• on Aug 13, 2022

Each time I visit the Himalayan foothills I get enthralled by its quiet surroundings in the Himalayas, lush meadows, tall Deodar and Oak trees, and, of course, the variety of bird species.

Jim Corbett National Park

Corbett has always held a special place in my heart. From reading the stories of hunter-turned-conservationist Jim Corbett, to actually visiting the India’s oldest park, one named after him, was like a dream come true. My safaris in Corbett helped me explore these lush habitats, from the forests to grasslands. Asian Elephants, Tigers, a variety of deer, and a plethora of birds made my Corbett visit special, and I almost spent my entire camera memory card clicking everything wondrous I could lay my eyes on.

While just a Corbett safari package is enough to fill my birding and wildlife appetite, it would be a crime for me to come so far and not visit Pangot and Kilbury Bird Sanctuary.

Kalij Pheasants

To say Pangot is a birding paradise is something of an understatement. The birds of Pangot find their homes in the lush montane forests and fields surrounding the region. With the help of the amazing guides here, I’ve had the luck to see a variety of Himalayan species such as Himalayan Vulture, Blue-winged Minla, Spotted and Slaty-backed Forktails, Black-throated Bushtit, Small Niltava, Kalij and Koklass Pheasants, a variety of laughngthrushes including Streaked, Striated, White-throated, and more. In fact, almost 150 bird species have been recorded at Pangot and the surrounding areas.

The meals here are of another level altogether. Simple, yet farm-fresh and made with love, I always feel like I can taste the love. Not to mention the chai and pakodas, which are almost a staple for me here.

Green-tailed Sunbird

Another popular site I love visiting in the area is Sat‌ ‌Tal,‌ named after the seven‌ ‌freshwater‌ ‌lakes‌ in this beautiful haven. It ‌is an‌ ‌abode‌ ‌set‌ ‌amid‌ ‌the‌ ‌Himalayan‌ ‌landscape,‌ ‌criss‌ ‌crossed‌ ‌with‌ ‌lush‌ ‌meadows‌ ‌and‌ ‌tall‌ ‌trees.‌‌ For me personally, this is a place of peace that reminds me how tranquil life here can be. Another‌ ‌favourite ‌site‌ ‌in‌ ‌Sat‌ ‌Tal‌ ‌is‌ ‌the‌ ‌‌beautiful‌ ‌waterfall,‌ ‌‌Subhash‌ ‌Dhara,‌ ‌which‌ ‌is‌ ‌a‌ ‌natural‌ ‌spring‌ ‌of‌ ‌crystal‌ ‌clear‌ ‌water‌ ‌that‌ ‌cascades‌ ‌down‌ ‌from‌ ‌the‌ ‌lush‌ ‌oak‌ ‌forest.‌ ‌And after all this exploring, a freshly ‌prepare‌d ‌plate of local‌ ‌traditional‌ ‌delicacies‌ is always welcome.‌ ‌

Sat Tal is also well-known for its rich biodiversity. The birds of Sat Tal, especially, are a big draw, with 150 species of resident and migratory species, and if you are a birder or photographer, or both, I would definitely recommend a combined Pangot-Sat Tal birding tour for the best birding experience. Some of the beauties I’ve managed to see here include Green-tailed Sunbird, Griffon Vulture, Stork-billed Kingfisher, Red-billed Blue Magpie, Grey-capped Pygmy Woodpecker, Lesser Yellownape, various kingfishers, Blue-throated, Brown-headed, Lineated, and Coppersmith Barbets, Plum-headed and Slaty-headed Parakeets, and more. Many of the hotels and hides in Sat Tal are run by local birding guides, and make for the best experiences.