The air was heavy in anticipation of the much awaited monsoon that was supposed to be knocking on our doors. I was in the foothills of the Himalayas in the the quaint village of Dhikuli. We waited with bated breath for some respite from the balmy, almost unbearable weather. The mountains were shrouded in a cloak by the clouds. They say ‘Good things come to those who wait.’ After a night spent in coaxing the clouds, it was time to wake up to a green carpet. The rain gods had decided it was time to gently usher in happiness and impart a semblance of coolness to the surroundings.
Uttarakhand, like wine had began to enchant me – I had spent more than 2 months travelling around Kumaon last summer and just two weeks ago had returned from Landour.
Read : Binsar through my eyes
The road passed through a pretty dense forest to bring us near the Tiger Country of Corbett National Park. Men created magical music from Uttarakhand’s traditional form of ‘Tholia nrutya’ and womenfolk danced in Garhwali costumes. A herd of deer had apparently come to drink water, their eyes shined. It made me aware of a full moon night; a soft breeze blew across the lush garden. I felt like a character in a fairytale, a thin sliver of cloud cut the moon in half and with the swing made for a great photograph.
Next morning, the great outdoors welcomed me with wide open arms, I sipped chai on a wooden chair and table drinking in the full view of the astonishing cloud play in front of my eyes. I couldn’t believe my luck, there was no one else but me savouring the stunning show. Clouds floated dizzily, the hitherto dry riverbed of Kosi suddenly saw some movement of water and a horse came leisurely to complete a mesmerising picture.
Yoga on International Yoga Day
Yoga has a special significance in my life; I was an asthma ridden person once and in retrospect I attribute my positive energy and never-say-die attitude to yoga and meditation in Rishikesh. In the soothing serenity of the mountains, my lungs were raring to breathe in the calmness of the Himalayas. The yoga teachers were a jolly couple and happily started the day with a yummy ginger lemon honey tea (Incidentally my favourite drink in the mountains.) I was a bit skeptical about being able to successfully perform the intricate act of ‘Jal Neti’ but it was a pleasant surprise to get it right in the first go.
Jal Neti – Is performed with a vessel and you pour water in one nostril and bring it out from another. It helps in clearing out the sinuses and is responsible for a happy aftereffect.
With the majestic background of the Himalayas, there was a certain zen calm in the surroundings and with sun salutations, I almost began to fly in happiness. I could feel positive energy coursing through my veins after the short experiment with meditation.
I lounged around on the perfectly located swing and imagined that the clouds floated along and took me to a dreamy paradise. Dark clouds hovered and three of us decided to go on a small drive to an ancient temple nearby. Kosi river was in full flow after the downpour and devotees thronged from far and wide; we decided to walk to a hanging bridge instead. Couples and youth from nearby villages loitered and enjoyed full pleasure of the rainy season among beautiful sights. The shades of green were spectacular and we enjoyed our walk on the hanging bridge that swayed with the wind.
Jim Corbett National Park
After the media coverage of India’s dwindling tiger population in 1972 – Indira Gandhi initiated Project Tiger that coordinated with state governments and forest departments to work for tiger conservation. Jim Corbett National Park was established as the first national park in India with five zones for eco-tourism – Bijrani, Durgadevi, Dhela, Jhirna and Dhikala.
Corbett National Park would soon close for the monsoons, only to reopen in October and we were very keen on not letting this opportunity pass us by. Imran Khan – A staunch wildlife naturalist, was with us. He is a jolly fellow and is a pioneer in conservation, wildlife management and has been associated with Jim Corbett National Park for over 25 years. I listened in rapt attention to the amount of priceless knowledge being imparted and came to know of a big reason why forests should not be destroyed.
A natural forest produces 700 times more oxygen versus a man-made forest.
It was almost 2 in the afternoon and with our bellies full, we jumped in the open air jeeps and roared into action. The day was pleasant and everyone was excited at the prospect of seeing a tiger. There was a queue at the entry gate, once inside it was just us and the jungle. Sunlight filtered through the tall trees and created unbelievable patterns; ants had created mountains of sand by the slender track. They looked like castles, it was a pretty sight – a jeep in front on a small road with trees surrounding us on both sides.
The drive passed through pretty scenery as we went farther and farther inside the jungle, the birds chirped as it drizzled intermittently. The smell of petrichor was rife in the air, we were delirious with happiness. We crossed numerous small streams on our bumpy yet enjoyable ride with spectacular vistas of clouds playing hide and seek with the mountains in the far distance.
Mr. Imran Khan also explained to us the economic worth of a tiger and how local communities benefit when tigers are conserved versus being poached. It was an informative discussion, my heart went out for tiger conservation by the end of it.
Luxury in the Himalayas
Great pleasure lay in diving into the pool while stark sunshine made the proceedings sultry. There were gazebos to lounge around while looking dreamily at the magically coloured landscape. Special emphasis was made for lightly flavoured food and health food with minimal use of processed and packed ingredients. Bonsai were planted in dazzling symmetry, there was a waterfall fountain that looked even more beautiful in the midst of flowers on the trees. The cottages were so designed to give a feeling of isolation yet among the midst of nature and the pathway was well lit with beautiful warm lights in the night.
You can build the nicest place ever and watch it being turned to dust if the staff isn’t good. Therein lies the greatest tribute to Namah; I had lost my gold ring in the swimming pool and was quite perturbed at the loss. Within no time, the staff manager had dived into the pool and emerged with my ring. I was speechless in delight. Thats how honesty works and the staff had won my heart.
So I could see no tiger while at Corbett National Park but that wasn’t my whole objective of coming. The greatest pleasures in life lie in the unexpected delights that nature and life throw upon you. The monsoon had breathed a fresh lease of life and green in the landscape; I had watched the dry Kosi become a free flowing river again. I had a secret wish of watching the glorious sight of monsoon cover the landscape and I watched it all come together in Corbett.
If you are a nature lover and peaceful vacations are your thing, then Namah on the confines of Corbett National Park could be a fabulous weekend getaway from Delhi and a recommended place to stay when you are visiting Corbett. It is conveniently located on NH-121.
Disclaimer : I was at Namah on an invitation. All the views shared here are my own and completely unbiased. My readers’ trust is my greatest priority.