Sunith

Sahib's Pitstops

Guided by Sunith

Highlights

  • Explore old British era forest rest houses, each of which has a character of its own.
  • Live where the Royals & Head of States used to stay.
  • Rest houses reviewed by Nizam of Hyderabad, Maharaja of Patiala, Viceroy of India.
  • Experience life in the jungle, Raj style.

About this experience

The British saw the Indian jungles as a great economic resource for its timber. Logging was one of the big earners for the government. To monitor these activities they built a network of lodges spread across the Terai arc from Uttarakhand to Nepal. I have handpicked some of the least visited quaint forest lodges from amongst the former Sahib's pitstops to give you a slice from the days gone by. Even today, these rest houses are perhaps the second best way to explore the Indian jungles, second only to camping in the wild.


Itinerary

Exp4 day14

DAY 1

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  • Arrive at Kotdwar, Uttarakhand.
  • Welcome breakfast depending on time.
  • Drive through the Corbett Tiger Reserve to reach Haldupurao FRH.
  • Spend the day in leisure with garam evening chai.
  • Dinner & Overnight at the Rest House.

You will be received by me or one of my associates at Kotdwar. From Kotdwar, we'll head on a scenic drive into the Garhwal side of the Corbett National Park via the Vatanvasa gate. This range, known as Halduparao is the inundation area in the monsoons. The river Ramganga swells over into this range and submerges most of it during monsoons. By November, the water recedes back and the ground blossoms with fresh sprouts of grass which is essential for the long summer that starts in march.

This area is a haven for birders and one almost always gets to see the Great Hornbill flying like a chopper above. This is a hardcore elephant country and is a mix of both grasslands and dense sal forests. The most interesting parts of driving around in Halduparao are the ravines which the river forms every monsoon. We'll be staying at the Halduparao Forest Rest House (FRH). Garam chai in the evening surrounded by jungle calls is the highlight of this day.

Exp4 day12

DAY 2

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  • Start the day with an early morning safari towards Kanda.
  • Climb to the Watchtower to see the Kalagarh Dam.
  • Spend the rest of the day in the safar at Dhikala Grasslands.
  • Dinner & stay at the Rest house.

We'll start the day with an early morning safari and then head towards the mountainous part of the park - Kanda. One might be familiar with the famous story of the Kanda Man-eater by Jim Corbett. We'll be reaching Kanda FRH by lunch. This place forms the highest point in the park and if you manage to climb the watchtower located at the edge of the campus, you can see the Kalagarh Dam and the reservoir over the green canopy of the forest. In the evenings, a nice hot cup of tea and some sandwiches watching the orange hue of the reservoir caused by the setting sun is an unparalleled experience.

Post lunch, we'll head out for a safari into the famous dhikala grasslands. Dhikala grasslands are a result of the Kalagarh Dam which flooded the area and killed the forest. We'll do a full day safari in Dhikala. We might spot a tiger but our focus on this trip would be to understand the diverse landscape and the fauna of the area. The Kanda side of the grassland is rarely explored by tourists and hence the animals on this side are very shy and weary of human presence. Hence attention must be paid to the jungle calls and the subtle undertones of the jungle life. We'll retire to a sumptuous dinner and an early lights out.

Exp4 day8

DAY 3

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  • If permissible, hike to Pand Village to intercact with the last 3 houesholds.
  • Return to the rest house for lunch.
  • Reach estate by lunch time.
  • Evening Safari at the grasslands.
  • Star gazing at the Rest house.
  • Overnight stay and dinner at the rest house.

The Kanda FRH is where Jim Corbett addressed the people of Kanda in the kanda man-eater story. Apart from him, there have been several esteemed guests that have used this rest house. The guest log book will unravel several stories of the same. Day 3 is meant for casual hikes. Given the permission we'll hike to the neighbouring Pand village and interact with the last 3 households left here. This village has borne the brunt of a sad phenomenon in the Garhwal hills - 'Palayan'. Villagers are increasingly getting attracted to the city life and are abandoning their forest homes.

The entire Garhwal foothills are replete with abandoned villages. Pand will soon join this list and we could interact with the last few people left here and understand their perspective. We return by lunch. In the evening we head out for a safari again as the grasslands present incredible photography opportunities. Post safari, we return to the FRH and indulge ourselves in some star gazing. Kanda- owing to its height - has clear skies on most nights and is a great opportunity to stare and get lost amongst the stars.

Exp4 day5

DAY 4

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  • Early morning ride to Watchtower followed by late breakfast.
  • Post breakfast proceed for departure.

If you are up for an early morning, we could head for the watchtower and wait in silence watching over the river bank for the animals to visit the river and study their behaviour. We could be the fly on the wall. Post a late breakfast in the watch tower, we'll begin our journey back towards Kotdwar and then onto your destination.


How to reach

  • Dehradun is the closest airport. Dehradun to Kotdwar would take approximately 2hr 30min (100km).
  • There is a train that starts at night and reaches Kotdwar at 6 AM in the morning.
    • Delhi is the nearest metro. From Delhi, had towards Meerut, Najibabad, Kotdwar.

Know more

About your host :

I have been an avid wildlifer since I knew how to travel alone. Although I'm not from Garhwal, I have roamed these parts extensively over the past decade. The himalayan foothills have always been close to heart, Mr. Jim Corbett and Ruskin Bond ensured that. Unfortunately most of the Corbett area has been slandered by mindless resort building but I have managed to keep hold of my piece of paradise. These parts that we'll explore are rarely visited by tourists and you ll most probably not see a single one during your stay. I want to take you to a place where the romanticism of the jungle remains intact and the simple pleasures are all that matter. The sheer simplicity of life in these parts are straight out of a ruskin bond short story. I'd like to share all of this and more with fellow travel enthusiasts. I look forward to hosting you and sharing with you Garhwal as I see it, as it was meant to be.

What to pack :

  • Safari friendly clothing (no bright coloured, tight fitting clothes)
  • Comfortable shoes
  • Sandals/floaters
  • A light jacket for the mornings and evenings
  • Wind/water proof Jacket
  • Camera
  • Binoculars
  • Cap/ Hat
  • Sunscreen lotion
  • Personal toiletries & medicines

Terms and conditions :

  • REFUND POLICY

    Full refund- Upto 3 weeks from date of journey
    50% refund- Upto 1 week from date of journey.
    No refund- If less than a week.

Cost Inclusions:

  • Safari Rides.
  • Food through the trip.
  • Boarding arrangements.

Exclusions:

  • Alcohol is not included.



₹ 20,000

PER PERSON

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