Corbett and Pangot

Kumaon Division, Uttarakhand

This experience is ideal for those of you who like being in nature, enjoy long (or short) walks and wildlife spotting. Some of the hotels I work with have got good wifi connectivity so if you're looking to work remotely and stay for a longer duration then that could be made possible as well. 

Ramganga mahseer
Bridge over the Ramganga

However, these destinations are not ideal for people who like to party / loud music or people with mobility issues as some of the places are not handicap accessible. 

Tawny Fish Owl
Tawny Fish Owl during one of the walks

Suggested Itinerary (this can be customized and/or also combined with a couple of nights in Nainital): 

Birds of Corbett
Common Kingfisher with breakfast

Day 1 
Drive or take the early morning (06:00) train from Delhi to Haldwani (train tickets in the Shatabdi must be booked in advance). If you leave early in the morning from Delhi you should reach the drop off point in Corbett in roughly 7 hours. From the drop off point a team from the eco lodge you will be staying at will guide through an easy two kilometer hike. Another option is to stay in a premium lodge in Corbett with all the comforts and services offered by a full service hotel. 

Walking to the Eco Lodge in Corbett
Walking to the Eco Lodge in Corbett

If you arrive late to the drop off point we can also shuttle you to the eco lodge in a 4x4. At some point in your hike to the Lodge, you will also get on a raft to cross the Ramganga River. After lunch and a round of introductions with the naturalists settle into your rooms, freshen up. If you reach during a reasonable time, one of the naturalist can even take you by the river which is walking distance from the lodge. In the evening bonfire (weather permitting) with soup and snacks, followed by dinner.

Crossing the Ramganga River
Crossing the Ramganga River

Day 2
Early morning, one of the naturalists can take you for a hike and / or camera trapping (subject to weather and permission from the Forest Department). Camera traps are equipped with infrared triggers or heat sensors and take photos / videos of the subject when there is movement. It is an important method used globally to obtain critical data about wildlife and their behavior in a non-obtrusive manner. The forests around the jungle lodge are a haven for wildlife and your naturalist will show you how to put up your own camera trap. 

Ghoral Deer
Ghoral Deer

After lunch, participate in the afternoon activities such as guided nature walks to spot elusive birds and mammals, river crossing with rafts or trekking to nearby waterfalls. Back at the lodge for tea, coffee & cookies. Settle down for a wildlife slideshow/presentation followed by soup and dinner by a crackling bonfire (subject to weather conditions).

Ramganga River
Ramganga River

Day 3 - 4
Early morning get ready to retrieve camera traps and spot pug marks of wild animals around the lodge OR go on a walking safari with a resident naturalist on of the many trails from the jungle lodge. The duration and difficulty of the trail depends entirely on your interests and fitness level. If you want, you can do nothing as well, read a book, or sit by the river, in the summer you can take a dip in it too, get on the Machaan to spot wildlife or watch birds while having a scrumptious meal in the open air restaurant. 

Collared Falconet with a kill
Collared Falconet with a kill

Once you're back from your trail your naturalist will show you images / videos of wildlife captured in the camera traps. Post lunch the naturalists can take you on one of many nature trails in the forests again depending on your fitness level or by the river to spot the nimble Ghoral deer. 

Nainital Lake
Nainital Lake

Day 5
After breakfast, we drive to Pangot the second leg of our trip. Pangot is a tiny hamlet in the Naina Devi Bird Conservation Reserve and a 3.5 hour drive from Corbett at 2,000 meters amsl. About 30 minutes short of reaching Pangot you can stop to see the kidney shaped Naini lake and if it's a clear day, you can also see snow clad Himalayan mountain peaks. You will be staying at a wilderness lodge in Pangot away from the commercial hustle and surrounded by cedar, rhododendron (red flowers that bloom in spring) and pine trees. All meals at the resort we stay in as there are no restaurants in the area.

Post lunch, we go bird watching. Pangot and it's surrounding mountains are home to hundreds of species of birds as it falls in the annual bird migration route. Birds in the upper Himalayas fly down to Pangot and the foothills to get away from the biting cold while some other species use it as a nesting ground before they migrate in late spring to the upper ranges of the Himalayas. Besides the Koklas and Cheer Pheasants (which draws many a bird nerd to Pangot), the Reserve is home to several species of thrushes, vultures, barbets, minivets, owls, shrikes, fly catchers, finches and more. 

Yellow Throated Pine Martin Pangot
Yellow Throated Pine Martin - Pangot

Mammals include the ravenous Yellow Throated Pine Martin, the nimble Himalyan Goral, the easily scared Barking Deer, the shy Himalayan Black Bear and Leopard, etc.. As a kid I remember seeing the Himalyan Blue Sheep or Bharal but I hear they have migrated to higher altitudes due to loss of habitat. Back to the lodge for tea and coffee and watch the valley transform as the sun sets. Dinner and bonfire (weather dependent).

Rhododendron Flowers Uttarakhand
Rhododendron Flowers

Day 6 - 7
Morning and afternoon guided walks in one of many nature trails in and around Pangot. If you are visiting the Reserve during Spring (Feb - April), you may see the beautiful red flowers of the Rhododendron tree light up entire mountains. You can also walks to the Forest Rest Houses that were built during the Raj. Most of these forest rest houses command an excellent view but offer minimal service and luxury. We can also get breakfast / lunch packed for you so you can have a picnic during the walks. Depending on the group's fitness level and enthusiasm you can walk anywhere up to 25 KM in the area.

Sunset from Pangot
Sunset from Pangot

Day 8
Check out after breakfast for your onward journey. If you're taking the train to Delhi then you have to reach Kathgodam train station by 2:30PM for the Shatabdi train departing at 3:20PM. This train arrives in New Delhi railway station at 9PM. Please check the Indian Railways website for updated train timings.

Sometimes professional and English speaking naturalists are not available and I'd be happy to organize and accompany you as one. I've studied in Nainital and continue to visit the region on a regular basis and call this my second home. If you'd like to know more about visiting this region, please contact or call / Whatsapp +91 9717148483.

Please Note:
  • There is no guarantee that you will see the above wildlife. The river and / or sanctuary is their habitat and sightings depend on water level in the river, human interference, climatic conditions, weather and other factors, migratory pattern of birds, most of which are beyond your and my control. I will do my best to show you all there is to see. 
  • Smoking and drinking alcohol is strictly not permitted in National Parks and Wildlife Sanctuaries.
  • Please do not throw trash on the floor even if you don't see a trash can. Please ask your guide / walk leader to help you dispose the trash properly.
  • To prevent any disturbance to wildlife, I discourage the use of call playback to attract birds, feeding or baiting of wildlife.