The sun was setting behind the hills and lanterns were being lit at the Hideaway River Lodge as my Gypsy bumped its way into its tented camp. The River Lodge, a one-of-its-kind public-private partnership between the Government of Uttarakhand and Leisure Hotels, is tucked away in the reserve forests of Corbett National Park. Most of the 90-minute drive from the Park’s Durgadevi gate to the camp is through lush Sal forests. The dusty drive from Delhi rolled away as we made our way deeper into the forest and I soaked in the scents and sounds that surrounded me. And when I spotted a tigress and her three cubs from the vehicle, I figured my stay at the Lodge was going to be special.
The camp, which consists of 10 luxury tents, is located close to the bank of the Ramganga, and the river can be crossed only by Gypsy or on elephant-back if it’s in spate. There is no electricity at the camp — but there’s still luxury. My tent was elegantly furnished with comfortable twin beds, handcrafted writing table and dresser. The spacious bathroom had all the amenities that city slickers have come to expect even on back-to-nature holidays. Each tent has a verandah furnished with rocking chairs and a delicious view of the Ramganga and the hills in the distance. And don’t feel threatened about staying in the heart of the jungle — solar fencing around the camp keeps the animals a safe distance from your living quarters.
That evening I ate a simple but delicious meal cooked in the rustic kitchen attached to the thatched dining area. The next day I went on an elephant safari along the river, followed by angling and finally another safari, this time in a Jeep. But most of the time I lazed around with a book in hand, chatted with the other guests as the staff plied us with endless cups of masala chai or just sat on the verandah late into the night listening to the whispering wind and the gentle noises of the real residents of the forest.
Where: Corbett Reserve Forest, 90-minute drive from Durgadevi Gate
Accommodation: 10 luxury tents
Tariff: Rs.11, 000 per couple including all meals, elephant safari, jeep safari, angling, entrance fee and naturalist’s fee
Contact: 011-46520000, 05947-284132, www.corbetthideaway.com