to sing :). By then dawn had broken and we decided to step out and walk up to the nearest tea shop and settle our rumbling stomachs to hot cups of tea, aloo parathas and omelets.
Now in the distance we noticed that RGV sir had begun shooting. Initially we thought he was just capturing the sights and sounds of the sleepy village town only to realize he was busy trying to capture shots that could be used for “Chal Diye” a song from Coke Studio. So his first model was J who kept walking this side that side and everywhere possible: P then me and hubby also walked hand in hand like any romantic couple…adding to the 1st few shots and thus was born RGV! 🙂
The b’fast didn’t take long to disappear we polished it off and trust me that was one of the best b’fast that we had in a long time: D and after some general tp with the children waiting to catch their school bus, we got ready to head to the government office to get the necessary permits for the stay and safari.
Finally after the long wait & with a slight drizzle, the modern age Shikari Shambu’s set off on the trail of the elusive tiger which we knew was gonna be one hell of a task spotting coz for one we were visiting off-season two it was raining. We stayed at Gairal the guest house was about an hour and a half away from the main entrance of Corbett. The drive was brilliant lush greenery, beautiful views, birds chirping and the Ramganga’s crystal clear water making its way through the scenic forest.
We reached the government guest house a cozy place on the banks of Kosi. The rooms had the bare minimum, were decently well maintained and anyways we knew we wouldn’t be needing more. Considering it was almost lunch time and we were hungry as always we decided to freshen up, feast on the yummy lunch and head out for the 1st round of the safari 😀 the Shikari Shambu’s set out with the cameras to shoot the wildlife… (No no we didn’t plan on doing a Salman Khan: P) some trees, birds, the river, mountains and most importantly the tiger if we spotted him.
Now the jungle rules during the safari are quite simple, no making noise, no deos or perfumes, no smoking, no flashy clothes that will disturb the environment. Following this to the tee was our RGV sir he wore military colored clothes so that even if the tiger comes he won’t be visible 😀 Our driver had already told us that since it’s raining spotting animals would be konjam difficult. But all was not lost and we had a relatively successful evening spotting deers – Sambhar, spotted deer, barking deer and wild boars. The husband managed to dose off right through the safari… be it any mode of transport I just dnt understand how he can fall asleep !! 😛
It was just amazing how beautiful the entire place was… you would not feel like saying a word to each other all you would wanna do is breathe in the fresh air, admire the nature, the beautiful animals in the natural habitat.
Our drive almost came to an end at around 5:30 pm coz we were required to head back to the guest house by dusk. D and Mite got some amazing shots of the beautiful animals and RGV sir got many shots from different angles high, low and pan and had his subjects walk up down and round and round! :P.
The Shikari’s didn’t get to meet the elusive tiger but we managed to spot a day old pug mark… content that probably day 2 we might get luckier and the beautiful cat might just give us his darshan.Dinner, rounds of antakshari (nt too loud) by the candle light we were ready to crash as we had to leave the next day early in the morning if we had to catch the elephant safari.
Day 2 started quiet gloomy coz it poured the previous night and there was a steady drizzle so we decided to checkout from the guest house and head to Dhikala.RGV was busy shooting through the hole in wall 😀 one of his many perspectives:) On the way to Dhikala we managed to spot a herd of elephants some with huge tusks and a baby elephant all happily grazing away and also spotted some animals we had seen earlier.
Now Dhihaka is one of the most popular spots in Corbett; located at the edge of the broad Patli Dun valley through which the Ramganga flows in numerous channels.
Dhikala offers an uninterrupted panoramic view of the valley, with the Kanda ridge in the backdrop and overlooks Dhikala chaur (one of the largest remaining grasslands of the Park) and Phulai chaur. By the time we reached Dhikala it was already 10 am and being extra unlucky we never got to ride the elephant due to the rains. The men had interesting sights awaiting them when they reached, a bunch of girls were staying at the guest house who added to the scenery. 🙂
An important activity if visiting Dhikhala is a safari through the grasslands. With two guides one each in the respective jeeps the safari had now begun. The drive through the grasslands was beautiful and we were hoping against hopes that the big cat graces us with his darshan. Our guide explained and helped us in spotting the lovely birds, peacocks, langurs, barking deer, and deer with beautiful velvet antlers, vultures and all you could wonder was there is so much to marvel at & imagine how much time god would have invested in creating these creatures. 🙂
D, Srags, Mite and RGV had a lovely time clicking away in the shutterbug haven while I made a mental note to plan an African safari :p .The tiger remained elusive and with heavy hearts made our way back to the base. The first jeep returned with us ie.the couples with the other jeep nowhere in sight.
While we waited the bunch of girls we had seen during b’fast were getting ready to leave and being young girls they were generating a lot of interest around. It had started drizzling & heading for cover we chanced upon an interesting & absolutely entertaining chat…not like we were listening just we caught two words from the conversation “he felted himself ya”! There that just did it…the four of us burst out into peals of laughter wondering if these chicks had any idea what they were saying!:P If we thought that was bad the next one blew us off our feet it went something like this “Khan Bhaiya come come…please come bhaiya! 😛 now you can imagine our expressions & the direction of our thoughts “Bhaiya bhi bolte ho aur come bhi waah waah 😀 ya perverts I knw :! 😀
After all this we realized that the second jeep and the people never returned, we decided to wait for a bit and even assumed that they might have found the tiger and RGV sir might be directing it :P. A good hour later we were getting worried and sent our driver with a guide to search for these guys while we waited it out. Again no luck now even our search party seemed missing and finally another half hour later everyone returned. They just got caught in admiring nature and climbing to the view points that they lost track of time 🙂 we were just glad that they returned and had a good time. So finally after paying the guides we were ready to head back to the main entrance and from there to Ramnagar for Nanital.
It started pouring heavily and we bid our final goodbye to Jim Corbett where the next driver and our ride waiting to take us to Nanital. The Shikari Shambu’s did not get to see the tiger but we did get to shoot some lovely pictures, discover that we had the potential to act though RGV thought we were lousy modaaalas 😛 and be one with nature! there aint anything more fulfilling than this 🙂
P.S.these pics have been contributed by Mite..and you are by all means allowed to enjoy but kindly refrain from copying them 🙂 should u need them kindly mail me or leave a comment.. 🙂 and all credits/praises for the pics will duly given to the photographer