Jim Corbett has always been associated with wildlife and more with tiger sightings, like Pench Tiger Reserve. This reputation did wonders, it brought a steady inflow of tourism, but at the same time did some damage too. Wildlife enthusiasts often felt betrayed and disheartened in case of zero sightings. Slowly tiger sighting was flaunted as a status symbol, and the magic of the jungle was lost to many.
It is high time, we need to readjust our glasses. Corbett is not only about tigers but it is a wholesome experience. The place provides a multitude of experiences to different category of travelers. Be it spiritual to adventure junkies, to wildlife lovers, to luxury travelers, to backpackers, everyone will get their fill.
Not only travelers, the different landscapes of Jim Corbett i.e. mountains, grasslands, Sal forests, Khair-sissoo forests is a sheer delight both for botanists and zoologists. Corbett is home to different plantations and also various animals, birds, insects and mammal species. The wide variety of flora and fauna opens up a variety of research options. This varied diversity helps in maintaining the biodiversity of the jungle.
But if you are a regular travel then keep the following options in mind, while planning the trip to Jim Corbett:
1. Adventure Sports
In the last few years, Corbett has emerged as a preferred destination for adventure sports lovers. The craze to experiment with something new touched a new level, when many resorts in Corbett started offering in-house adventure activities. The Golden Tusk Resort offers multiple adventure activities like rappelling, flying fox, rock climbing, commando net, spider web, and many more.
Kids and elders both can participate in these activities. Proper safety measures are in place. In case of a medical condition, it needs to be informed in advance. This is not the only resort offering these services, there are many more providing the same. You don’t need to stay on the property to enjoy these services. They welcome walk-in customers from other resorts too.
Recently river rafting was permitted by KMVN (Kumaon Mandal Vikas Nagar Nigam Limited) on the Kosi River, in the months from July to September. The rafting is conducted in the monsoon season when the water level is high.
A word of caution-check the availability beforehand, as it is not always permitted by the government.
Another interesting water sport, involving teamwork is River Crossing. This sport requires a lot of coordination and team effort. It is organized on the banks of Kosi River, and the group crosses the river with the help of a rope, tied at both the ends of the bank. Do check the credentials of the expert before attempting this activity.
Paramotoring is another such activity, which is similar to paragliding but yet different. Here human efforts are replaced by motors. This is open for all ages, only people with medical conditions are prohibited to attempt this. Also, the ideal weight should be between a minimum of 20kg and a maximum of 95kg for this activity.
Make a list of adventure activities that one wants to attempt. Check the availability, safety measures and prices, offered by solo camps or by different resorts.
Corbett lies in Uttrakhand which is called “Dev Bhoomi” for a reason. Every village has their own “Gram Devta” and many times they are awakened through prayers in the time of crisis. One such remarkable spiritual experience is “Jagar” which happens in the month of August and September. The whole concept is rooted in the philosophy of divine justice and seeking justice from gods. The basis of Jagar can be traced back to Shamanistic culture. Here through loud music, spirits are invoked. They possess the body of one of the devotees and use them as a medium, to provide solutions to the seekers.
One can experience many other surreal spiritual experiences, which blur the line between the real and spiritual world.
Garjiya Devi temple, located in Garjiya village is another spiritual milestone. Its location gave birth to many folklores. It is located over a large rock in the Kosi River. It is believed to be 150 years old, though was recently discovered.
According to local folklore, this area was frequently flooded by the Kosi river, but since the mysterious appearance of this temple, the flooding stopped.
Another mystic place is the Sitabani temple, located inside the Sitabani forest in Jim Corbett. A fair is organized every Ramnavmi, to seek the blessings of the deity. Apart from the spiritual significance, the temple is surrounded by lush green forest with the mighty Himalayas in the background.
The spiritual side of Corbett is a journey in itself and travel enthusiasts should definitely explore it.
Corbett is not only home to tigers but also to various migratory birds. The problem with most of the travelers, traveling to Corbett is the wrong thought process. They believe the success of their trip to Corbett or Pench or Ranthambore National Park is dependent on the tiger sighting. This myopic view often makes them miss out on the wonders that the forest has to offer.
There are a number of mammal species to be sighted in Corbett like Hog Deer, Sambar, Walking Deer, Jackal, Elephants, Sloth Bear, etc. The national park is home to more than 500 bird species including Great Pied Hornbill, Orange Breasted Green Pigeon, Parakeets, White Backed Vultures, Yellow Oriole, etc.
In winter various migratory birds can be sighted in Haripura and Tumaria Dam area.
Many resorts and individual players also provide nature walks and butterfly trails. Recently Aahana The Wilderness Resort conducted a one-day butterfly event on the property. The resort in order to protect the biodiversity does not use insecticide or pesticides on the property. This has resulted in the healthy sighting of more than 50 species of butterfly on the resort.
Incidentally, Corbett is also developing its own butterfly park in the Dhela Zone, to increase the biodiversity of the region.
Angling is another sport that can be practiced in the Kosi river.
Jim Corbett comes under Kumaon Mandal. The region has a rich cultural heritage and it is home to the famous Kumaoni food. The natives prepare delicious food from the local produce. The food is healthy and not heavy on the stomach. A few of the famous Kumaoni’s culinary wonders are Bhang ki Chutney, Gehet Daal, Toor Dal, Gutke Aaloo, Chainsoo, etc. In deserts they have world-famous Bal Mithai. This sweet is only present in this belt thus needs to be relished.
Corbett is home to three different tribes Tharu, Buksa, and Gujjar. These tribes live in the forest and the local government is exploring an option to conduct tribal tours.
Travel cannot be completed without a peep into the local culture. Village Walk helps us in providing a glimpse into the native’s life. Uttrakhandis are generally simple, friendly, and hardworking people. Their day starts early and ends at sunset. They wouldn’t mind inviting outsiders for a cup of a hot tea or to experience local cuisine.
Traveling has got a lot to do with getting out of the comfort zone, breaking pre-conceived notions, and feeling alive. Corbett has a lot to offer; what is needed is an open mind receptive to the information and experiences.
By Ramya Mishra
Ramya, the founding partner of PR365, is a renowned communication expert. She is also a published author of two novels and a great storyteller. As an author, she applies a simplistic yet powerful approach to writing. She is an LGBT activist and through her writing wants to bring awareness and acceptability among the masses. She keeps on posting interesting and educative article around the issues faced by LGBTQ+ and travel on her website Gypsy on Exploration. One can find her less in boardrooms but more in the arms of nature. A true vagabond at heart, she can often be found exploring mountains or oceans. Find her on Instagram at Ramya M and on Facebook at GypsyonExploration.
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