See | Do
- Nature Walk by the Ramganga river
- Bird Watching
- Hide Photography
- Remote & Camera Trap Photography
- Bonfire Evenings
- Stargazing & Night Sky Photography
The crisp Corbett morning air is one of the most refreshing wake-up calls in the world. You hug your warm cup of chai closely to your chest as you breathe in the purity and watch the fading mist bring the surrounding wilderness to life. A mad cackle emerges from the trees, and you realise that the hornbills are making loud proclamations to their potential mates. But it's not love but serenity that fills the air. Just when you are about to take another sip, a flash of orange jolts you out of your trance.
You gingerly place your cup to the side and grab the camera to shuffle towards the fence that separates you from the wilderness. The tall Sal trees are visually arresting, but for now, you only have eyes for your tea-time intruder. A quick scan below and then above the treetops, and suddenly, there it is! You fumble with your camera for a minute. A leopard! The morning rays light up its soft, thick rosette coat as the cat scans its territory—a majestic sight amidst the lush Sal trees. The leopard locks eyes with you just as you are about to freeze the moment for posterity. And before you know it, it's gone!
What reads like a wildlife photographer’s dream is a typical day at Jamoon—Corbett's Hidden Treasure. A truly one-of-a-kind wilderness getaway, Jamoon is nestled in a 10-acre land along the edge of the Corbett Tiger Reserve in Uttarakhand. Named after the Malabar Plum or Jamun (Syzygium cumini), the wildlife lodge blends itself with Corbett's natural beauty. Much like the fruit, synonymous with summers, purple-stained tongues and a tartness that you cannot refuse, the wildlife-rich landscape of Jamoon makes it impossible for you to turn away from the beautiful experience it offers.
Masterful tree climbers, leopards have the uncanny ability to hide in plain sight. So now that you know there is one lurking near the lodge, you are intrigued! You approach Mayuresh, the naturalist at Jamoon, and inform him about your sighting. Once the mist clears up, you accompany Mayuresh to check the trail cameras placed near the waterhole just outside the premise, where you spotted the big cat. On checking the photographs, a completely different story emerges. Not one but two leopards, a mating pair!
Beyond leopards, the Jamoon waterhole and the surrounding areas are a haven for a wide range of flora and fauna. In fact, your wilderness experience begins even before you set foot on the property. After a picturesque drive through the forests of Corbett, you arrive at the Basedi village. From here, you continue your adventure on foot for 3.5km to reach Jamoon. Your sojourn at the wildlife lodge includes tents made of all-natural materials like cloth, thatch and stones, located close to the Ramganga river in the Lohachaur area of Corbett National Park. Against the slow guzzle of its pristine waters, the chirping crickets and the distant wildlife calls create a symphony unlike any other. For the first time, you are aware of the many other beings that inhabit the planet besides us humans. With no electricity or internet, the property uses solar-powered lanterns and lighting.
At Jamoon, you realise that time magically slows down. Back home, your day begins with a run, getting your heart rate up, as you brave yourself to face what the day throws at you. But today, as dawn breaks, you are standing on the banks of the Ramganga river, basking in the stillness. Mayuresh points out the regular animal haunts near the river as the mist slowly lifts around you. The amble of the river on one side and the dense forests on the other—looks like there are more ways than one to get the heart racing. On your way back to the Gol-Ghar, Jamoon’s in-house restaurant, for a wholesome traditional breakfast, you spot specks of red on the rocks. "What is that?" you ask Mayuresh. "Looks like a blood trail," he responds, following the trail of specks. It leads you to a half-eaten Chital, and you wonder if it were the leopards or was there a new contender on the scene!
With surprises at every turn, resting your camera is not an option at Jamoon. Apart from the big cats, Jamoon also plays host to 300+ species of birds, 100+ species of fish and mammals, 60+ species of reptiles and 20 species of amphibians! On nature walks, watch a herd of wild elephants wadeing through the river or chance upon a Spotted Deer still as a statue in the morning mist. Hear the warning calls of a Barking Deer or catch a Rhesus Monkey curiously looking down upon you. With options to capture these moments using hide photography near the waterhole or by placing camera traps in key locations, you get to closely observe animal behaviour. And if there is one thing you must experience, it is the bird hide on the property!
In this small corner of Jamoon, your binoculars unveil a riot of colours. The majestic black and yellow plumage of a Great Pied Hornbill, the striking green of an Orange-breasted Green Pigeon and the eye-catching crimson of a Scarlet Minivet. Jamoon is a bird lover’s paradise. Apart from the usual suspects, you get to observe rare and endangered avian species like the Pallas’s Fish Eagle and the critically endangered White-backed Vulture.
On your last night, you stare at the starlit sky and wonder when you will ever get to see a vision like this again. The slow crackle of the bonfire and the bejewelled sky make you wish that you could steep in this moment forever. A Jamoon team member shares a story of a rare sighting that their first set of guests experienced in 2021. As they were winding down for the day, munching on snacks at the Gol-Ghar, their chatter was abruptly interrupted by the loud alarm calls of Chitals and Sambars. The calls seemed to emerge from the trail by the waterhole. “We quickly made our way to the fence. From the darkness, two bright eyes stared back at us through the foliage,” he animatedly describes the incident. You hold your breath even though you know where the story is headed. “It took us a while before our eyes could comprehend the signature stripes so perfectly camouflaged against the foliage. A flick of the tail, and we knew we were in the presence of Corbett's iconic big cat, the Royal Bengal Tiger!” The atmosphere tingles with anticipation as the question hangs heavy in the cold Corbett air—can it happen again?
With camera traps around, the Jamoon team soon discovered that the waterhole is a regular haunt of not just one tiger but a tiger family! A female and her three cubs regularly visit the area and are now extended members of the Jamoon family.
The pugmarks you had spotted on the riverside earlier in the day, the Jamoon team have a cast made for you to take back home. It now sits comfortably in your rucksack, a souvenir to remind you of your magical stay. You look towards the fence and wonder if the big cat is somewhere out there, not too far away. And suddenly, you cannot help but feel a tinge of jealousy. You wish you also could call this magical wonderland home.