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Old 30th April 2012, 18:13   #16
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Default Re: On the trail of the Mukteshwar man eater and her nemesis

Thank you for your erudition, Wanderer. Your writing is very captivating. I was transfixed by your travelogue. Thank you again.
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Old 1st May 2012, 20:36   #17
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Default Re: On the trail of the Mukteshwar man eater and her nemesis

Thanks for really superb pics.
I hope you meet some old people who have had some real life experiences of Man-eaters.

I am a big fan of Man eating leopard of Rudraprayag.
It took lot of time for Jim to hunt him down.

Champawat tigress is a record holder as we all know.
I have managed to complete OMNIBUS is 3 days flat when i read it first.

And just like you, i do read the stories once in a while, the vivid description making us feel very much alive to those situations.

So its surely will be a exciting feeling to visit those places which you have read about.

Once again thanks and i hope we get to hear much more from you on this subject and the place.
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Old 2nd May 2012, 00:36   #18
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Default Re: On the trail of the Mukteshwar man eater and her nemesis

Oh Wanderer, I do not know who you are, but I now realize that we have common chromosomes. I just grown up with Jim Corbett. I can still remember those fascinating moments when I was reading Jim Sir's stories. I am fortunate that I come across with these marvel of words.

You just struck my minds chord man. Now I have decided that whatever will happen, I must go there and visit Rudraprayag, Kaladhungi, Tanakpur, chamoli, Thak, Muketswar.

As I am working as a senior reporter with Press Trust of India, I know the significance of every word. People admires me for my simple wording, but all credit goes to Jim Corbett. Jim Corbett was the best companion of me during my childhood and still he is with me....

Thanks Wanderer...
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Old 2nd May 2012, 10:16   #19
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Default Re: On the trail of the Mukteshwar man eater and her nemesis

Thanks a ton for excellent exploration of the region around Mukhteswar. Five stars!!

The tale of the abandoned British cottage is really intriguing. It is also a surprise that it has not been bought by another "Resort wallah" who would have demolished the building and built a new one not bothering about the history behind it.

BTW, any idea who owns that building now? Were the KMVN guys able to throw somelight?
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Old 2nd May 2012, 12:25   #20
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Default Re: On the trail of the Mukteshwar man eater and her nemesis

Thank you everyone for your kind, encouraging words.

Quote:
Originally Posted by amitkb View Post
Thank you for your erudition, Wanderer. Your writing is very captivating. I was transfixed by your travelogue. Thank you again.
Hi amitkb, thanks a lot for your appreciation.

Quote:
Originally Posted by silverado View Post
Thanks for really superb pics.
I hope you meet some old people who have had some real life experiences of Man-eaters.
Hi silverado, well, I don't think there are many people alive who have had experiences of the man eaters now as most of these were killed by Corbett around 90 -100 years ago.

Quote:
Originally Posted by silverado View Post
I am a big fan of Man eating leopard of Rudraprayag.
Hope you meant the book and not the man eater itself.

Quote:
Originally Posted by silverado View Post
And just like you, i do read the stories once in a while, the vivid description making us feel very much alive to those situations.
So its surely will be a exciting feeling to visit those places which you have read about.
Once again thanks and i hope we get to hear much more from you on this subject and the place.
BTW, I'd also like to add here that unlike us bred on the books by Corbett, the average local person in those areas have very little or no interest/knowledge of Corbett.

Quote:
Originally Posted by ksandeepk View Post
Oh Wanderer, I do not know who you are, but I now realize that we have common chromosomes. I just grown up with Jim Corbett. I can still remember those fascinating moments when I was reading Jim Sir's stories. I am fortunate that I come across with these marvel of words.
You just struck my minds chord man. Now I have decided that whatever will happen, I must go there and visit Rudraprayag, Kaladhungi, Tanakpur, chamoli, Thak, Muketswar.
As I am working as a senior reporter with Press Trust of India, I know the significance of every word. People admires me for my simple wording, but all credit goes to Jim Corbett. Jim Corbett was the best companion of me during my childhood and still he is with me....

Thanks Wanderer...
Thanks, ksandeepk for your appreciation. Yes, I also agree that Jim Corbett did have a great gift of writing with flourish and vividness. I still remember, the man eater stories used to give the creeps on those chilly winter nights and made one feel as if you are also sitting on a 10 feet tall tree branch on a moonless night with the man eater in the vicinity.

Quote:
Originally Posted by Fauji View Post
Thanks a ton for excellent exploration of the region around Mukhteswar. Five stars!!

The tale of the abandoned British cottage is really intriguing. It is also a surprise that it has not been bought by another "Resort wallah" who would have demolished the building and built a new one not bothering about the history behind it.

BTW, any idea who owns that building now? Were the KMVN guys able to throw somelight?
Thanks, Fauji. Yes, it'd have been nice to know the actual tale of the abandoned cottage as here I was the one playing Sherlock Holmes and using my little deductions in absence of any details. Regarding the ownership, since it has a PWD tag on it, presumably it is still owned by the govt. (And probably that is the reason why it has not been sold off and turned into a resort). The KMVN guys were from some other tahsil and so did not know any details. I asked some local guys moving around as "guides", and they told me that the house is from British times, abandoned for many many years and they have not seen anyone living in it.

OT: Do hope to go through one of your nice Drivologues in these areas in the near future.

Will post the next installment of the trip in the evening.
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Old 2nd May 2012, 23:34   #21
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Default Re: On the trail of the Mukteshwar man eater and her nemesis

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Originally Posted by wanderer4x4 View Post

Hope you meant the book and not the man eater itself.
I meant the Man eater, since he was very unique and most cunning that Jim had to encounter and it took long time for Jim to hunt him down.

The fact that he was a leopard, made him more devastating.
Even though officially he had 125 kills to his name,there must have been many unreported instances.

That is the reason why Jim Corbett has a separate book for that Leopard and does not have him under Man-eaters of Kumaon.
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Old 3rd May 2012, 20:38   #22
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Default Re: On the trail of the Mukteshwar man eater and her nemesis

OT: Regarding Maneaters (excluding human females):

Man eaters are thriving in India. They just don't get reported. I was under the same impression too - that they vanished with Corbett's generation. But subsequent and occasional Googling tells me that attacks are frequent and underreported. Garhwal is still notorious for maneating leopards. Google for LAKHAPAT SINGH RAWAT who has shot 40 maneating leopards in Garhwal or see this: http://lakhapat.blogspot.in/

A Corbett maneater killed 9 people last year. Maneating tigers near Rudrapur in Uttarakhand killed 150+ people during the 1960s. They used to take people from the University campus or even from rickshaws plying on the roads at night. Many unprovoked tiger attacks happen in Tadoba. And in the Sundarbans - though attacks have come down. Kills have happened even in Bandipur and Valparai. Junnar in Maharashtra is notorious for maneating leopards who often live in sugarcane fields.

I have done silly things in the past like walking in the night at 8 pm - alone with a torch - for 6 kms through a jungle road in Chaukri (Eastern Kumaon). That was when I thought maneaters left India with the British. Now I know better, and am more careful when moving around in the night - especially now with a toddler.

P.S.: some of the things still hold true e.g. direction of wind, taking precautions etc. when walking/staying in cat or elephant territory.

P.P.S: sorry for the rant, just though of sharing something I discovered a few years back. An avid fan of Corbett, as I have mentioned - and have traveled extensively in Kumaon. Loving this travelogue.

P.P.P.S: The Rudraprayag leopard was famous because it was preying on pilgrims on a high profile route (unlike the Panar leopard say). Also, Corbett spent significant effort and time to kill it, so it featured more prominently in his memoirs.

Last edited by nilanjanray : 3rd May 2012 at 20:43.
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Old 3rd May 2012, 21:53   #23
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Default Re: On the trail of the Mukteshwar man eater and her nemesis

Quote:
Originally Posted by nilanjanray View Post
OT: Regarding Maneaters (excluding human females):

Man eaters are thriving in India. They just don't get reported. Google for LAKHAPAT SINGH RAWAT who has shot 40 maneating leopards in Garhwal or see this: MANEATER

P.P.P.S: The Rudraprayag leopard was famous because it was preying on pilgrims on a high profile route (unlike the Panar leopard say). Also, Corbett spent significant effort and time to kill it, so it featured more prominently in his memoirs.
Thanks, nilanjanray for this input.

And I agree with what you say about the Rudraprayag man eater. As with any other man eater, it had also lost fear of humans to a great extent and was cunning, but to a large extent it was also very lucky on many a occasion when it could have been killed. So, these gave it the power of invincibility as believed by the local people then.

Before going further OT, lets get back to the travelogue.

Contd from post # 12

After enjoying the rains and the resultant chill mountain air, we reached Nainital. Here, the plan was to visit the Zoo and the Naina Devi temple by the Nainital lake. The small zoo here is reportedly one of the best mountain zoos and it is situated on a steep hillside. The climb from the parking place to the ticket counter is a steep one and with the heavy rains and fierce winds, the going in itself was a exhausting task. Once inside the zoo, I realized that the various enclosures of the animals are situated at different levels on the hill and so more climbing ensued. Apart from the usual “zoo” animals, the collection of the colourful pheasants was impressive. On a personal note though, I do not like the concept of zoos and find them extremely cruel. Everytime I visit a zoo, I come out with a feeling of pity for the unfortunate caged animals.

On the trail of the Mukteshwar man eater and her nemesis-dsc00719dds.jpg
On the trail of the Mukteshwar man eater and her nemesis-dsc00726xd.jpg
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The different colourful pheasants

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The "large hearted gentleman with boundless courage" forlornly looking on in captivity.

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The surefooted mountain goat - Ghooral, that finds many mentions in Corbett's stories.

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View of the Naini lake and parts of Nainital from the zoo.

The rain and wind was unrelenting and gradually it became difficult to move up and down the pathways inside the zoo. So, I decided to hurriedly complete the circuit inside and come out. The next stop was at the Naina Devi temple by the lakeside. The temple complex is small but very colourful. And as with any other Indian places of worship, the area around the temple is surrounded by a crowded bazaar and shops selling puja articles.

Some random images from around the temple.
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On the trail of the Mukteshwar man eater and her nemesis-dsc00800fgf.jpg
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After offering our prayers to the deity, we went out to have lunch. Went to the Tibetan market and had some nice mutton momos. I’ve never had momos with mutton stuffing and the taste was unique and different.

Last edited by wanderer4x4 : 3rd May 2012 at 22:00.
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Old 4th May 2012, 23:10   #24
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Now was the time to go and finally salute the legend whose writings were the ignition for this trip. Kaladhungi is the place where Jim Corbett spent his winters and now has the Jim Corbett museum. The drive from Nainital to Kaladhungi was down hill all the way and ending in the vast plains of terai and bhabar region where it is located. One noteworthy thing is that, in this stretch the hills on both sides of the road are free from human encroachment and are mostly pine forests at first and then sal forest taking over. This is due to fact that most of these areas fall under the protected forest lands and thus have been saved from the marauding human.

On the trail of the Mukteshwar man eater and her nemesis-dsc00833dff.jpg
The Sal forests.

The road passes by the Khurpa Tal which a cattle hoof shaped lake and from which its name is derived. To me it was the most beautiful of all the lakes that I saw in my entire trip there. The waters of the lake change colour with different weather conditions and with the overcast sky the lake took on an emerald hue on that day.

On the trail of the Mukteshwar man eater and her nemesis-dsc00808xcvx.jpg
The magnificient Khurpa Tal. Notice the construction just besides it ruining an otherwise pristine landscape.

On the trail of the Mukteshwar man eater and her nemesis-dsc00809fgdg.jpg
The flat grasslands of terai and bhabar region in the distance.

One interesting thing about the landscape was that the change from hills to the plains is abrupt. One moment you are driving down the twisty mountain road and the next moment the road becomes arrow straight.

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Notice the abrupt end of hills and the endless plains.

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The straight roads of the plains.

Kaladhungi is a small town and its only claim to fame is Jim Corbett. The winter house of the legendary hunter has been turned into a small museum. When we reached the place, no other tourist was there and the attendants were enjoying the cool breeze in the wide garden within the campus. We had the entire run of the small house to ourselves and leisurely strolled through the exhibits. The exhibits include some paintings depicting the life and times of Corbett, personal artifacts etc.

On the trail of the Mukteshwar man eater and her nemesis-dsc00914xcc.jpg
Corbett's winter home turned museum.

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The bachelor of Powalgarh, a non man eater killed by Corbett.

On the trail of the Mukteshwar man eater and her nemesis-dsc00845cdv.jpg
A very interesting letter written by Corbett post his leaving India.

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Corbett with his siblings. The guy on the left is Corbett.

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The hunting chair carried by two persons used in shikar expeditions.

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Could not find the significance of the piece of rock. Nothing was indicated in the display as well.

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The small noting informs visitors that these handcrafted furnitures are displays of Corbett's craftsmanship.

From the museum, we went towards the Corbett Falls situated at Nayagaon within the boundaries of the Corbett National Park. As we neared the entry gate of the park towards the falls, the forest guards stopped us and refused entry saying that the gate is closed for the days. Our driver took me to the small enclosure where we requested the person there to let us in as it was not yet 4-00 clock, the time at which the gates close. He took Rs 50 as “fees” and without giving any receipt let us in. The driver told us that this is the normal ruse of the guards to make arrangement for money for the evening’s quota of the “pauwa” as this money is without any receipt. Even while we were inside, we saw couple of more vehicles drive in to the falls invariably by inflating the evening budget of the guards.

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The way towards the Corbett falls.

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Inside the protected park area.

The falls itself is nothing to write home about and is small.

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After spending sometime around the falls which does not befit the stature of the person in whose name it is known, we took leave of the forest which was gradually getting enveloped in twilight. The roads from the forest was newly laid and good. As we came out of the forest with fond memories of the beautiful Kumaon, towards our destination of the chaotic twin towns of Haldwani-Kathgodam, this langur came out say good bye. But, his expression was one of bored casualness as if trying to say “Huh, yet another bunch of those stupid humans”.

On the trail of the Mukteshwar man eater and her nemesis-dsc00959vc.jpg


The End...
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Old 5th May 2012, 00:02   #25
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Default Re: On the trail of the Mukteshwar man eater and her nemesis

Brilliant pictures Man!! Just superb!
I wish i could do the same trip in coming years.
Thanks for sharing and keep them coming!
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Old 19th May 2012, 13:53   #26
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Going OT here but still adding:

Since this thread is visited by many Jim Corbett fans, just to inform you all that as part of Oxford Univeristy Press India's centenary celebrations, they have come out with a latest Jim Corbett book with his yet unpublished writings which has some articles, images, maps, letters etc. The book is named My Kumaon - Uncollected Writings. Had ordered it from Flipkart, just received. So, just thought of sharing the good news of a new Jim Corbett book to all the fans.

Last edited by wanderer4x4 : 19th May 2012 at 13:56. Reason: Adding name of the book. Also noticed that this is my 100th post here.
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Old 19th May 2012, 22:38   #27
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You can download the pdf of "Maneater of Kumaon" here. Man Eaters Of Kumaon : Corbett,Jim. : Free Download & Streaming : Internet Archive

This area is still abundant with wildlife, especially the Leopard. I had an leopard sighting near Ranikhet on 1st Jan, 2011 at around 5am when I was on the way to Bhowali.

Also sometime in 2007, I had seen a leopard around 7pm near Ranikhet on a winter evening when I was rushing to take the Ranikhet express.

In Dec, 2010, around 10pm at night, we drove down into the Forest Road between Mukteswar and Sitla in two cars. The people in the front car saw a Leopard but I was in the trailing car and missed the sighting. :(

In all the three instances, the sighting was along the main road.

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Old 19th May 2012, 22:51   #28
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Originally Posted by wanderer4x4 View Post
Woke up in the morning early, held my breath and parted the windows and....this is what greeted me at last!
Thanks for sharing the TL for Mukteswar. It is one of my most favourite places in Himalayas. Infact, I ended up buying a land Mukteswar so that I can enjoy morning tea with the changing Colors of Nanda Devi from my cottage.

In winters, the view of Snow laden peaks is amazing. Due to large snow deposition, these peaks looks nearer and bigger in winters.

Sharing some of the pics taken from my land in Mukteswar in winter. Pardon me for the poor picture quality as they have been taken for the cellphone.
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Old 20th May 2012, 11:23   #29
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Infact, I ended up buying a land Mukteswar so that I can enjoy morning tea with the changing Colors of Nanda Devi from my cottage.

In winters, the view of Snow laden peaks is amazing. Due to large snow deposition, these peaks looks nearer and bigger in winters.
Wow, that's a great place to have a holiday home. So, you have an orchard there too?

I've also heard that winters in those areas is also very nice for himalayan views.
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Old 20th May 2012, 12:20   #30
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Wow, that's a great place to have a holiday home. So, you have an orchard there too?

I've also heard that winters in those areas is also very nice for himalayan views.
No private orchard, bro.
This is a small piece of land(3300 sqft) which is surrounded by orchards. Infact, it was a part of the orchard of a local farmer from whom I bought it.
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