The year 2020 was a write off in true sense. A year which will only be remembered for the unprecedented events and a pandemic which brought everything to a standstill. For the first time in our lives the things which we took for granted became a privilege. Our way of life was absolutely turned upside down as a new normal gradually set in. The bucket lists made at the turn of the year seemed redundant as we all tried to make peace with the new and socially distanced routine. There was no place for travel in this new regime and for the wanderers at heart it was a mixture of nostalgia and anticipation probably which kept the spirit alive. However that period of an absolute pause seems to be over. We are in an unlock mode now, trying to get back where we were before this all started. There is hope that soon it may be truly over with the vaccines being made available. Above all it is the maverick in everyone who is just not willing to stay stranded anymore. So quite evidently the traveler in all of us is back doing what he always loved to do hiking, backpacking or simply getting out of the confines of his home.
Getting Back on Road
So as the world around displayed the will to get out of the shackles which had kept it on hold for so long, we had also been toying with the idea of going back to our travelling ways. Such is the scenario still that the thought had an implicit fear or perhaps a little doubt on the sheer wisdom of it. But, it was the prolonged monotony plus the stress accumulated over the last few months which pushed us over the line to commit to our first travel since the pandemic hit, in the first week of Decemeber. We wanted to make it as safe as possible so we drew a list of all the places where we could drive in a few hours. The usual suspects came up like Shimla, Nainital, Jaipur but finally we decided to head to a place where we had never been – The forests of Jim Corbett.
Road Trip from Delhi to Jim Corbett National Park
Entire world is now coming out of an enforced hibernation a little rusty, slightly apprehensive but still quite enthusiastic and upbeat about a much more positive future ahead. We were the same, the inertia of being at home with sustained sense of caution had accompanied our decision to finally venture out of the confines of our hometown. But all the butterflies happily disappeared as we hit the road and got going. Another road trip and it was freedom.
We had started from Gurgaon at a reasonably convenient hour in the morning, just after sunrise. It is always advisable to start early to beat the traffic you would otherwise have to navigate through Delhi. At such an early hour it would take less than an hour go through our national Capital via the Baba Banda Singh Bahadur Setu or “Barapullah” as it is known in the common lingo. As soon as you get on to the new Meerut Expressway you are cruising. This expansive expressway is still under progress and is getting its final finishing touches but the time of travel has already come down drastically. Keep looking out for the fork to leave the expressway and join the NH 24 to Hapur. As soon as we got on this road to Hapur the feel of being on the road out of sight from our daily habitat was happily sinking in. The landscape gradually evolved and concrete gave way to more pleasant greenery. Sugarcane fields on either side of the road was a regular feature and so were those tractor lorries overloaded with sugarcane which we kept overtaking, evidence that we were driving through UP the sugar bowl of our country. What route you take to reach Jim Corbett will depend on where your accommodation is ? Our resort was just a few kilometres from Ramnagar and following are the features of our road trip.
- Total Distance – Approx.280 Kms, depends on your starting point and your destination.
- Time to Travel – Approx. 6 – 6.5 hours, accounting for one stop in between for refreshments
- Pitstops – Stop on one of the Shiva Dhabas for early morning tea/snacks, Kulhad Chai just after Ramnagar
- Route – Delhi – Hapur – Moradabad – Kashipur – Ramnagar
Where to Stay Near Ramnagar, Jim Corbett
After all this time of being confined in our own homes and a digitally loaded hyper-connectivity we were looking for a relaxed do nothing kind of a holiday. Hence our choices of stay was in line with that mood. The following made to our final shortlist, each beautiful and idyllic in their own way.
- The Lebua Corbett – https://lebua.com/hotels/lebua-corbett/
- The Taj Corbett Resort & Spa – https://www.tajhotels.com/en-in/taj/taj-corbett-uttarakhand/
- Namah Corbett – https://www.tajhotels.com/en-in/taj/taj-corbett-uttarakhand/
- The Riverview Retreat – https://www.leisurehotels.co.in/the-river-view-retreat-corbett-resort/
The deck by the River Kosi and the much vaunted Thela Chai which were given a thumbs up in almost all the reviews on TripAdvisor made us choose The Riverview Retreat from Leisure Hotels. It was a decision which we did not regret and the resort is highly recommended for its serene location, lovely Chai and wonderful food.
Things To Do
Of course you will go to the Safari in the jungles of Jim Corbett. Make the booking online or through your resort in advance. It may not be possible to get a booking for a ride inside the national park on short notice.
Other things which can be done on this trip –
- Go for a drive to Bhaunkhal – Almost 40 km from our resort at ~ 5000 ft. You have a panoramic view of the Kosi and RamGanga. Out on the horizon you can also catch a glimpse of the snow clad Himalayas.
- Go to The Nest – A lovely little cafe with beautiful retro decor and coffee to sooth your senses
- Short trek to the hanging bridge on Kosi
After all these months it was a pleasure to be out there in mid of more natural surroundings, taking a pause from being hooked to a screen always. If you are looking for a little bit of digital detox then this is a perfect dose.
There is something infinitely healing in the repeated refrains of nature —the assurance that dawn comes after night, and spring after winter. Rachel Carson