Our marriage anniversary was approaching and so was the long weekend ahead. We wanted to encash the opportunity. On such occasions, most people would like to spend time with friends and family or go away for a quite romantic holiday. But we as a couple are somewhat different and this is what I love most about our marriage 😀
We ditched hill-stations, beaches, our friends and family and chose to go to the most unromantic place around – Jim Corbett National Park. 😳
As usual TD got on his toes quickly and executed what we call as our roadtrip planner (If you are wondering what this is about, please read more about the planner here: Planning a roadtrip made simple).
Day 1: We started early at around 6 am from New Delhi. As it was a Saturday, the roads were yet to get crowded. We crossed the city in no time and soon were cruising on the NH9 towards Hapur. The total distance between our New Delhi home and the Resort in Jim Corbett is exactly 300 kms. We decided to take the route via Hapur – Moradabad – Ramnagar – Ramganga Resort@Jim Corbett.
After crossing Hapur we halted at a roadside dhaba at around 9 am and had yummy Aloo and Paneer paratha’s for breakfast. After a 30 minutes break, we were back on the highway listening to songs and chit-chatting till we realized our mistake. We entered Moradabad city instead of taking the bypass and ended up getting stuck in the city traffic. TD blamed the navigator (my wife in this case) for not paying attention to the road signs. However TD soon realized that it’s a marriage anniversary special road-trip and hence peace is of utmost importance. Wisdom prevailed and we got back to listening to some good romantic music. As we got closer to Ramnagar, the surroundings turned much greener and we crossed some rivers too.
As we crossed Ramnagar, the forest became visible. We were driving along-side shallow Kosi river. The drive was beautiful and full of nature. We crossed Dhikala main entrance gate (This is one of the 5 tourist zones of Jim Corbett national park) and kept driving along-side the Kosi river. The last 10 kms drive before the Ramganga resort was adventurous as we drove from one mountain to another encountering shallow water streams flowing on the road every now and then. The last 200 meters was a very rough drive with a steep decline as we entered a valley called Mohan range at 2 pm. We were awestruck by the beauty of the place, Ramganga resort was surrounded by green mountains on all sides with Ramganga river flowing just adjacent to it.
The resort was very well planned with a large swimming pool, restaurants, huts, tents, deluxe cottages etc. Resort also conducted activities such as nature walk, village tour, angling and Jeep-river safari. The Jeep-river safari being the highlight as I had not seen something like this earlier. People could hire Jeep/Pajero and literally raft in the Ramganga river. Undoubtedly a unique experience !
And that is why I say – Jim Corbett is more than a Tiger reserve. There is super-abundance of activities and things you can do here. After checking in, we had lunch in the resort which had an elaborate menu to pamper our taste buds. Post lunch, we went for a guided village tour nearby. It involved trekking to the top of the mountain. We experienced the village ecosystem and saw how people survive in such not so comfortable living conditions. After a 2 hour tour, we were back in the resort. We clicked a lot of snaps and rested for the rest of the evening. Dinner was served in the evening in the open restaurant around 8 pm. We could hear the soothing sound of Ramganga river flowing. The temperature dropped after the sunset and a bonfire was lit to make the guests comfortable. We were back in our cottage at around 10 pm.
Day 2: We got up early morning at around 5 am and soon boarded the Gypsy that was waiting for us. The safari guide boarded the Gypsy at the Bijrani zone entrance gate. Bijrani is one of the five tourist zones in Jim Corbett national park. In my earlier visits I had covered Dhikala and Jhirna zones.
The idea was to enjoy the nature and experience the quietness and wilderness. From earlier visits we knew that encountering a tiger is a very rare occasion and hence our expectations were set accordingly. Tip: Plan to visit early morning as chances of spotting wildlife is higher this time around. We spent next few hours in the dense jungle, driving over few shallow rivers and start-stopping at few places whenever we spotted some wildlife.
Our safari guide briefed us about the history of the national park and most importantly the rules of the safari. While we were driving quietly, the guide gave us an important piece of information. He mentioned that Jim Corbett national park is spread over 1300 sq kms and there are about 160 tigers. That means roughly each tiger would roam around in an area of around 8 sq kms based on the fact that the tigers are territorial animals. The typical size of these tourist zones is around 20-40 sq kms but the jeep safari is only possible in 50% of the area. That means the probability of an encounter with the Tiger becomes extremely low as there would be just one or utmost two tigers in the zone at a time and they can be anywhere in the zone. The information was an eye-opener.
We were dropped back to our resort after the adventurous jungle safari at about 10 am. We had a sumptuous breakfast and relaxed at the resort. After the lunch, we decided to head to the other places we had planned to visit i.e. Jim Corbett museum and Corbett falls. The museum situated in Kaladhungi showcases interesting historical information and photographs about Jim Corbett, man-eater tigers and hunting’s done in the past. The now museum building is actually the heritage bungalow of Jim Corbett.
After spending about an hour in the museum, we went to the Corbett falls. It is a small fall where you can play in the water for sometime and relax too. We decided not to get into the water as we were not carrying extra clothing and towels.
We clicked few snaps and spent about half an hour here. While getting back to the resort, we spotted Garjiya Mata Temple and it looked an interesting place. We decided to visit the temple. The temple is situated on a rock amidst Kosi river and is connected through a bridge. During heavy rains, the temple becomes inaccessible as the entrance submerges in the water.
We were back in the resort at around 7 pm and spent rest of the evening in the resort. We enjoyed the last dinner in the beautiful resort amidst the valley and gushing sound of Ramganga river. We departed for New Delhi the next day after breakfast at around 10 am. Overall, it was a great weekend get-away during which we celebrated our anniversary in the lap of nature and with the nature!