Monday, 9 June 2014

When I was in Jim Corbett National Park - Part 1

I am strolling in bus stand to find bus for Ramnagar as I want to go Jim Corbett Park. Though I know Corbett Park is close nowadays but outskirt area of the park has still open and my intention is only to spend some time in wilderness with peace because next day is Diwali Festival and it becomes chaotic in cities…
Few young taxi drivers are moving around me and giving me good offer but I ignored them. I can’t take risk for my life to go with these inexperienced louts who don’t follow any rules and they don’t have any fix rate. Bus stand was free from any bustle only few flower wanders and sugarcane wanders are moving around. I wait for 10 mints and get Uttarakhand Roadways bus till Haldwani. I entered into bus which is almost empty. Only 4-5 passengers are there...

After 1.30 hrs bus dropped me at Haldwani bus stand. Like always this bus stand is bustling with lots of activities but today station is bit more bustling. I can feel the essence of festival. I roam one end to other but no bus is going to Ramnagar. I went to inquiry where a middle aged women wearing squire frame spectacle with boy cut hair looked me offended and told rudely -one and half hours later one bus will go to Ramnagar. I went off suspiciously and back to station where buses, rickshaws, motorcycles, cows and  baggers sprinting in narrow place and making conditions more adverse… 

A ramshackle bus was there and conductor is shouting – Kaladhungi!!! Ramangar!!! Haridwar!!! Ramangar echoed into my ears and I almost ran to bus and jumped on seat. Roadways buses are generally overcrowded and ofcourse grimy. Travelling by these buses is an ordeal decision but I had no other choice. Bus has been almost full and ready to move. 27-28 years old man wearing Jean and black T-shirt came and asked for ticket. I got ticket and open window. Outside it is noisy and streets are cramped with shops selling festival paraphernalia and bus is sticking in this jam…

When everything settled inside I indulge in pandemonium of bus which is like Live Nautanki. Newly married couple sitting behind me is engaged in verbal fighting. Woman wants to celebrate festival in city but man wants to go village and celebrate with his family. Family sitting next to me is planning to buy a LCD TV on Dewali. Two kids has plan to crack  firecracker… 

At Kaladhungi passengers shuffled and bus move again. After this atleast outside scenario became pleasant coz this road moves between thick jungle though the bus is bumping in every 5 minutes. I reached Ramangar by noon where bus dropped me at bus stand. I asked for jim Corbett office which is next to stand so I walked there and ask for accommodation. An old man, moving his spectacle up from his nose, told – Park is not yet open so we can not provide you any accommodation inside. You may try out. There are so many hotels. I came out where touts and guides grabbed me and start giving me offer for safari and hotels in which obviously I am not interested...

I went to KMVN office and asked them for a room in jungle area. They gave me idea to stay in tent colony which is in Dhikuli, a small village bit far from city. It’s very hot and messy here. I went to a shop and bought some stuff and wait for auto. Everybody wants to make money so no one is going in share base. I had to book auto in 200 Rs. This 15-16 years young boy, I am sure he even would not have driving license, driving very roughly. All the time I was bumping onto my seat and keep saying – Slowly slowly slowly but he haven’t listened me...

I reached tent colony which is in peaceful place. This is swish style tent attached with bathroom. I got bath take lunch and want to rest for while but it’s too hot inside. I came out where cold breeze blowing and making atmosphere relaxed. Later, I went to river side which is only few meter away. I heard river sound and walked fast…

At the river side two young guys catching fishes though it’s illegal.

I told – its illegal ? 
They looked me perplexed – it is but we do catch fishes.
What if anybody will see you ? - They only shout. What else they will do ?  Boys then giggled and ignored me. I leaved them and sit in a silence place. Two elephants are coming far from jungle. These elephants do elephant-safari work and source of huge money.  Two guys were crossing river and going to middle part of river. And after a while I rolled my jean up remove my shoes and went to river. However water force is not much but in few places it was high. I walked on and reached the middle part which is dry. I set dipped me feet into cool water and enjoyed sun set. River looks like blue curved ribbon. Verdant valley filled with sun set colors and echoing with the roar of river and chirping birds nothing is here to disturb.  After this refreshment I moved down where villagers are collecting wood and other stuff...

My feet were filled with sand and irritating me. Anyways I reached down side and there I talk with young man who is local here. His name is Mahesh. 

Mahesh says – I have a land here and I rented it to camp site. I do work as a guide also.
Is this your work ? – No, I do work at Kashipur in Hotel.

Why ? – Because they are giving me enough money.
Two girls are here to get drinking water in Copper vessel. Both study in same school and same class. We often do not come here – one girl told me.

Why ?
This is dangerous place. We have seen tiger many times. Other girl said with scarred voice –  I heard his voice once which was very scary. I could not sleep for 2-3 nights after that.  Her eyes opened fully. 

Then only I saw two women crossing river with bundle of woods carrying on their head. This is such a thing which hurts me but here more heart breaking thing is two guys sitting at the bank drinking Alcohol and laughing at the women. I waited for them to cross. Both are mother and daughter. 

Where from you getting these woods ?
Girl smiled and shied – From jungle.

Everyday you go there to collect wood – Yes, her mother replied

For what ?
For kitchen fire. We used to make food on fire only.

Why don’t you use gas or stove ?
These are very expensive. We can’t afford.

What else you do ?
We have land here and do farming but it’s very expensive now so my husband do work in a shop – woman reply adjusting wood bundle on her head.

I asked to girl now. You studying – yes ! in 12th class. She giggled and her tooth shined in dark.

And you get time for all these works along with your school ?
My school has closed for Diwali. In my school days I only do inside works.

You saw tiger ?
This time I received answer from Mahesh – so many times. They come for water. Elephants and other jungle animal also come for water. 

It was almost dark and an old man holding wood stick went to river and crossed it in full speed. Mahesh told me that he will back in half n hour with bundle of wood. They were in hurry to go home so I did not stop them. I also made my way back to hotel but Mahesh offered me to have tea with his family…



  1. I very much enjoyed this story of the your journey and time along the river. Your photos are beautiful.

  2. This is a very interesting post - some many different places in the world.

    Cheers - Stewart M - Melbourne

  3. Lovely pics and you sure are very adventurous!!

  4. Interesting post - quite an adventure for you I guess.

  5. Nice shots. This place is in wish list for a long time now.

  6. Beautiful Pictures! Was looking forward to the Chadar trek experience.

  7. Great shots Vineeta and lovely write-up, am mesmerized by all this beauty!