Feeling Alive and at Peace… at the Same Time!

Sumita Singh

New Member
There are those who think that one can have a gruelling week or month at work, and then de-stress in one go at some weekend getaway; frankly, I have never been one of them. I mean, how do you tell your perpetually panicky mind, frayed nerves and palpitating heart to relax and go in slow gear just for two days? So when a couple of friends planned to escape last weekend to Kotabagh near Ramnagar in Uttar Pradesh, I really wasn’t convinced. But hung along with them anyway! What if they had fun, and I wasn’t around? ;-)

A road-trip of 6 hours from Delhi brought us to Ramnagar - the town nearest to Kotabagh - and I still couldn’t muster any enthusiasm. And then it all changed - just like that! We left behind the chaotic city traffic and entered the woods. The sound decibel dropped - blaring of horns was replaced by chirp of birds, whispers of winds through dense trees, gurgling water in canals, and some muted jungle sounds. My thoughts quietened, and I felt peace descend as the car wound through mildly hilly terrain to reach the quaint little town of Kotabagh and then descended to what looked like a valley between low hills covered in terraced farms and dotted with little houses.

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On the way to V Resorts Corbett at Kotabagh

“There it is!” yelled my friend, pointing. Following her direction, my eyes fell on a small property comprising of 5 cute little cottages with red-roofs & gray stone walls, all facing the wide dried riverbed of River Kosi strewn with white & gray stones. V Resorts Corbett at Kotabagh - a picture-postcard-type property managed by a women resort manager, for WOMEN! Of course, men are welcome too, provided they are accompanied by women, but still it’s a Ladies’ Resort!

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Cute little picture-book like Cottages at V Resorts Corbett

Beautiful surroundings, utterly peaceful and with so much to explore, it was really a weekend getaway haven! We had a leisurely lunch under the thatch-roofed dining area with open sides, enjoying the view and the breeze. Post-lunch siesta was spent on the lawn-swing basking in warm sunshine. On the far-side of the river, I could see a dense forest. The resort manager - a cheerful young lady - supplied brief account of the region, places to see, things to enjoy, and gushed that the forest is the same Sitabani Forest where according to Hindu mythology, Devi Sita spend her banishment from Ayodhya and gave birth to her twin sons, Luv-Kush! I was intrigued.

So we decided to go for the afternoon wildlife safari, through the same dense forest, all the way to Sitabani Temple! It was already dusk, and the forest was getting quieter. Tall, brooding trees all around and thick vegetation underneath. We got to see some wild hen & turkey, a couple of spotted deers in the thicket, some monkeys and a sambhar deer crossing the road in front of our jeep, but that’s about it. The track was rocky and turned my insides to mush, but I loved the sights around and found the cold wind invigorating.

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Safari Jeep through Sitabani Jungle in Corbett National Park

The Sitabani Temple deep in the woods was dilapidated but therein laid its charm. I wondered if the myths associated with it were true, and wished that the whole place was maintained better!

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Sitabani Temple in Corbett National Park

By nightfall we were back to our lodgings enjoying a leisurely tea. Then spent some time in the activity room, browsing through books and music. They had some indoors and outdoor games equipment too, which am sure my nephew would have loved. Dinner was announced and I borrowed a book to read through the night.

I was tired, thought I would grab a quick bite, retire to the cosy warmth of my oh-so-comfortable room, but was told that the barbeque was laid out in the open. Apprehensions rose again, but for once, I decided to play along. When you are in Rome, do as Romans do… and blah blah blah!!! But I guess it was about time I let go of my preconceived notions and enjoyed whatever the place brought to me!

And I did ENJOY - oh so much!!! Darkness all around, sitting around a cheerfully toasty fire with friends on mudha, devouring mouth-watering spiced barbecued chicken and roasted seasonal vegetables, sipping wine, talking late into the night, sharing life-stories / experiences! After all, these are the moments when people share from their hearts and come close and gather memories that last a life-time! For me, they did!

Finally I said goodnight to my friends, came to my room and curled under the cosy cuddly duvet, read a couple of pages of the borrowed book, and before I knew it, I was deep in slumber, tired and happy and content - lights still on, which I possibly turned off sometime during the night!

Tentative knocks on my room’s window brought me back from the dreamland. It was so early, barely light outside, I wondered who was knocking. Cautiously slid aside the curtains to find these four cute little sparrows seated on the window sill chirping merrily, taking turns to knock on the window glass! I was delighted - what a delightful sight!

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Sunrise from the in-house Machan

I decided I wanted more of this. So got dressed and went for a early morning walk through the surrounding area, mostly wheat fields accompanied by the lady resort manager - the Village-Walk-Through she called it. The whole valley was slowly coming awake - sunshine touching the tops of trees, smoke curling away from earthen chulhas, cows getting milked, school kids skipped along, morning aarti in some temple nearby! It was all so enchanting! Soon my friends joined us, and we walked up a small hillock to watch the sunrise. Seen it so many times at so many different locations across the country, and yet the beauty and magnificence of a sunrise, or a sunset for that matter, always take your breath away! I found myself holding a cup of coffee - now where did that come from? - drinking in the view, and the coffee!

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Morning Walk through Wheat Fields

Coming back to the cottage, we spread some yoga mats across the lawn, and followed the in-house Yoga Instructor in doing some meditation and easy yoga-asanas, actually they were the only kinds we could make our bodies too. Still felt rejuvenated, and decided to enhance the experience - had a head and shoulder Ayurvedic massage on a warm deck chair in the now warming sunshine. As the firm yet gentle fingers of the masseuse worked magic on my muscles, I went into this sleepy stupor and wondered if there was anything better that can happen in my world! I dozed off!!! Woke up 30 minutes later, hungry enough to eat a horse!

A leisure hot water bath, and still more leisurely breakfast, and I was ready to browse around some more - a lazy walk across the dry riverbed, exploring vegetation, collecting round white pebbles, pointing to marks on sand made by different animals; then a walk across the nearby village exchanging greetings with locals, learning new stories, buying local spices & ingredients, plucking amla (Indian gooseberry) from trees, dipping feet in water canals - little stuff that I enjoyed much much more than I thought possible! My friends appeared just as happy and relaxed as I was! City life, work, traffic and all the related chaos looked so far away, inconsequential, no longer a part of life!

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Dried Rivedbed of River Kosi - as viewed from every cottage - On the far side is the Sitabani Forest

Tired, we returned back to V Resorts for lunch - comprising of local dishes in entirety, to my utter delight! Manduwe ki roti, gahat ki dal, gaderi ki sabzi, potatoes tempered with a spice called jakhiya, and local rice! Tasted awesome - probably something to do with the fact that it was all made from locally acquired ingredients, and that those ingredients were grown naturally, without the use of any chemicals or fertilizers! No wonder, it was more flavourful and wholesome than usual.

Soon it was late afternoon, and our time to leave. I was so tempted to stay back another night, but just couldn’t - prior engagements!!! On the return journey, we didn’t talk much! Lost in our own thoughts, it was as if we were trying to extend the peace and quiet and sheer content we felt at V Resorts Kotabagh for as long as we could!

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The In-house Machan - Perfect for Morning / Evening Tea

Few days later, sharing photos with other friends on Facebook & WhatsApp, I wondered if those photos, or any stories we shared, could actually do justice to what we felt at that place - at peace and alive - both at the same time! I learnt to bury my apprehensions and pre-conceived notions - about everything - for good! There could be so much fun in the unexpected, isn’t it - if only you could open your mind to it! I did!!!
 

adsatinder

explorer
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rameshtahlan

Super User
oh yes,
its always peaceful when i am near mountains, green fields, a bit of a forest, and a river flowing by

happy landings
RT
 
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