They call it the ‘spirit of the Corbett’ and once you step into this serenity surrounded by pure nature and scent of the forest and chirping of the birds – you will know that this place (JAAGAR) truly represents the spirit of romanticism associated with Jim Corbett National park.
As we lowered the window panes a puff of fresh cold wind brushed through our hair and faces. The magical touch of nature expropriated the agony and suffocation of a month’s imprisonment in a moment. As we drove further towards Uttarakhand through the stunning and smooth National highway -9, it did not take much time to forget the pain and all that negativity that has been a part of all our life since the last 9 months. The November blue sky with patches of milk- white clouds, the green fields spread across miles, farmers working on the sugar canes, children playing with the cycle-wheel, the little roadside tea stalls – all familiar but long lost scenes made us realize, all over again ,the pleasure of small little things in life.
It was not an easy decision to make. Like for everyone else, it was clear to us too that inspite of the unfortunate pandemic turning lives upside down all over the globe, we have to re-adjust to this “new normal” and just like work and other recreations, travel needs to be restarted too along with all the necessary precautions and pre-planning. Still, getting yourselves to hit the road after so many months was always going to be a psychological battle to win. And we are glad we finally did that. Credit also goes to the people behind the amazing property Jaagar who had never hesitated to answer our numerous phone calls on various queries and apprehensions.
Finally, the lucky Friday arrived and as the winter sun rose beyond the city horizon, we found ourselves driving on the road packed with hot tea, boiled egg and chicken sandwiches and of course, along with my good old DSLR. Here we go again- sailing on the highway so missed!
Thanks to the newly completed flyovers and renovation on NH 9, a smooth and beautiful drive of about 5 hours will take you to the outskirts of Corbett National Park from the national capital. Thanks to the accurate instruction given by Mr.Bisth, the resort manager whom we have called a few times for directions, we did not face any trouble finding the right path. The last ½ km was indeed a very different road experience from what we had in our past road trips to Corbett. Mr.Bisth and other staff were waiting for us at the reception. As we drove inside the Iron Gate we felt ourselves literally embraced by a serape of green ambience. Even before we sip the refreshing welcome drink, the warm salutation by ever-smiling Mr.Bisth immediately made us comfortable.
A little walk down the dreamy path took us to our “nest” for the weekend. The location of each cottage and dense trees around it made each cottage look like an independent house with full privacy in natural surroundings. Inside, there is indeed, a home away from home. Right from the furniture which includes sofa set, a king-size bed, study table, side tables, dressing table, cupboards etc to the fire-place and washrooms with basic and modern requirements –everything would make you feel more at home than in a hotel or a typical resort. Huge glass window behind the curtain would give you a visual of amazing lichi and bamboo trees. We took no time to get fresh and recharge our batteries.
In no time we went out to explore the campus a little. There is something in the environment there that will transcend you to a different world which is made of pure virgin nature, simplicity and small little happiness of life. A stroll down the numerous trees of fruits, flowers and colours, listening to the nonstop chirping of birds would indeed appeal to all your senses of the taste, sights, smells and feel of nature.
There are around 7/8 spacious and independent cottage/villas that exude a rustic charm. Each one ensures the freshness of Himalayan breeze flowing through the wall size windows. There are so many activities that one can indulge into – visiting the in-house coops to collect farm fresh eggs for your breakfast, spending the day with your family introducing your children to such rustic activities that bring back your own childhood with swings, riding a bicycle, climbing trees. As we were biting into delicious organically grown litchis sitting by the side of a small swimming pool at one corner of this 7 acre land watching the train whistling through the distant field, we felt really proud of ourselves to be able to make this decision to come to this magical place.
One of the top attractions of Jaagar is the food experience. The delicious foods right from the soup to authentic Kumaoni dishes, non-veg items, and organic fruit items to the sweet dishes at the end – everything proved to be a gastronomical delight. We could not thank the Chef enough for making our holiday such a bliss.
As the sun sets behind the Kumaon hills the entire surrounding changed its ambience into a totally different world. The strategically placed lights throughout the campus add to the mystic environment. As we were busy playing carom inside a cozy room full of indoor games, books on various subjects a loud cracking sound somewhere nearby suddenly startled us. The security guard at the main gate informed us that a group of wild elephants had just broken a nearby wall which divides the narrow village lane from the core area of the forest. Although we could only actually manage to see the location of this ‘craftwork’ in the morning of the next day, the thrill and excitement of the incident remained with us throughout the night.
The story of Jaagr cannot be completed without mentioning the ‘out of the world’ experience of a bon-fire under the millions of stars on a winter night in the Himalayan state. One needs to be there to actually feel the romance of these amazing moments –listening to occasional howling of golden jackals nearby, the smiling stars, warmth of the fire accompanied by irresistible chicken tikka served by the efficient staff.
MORNING JUNGLE WALK
As per our pre plan Mr.Bisth was waiting for us sharp at 7 am to take us for a jungle walk. This was enough for me to bring back the glimpse of my memory of wildlife photography expeditions at the core areas. Following the the elephant track, sudden face- off with golden jackal family and watching the Ibis landing , Racket Tailed Drongo, Plum headed Parakeet, Black Bulbul, Grey Hornbill, Grey Headed Canary Flycatcher, Scaly breasted Munia, Crimson SunBirds … a full bag ( and memory card) of happiness enough to carry with us till our next trip to nature.
This is always the most difficult part to bid adieu to a place like this. As we thank everyone there for the wonderful experience, we also made a promise to ourselves to come back again as soon as we can make it again.
Nearest Railway station : Ramnagar ( 60 km )
Nearest Airport : Pant Nagar ( 50 km )
Distance from Delhi : 306.2 km
Location: *** Service and hospitality: ****
Food: ***** Safety & Hygiene: ****
Parking: ***** Privacy : ****
WiFi : ** Indoor Games: ****
Newspaper/Magazines: Yes Value for Money: ***