Chameleon, Aahana—The Corbett Wilderness, Ramnagar, Uttarakhand, India

Recreating The Natural Balance: Aahana—The Corbett Wilderness, Ramnagar, Uttarakhand

Ever thought of learning how to blend modernity with nature? Find it at this eco-friendly resort in the famous Corbett Tiger Reserve.

Chipkali or lizard creeper on the main building, Aahana The Corbett Wilderness, Ramnagar, Uttarakhand, India
Chipkali or lizard creeper on the main building, Aahana The Corbett Wilderness, Ramnagar, Uttarakhand, India

Words & Photographs: Ambica Gulati

 “My father believes that if you take care of nature, it will take care of you,” smiles 23-year-old Ayu Tripathi who helps her father, Kamal Tripathi, run the resort. With roots embedded in the region, the Tripathis believe in integrating the best of indigenous practices with modern requirements. “As the top layer was sandy soil, nothing would grow in this land and the villagers thought it was a cursed land. But my father bought it in 2003 and after a few feet, we found fertile soil. So, the first thing we did was plant trees at the boundary.” Now, a healthy dose of green welcomes the holidaymaker. Since then, trees have been planted across and signboards acknowledging the planter show that actor Irrfan Khan was one of these.

Naturalist Ramesh Barlow explains about the sewage treatment plant, Aahana The Corbett Wilderness, Ramnagar, Uttarakhand, India
Naturalist Ramesh Barlow explains about the sewage treatment plant, Aahana The Corbett Wilderness, Ramnagar, Uttarakhand, India. Certain plants are grown above this as they absorb nutrients from the waste and the water is recycled for gardening.

With 45-rooms which include single rooms, villas, suites, family suites, the 14-acres have an organic garden, herbs, fruit trees, flowers, butterflies, birds, cows, a bio-gas plant, compost pits and an indigenous sewage treatment plant in which no chemical is used.

With most of the staff being locals, the flavours here are restful and easy. The food is fresh and the boundaries touch the Bijrani zone of the national park. You can walk around outside but ‘it is tiger country and best to be within the premises before sunset’, says the in-house naturalist Ramesh Barlow.

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The facilities include recreation for all-a badminton court, children’s play zone, football area, sitting area with books and even a naturopathy centre where Dr Braj Bhushan can ‘assist your body to heal itself’, as that’s what a naturopath’s role is in his own words. The people in the spa have been trained by him and there are a range of therapies available, from Ayurveda to western to mud and more. “A 10-day retreat with various methods for treatment can surely help people change their lifestyle to a healthier one. Then disease and its cure just become easy,” says the doctor. There is more to naturopathy than detoxification and weight loss, you will come to know should you decide to have a longer chat with him on alternative therapies. You can begin this with a yoga session at 5.30am.

 Though Ayu did her graduation from Delhi University, she always knew that she would be living in Corbett. She works with the local schools on cleanliness and other vocational skills. “It was a slow process gaining their trust. Initially, I started a cleanliness drive for the village and only a handful would come. Then I began to offer gifts to the best one and the popularity of the drive increased. Three years down, the villagers are becoming more and more welcoming.”

The resort also organises many activities such as painting classes, nature walks, village walks, how to milk a cow for they have their own gaushala and more. There is a sound-proof conference hall as loudspeakers are not allowed in the reserve zone. The latest addition is eco-friendly weddings. “We have done six or seven with mandap by the swimming pool, jaimala near the small waterfall and kumaoni music accompanying the ceremony,” smiles Ayu.

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The resort has facilities for senior citizens, the LGBT community and the differently abled. There are a gym and a souvenir shop too. Yes, there is a bar too and you might like to enjoy your meal sitting by the window at Dhikala restaurant, watching the swaying trees and do see the table that you eat on is made of driftwood.

While the safari is a must, one can see over 100 species of birds in the resort. In fact, the resort has citronella and lemongrass plants all around to keep the mosquitoes out of range. Cow urine is mingled with neem and used as a natural pesticide. Grass is not mown for it breeds insects which are food for the birds. Trees are planted regularly and the pavement is porous which means rainwater keeps going back to the ground. There are holes in the pavement through which snakes can pass and not come crawling on your feet. Leopards and other animals have been sighted in the area, hence a large gate separates the reception from the main resort. It is closed most of the time unless needed. “The little passageway in used by villagers and the ramp can be used by the guests at any time.”

Evenings at Aahana The Corbett Wilderness, Ramnagar, Corbett Tiger Reserve, Uttarakhand, India
Evenings at Aahana The Corbett Wilderness, Ramnagar, Corbett Tiger Reserve, Uttarakhand, India

Each room has windows which give a view of the greens. I even chased the butterflies for some pictures and stood under the trees before sunset to listen to the birds gossiping before going to sleep. Be sure to walk amid the balmy fragrance of greens to find your balance with nature. If you don’t feel like doing it yourself, go with the young naturalist, Balwant Singh Negi, who can introduce you to many birds and show you some amazing pictures he has taken.

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16 comments

  1. Uttarakhand is the really beautiful place to visit. Nice hills, green forest, cool weather. I love Uttarakhand and Nainitaal area. Your blog post inspires me to do and to visit all the beautiful places in Uttarakhand especially Corbett Wilderness of Ramnagar.

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  2. I visited the Nainital area in Uttarakhand last year and loved it. I loved the lush hills, green forests, and the cool weather. Your post brought back a lot of nice memories. It’s a place I would love to visit again. Thank you for sharing!

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  3. It is definitely one of the most beautiful and well organized places in Corbett. I really liked the Sewage Treatment Plant. The naturopathy center and the spa center is quite a highlight. Naturalist Ramesh Barlow and Balwant Singh Negi, both are very helpful and friendly people.

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  4. Nice to see a eco-resort that does so much community service. Arranging eco-friendly weddings is a fantastic offering. I love all the little details you captured, from how they keep mosquitoes away and how they make natural pesticides

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  5. I love the sound of this place. Spa, tigers, leopards, birds, eco-friendly – this sounds exactly what I’m looking for for our anniversary. Do you have a link to this resort? And what’s the nearest airport?

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    1. This is the website
      https://www.aahanaresort.com/.
      And it’s best to take a taxi from Delhi., which is well connected with all international cities. The drive is around 6-7 hours. Or you can take a flight to Dehradun and then drive to the resort. This is a little cumbersome as domestic flights are less.
      Alternatively, there is a train from Old Delhi Railway Station to Ramnagar which is jsut 15 minutes drive from the resort. and they can send a cab to pick you.

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  6. The Aahana Resort balances restoring the soul in an environmentally friendly atmosphere. I like how it doesn’t impose itself on nature, like the holes in the pavement for the snakes and planting more trees. But I really liked that there was something for everyone to do, from the gym to learning how to milk cows, and of course a safari adventure. You can easily spend several days and not get bored!

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  7. The Corbett National park is high on my list and what a find this is to use as accommodation. Thanks for sharing this gem the Aahana Resort which looks very comfortable and yer eco friendly. It has all the facilities that you would require and seems a friendly atmosphere as well. Some great outdoor facilities as well. A great find and thanks for sharing

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  8. I am yet to visit Jim Corbett and this resort looks like a perfect place for a weekend stay. I love how the creepers adorn the building facade. Seems like everything around the resort has been built keeping a lot of things like eco-sensitivity and sustainability in mind. Glad to know about this place through this post of yours.Shall ping you soon for more info,Ambica 🙂

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  9. So agree with your father’s belief about us taking care of nature and nature nurturing us in return 🙂 And it is so important to constantly recreate the natural balance. We had been to Corbett long time back and stayed in camps and forest rest house. But after reading about Aahana—The Corbett Wilderness, would love to experience the place and see all the conservation efforts! The place seems to have rooms for all budgets and on 14 acres land, its super huge. Would love to participate in the nature walks and village walks.

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  10. I have been to Nainital many times but missed Corbett Tiger Reserve. Next time, I would surely plan for it as this place and stay at Aahana resort. This resort holds painting class and so my vote goes for it. Painting in nature, Wow a must -do activity for me. Also going for nature walking, taking some naturopathy tips, milking a cow must be interesting and beautiful thing to do here.

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