I am always on the lookout for secluded corners, far away from the realm of orchestrated life, where I can breathe happily and live a few carefree moments without any scanner. It is rare to find my cocoon during traveling albeit there are a few exceptions and when I see one, my happiness translates through a big smile on my face. Paatlidun Safari Lodge in Uttarakhand is one such jungle lodge in the periphery of Corbett National Park, which brightened my face the moment I landed there. I have been to the best of the jungle lodges in India, but this premium property amidst the forest has something unique that makes it one of the most desired places to unwind in the lap of luxury.
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What is so unique about the Paatlidun Safari Lodge?
The name itself drew my attention when I first heard of it. Paatlidun literally means a narrow Valley. The word “Paatli” stands for Narrow and “Dun” means Valley. You will find out why they named it Paatlidun when you have to negotiate your way up through the most strenuous road to reach the resort.
Located at Bhakrakot in the 13-acres land on the edge of Corbett National Park, the Paatlidun Safari Lodge is one premium luxury property with over 12 luxury cottages, one restaurant, Library cum bar, Sap, adventure activity area, the small museum, farmland and a stunning open lounge area.
The unique thing about this property is that it infuses the local Kumaoni traditional elements into its architectural designs and the cuisines it serves. The Kumaoni hospitality is the highpoint of this unique safari lodge.
What I found the most fascinating was that they have used Kumaoni words to name the cottages, restaurants, spa, etc., basically each and every corner along with direction instructions. Not only that, the architectural designs and décor of the luxury cottages are inspired by traditional Kumaoni architectural designs.
You do celebrate exclusivity when you are guided to your cottage for the first time. To reach there, I had to go through a narrow lane amidst the forest with tall grass all around. Though I was escorted to my cottage at night, I could literally hear my heart beat as I suddenly realized that I was going to be all alone in that huge plush cottage.
Looking at the huge living room adorned with modern furniture, fireplace, a cozy bedroom with antique bed and dressing table, quite a large bathroom with bathtub, a plunge pool and adding to the list, the most exciting sky bed on the terrace, I was overwhelmed.
What really triggered my senses was the seamless blending of the traditional Kumaoni architectural facets with modern amenities. The use of ethnic Kumaoni motifs in the form of wood carving on the doors, stone masonry, black slate tiles on the roof, red oxide cement flooring, Kumaoni paintings on the wall, and private courtyard with Tulsi Mandap, gave it a rustic look.
My favorite corner of the cottage was the private terrace with the sky bed. If you wish to view the star-studded sky, lying down on a comfortable bed, with the cold breeze curling you up, giving your senses a mild shiver, the private terrace seems like the perfect corner in the cottage.
What all I did there!
Apart from star gazing at night, indulging in Kumaoni hospitality, relishing the best traditional food, I did experience a few enthralling activities around the resort.
Mountain Drive in the evening
There is no doubt that I love mountain drive, whether it is at night or in broad daylight. The never-ending twists on the road, the changing landscapes and the unpredictable weather all add to the charm of traveling, with the wind accompanying you constantly. While vacating at the Paatlidun Safari Lodge, I was taken on a mountain drive one evening by the head Naturalist, Rajnish. The curling roads and the fading sun rays in the hills accompanied me throughout. After traveling for an hour or so, I reached the top of a ridge from where I could see the valley, a few scattered houses, step farming and the road leading to Almora.
I would never erase the scene from the top of the hills when the whole valley was bathed in the golden hue with the slowly disappearing sun announcing the night.
The luxury was to sip a hot cup of tea while enjoying the sunset. How I wished to freeze those moments.
High Tea by the Kosi River
What can be a better place to have your evening tea than the pristine Kosi River? It is the most stunning location to go and sit and enjoy the serenity of the surroundings.
If you like to do bird watching, the river bank is the best place to observe a variety of birds. The crystal clear water of Kosi River, visible pebbles and the sound of water added a calming effect to the aura.
I loved it when Ganesh, the Naturalist, drove over the river to reach the other side, to park the jeep and laid down the high tea setup. It definitely created a picture-perfect frame for my lens.
Jungle Safari in Corbett National Park
This was my second visit to the Corbett National Park. Though, the zone was different. It was 5.30 am when I started from the resort to the Durga Devi Zone of the National Park to experience the wilderness. It was pitch dark. It took half an hour to reach the gate before its opening time.
Also Read: Into The Wild: Satpura National Park
As the morning light spread across the jungle, the jingles of the birds dominated the surroundings. I met a few Spotted Deer and Sambar Deer, though the Tiger refused to show up. The idea of being in the jungle is to feel the nature up close, rather than chasing wild animals.
The unfiltered scenery of tall Sal trees, the negotiating heavenly lights through the thick foliage and the roaring silence literally made my day.
If you are looking for an elusive escape from your daily life to experience the authentic Kumaoni hospitality in a gorgeous location, indulge in the wilderness and celebrate solitude at a luxurious set-up, Paatlidun Safari Lodge is my recommendation.
I was invited on a Press Trip to Paatlidun Safari Lodge
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