A tryst with Corbett ‘s gun

Jim Corbett, who was born in Nainital, tracked and shot 19 tigers and 14 leopards between 1907 and 1938. All these were man-eaters that killed over 1,200 people living in the Kumaon region.

Anyone who loves wild life would have heard of Jim Corbett ‘s name. He is associated with having killed many Tigers and leopards. However, except one he only killed maneaters : 19 Tigers and 14 leopards who had killed hundreds of people in the Kumaon region and terrorized the villagers.

The only tiger he shot for glory or vanity because it was a prize catch and no hunter was blessed to catch it was the one calked Bachelor of Pawalgarh. He gave up the gun.and took up the camera after that.

In his book My India written in 1952 he describes his first gun, gifted to him when he was 8 years old.

“He [Kunwar Singh a local shikari, Jim looked up to] came early, and as with great pride I put the old double-barrelled muzzle-loader into his hands he never, even by the flicker of an eyelid, showed that he had seen the gaping split in the right barrel, or the lappings of brass wire that held the stock and the barrels together. Only the good qualities of the left barrel were commented on, and extolled; its length, thickness, and the years of service it would give. And then, laying the gun aside, he turned to me and gladdened my eight-year-old heart and made me doubly proud of my possession by saying: ‘You are now no longer a boy, but a man; and with this good gun you can go anywhere you like in our jungles and never be afraid, provided you learn how to climb trees”

When Jim Corbett left India after Independence he gifted his double barrel muzzle loader to Sher Singh, his friend and resident of his village Choti Haldwani. [Was it this same gun, I wonder?]

He had accompanied him on many hunting trips.

Today that gun is with his son Trilok Negi who remembers Carpet Saheb though he was a tiny tot then.

He showed it to us on our visit to Choti Haldwani the heritage village adopted by Jim Corbett in the land bought by him to make a model village with modern agricultural practices. Corbett even built a wall with his own money to keep away Tigers, elephants and leopards out and protect the villagers and their crops.

The area where Trilok Singh Negi showed us the gun is the chaupal which Corbett had made where villagers could come and sort out their problems. Corbett would often share his stories here and talk of importance of conserving wildlife, especially the “large hearted gentleman”, the tiger.

Our visit also coincided with Baithaki Holi a custom of Uttrakhand where women visit each other’s homes and sing hori songs along with some dancing.

I have been coming to Nainital for the past 40+ years and visited the museum that has been made in Corbett ‘s house in Choti Haldwani, but never visited the village.

This was organized by Wild Iris spa and resort where we were being hosted. It’s on their regular itinerary for their guests.

This is part of a trip with #TCBG_Trips

A wonderful stay organized by #TCBG_Trips in Wild Iris Spa and resort in Kyari Village of Ramnagar, Uttrakhand

In Choti Haldwani with Trilok Negi ‘s wife. As it was a day preceding Holi we were all greeted with tilaks.

Iris resorts have given us wonderful hospitality and planned a fantastic itinerary for us.

The best part of our stay was that though a jungle safari is part of the itinerary, it’s not the be all and end all of activities. Since a tiger sighting is not in anyone ‘s control there are plenty of other activities for visitors.

The resort is spread over a large space and us planned around the existing landscape of the area. The trees, thatched cottages make it very eco-friendly. I thoroughly enjoyed my stay here.

A marvelous holiday and beautifully organised by Travel Bloggers and Correspondents Group.

One Comments

  • Ambica Gulati 02 / 03 / 2018 Reply

    I like what you have written on Jim Corbett. Since I have not read much about him, this was good info!

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