Thursday, October 23, 2008

Birds Around Delhi : Corbett National Park

Birds in Corbett: Long tailed Broadbill
When you first enter the jungles of the Corbett National Park, it is almost difficult to believe that less than 8 hours before you were in the hustle and bustle of Delhi. The smells and sights of the jungle are a treat for the sore Delhi eyes.

During the jeep or the elephant safari, depending on what mode of transport you choose, you are sure to be on the lookout for the majestic Royal Bengal Tiger, but don't forget that the Corbet Park is also famous for its rich avifauna. So keep an eye on the trees - there are many a birds, and the most pretty ones at that. If you are lucky, you may spot the beautiful Long Tailed Broadbill - my favourite amongst the Corbett birds. See picture above, ain't it just lovely?

Wednesday, October 22, 2008

Weekend Around Delhi | Corbett | Tarangi Resort

In the last post, we discussed the Jim Corbett National Park and its many wonders, not least of which is the majestic Royal Bengal Tiger. Just 6 to 7 hours drive from Delhi, Corbett, located near Ramganga in Uttarakhand is an excellent weekend getaway option for Delhiites. I was there a couple of weeks back and stayed at a new but excellent spa resort - it's called TARANGI. It's another fabulous resort developed by the people behind the beautiful Tiger Camp, and is actually right next to the Tiger Camp.

Spa at Tarangi, Corbett
Tarangi is a Hindi (Indian) word meaning 'waves of rejuvenation' and that's an apt name for the place, for sure. Developed on 12.8 acres of riverfront space, it will refresh the most tired of travellers in no time.

The resort offers beautiful accommodation option in the form of cottage suites and rooms. I would highly recommend the river-view cottages, which are located by the River Kosi and offer a great view of the river. In all the hotel has 21 cottages, but during long weekends, Corbett is one of the most preferred holiday destinations around Delhi, so make sure that you place your reservations in advance.

A unique attraction at Tarangi is the Ayurvedic Spa. You can pamper yourself here with a rejuvenating massage. Also available at the spa are a variety of herbal treatments. Fitness and Health concerned can opt for the early morning Yoga sessions by the river.

Amongst the facilities are a swimming pool, overlooking the River Kosi, an Amphitheater - the only one in the region and a Conference Hall for corporate groups. The conference hall can accommodate upto 60 members.

For adventure activities and help on elephant or jeep safaris, you can contact the reception who are only too eager to help. If you have the time, you can also do a specialized bird safari - the Corbett National Park is well-known for its avifauna or you could also spend time fishing. ( River Gamganga is known for its Golden Mahseers, an angler's ultimate prize).

Drawbacks: Lack of Bar/Alchohol, so don't forget to carry your own stuff.

For more details, you can check out the Tarangi Website .

Thursday, October 2, 2008

The Jim Corbett National Park

About 200 miles north-east of Delhi lies the "Land of the Trumpet, Roar and Song". The Jim Corbett National Park, with its jungle area spread across 1300 sq. kms. is home to the Royal Bengal Tiger, the Asiatic Elephant and the singing Bulbul - and that is just a partial list of its many thousand inmates.

The Corbett National Park established in August 1936 is India's oldest National Park. The then British administration reserved a 324 sq. km area as a 'game reserve' known as the Hailey National Park. After the British left, the new Indian government renamed the park twice in successive years - first as the Ramganga National Park and then as the Jim Corbett National Park, as it is now known. The second and final rechristening was in the honour of the famous hunter turned conservationist, Jim Corbett.

Monday, September 29, 2008

Lake Resort Naukuchiatal - Stay in Paradise!

Now that I have told you about paradise, let's explore the most beautiful stay option by the lovely Naukuchiatal Lake. It's simply called the Naukuchiatal Lake Resort.

Lake Resort Naukuchiatal - after Sunset.The Lake Resort is fortunate in that it is run by a true nature lover. Unlike many of the other hotels in the hills, where the constructions sticks out like a sore thumb, this resort syncs in beautifully with its environment. The hotel has an extra-wide front running parallel to the lake. Look at the image above - each one of the rooms in this main building are in line, spread across 2 floors. This allows the guests in every single room to have a clear, uninterrupted view of the lake. Accommodation at the Lake Resort is spread across 3 areas - the main building as seen above, the Middle Court and the Hunter's Lodge, each separated by the other by a few hundred metres. The Lake Resort is large - 70 acres!! The resort is nestled amongst large oaks, the pretty lake and an abundance of nature.

Each room is equipped with a TV with cable, intercom and other basic facilities to make your stay comfortable. The hotel staff provide good service and the food is excellent.

For the health conscious or the weight watchers, the resort has a gym and sauna. But a better alternative would be the walking-track round the Naukuchiatal lake. A 3 and 1/2 km walk amidst butterflies and birds would not just help you lose those extra calories, but would leave you rejuvenated too. About 135 different species of birds visit Naukuchiatal, so don't bother taking along your i-pod for the walk; a birdsong would be a refreshing change for your ears.

If you are looking for some activity, you can try cuing in the billiards room or play some ping-pong. Of course, a more interesting idea would be to hit the waters - go for a boat ride in the shimmering waters of the Naukuchiatal. A small flight of steps from the resort will take you directly down to the lake and the resort has its own private boats for the guests.

Other activities you can indulge in are paragliding, bird-watching and angling. If you are lucky you might even net the Mahaseer, the angler's ultimate fresh-water prize. You can get more information on these from the hotel. For large groups, a customized 'activity-chart' can be arranged - rock climbing, rappeling and a variety of team building activities, popular amongst corporate groups.

Overall, the Lake Resort, Naukuchiatal is highly recommended. A 2 night/3 day package is generously priced at Rs.7250.00 (for 2 people on twin sharing, all inclusive package).

For bookings you may contact +91 9310184174 or +91 9350184174. ( Delhi, India)
To know more, check out the Lake Resort Naukuchiatal website

Saturday, September 27, 2008

The Nine Cornered Lake Naukuchiatal

Ever since I was old enough to be charmed by things beyond chocolates and cookies, the great Himalayas have charmed me, almost hypnotically. I was born in the north-eastern Indian state of Assam and my first tryst with the Himalayas was in Rupa, Arunachal Pradesh, but that was more a childhood crush than any serious love.

Love bloomed far away from Rupa, not too far away from the many corners of the Naukuchiatal though. Nainital in 2008 is not Nainital - it is just a withered remainder of the much prettier past. The Rupa Himalayas charmed me; Nainital 1991 was where I first came under the spell.

My romance continues, though the ravages of time have kept forcing me to alter the settings for our many dates. Nowadays, we meet at a place called Naukuchital.

The misty-blue waters of the Naukuchiatal Lake are just six hours away from the hullabaloo of Delhi's bazaars. The Himalayas here aren't at their majestic best, but they are in perfect harmony providing the lake with a most enchanting backdrop. I prefer travelling overnight, leaving Delhi a half hour or so before midnight. This reduces my struggle on the Delhi roads allowing me to zip past the city in about half hour, but more importantly it sets up an early morning date with my lady love - clad in the morning mist, she is at her lovely best.

The Naukuchiatal's waters are fed by a sub-lake spring which ensures that the water table remains high through the year. The lazy me prefers best to pull a chair and gaze at the water forever, though a walk around the lake is highly recommended. There is a proper walking track, a little under 4 km long, thinly foliaged, allowing you to immerse yourself completely in nature - just you, the waters, trees, grass, a few butterflies and the hills. 9-Corners-spotting is a favourite pastime here; belief is that the lucky one who can spot all nine corners of the lake is destined for Nirvana. When you are already in paradise, who cares for Nirvana, I wonder!

Wednesday, September 24, 2008

Around Delhi

Looking to get out of the hustle and bustle of Delhi for a few days? Or just looking for a weekend getaway around the Indian capital? If yes, you have reached the right place. This blog will discuss and detail the myriad options around Delhi - from short 2 hour hops to ones that require you to travel a little longer. We will explore quaint, offbeat places as well as popular destinations, hill-stations and desert resorts, bird sanctuaries and pilgrimage spots and then we will dig deeper to recommend some fine stay options for you - budget hotels as well as luxury resorts.

We will start tomorrow with our first recommendation - a quaint place near Nainital called Naukuchiatal. Look forward to seeing you here again, and don't forget to leave a comment behind!

Welcome to "Weekend Around Delhi".