the kumaun odyssey shaonlee bose & saurabh ganguli


pune - delhi: by air (2 hrs 30 mins + night stay in Delhi)

delhi- kathgodam: by shatabdi express (5 hrs 30 mins)

kathgodam - gagar: by road (2 hrs)

gagar- chanfi: by road (2 hrs)

chanfi- corbett tiger reserve, ramnagar: by road (5 hrs 30 mins)

ramnagar-delhi: sampark kranti express (5 hrs 30 mins)

delhi - pune (2 hrs 30 mins)

time: May, 2015

the first pit stop

soulitude in the himalayas, gagar (3 nights)

These hills don’t overwhelm you ...they don’t scare you with their majestic spawning opulence.

They don’t threaten you with their raw power, beauty and unpredictability. The Hills of Kumaon are warm and cheerful like an old rambling home you left behind.

You love it, and you want to spend all your time here, reliving their ancient stories, watching the riot of colour scatter as the sun goes down and the stars come up in the deck you grew up in.

The clouds call out to you, the hills lull you into a mystic trance, the breeze fills your heart with peace and happiness.

The magical Kumaoni hills are alive….and real…just as you are.

the second pit stop

soulitude by the river, chanfi (2 nights)

The second destination of our journey was kind of iridescent. We walked miles through a rocky forest trail next to a gushing, playful river called Gola.

This led us to a dazzling hamlet full of sunshine, a sparkling river, waterfalls scattering diamonds and chirping birds.

The side we stayed on was verdant, dotted with small farms full of fresh carrots, radishes, chives and cauliflowers. The other side was a steep cliff…the river binds the two sides in a harmonious blend, completing the story.

Sometimes we’d spot black Aeonium (a first in my lifetime), sometimes a startling Bulbul singing a lively tune. We sleepwalk through this dreamlike beauty that abounds everywhere…not sure if we are awake.

The children gather pretty rocks…naming them, we gather memories...hoping to wake up with them every day.

the third pit stop

nadiya parao (2 nights)

I grew up with a generous dose of Jim Corbett’s bravery - my home in Calcutta is still lined with Jim Corbett Omnibus and as a child I would sleep only when my father read to me from them. I fought sleep as my father declared –“Corbett just spotted two glowing eyes in the dark…. sleep now!”

After some frantic negotiating and desperate pleading he would read two bonus pages and I’d fall asleep eventually, somewhere between two piercing green eyes and a treacherous mountainous forest terrain that makes chasing the truant one impossible.

But almost nothing really prepares you for the real journey. When you reach Corbett National Park, you can almost feel the air getting thicker with the mysticism of the omnipresent tiger; you will feel her green glowing eyes on you, even when you don’t see it.

The allure of the jungle is so intense, so impervious that we could feel it from our balcony - full of sights, sounds and smell of the dark woods.

Once inside Corbett, you forget why you are here, the landscape changes every 50 meters, deep forest gives way to rocky river beds, grasslands merge into tall oak trees reaching up to the sky.

The trees look different, the trail looks more rugged, at times the place is aglow with bright sunlight and at times the foliage gets so thick that you can hardly make out if it is morning or evening.

Hidden away in this foliage was this humungous Tusker…quite oblivious to our intrusion. He stood there majestic – staring at us through the leaves.

about the authors

Some of our friends and family call us a clan of restless, wandering souls. We are always either making travel plans or living them. Sometimes we fight about the choice of destination – as each one of us has a list (including the little one), and we are all vociferously arguing our case. Rarely does all our choice coincide, but we are still a buzzing happy clan when we are out on the road, all feverish and impatient to see the unseen.

Created By
Shaonlee Bose


Saurabh Ganguli

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