Bet on Corbett

  • Striped sanctuary: One of the many tiger-themed rooms at the Corbett Riverside Resort | Anshika Varma
  • Altaf Khan
  • Anshika Varma
  • Kajornyot
  • AP

The harmony in Jim Corbett National Park makes one rethink the way we live

  • The biggest lesson one takes away is about sharing. About living together in harmony. Corbett is a place that teaches in a span of three-four days what city life has made us forget over the years.

Four years ago, it dawned on me that city life was getting too stressful and taking us away from how human beings ought to live—in harmony with nature. I spent several months looking for the perfect place to escape from the hustle and bustle of the city. Then, Jim Corbett came to my rescue.

Set up in 1936, the Hailey National Park was renamed after hunter-turned-conservationist Jim Corbett in 1957. This enchanting reserve, less than five hours from Delhi, holds nature close to its heart. And I made, probably, the most sensible investment of my life by choosing a place near the reserve.

73AltafKhanNew Altaf Khan

On one of my initial and memorable trips to Corbett, I stayed at the wonderfully built Corbett Riverside Resort, owned by Bahujan Samajwadi Party MP Akbar Ahmad Dumpy. From there, I explored what eventually became by second home.

Nestled in the Kumaon valley, this expanse overwhelms your senses. More than anything, one breathes freely.

The hills, riverbeds, grasslands and marshes are home to 400 species of flora and fauna. Thanks to the lush trees that let in only magical streaks of the sun’s brilliance, and the Bengal tiger that roars to remind one who is the king here, and the river that gushes and giggles, and the birds that chorus symphonies, Corbett seeps through the pores of your skin.

Yoga helps me survive the harsh city life, and I often practise it in the early hours. Here, the only sounds that puncture the stillness of the mornings is of birds. There is no need of a watch or a mobile phone; Mother Nature decides one's timings.

The first inhabitants to welcome one to Corbett is always the large variety of birds. Across the whole forest one can spot the crested serpent eagle, blossom-headed parakeet and the red jungle fowl. Species such as the Ibisbills and the white-caped water redstart have made the Kosi riverbed close to the Garjiya Devi temple their play area.

72AnshikaVarma1 Anshika Varma

Then, there is the Kumeris range where one can spot the little black-and-white forktails with arrowhead markings. One sees the innocence that nature beholds when these little ones dart amidst the rocks, quivering their tails, lost in their own world.

I spend much of my time in Corbett not looking for the big cat, but watching these small wonders. They teach us how simple life can be.

In fact, it is the jungle’s harmony that mesmerises me. The animals are not fussy; they let nature take its own course.

73AnshikaVarma2 Anshika Varma

Besides birds, I am a big fan of the sambar deer. I often trek down to the Durga Devi range just to watch these beautiful creatures. Corbett is also home to the barking deer, the hog deer and the chital.

A little further down the Durga Devi range, one can see crocodiles sunning themselves by the river, completely unaffected by the world around them. Corbett hosts a number of waterbodies, and, whenever I find my thoughts disturbed, I head down to the lake in Dhikala to watch the ducks paddle by. Other birds such as the egret and the cormorant give me company on the banks. Nothing seems to bother the ducks and ducklings. Have they attained nirvana?

Often, one is woken up from bliss by the roar of a tiger somewhere deep in the forest or the trumpet of a wild elephant. They roam freely. They rule the earth here. The moment when one feels a chill run down the spine or gets goose-bumps while helplessly standing still in their paths is when one realises how unfair man has been to these majestic creatures.

The biggest lesson one takes away is about sharing. About living together in harmony. Corbett is a place that teaches in a span of three-four days what city life has made us forget over the years.

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