Nainital, where we have just revealed our latest homestay, is Jim Corbett country. With Mahindra Homestays you can now stay in the former property of Corbett’s father.
But who was Jim Corbett and why is he still revered in the part of Uttarakhand known as India’s lake district?
In the early 1900s, villages in this largely mountainous and forested northern state of India lived in fear of man-eating tigers. Thousands of people were killed in the first half of the 20th century by wild cats. One animal alone, known as the Champawat Tiger, ravished over 400 locals.
Jim Corbett was a self-taught tracker and hunter who had grown up in the hills and woods around Nainital. Son of a postmaster (our homestay is the former post office for the area) he developed a deep bond with his surrounding environment as a boy.
He became known as an expert slayer of dangerous animals. But he would only hunt down a tiger if it was a proven killer, and even then he remained sympathetic to the creatures.
Both Indians and the British colonial authorities would often write to Corbett, pleading his help to rid an area of a man-eating tiger or leopard. And Corbett would usually respond.
Jim Corbett killed more than 30 tigers and leopards in his lifetime, saving the lives of many more people. He wrote a book about his adventures, Man-eaters of Kumaon, and the oldest national park in India – which he helped set up – was named after him. Jim Corbett National Park is one of the few places you can see the endangered Bengal tiger. Watch a video of the wildlife reserve below.
If you love adventure, wildlife or the environment, and you’re keen to explore Corbett country, there’s only one place to base yourself: The Hive, Corbett’s old family property. Your host Dr Ranjit Bhargava, himself an esteemed environmentalist, will no doubt tell you more about this legendary local figure.
Find out about the homestay experience and don't forget to check out our ideas on things to do in India or browse our India homestays.