Another beautiful part of Corbett is Sitabani - which once again was around 45 minutes away from our resort. It's not exactly considered to be a part of the main jungle, but there is more than enough to see there too. There is a park called the Rangers Reserve which you are allowed into. Unfortunately for us, the timings at this reserve are only 3 to 5.30 pm and we got stuck in a lot of traffic. The rangers flatly refused to let us into Sitabani because we wouldn't get out on time. This was incredibly disappointing, but an eye opener for us who had decided that we'd take it easy and leave late because we were tired of looking at only birds. Note to self: ALWAYS be the first one at the gate!
The part of the forest that we were in was absolutely beautiful, and so our wonderful driver Kundan took us on a lovely slow exploration of the hills and the incredibly gorgeous saal trees all around. Sherwood forest indeed. We looked pretty amusing to the villagers - three girls in an open topped gypsy, shouting ROKO (it means stop in Hindi) every few minutes to take pictures of everything from the road, to a broken wall, to some leaves and even scarecrows. One of the tractors that kept passing us had people convulsing with laughter pointing at us. Oh well, at least everyone got to sightsee.
Part of the reason for us to go to Sitabani was to visit Cedar Lodge, which is the sister lodge to Corbett Riverside Resort and located at the top of one of the hills. It's a small seven bedroom structure with a huge yard, and the most incredible starlit view. The problem with Corbett proper is the amount of light pollution - we couldn't see too many stars. But this, this was the real deal. I even chanced upon a Quidditch player in the jungle!
After sitting around a bonfire chatting with everyone and drinking copious amounts of whisky, we decided to head back to the resort for dinner. Coming down a mountain at breakneck speed in ten degree cold is both exhilarating and frightening! It looks great when you're looking forward onto a road lit by headlights, but turn your head around and all you can see is pitch black. I'm not the only one who had visions of a tiger or lion leaping out at me! What a way to go though hehe. We heard an elephant trumpet at one point and screeched to a halt looking for it, until we got very very cold feet - both literally and figuratively.
A pretty place to visit, and I would highly recommend going inside the forest too!