RIVER VIEW RETREAT
CORBETT NATIONAL PARK, NAINITAL, UTTARAKHAND
USP: As you like it My experience of riding an animal has not been great. Once a horse threw me off its back and a camel refused to suffer my weight. So this time when the challenge of riding an elephant came my way. I was a bit nervous but a journalist just doesn’t have the option to showcase this emotion. With the images of an elephant lifting people by its trunk coming to my mind, I mumbled, how will we sit on it? The mahout showed me a concrete staircase. He parked Laxmi (a she-elephant) meticulously next to it and four of us managed to sit on it. I found Laxmi very comfortable but the comfort level came down drastically when the mahout told us this is the mating season. Finding us gasping for breath, he told us that because of the season they are putting elephants of one gender on one route. Route? Yes, we were on an elephant safari organised by River View Retreat in the Corbett National Park. Though we could not achieve our ultimate aim – a tiger sighting – we did manage to be one with nature. Last time I tried a jeep safari but I found the high rise seat on a pachyderm better. The care it takes to go uphill is more shockproof than any all-terrain vehicle. The only issue is you can’t keep the focus of your binoculars going on its undulating back.
Well, that was the highlight for the daring, for those hooked to books irrespective of the location, the resort is an ideal place to be in. All the star comforts and delicious food come everywhere for a price but what makes the place special is its location.
Situated on the banks of river Kosi, where animals are said to come for a drink, one can relax with a book for hours. But make the right choice. I had “The Argumentative Indian” with me and it didn’t work. So I spent time making pebbles bouncing off the water surface. Trust me, it was fun. If you are enterprising enough and the water level is not high, one can also cross the river. But beware of slippery stones.
Angling is another option and the place is known for mahseer, a kind of big fish, but as a matter of principle I don’t like angling for anything so I kept myself busy with stones.
After some time I started feeling lonely with nature, so I joined some colleagues for a nature walk, which the resort organises every day. The guide told us Corbett is not just about tigers and other big animals. The place is also known for rare species of birds. Walking in the jungle was an experience. Suddenly, the clouds gathered and it started lightening. I had never seen the sky slit up with purple light. As the roar followed, some shrieked, others managed to hide it, but all realised their size in front of the elements of nature. We paid obeisance at the nearby temple and returned to the comforts of the resort. The much needed tea was served at the pool side and we were again raring for another round of safari – this time a night safari in a canter.
The cost of package for a couple for a deluxe room for 2 nights 3 days is Rs.8999 (includes all meals). The package for a couple for a superior room for 2 nights 3 days is for Rs.10555 (includes all meals). The package for a couple with two kids for a duplex for 2 nights 3 days comes for Rs.11999 (includes all meals).How to get there
The best way to reach the resort is by road. It is about 280 kms from New Delhi, but it will take over seven hours to reach as the route is not driving-friendly. The rough path narrows as you enter the Jim Corbett National Park, so ensure you are on an all-terrain vehicle.
Ramnagar is the nearest railway station, and there are trains from Delhi to take you there.
Things to do
The resort has a lot of activities to keep you busy. You can try angling, nature walk and bird watching. For those who want to explore more, a visit to a nearby village can also be arranged. The resort arranges for elephant and jeep safari in the Park. There are regular cultural performances by local artistes. The management also organises picnic along the river side and rappelling on prior notice.ANUJ KUMAR