There are a few places in the world that affect you so deeply that they change your perspective on life. For me, Sitabani Wildlife Reserve was one such. It not only took my respect, appreciation and love for nature to a completely new level, but also gave me a better understanding of myself and my priorities.
Sitabani is located in the Sitabani forest near Corbett National Park, and was founded by my friend Abhishek Ray, who besides being an eminent music composer in the Indian film industry, is a devoted wildlife lover and conservationist. He is also a highly accomplished naturalist, having been part of numerous government wildlife censuses, and it was during one of these censuses that he stumbled upon this land around 20 years ago. It was a hill of barren farm land that had been systematically destroyed over time by slash and burn agriculture. With his hard and diligent efforts over many years Abhishek was able to acquire this land and restore it to its natural state. Today it is a beautiful, thriving forest, rich with flora and fauna.
The lodge at Sitabani is right in the middle of the forest, surrounded by mountains on three sides and the huge expanse of Corbett National Park on one side: a stunning view. Because you are surrounded by mountains, the acoustics of the bird and animal calls are astonishing, and this makes it an immersive experience. There are few places in India that provide you the experience of actually living in the middle of a forest, and because it is a small lodge, you get the utmost privacy and quiet. I was alone there for almost three weeks, and believe me, it was a spiritual experience.
One can also go for treks into the forest with the guides from the lodge, and experience all the sights and sounds undisturbed by the noisy roar and rattle of a jeep safari. Living there makes you feel like you are part of the forest, not a detached observer, and that is a unique feeling and experience.
I recommend this place to those who want to truly connect with nature and experience it in its undiluted form (and in the process maybe it'll change you too).
Here is the link to the lodge: www.sitabaniwildlifereserve.com
I would love to hear from you! To contact me, and for information on my other work, visit www.rohanshahmusic.com. Here is my album which was inspired by Sitabani.