LTD x VOLVO x NAMAH
When Sublime Luxury Meets Pristine Nature
As the crisp autumn breeze sweeps in, promising the arrival of winter, it brings with it a sense of anticipation that warms the soul. Those chilly mornings, endless cups of tea or coffee, and the resplendent beauty of nature make this time of the year truly magical.
For those seeking to explore India’s wildlife, this is perhaps the best time. And the NCR region of Delhi offers a great advantage due to its proximity to several wildlife parks – the most popular being Jim Corbett National Park – known for its pristine habitat and diverse wildlife.
Drive into the Wild
Fuelled by an insatiable thirst for exploration and discovery, and inspired by the allure of the Volvo XC60 in our garage, we spontaneously decided to take a trip to Jim Corbett. And it turned out to be a decision that was well worth it. The national park – at a distance of 245 kms – is a five-hour drive from Delhi, and easily accessible via the Ghaziabad-Hapur Bypass-Gajraula-Moradabad Bypass-Kashipur-Ramnagar route on NH24. Although the brand new expressway flaunts an impressive top speed of 120 km/h, the journey is not without its challenges. The road does indeed facilitate a smoother drive, but is marred by undulating terrains on various stretches, demanding a heightened level of caution and vigilance from the driver. On Indian terrain, choosing the right vehicle can make or break any road trip, and our decision to go with the Volvo XC60 for this journey paid off at every turn.
Close Encounters with Nature
Regarded as the birthplace of Project Tiger and a sanctuary for Bengal tigers, Jim Corbett National Park is now home to the largest population of tigers in the Indian wilderness. Named after the renowned hunter turned conservationist, Jim Corbett, it was the first national park established in mainland Asia.
Nestled in the Nainital and Pauri districts of Uttarakhand, the park covers 521 sq. km. Along with neighbouring Sonanadi Wildlife Sanctuary and Reserve Forest areas, it forms what is known as the Corbett Tiger Reserve, covering an area of 1288 sq. km. The park is divided into eight zones, offering morning and afternoon jungle safaris organised by the forest department. You can explore the wild in an open jeep or take a canter safari in an open-roofed vehicle, and both options promise an exhilarating experience.
The national park remains open throughout the year for visitors from Jhirna and Sitabani Zones. The Bijarani zone opens from mid-October, and the core area of the national park, Dhikala zone, gets operational from the 15th of November every year.
Luxury by Nature with the Volvo XC60
Volvo’s unwavering reliability, plush comfort, generous space, and seamless Google integration made our journey an absolute breeze. And until we transition entirely to electric on our highways, there’s no better way to immerse oneself in nature than in a vehicle thoughtfully designed to harmonise effortlessly with our environment.
The XC60 is more than just a luxury vehicle; it’s a testament to Volvo’s continued commitment towards sustainable luxury and its efforts in reducing environment impact. The mild hybrid powertrain reduces tailpipe emissions and improves fuel consumption, without compromising on performance. It provides perfectly smooth take-offs and refined acceleration and is a delight to drive on our brand new highways and expressways.
The cabin is comfortable, airy, and spacious, thanks in part to the humongous panoramic sunroof that floods the cabin with natural light and lends a sense of airiness to it. There’s ample space for five adults, and the large boot can accommodate everyone’s luggage and then some. At the back, three people can fit in comfortably without struggling for shoulder room or foot space. The Volvo XC60 truly shines as an exceptional family vehicle, offering a superb blend of features and functionality that cater to the diverse needs of modern families. Its versatility extends beyond just space. Thoughtful design, seamless integration of tech, entertainment & navigation, and numerous safety features make it a reliable and secure choice, instilling a sense of confidence and peace of mind during every journey.
The well-contoured front seats offer not just ample support but also exceptional cushioning and bolstering, ensuring fatigue-free long drives. The massage function and seat ventilation in the front serve as excellent features to lean on when you need a quick and invigorating pick-me-up. The tech on board the XC60 also makes life easier, with features like built-in Google Maps allowing for navigation to be displayed in the instrument cluster. Wireless charging and Apple CarPlay are a welcome feature, although we wished Volvo included wireless connectivity to go with the wireless charging.
Out on the road, the XC60 delivers in typical Volvo fashion, with a personality that exudes poise and instills confidence behind the wheel. The 2.0 litre petrol motor with a mild hybrid system produces 250 bhp and 350 Nm of torque. Paired with an 8-speed transmission and all-wheel drive, the XC60 has more than enough grunt for sudden overtakes on single-lane country roads. The comfortable suspension setup makes for a planted ride while cruising at highway speeds, and it even handled a few off-road stretches with ease. When the road felt more like a rock crawl on an off-road course, the XC60’s AWD system handled everything that was thrown at it with minimal fuss. Although it’s not exactly a driver oriented car, the XC60 is immensely enjoyable to drive, especially on the twisty mountain roads of the Himalayan foothills.
Reliable, comfortable, and impressively well-equipped, the XC60 added a touch of flair to the journey, blending in perfectly with the serene and subtle sophistication of our destination within the wilderness.
A Study in Sustainable Luxury
On our previous visit to Jim Corbett, we were captivated by our stay in the heart of the Dhikala range. This time, Namah Resort Jim Corbett, a member of Radisson Individuals offered a new connection with nature. Located on the edge of the national park amidst lush greenery, Namah is around 8 kms from Bijrani range, one of the main eco tourism zones of Corbett. The resort is unarguably among the finest in the region, and a study in sustainable luxury; with acres of lush manicured greens and stunning views of the mountains in the backdrop. The serene Kosi river gushing by and the crisp mountain air add to its enigmatic charm and beauty. Beyond the luxe indulgences, here you experience a unique warmth within the wilderness. Luxury and nature seamlessly coexist, and a series of carefully curated immersive experiences contribute to the authentic, hyper-local flavours of the forest.
Namah has 48 rooms that focus on comfort, functionality, and subtle indulgences. All rooms and suites whisper sophistication, style and privacy, with a nature friendly colour palette and vibe. The spacious rooms in earthy tones have a living and separate dressing area, well-appointed bathrooms, large balconies, and private sit-outs, overlooking the impeccably manicured gardens, river, and the mountains. Draped in elegance, the rooms whisper warmth and comfort from every corner.
A Culinary Expedition of Exquisite Flavours
The gastronomic pursuits at Namah are varied and multi-layered. Pratha, the multi-cuisine restaurant, offers all-day dining with live cooking stations. The freshness and quality of ingredients deserve a special mention while the flavours and textures are a harmonious blend of authentic local Kumaoni tastes infused with a touch of international sophistication. It’s an extraordinary culinary experience that exceeds expectations in the realm of wilderness dining.
The menu at Pratha is personally curated by Chef Yogender Singh Rawat, a distinguished expert in both global gastronomy and regional Kumaoni cuisine. With culinary mastery honed over decades and the support of an exceptional team, the dining experience at Namah is an expertly crafted journey through flavours of the world. Innovation in food pairing, presentation, and the use of in-house ground pastes is evident, resulting in each dish being a unique creation with a personal touch. During our visit, we got to discover and savour Pahari Loon, a locally crafted hill salt and a well-kept secret from the region. Thoughtfully concocted by Namah’s chefs, it added a delightful twist of flavour to every meal.
Pratha offers an eclectic dining experience with both indoor and outdoor seating on the patio, surrounded by vast lawns, creating an ideal setting for bird watching. It’s also the perfect place to capture the enchanting riverside sunrise. As day turns to night, the ambiance shifts to Boond, a retro-themed bar room that comes to life in the evening. With a view overlooking the lawns, it’s a space where artistic flair, innovation, and the freedom to be creative in the moment take centerstage. Outdoors, you can gather around the crackling bonfires, indulge in delectable finger foods, and lose yourself in the mesmerising spectacle of starry skies late into the night.
Namah also offers a wealth of distinctive experiences, from early morning nature walks to evening bird-watching sessions. Here, you can savour traditional and local delicacies, flawlessly served with a genuine warmth that makes every bite and sip memorable. For those seeking an even more personalised dining experience, consider indulging in a private four-course candle-lit ‘Dine Under The Stars’ affair by the tranquil Kosi river, adding an extra layer of intimacy to your stay.
Our journey took an unexpected and delightful turn during an early morning nature walk organised by the Namah team. Accompanied by Gaurav Singh, the Front Office Manager, and Kailash, an F&B Associate, we ventured to the banks of the Kosi river, crossing a 150-year-old Jhula Pul (suspension bridge) constructed by the British. As we meandered along the trails down to the riverside, amid the multi-hued stones, pebbles, and the gentle rush of the river, we felt like inconspicuous witnesses to the newfound splendour of nature. A designated spot in the middle of the river, marked by a few large rocks, became our idyllic morning tea setting, where we enjoyed an array of delicious sandwiches, cookies, cakes, and steaming hot beverages.
Namah takes personalized dining to the next level with meticulously curated experiences infused with intimacy. Whether it’s a bonfire under a mesmerising canopy of stars, a private four-course candle-lit dinner by the riverside, an exquisite high tea arrangement in the lush lawns, or morning tea served at sunrise along the riverbanks, these are just a handful of the remarkable encounters that etch unforgettable moments into your memory.
Namah prides itself on its team of impeccably trained staff members, selected predominantly from the local community. These individuals excel as charming conversationalists and embody the very essence of service and hospitality. They are the genuine ambassadors of the brand and its values, contributing significantly to the overall guest experience. As a content and dedicated workforce, they wield a profound impact on the quality of the stay.
Beyond the Jungle Safari
Beyond the thrilling jungle safaris that Jim Corbett National Park is renowned for, there is much more to experience out there. With its rich cultural heritage, spectacular landscapes, and a plethora of outdoor activities, there’s something for everyone. From serene temple visits to picturesque waterfalls and immersive museums, the experiences here are as diverse as the wildlife that roams its jungles. Delve into these activities waiting to be explored in the heart of Jim Corbett:
Nature Walk: The nature walk organised by Namah is not to be missed. Meandering through less-explored trails, crossing a charming 150-year-old suspension bridge, and witnessing the sunrise by the riverside while savouring your favourite hot beverage make this experience one of the most spectacular walk in the wild.
Garjiya Temple: The well-known temple, with Goddess Garjiya Devi as the presiding deity, is built on a large rock by the Kosi river. The temple, with a long stepped corridor, is a sacred Shakti shrine revered by the locals and tourists alike.
Sitabani Temple: Escape into the wilderness with a day trip to this ancient temple, located near Jim Corbett National Park. This age-old structure is steeped in local legend and worth a visit.
Corbett Waterfall: A scenic picnic spot located around 25 km from Ramnagar, the Corbett falls are ideal for a day picnic. Nestled inside a dense forest, an elaborate gate welcomes you to Corbett Falls. The actual falls are about 2 kms from the gate, and a walk or drive up there is totally worth it. The enclosed forested area and the waterfall gushing down from a height of almost 20 feet are serene and truly magical.
Dhangarhi Museum: The unique Dhangarhi Museum houses rare exhibits, wildlife displays, and a souvenir shop. The museum also details the life and works of Jim Corbett.
Our expedition to Jim Corbett stands as a testament to the magnetic pull of nature, the unbridled thrill of exploration, and the enchantment that accompanies every road trip. It serves as a gentle reminder that, at times, the simple recipe for reviving our spirits consists of an inviting destination graced by unspoiled beauty, complemented by the perfect companion, and a luxurious ride such as the Volvo XC60.
India is undeniably a land of breathtaking beauty and remarkable diversity, and there’s no better way to explore this country than by hitting the road. So, take that leap, embark on your own adventure, and unveil the wonders of the countryside. And if your journey leads you to Jim Corbett National Park, rest assured that a stay at Namah Resort will etch itself in your memory for years to come.
Namah Resort – a member of Radisson Individuals is a Hospitality Partner for our ‘Luxe Voyage’ travel series.