A whirlwind tour of Jim Corbett – The Himalayan Times – Nepal’s No.1 English Daily Newspaper


KATHMANDU, JANUARY 09

John called me to fly over to Delhi to go to Jim Corbett National Park in India, who wanted me to assist with a strategy to promote sales for a brand new property that a textile tycoon had opened for a lark at the proximity of Ram Ganga River in Corbett.

The textile tycoon wanted to keep his second wife from one of the ASEAN countries happy, busy and productive, and he built her a hotel outside the famous park named after Jim of folklore myth.

John was part of the management franchise of the hotel. In the evening, John, Peter and I brainstormed over a few beers to get the lodge brimming with teeming tourists. John was grooming Peter to head their India operations.

The following morning we went on a jeep safari. After about half an hour, we had just entered a ravine in the park when we saw a tiger. The tiger was close to the jeep, and we looked at it excitedly for some time before the tiger ambled into the thicket. Far below in the ravine, we also saw a massive male elephant.

After a few hours of safaris, we returned to the lodge for our lunch. We decided to spend the night at a government facility in the heart of the jungle at Dhikala to immerse ourselves in the wildlife experience. The lodge at Dhikala was a hunting facility, probably used by Jim Corbett in his campaign against the maneaters. It was decrepit, dark and dirty. We paid a hundred rupee to a staff who was over the moon and served us like our valet. At supper, our unofficial valet stood watching over our needs. He had carefully sanitised our cutlery and crockery. The thali cost us only a hundred bucks each, a much better bargain than Muglin eateries those days.

We should note that the Indian parks never allowed private tourist lodges inside to protect and conserve wildlife, nor do they allow anything right at the entrance. The textile tycoon’s gift to his second wife was a good half an hour drive from the park entrance gate. He was considered one of the ten richest Indians at the time. The Nepali traders argue that wildlife tourism will flourish if the government opens business inside the park. Is this true? Earlier, our valet had packed sheets, towels and pillows onto the jeep. It is shocking how far a hundred rupee note can go in India. We returned to our destination for our lunch. Post lunch, I went on a rhino tracking walk with two elderly British and a Nepali Tharu guide.

After a delightful trip to Jim’s territory and Nainital, it was time to return to Delhi. I returned alone in the tycoon’s ambassador car, which got me thinking that if the rich man were a Nepali, I would be travelling in a Rolls Royce. Unlike fly by nighters, rich Indians know their money well.

A version of this article appears in the print on January 10, 2022, of The Himalayan Times.



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