Jim Corbett National Park

The trip to Jim Corbett had been planned for quite some time but the decision was taken just 8 hours before the actual trip. We left at 5.30 in the morning to explore a part of India entirely new to us.

The drive from Delhi to Moradabad on NH-24 is a cream but it turns bumpy as soon as you get off the Moradabad bypass on to the state road. The eyes have to be fixed down on the road rather than on front on this stretch till Kashipur. The situation improves drastically after Kashipur and the one from Rammagar towards Jim Corbett is a joy ride. Greenery all around with the road piercing the forest with delicate turns. The rains made the setting much more green and serene.

Though it is said that monsoon time is not the best time to visit corbett (the national forest gates are closed for visitors). But the rains add to the beauty of the place. It also makes the stay cheaper. We also enjoyed some adventure sports – in the rain on the river Kosi at unexpectedly low cost.

Overall a quiet and refreshing experience – good to be away from the maddening Delhi and worthy to be visited again – perhaps to see a tiger (if is allowed!)

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A Visit to Orissa

Marking the Chilika Lake on the map used to be a popular question in the geography class. It was time to see the lake in real – though the view was from a distance.

But the view was beautiful. The national highway 5,which runs parallel to the east coast of India perhaps gets its best view here when it slowly rises along the lush green small hills overlooking the lake.

A smaller road branches out of NH5 to take you to Brahmpur – a typical small town which maintains its old charm with narrow lanes and wells in some backyards. The modernity seems to be catching up albeit gradually.

An interesting sight was the pandals being put up on street corners with multiple pandals next to each other, competing for the highest volume. Through the night these pandals showcase story telling in traditional dance and art form. Sadly, by the time the festivities started around midnight, we, tired by the long day and journey, were asleep – unperturbed by the loud volumes immediately outiside.

Dubai – In Transit

As the aircraft starts its final descent to Dubai and the sun has gone down for the day, the first thing that you see outside the window is a massive yellow line snaking around the terrain below. As the aircraft tilts a bit to maneuver a turn you can see more such ‘snakes’. At this point of time, without the aid of google maps, I am assuming that these must be the lights along the highway which stretches out of Dubai in different directions. From the top it looks beautiful. And ‘street light’ on the highway. Well.. rich country!

The second ‘aha’ moment on this brief transit stop at Dubai came on entering the lift (elevator if you like to call it) at the airport. These were perhaps the largest lifts I have seen.  I think it could easily pack in 50 people. May be more if you pack it like we do in India. The descent is also beautiful – along the water falling along a wall – at approximately the same speed as the lift.

The third amazing thing for me was to see a person in the proper ‘Arab dress’ for the first time. By the Arab dress I mean the flowing white robe with a black round band/ring on the head. When we were children, there used to be a certain fascination with this headgear. I remember we used to have a round ring like thing which used to hold a part of a cloth stretched so that some embroidery could be done on it and we used to imitate the Arab dress using that.

The final thing worth mentioning was the length of the corridor of the hotel – The Millennium Airport hotel where the few hours of night were spent. I haven’t seen such a long corridor in any hotel till now. If you are in a habit of talking a walk after your dinner, you just need to take the room at the end of the corridor (incidentally ours was at the end of it!!)