In the jungle, the mighty jungle the flying five sleep tonight ...
We are very happy travellers today! We are staying at a wilderness retreat just outside of Corbett National Park. Corbett Park is an extensive, protected jungle and Asia's first protected forest, named in memory of a local hero, Jim Corbett. Corbett was a legendary hunter and naturalist who had a deep respect for the local people and their jungle home. Corbett is recognized as a pioneer in India's early conservation efforts. The park is home to many species of birds, deer and monkeys, the sloth bear, leopards, and has a thriving tiger and wild elephant population.
This afternoon we went on an elephant safari! Our elephant's name was Galena. She was very sweet and super intelligent. Galina took us deep into the jungle where we saw spotted deer, sambhar deer, wild peacocks, many species of birds and two different types of monkeys. We did not see tigers today but we saw many signs of the elusive wild creature including foot prints.
Our accommodation feels pretty much like paradise. It is a charming, impeccably clean and comfortable cottage. We are surrounded by lush and fragrant jungle. We are fed 3 meals a day plus snacks. In the evenings we are treated to a bonfire. Tomorrow we leave very early on another safari. Wish us luck!
We had an early, 5am wake up call today. We had no trouble waking up after a very comfortable sleep as we knew that we were heading back into the jungle. After a cup of warm chai, we climbed into the back of the jeep and as the sun was rising and the mist was thinning we entered the jungle with much anticipation. We were treated to spectacular wildlife viewing. Our most enjoyable was a troop of monkeys interacting with a herd of deer. We were informed by our guide that monkeys often warn deer of danger and this sets off a series of deer calling to other deer. We heard these calls of impending danger so we were hopeful that we would see a tiger. In the end the majestic tiger eluded us but we like to think that she was watching us from the tall grasses just beyond our view. Going on a safari with the hopes of spotting a tiger is very exciting and although we were not successful we enjoyed ourselves immensely. We delighted in driving through river beds, watching a wide variety of birds, soaking in the greenery
and bouncing in the open air jeep. Upon our return to the retreat, a hot Indian breakfast was waiting for us. We are now enjoying our balcony and trying to work up an appetite for a hot Indian lunch
We were compelled to set out again this afternoon, but this time, we went on foot. Our experienced guide, Hari Lal, took us out on a guided nature hike. Our mission was to track and spot a wild tiger! We hiked down a trail which opened up to a dry river bed. We followed the dry river bed for quite some time, noticing fresh tiger, king cobra and lizard tracks. Again we heard the alarm calls of the deer. We waited for a while and then our guide, acting on instinct, led us back into the jungle. We hiked on, looking for clues, but still no tiger sighting. We returned to our cottage and soon learnt that a tigress with 2 cubs was just spotted at the very site where we had waited! It appears that when we re-entered the jungle, we disrupted her, and she exited. You can't possibly imagine our disappointment but we like to think that this is good for our karma. Our actions made it possible for two other people to spot the beautiful wild tiger and her two cubs. We retreated to a high observation tower overlooking the jungle to dissipate the disappointment with a round of cards. After some time, Mike and Meera retreated to the spa for Ayurvedic massages and steam baths for a little extra-special consolation.
We had to leave our awesome jungle retreat this morning after a delicious breakfast. The friendly and very helpful staff bid us farewell and sent us on our way with a packaged lunch for our train ride back to Delhi. We will return someday to this jungle paradise and hopefully catch a glimpse of the mysterious and wonderful tiger. Would anyone care to join us?