Sunday, February 12, 2012

Vandy travels to Delhi and Uttarakand for OBT

If you're part of the corporate world like me,you must have heard of OBT - Outbound Training.It's an exercise that involves transporting the members of a team to a location outside of office,so that the informal atmosphere fosters team building. At least that's what the official tagline says it is!☺

This was on our planned agenda:
25th Jan - Leave for Delhi from Chennai via flight
26th Jan -Watch Republic Day parade in Chennai.Delhi sightseeing.Depart for Jim Corbett National Park,Ramnagar,Uttarakand
27th Jan -Reach Jim Corbett Park.Overnight Stay at La Perle Resort.
28th Jan -Team building.Jungle Safari.Overnight Stay at La Perle Resort.
29th Jan - Depart for Gurgaon via Delhi.Overnight Stay at Gurgaon.
30th Jan -Workshop in Gurgaon.Depart to Chennai

To really be honest,I'm not really a big fan of OBT's,but I never turn down a chance to travel free to someplace new☺ I had been to Delhi once,Gurgaon once,but I had never been to Jim Corbett National Park in Uttarakand,a reserve forest for tiger conservation. I had read about it on some travel blogging sites,and I mentally marked it as a place I wanted to visit.And then voila ..this opportunity arrives!

I've visited Delhi once before, back when I was in college.And I remember falling in love with its streets riddled with ancient monuments and tombs at almost every corner.It's a pity that this beautiful city has the much 'deserved' reputation of being one of the most unsafe cities for women.It just reduces the freedom to get lost in a place and really enjoy it.

This time around I had a chance to fulfill a childhood dream ..that of watching the Republic Day Parade in Delhi.I was excited,but I didn't expect to be blown off,after several years of watching it live on TV.It didn't take much for me to lose my cynicism though ...the magic started right after the helicopters showered flowers on our stands at the start  of the event.I really enjoyed watching the colourful floats,dances and especially the airshow.The stunts pulled off by the multiple people on bikes was spectacular.I don't have any pictures of this event or Akshardham(which we also visited),as cameras,mobiles are banned here.A real pity!

Akshardham is a spectacular temple for tourists.It has its own food court and what not,but didn't really have that spiritual feeling that comes from a place of worship.Yeah,I am an atheist and I don't worship,but I do enjoy the calm that emanates from some holy places.I guess perceptions may differ,but that's just how I felt.It's a great place to visit if you wish to admire its architecture,eat good food or take part in its rides,which is still a pretty good deal.

We stayed in the La Perle Resort in Uttarakand,which had a spectacular view of the River Kosi. I will be using the pictures taken by my colleague Saravanan Subramanianhere,with his permission.

View of River Kosi from the resort

We did an elephant safari on a severely underfed elephant,and managed to spot the usual suspects ..birds,monkeys and deer. Till we happened upon a surprise tiger ...but a python.It was in the process of digesting its last meal,and was sunning itself out in the sun.Apparently this takes quite a long time,as the snake was spotted at the same location the next day.

Python resting after consuming its prey

The  process of actually spotting tigers is apparently quite a time consuming process,if you plan to do it in the Jim Corbett National Park. The tigers are quite aware of the touristy trails,and make an effort to avoid them.It depends on luck and at least a week of jeep safari rides at the different entry points to the Park to actually spot tigers.But don't let that deter you.The Jim Corbett Park is  a beautiful national reserve,and is host to wide variety of birds,monkeys and deer ..which are quite luckily  used to the attention that they get from camera clicking tourists.

Animals spotted @Jim Corbett National Park

You can also spot tiger footprints and tiger shit which all the guides will claim is from a tiger which has just gone across ☺

Mysterious footprints in the sand

We managed to squeeze in a day trip to Nainital* as well,a beautiful hill station despite being highly commercialized.The high points of the touristy do's in Nainital include the beautiful lake and the admittedly awe-inspiring view points.

Views from Naintal

Vandy's Travel Tips:
  • This was a completely touristy corporate trip.This particular travelogue is completely written from that perspective.
  • Jim Corbett National Park,Uttarakand is a popular tourist attraction,especially as a weekend trip for Delhiites.However,don't expect to see tigers if you are just planning it as a weekend trip.And hey ..'Tiger pakkalena parvala',as they sell decent tiger t-shirts at the Park,which don't cost the earth as tourist souvenirs.Take those home,and add to the tiger conservation effort.
  • Learn to speak basic Hindi,if you're travelling in the north .Not that many people comprehend English here even in the cities,compared to the south.Note to Self,especially!
  • Delhi is chockfull of historical places to see,and with plenty of shopping to do - suiting all budgets.You can bet I'm going to be seeing all of them* ☺
  • Nainital can be done as a   day trip from Delhi.Beautiful,but a very commercialized hill station.However on speaking to some locals,they told me that there are some spectacular trails that can be reached from Nainital by car,if you want to go to less commercialized places.
  • Street food,the metro and shopping in Delhi* rocks! The metro has made most of Delhi easily accessible by public transport.
  • Gurgaon* is full of high rises and malls,and is luckily connected to Delhi by metro.And,thus providing for my future weekend escapes.
*As a special footnote,Vandy will be relocating to Gurgaon* from Chennai  on Feb 18th 2012 and will be blogging about her travels in Delhi and Gurgaon quite a lot in this blog,and her comedic situations that are likely to arise from being a non-hindi speaker there in
*Saravanan takes awesome pictures of landscapes and of people(err..if you beg him persistently ☺).You can view his facebook album at Jim Corbett,applicable only to those who are his facebook friends, of course
* I took the pictures in Nainital,evident by their amateurish look☺