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Old 22nd November 2009, 17:49   #1
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Default 3C's (Car, Camera, Corbett) minus 3C's (Cellphone, Clinics, Classes) = Peace

Really, really needed to get away for a few days, where I could be at peace with myself. And what is the point of that 2-tonne piece of metal sitting in front of my house, if I won't let it take me away somewhere? Also, with the wizards of photography tempting me on this forum, I needed to practise my own camera skills a little without recording clinical and microscopic images.

Wednesday night, I had finished my submission - Thursday morning, submitted the same. And then and there, I had decided - come hell or high water, Friday morning (20 November), we would be out of Delhi.

Where? First place to come to mind: Corbett. Always wanted to go, just never happened. Otherwise the Kumaon hills are always there to climb.

Friday morning at 6:10AM, we hit the road.

This pic is an attempt to shoot a panorama of the Ramganga river. I tried it with 4 vertical frames, no tripod, f/8, 1/640s, ISO 200. Subsequently stitched on a software called PhotoStudio. Your constructive criticism on this and subsequent photos, both positive and negative, will be most welcome.
3C's (Car, Camera, Corbett) minus 3C's (Cellphone, Clinics, Classes) = Peace-ramganga-panoramak120.jpg
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Old 22nd November 2009, 18:12   #2
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It is a nice snap, man. Makes me feel nostalgic. Reminds me of the time our entire batch went from Dehradun to see the Jim Corbett NP
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Old 22nd November 2009, 18:19   #3
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Here comes another Corbet Story. Keep them coming, i'm all ears. BTW nice thread naming.
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Old 22nd November 2009, 18:30   #4
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11 AM, and we are at Ramnagar, after a comfortable drive. NH24 has become better in recent times, and the Hawk helped immensely by smoothening out the potholes and irregularities in the section 30km before Garh Mukteshwar. 120 km/h achievable with ease. ABS helps big-time on the gravel.

No bookings done ahead, and we are a little anxious about whether at all, and where, we would get accommodation. Well, it's a working weekday today, so we ought to get something inside the Reserve. What about tomorrow? We'll see. All the info we had to go on was a quick look through the CTR website on Thursday evening.

At the Ramnagar booking office, we are surrounded by the local Gypsy-wallahs. Saab, Gypsy chahiye? Andar road bahut kharab hai, aapki gaadi jayegi nahin. Hmm... the Hawk on fours doesn't go where a Gypsy does? Maybe. Let's see. At least there doesn't seem to be a rush here, these guys are seeking custom with great gusto.

The road less travelled...
Attached Thumbnails
3C's (Car, Camera, Corbett) minus 3C's (Cellphone, Clinics, Classes) = Peace-road-less-trav1k120.jpg  

3C's (Car, Camera, Corbett) minus 3C's (Cellphone, Clinics, Classes) = Peace-road-less-trav2k120.jpg  

3C's (Car, Camera, Corbett) minus 3C's (Cellphone, Clinics, Classes) = Peace-road-less-trav3k120.jpg  

3C's (Car, Camera, Corbett) minus 3C's (Cellphone, Clinics, Classes) = Peace-road-less-trav7k120.jpg  

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Old 22nd November 2009, 19:22   #5
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Akadian View Post
It is a nice snap, man. Makes me feel nostalgic.
Quote:
Originally Posted by akas_chauhan View Post
Here comes another Corbet Story.
BTW nice thread naming.
Thank you. Yes - this is just another Corbett story, and that too, without spotting tigers (in fact, we decided that we would not be remotely trying to spot any). We had our fill of seeing, clicking and even touching tigers in Thailand a few months ago, and tigers were not on the agenda.

We were, however, told at the Dhangarhi gate that a tiger had been spotted not half-a-kilometer from the gate by someone about an hour before we arrived there. Obviously, our trip was not to see tigers, just to hear about them!
3C's (Car, Camera, Corbett) minus 3C's (Cellphone, Clinics, Classes) = Peace-dsc07536k120.jpg
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Old 22nd November 2009, 19:47   #6
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Quote:
Originally Posted by SS-Traveller View Post
...there doesn't seem to be a rush here...
We step up to the booking counter. First-timers to Corbett, we are not choosy about where we wanted to go. Any place would do, so long as cellphones don't work there. Guy at the counter asks Gaadi kaunsi hai? Driver hai ya aap khud chalayenge? He satisfies himself that the car-driver combo ought to make it through the forest, and says Gairal mein ek room khaali hai. Chalega?

One room in Gairal? Oh, ok. No other room available inside. And I thought there was no rush! 4 of us... well, we'll make do with an extra bed.
And what about tomorrow?
Everything booked as of now. Come back before 4 PM tomorrow, you can have a room if there's been a cancellation.

1850 out of pocket for room, permits for people and car, and housekeeping charges (food and extra bed charges to be paid separately at the FRH - that was going to be a small surprise), we drive the 18 km as directed, along a pleasant road with a few bad patches,

3C's (Car, Camera, Corbett) minus 3C's (Cellphone, Clinics, Classes) = Peace-road-dhangarhi.jpg

3C's (Car, Camera, Corbett) minus 3C's (Cellphone, Clinics, Classes) = Peace-road-dhangari.jpg

find the sign saying "Dhikala 31 km",

3C's (Car, Camera, Corbett) minus 3C's (Cellphone, Clinics, Classes) = Peace-dhangarhi-gate-sign.jpg

and arrive at the Dhangarhi gate.

3C's (Car, Camera, Corbett) minus 3C's (Cellphone, Clinics, Classes) = Peace-dhangarhi-gate.jpg

Last edited by SS-Traveller : 22nd November 2009 at 19:49.
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Old 22nd November 2009, 20:27   #7
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arre slow ho rahe ho - go on saab

as for panorama, as advised by a photochop stud:
reduce exposure in gradient mode on the left....
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Old 22nd November 2009, 20:59   #8
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Quote:
Originally Posted by phamilyman View Post
as for panorama, as advised by a photochop stud:
reduce exposure in gradient mode on the left....
Yet to learn how one does that. Please help...
Quote:
Originally Posted by phamilyman View Post
arre slow ho rahe ho - go on saab
Your wish is my command!

Into the Dhangari gate we go, and there's the benevolently unkempt statue of the Late Jim Corbett to one side.
3C's (Car, Camera, Corbett) minus 3C's (Cellphone, Clinics, Classes) = Peace-corbett.jpg

We make our entries in the register, and are promptly handed a jute bag to collect our trash in. 30 rupees please. We won the National Award for the cleanest forest in India. Perhaps not, with the amount of trash we discovered later, strewn across the whole place. But mercifully there are strategically located trash cans everywhere, so the using the bag was not really necessay. We retained it as a souvenir. It seems the locals make these bags, and buying them is about supporting the economy of these people in the forest zone. That's fine with us.

3C's (Car, Camera, Corbett) minus 3C's (Cellphone, Clinics, Classes) = Peace-trashbag.jpg

A quick cup of tea and a visit to the souvenir shop later, we are on our way to the Gairal FRH.

3C's (Car, Camera, Corbett) minus 3C's (Cellphone, Clinics, Classes) = Peace-souvenir-shop.jpg
3C's (Car, Camera, Corbett) minus 3C's (Cellphone, Clinics, Classes) = Peace-dsc07540k120.jpg
3C's (Car, Camera, Corbett) minus 3C's (Cellphone, Clinics, Classes) = Peace-souvenir.jpg

12 km straight. then 3 km downhill till you get to it. Piece of cake.
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Old 22nd November 2009, 21:34   #9
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First few attempts at trying to get a decent pic of sunlight filtering through the trees. Which one passes muster if at all? Comments please...
Attached Thumbnails
3C's (Car, Camera, Corbett) minus 3C's (Cellphone, Clinics, Classes) = Peace-sunlight-thru-trees.jpg  

3C's (Car, Camera, Corbett) minus 3C's (Cellphone, Clinics, Classes) = Peace-sunlight-thru-trees-3.jpg  

3C's (Car, Camera, Corbett) minus 3C's (Cellphone, Clinics, Classes) = Peace-sunlight-thru-trees-2.jpg  

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Old 22nd November 2009, 21:58   #10
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Oh no! you stopped again. Please go ahead. We were planning to go but seems now next saturday sunday we are there.

Did you get to see the tiger? I am sure you must have seen lot of Elephants. Let the pics flow!
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Old 22nd November 2009, 22:05   #11
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Our first views of the FRH at Gairal pleased us no end. The place was located beside the Ramganga river, and one could hear it gurgling along in an otherwise silent surrounding, broken occasionally by the chirping of birds.
3C's (Car, Camera, Corbett) minus 3C's (Cellphone, Clinics, Classes) = Peace-gairal-frh-1.jpg
3C's (Car, Camera, Corbett) minus 3C's (Cellphone, Clinics, Classes) = Peace-gairal-frh-5.jpg

Large solar panels were set out on the lawns, and solar water heaters on the rooftops.
3C's (Car, Camera, Corbett) minus 3C's (Cellphone, Clinics, Classes) = Peace-gairal-frh.jpg
3C's (Car, Camera, Corbett) minus 3C's (Cellphone, Clinics, Classes) = Peace-gairal-frh-3.jpg

The only intrusive bit was the electrified fencing all around, which we were told was set up about 4 years ago. Before that, there used to be frequent intrusion of wildlife at night into the FRHs, and firing in the air was the only way they could be scared away. The electricity is only turned on at night, but we were not trying it out during the day either! Hands off strictly, my daughter was told.
3C's (Car, Camera, Corbett) minus 3C's (Cellphone, Clinics, Classes) = Peace-gairal-frh-4.jpg

Even the room was quite comfortable, with a large toilet and running hot water out of a separate tap.
Attached Thumbnails
3C's (Car, Camera, Corbett) minus 3C's (Cellphone, Clinics, Classes) = Peace-gairal-frh-2.jpg  


Last edited by SS-Traveller : 22nd November 2009 at 22:08.
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Old 22nd November 2009, 22:54   #12
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Quote:
Originally Posted by rhandle View Post
Oh no! you stopped again. Please go ahead. We were planning to go but seems now next saturday sunday we are there.

Did you get to see the tiger? I am sure you must have seen lot of Elephants. Let the pics flow!
Posting the last one for tonight in your honour!

Do book in now on the phone if you are going the next weekend. You won't be able to take your own car into the forest unless you are staying in one of the FRHs - and Gypsy-wallahs fleece you at the rate of 2500 - 3000 rupees for a 4-hour trip. Surely you don't want to ride a Gypsy with your Gurkha around to eat Gypsies for breakfast! Although there was just one occasion where we really needed to engage 4WD, when we got stuck on a narrow track with a Gypsy coming the other way.

And no, we didn't see tigers in the forest - just once, there was a chance that someone had spotted one - more about that later. No elephant herds either, just a lone animal seen behind Dhikala. And of course, quite a few on the road from Ramnagar to Dhangari.
3C's (Car, Camera, Corbett) minus 3C's (Cellphone, Clinics, Classes) = Peace-elephant-wayk120.jpg

Quote:
3 km downhill till you get to it
Here's the turnoff for Gairal FRH from the main Dhangari-Dhikala road
3C's (Car, Camera, Corbett) minus 3C's (Cellphone, Clinics, Classes) = Peace-gairal-turnoff.jpg

The drive from the main road to the FRH was, we were told, along a bad road, but in the event it turned out to be well within the Hawk's abilities on 2WD.
Name:  looking ahead looking behind.jpg
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The first view of the river was beautiful.
3C's (Car, Camera, Corbett) minus 3C's (Cellphone, Clinics, Classes) = Peace-ramganga-first-view.jpg

So in the evening, I was back to the river, trying out long exposures. Do comment on the results.
3C's (Car, Camera, Corbett) minus 3C's (Cellphone, Clinics, Classes) = Peace-slow-river.jpg
3C's (Car, Camera, Corbett) minus 3C's (Cellphone, Clinics, Classes) = Peace-slow-river-2.jpg
3C's (Car, Camera, Corbett) minus 3C's (Cellphone, Clinics, Classes) = Peace-slow-river-1.jpg

Anyway, the shock of staying at the FRH came when we went to look for lunch. Set menu only, buffet system, rice-roti-dal-sabzi-papad, for Rs.150 per head. Dinner for Rs.200 per head.

We managed to sweet-talk the canteen manager to give us some stuffed parathas instead. But, he says, we have no choice but to take the fixed menu for dinner. Dinner was a so-so dal, burnt rotis, a shahi-paneer-in-watery-gravy, a really hot and spicy mixed veg. sabzi, and an apology of a custard-sans-milk-in-water for dessert. The high point was the salad - the tomatoes and onions were good! The only saving grace was the dining room.
3C's (Car, Camera, Corbett) minus 3C's (Cellphone, Clinics, Classes) = Peace-dining-room.jpg

It seems the guy paid Rs.5.80L through a tender to the Forest Dept. to win the contract to run this canteen at Gairal FRH for 7 months (15th Nov. 2009 to 15th June 2010). He's got to recover his money, transport stuff from Ramnagar 35 km away, work and serve food here, and then think of making a profit. No wonder the rates are astronomical.

Note: No non-veg food items on the menu, except eggs.
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Old 22nd November 2009, 23:09   #13
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Do u have a dial up connection or what? You could post all of them in a single post though. BTW nice pictures.
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Old 23rd November 2009, 00:45   #14
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Quote:
Posting the last one for tonight in your honour!
Thanks a lot sir, very well appreciated.

I am sure Gurkha should not have problem. Went in July and we pulled out a Gypsy from a river. There was another Safari 4x4 in forest which went so smooth. I was actually slightly jealous of them since they were getting superb ride, and rear seat passengers as well a great view.

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Do u have a dial up connection or what? You could post all of them in a single post though. BTW nice pictures.
Well dial-up-connections are days of past. It's not connection which takes time but selecting pictures which you want to post, then even resizing them so that you can attach them here, thinking about what sentences to say so that they carry your emotions and are in sync with pictures. I do not think writing travelogues is easy, since you want and try to ensure the readers go and feel the same experience what you were having. Have patience I am sure he would do his post full justice!
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Old 23rd November 2009, 09:07   #15
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Sir, nice narration. Have always wanted to go to Corbett but never materialised. Your travelogue gives a good perspective.

BTW is there only one FRH. Like WLS in MP, cannot one take their own vehicle with a guide?
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