On the second day of our stay at Corbett Iris Resort and Spa, when the hosts offered me and my blogger friends to indulge in a cycle tour of the jungle, we lapped up at the idea without second thoughts. The jungle patch chosen was near Kyari village in the Pavalgarh conservative zone (51 sq km). Uttarakhand government declared it a tourism village in 2012.I had never cycled inside a jungle on rough terrains, so it was exciting for me. In no time, we all showed up at the cycle pick up point and headed towards the dense forest, not very far away from our resort in the buffer zone. Passing the huge termite forts and a pathway carpeted in dry foliage, we pedaled silently, soaking in the subtle sounds and smells of the jungle. We started together but were separated owing to individual fitness level and capacity to drag ourselves on the uneven terrains of the jungle. There was a time I was all alone in the jungle.
My friends were not visible and this was the time I started hallucinating. I imagined a tiger staring at me from the trees, a leopard greedily eyeing the extra fat I have accumulated on my body, from a branch above me. Better still, a mad elephant charging at me. Luckily or unluckily, I did not see any mammal, just a variety of birds here and there. Just to give you a perspective, there are 41 tigers in this zone and scores of elephants. This place is also a birder’s paradise and also attracts a lot of migratory birds in winters.
Another blogger Parnashree (who skipped cycling) soon arrived in jungle with a staff member and asked us to follow them to reach the sunset point. Just in the nick of time. I pedaled in hurry, as if the tiger, leopard and the elephant had collaborated and were chasing me together. Once I was out of the jungle, I pedaled along the canal. It gave me a perspective of how long the canal from the British era was. We had used a part of this canal for body surfing in the morning.
I was speechless, when my huffing and puffing culminated at the sunset point. Not due to the sunset but because of the location. The sunset was ordinary but the sceneries were not. We were at the edge of a dry river, the bed of which was strewn with white boulders, big and small. The wide river was lined with dense forest at the other end and is known for wildlife activity. I was told that the river swells in the monsoon months and is beyond recognition.
We all went silent for some time, just soaking in the views, appreciating the stillness of the air, suspending the concept of time, money and urban life momentarily. The sky turned darker as we communed with nature. We decided to walk the cycle from here to the hotel. We, obviously, looked at it as an opportunity to slow down.
THE SECRET NIGHTLIFE OF RAMNAGAR NO ONE TALKS ABOUT
The cycle tour was followed by a lovely Kumauni themed dinner at the resort. But what we didn’t anticipate was that our host will offer to show us the nightlife of Ramnagar….. Nightlife near Corbett? Ramnagar….what?
As we passed the dark jungle post midnight, catching a glimpse of a sambar (Deer species) couple and a stray fox, we crossed the Kosi river. After adjusting our eyes to pitch darkness for past few minutes, we were almost blinded by the shiny signboards, lively markets of Ramnagar…. at 2 a.m.
The first thing which crossed my mind was, “Is this place in running with North Goa or Las Vegas?” Certainly not! While the former have a lively nightlife because they are entertainment hubs, the nightlife of Ramnagar is more need based. It is a destination to catch bus to other places in Uttarakhand and nearby states. Fruits, sweets, cigarettes, medicines, clothes, beverages, meals, grocery et al! You name it, they have got it! It was amusing to just stroll on the road, observing the madness that this place is. I bet you may struggle to find a place like this even in metro cities like Mumbai and Delhi.
On returning, we stopped at a site. It was separated by the jungle with a very wide river. The full moon illuminated the white boulders which inundated the river bed as a night jar lent a mysterious aura to the place with its haunting calls. We finally reached the resort at 3 a.m. after I battled sleep throughout the return journey. We are supposed to wake up at 5 a.m. for our jeep safari. I called it a day/night/whatever and entered my room as a peacock gave frantic calls in the distance. Yes, at 3 a.m.
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Note: I was hosted by Corbett Wild Iris Resort and Spa. The resort conducts many such adventure sports within the forest. Check their website for more info or ask me in commenst below. I was accompanied by travel blogger/journalists Mrs. Alka Kaushik, Mr. Dipanshu Goyal, Ms. Parnashree Devi, Ms. Swati Jain, Ms Suhana Sajwan
WARNING : COPYRIGHT TO ALL THE IMAGES AND TEXT HERE REMAINS WITH ME. YOU CAN NOT JUST LIFT THE CONTENT AND USE IT WITHOUT MY PERMISSION. STRICT LEGAL ACTION WILL BE TAKEN IF CONTENT IS STOLEN. YES, I AM SERIOUS.