A resort nestled in the valley amidst the wilderness of a national reserve; surrounded by a village that takes active interest in bringing the local culture to resort guests. The only possible way to describe this resort best would be to call it enthusiastic. Enthusiastic about delivering an experience that brings its guests closer to the community that’s built around it; enthusiastic about all the many things that make up the “Corbett experience” and above all else- experiencing the Kumaoni culture and life around a forest that comes with its challenges and rewards. Corbett The Baagh is a relatively new resort that is located within a five minute walk from the village. Its location is only one of the reasons that the local life is so well integrated with the resort experience. The other is that they encourage the villagers around the area to work with them in order to create a wildlife and culture experience that promotes tourism in a manner that accommodates the interests of the resort while benefitting the residence of the village in the surrounding areas. It’s embankment has created revenue opportunities for the villagers, and they are only too eager to reciprocate and to welcome vacationers into the local life. Our experience at this resort is captured in the video here. Subscribe to the Stumbling youtube channel for more videos from my travel around the country and the world.
About the hotel
The resort’s proximity to the village and it’s desire to bring the Kumaoni culture to visitors does not compromise on the comforts of the hotel. Rooms are fairly spacious, with well-functioning amenities. The rooms and adjoining washrooms are done in modern decor, with adequate lighting. It is by all standards a well-maintained, beauty property with rooms that open up to massive lawns, a bright blue pool and the hills in the background. Flowers, shrubs and bushes of different colours and sizes come together to create several mini-gardens around the lawns. The entire view is postcard-perfect!
The resort has a basketball court, badminton court and a cricket pitch, with racquets and other sports equipment available on request.
There are no other properties in this part of Corbett yet, and few are as close to the forest as The Baagh. It’s a place where once can watch how human life is often entwined with the life of the jungle; and this co-existence is a beautiful one to observe.
Services and stay
As is the case with new resorts, certain aspects of the resort are still being perfected, including the quality of food and service delays. For a resort so new, I was surprised to find that it was overbooked during off-season with no long weekend in sight.
Throughout my stay, the staff was welcoming and warm. My first conversation with a member of their staff began with our guide, who happened to be driving our jeep at the time. At various points in our journey, he was eager to share bits of information and tales of his adventures in the hills. This warmth carried on to the reception staff, often sharing a laugh with us in the late evenings as we huddled for wifi access (available but restricted mostly to the reception area), repeatedly badgering the staff for passwords and assistance. Another thing I found interesting was their preparedness, and the ready availability of heaters and hot water bottles to keep us from shivering the night away.
Phone signals are a challenge in this part of the world, with limited Vodafone connectivity and no Airtel connectivity in the area surrounding the resort. In that sense, it completely cuts you off from the world you’re coming from, forcing you plunge deep into the local lifestyle. As I couldn’t help but acknowledge in the end- that’s what made all the difference; that time spent living in the present, so close and so embodied by the natural life.
The hotel also has naturalists and consultants (some formerly working with the forest department) frequenting the hotel. Some of my most memorable conversations and learnings come from Mr. Imran Khan, a naturalist who owns his own ranch in Ramgarh, but often visits the property as a consultant. He is a terrific storyteller, but also has a way with words that could make the most mundane things come to life. His stories around the bonfire were instrumental in developing the right mindset to help us enjoy our surroundings as opposed to the Tiger-centric approach we first arrived with.
Corbett has been one of my favourite short getaway haunts in India. Several trips with childhood friends growing up have left me with the fondest of memories that always come rushing back every time I visit the place. Yet this trip was more an experience than a run-of-mill resort holiday, with its immersive cultural experience and the visits to local homes. The village locals opened their hearts and homes to us, and the trip clashed with a local festival, which we were able to experience, courtesy of the staff at Corbett- The Baagh, who organised it for us.