- Destination: Jim Corbett National Park
- Time to Visit:Chances of spotting royal Bengal tiger is high during summer
- Suggestion:Stay at Dhikala inside the forest
- Date of travel: 08th-10thMarch 2015
- Must Do: Take jungle safari in forest jeep
- Note: Cost between Indians and foreigners will vary vastly
About: Jim Corbett National park is the oldest and the biggest national park of India located in the Nainital district of Uttarakhand to protect endangered Royal Bengal tigers.
Trip Planner: Delhi -> Agra -> Haridwar & Rishikesh -> Nainital -> Kausani -> Jim Corbett National Park
Our Journey Starts:
Anindita’s friend Patrick Mennig from Germany visited India. Our plan was to show him some of the beautiful places in India. After an extensive planning, Me, Anindita and Patrick are all set to start our journey. The destinations we will cover in this journey are Delhi, Agra, Haridwar and Rishikesh, Nainital, Kausani and Jim Corbett National Park. As Delhi is the centre point for all trips to Uttarakhand, Uttaranchal and other places, we started our journey from Delhi. After having a successful Delhi to Kausani trip, our plan is now to visit Jim Corbett National Park.
This is my one of the favorite destination I ever visited so far. Posting this on my first anniversary of my blog. With a count of more than 7400 visitors in one year, it definitely proved a success for me. Thank you all for finding time to read my piece.
We boarded the booked cab and started our journey to the oldest national park of India, Jim Corbett National park from Kausani. It took 7 hours to reach Jim Corbett National Park. The road to Corbett is also beautiful. The winding roads are all around the mountain. Trees from both sides of the road leaning to give a shade. You will find Ramganga river flowing at its own pace all the time during the journey.
It is always advisable to pre-book your stay and safari ride well in advance as it is always high in demand. The entrance of the national park is about 10 km away from the town Ramnagar. Once we reached Ramnagar, visited the forest department office and got permit showing the pre-booked details to take a ride through government certified green jeep. One need to reach there before 3PM. One jeep will cost Rs 3800 for 2 nights. This jeep will take you inside the park and will also be available for safari and all other transportation needs.One can also take a safari through canter, but spotting a tiger while traveling by canter is negligible.
There are many hotels at Ramnagar for accommodation. But, I highly recommend staying inside the national park. This could prove expensive, but will definitely be able to cherish the moments for lifetime. There are various zones inside the park. One can choose from Bijrani, Dhikala, Jhirana, Sonanadi and Lochachour. None of the accommodation has electricity except Dhikala. Once again, I highly recommend staying at Dhikala. One can book accommodation in advance from the official website http://corbettonline.uk.gov.in/ . The booking window for foreigners starts early. Costs are also higher for foreigners. We boarded the jeep and reached the entrance of the park after a drive of 30 minutes. After showing all the identity proofs, got permit to get inside the forest. The entrance has a statue of famous Jim Corbett who once killed a tiger here to protect the villagers. Once we entered the forest, it gradually got more dense and intense. On the way, will be able to spot deer and other animals. The journey from the entrance to Dhikala is almost like a jungle safari. We went to a river and spotted crocodiles. There was no pollution in the surrounding. Nice chirping of the bird is all around within the forest. It is a great place for bird watchers. Spotted some rare birds too as informed by the driver.
On the way to Dhikala, we crossed Bijrani and Jhirana accommodation. The accommodation is located in the middle of the forest and wilddeer moving around is a common sight. It is a lovely place to stay. But our destination was Dhikala. After a journey of 1 hour, we finally reached our accommodation in the Dhikala zone. These are few accommodations and also surrounded by forest.Ramganga River flowing next to it. Everything was so natural and so different from other places. While coming to Dhikala, crossed many streams on the way. Remember, tiger can be anywhere around and never get down from the vehicle. We spotted two huge elephants busy feeding there baby just next to the accommodation.
There were many monkeys and deer moving around us within 2 feet distance. Be careful with the monkeys and never feed them as they are very greedy. We managed to get a dormitory as all other accommodations got full in seconds when the booking window opened. The dormitory was also nice but the only problem is, it has a common bathroom outside the sleeping area. You have to take a 1 minute walk to reach to the bathroom. After a beautiful journey, and spending some time taking a walk inside the Dhikala zone, we took an elephant safari for 15 minutes and paid the person only Rs. 100. This was managed due to my convincing skill as they don’t allow riding on elephant after 5PM. Actual elephant safari in the jungle costs Rs. 300 for Indians and Rs. 1000 for foreigner for a duration of 4-5 hours. By now, we were hungry and headed towards the dining hall which is also 1 minute away from our room. Other rooms in Dhikala looked really classy and worth the money. They have a huge dining hall. As many foreigners visit here, they offer both Indian and continental dishes. Had buffet dinner costing Rs. 250/head. Food was really good.
After a filling dinner, we came to the dormitory ready to sleep as we need to wake up early for the morning safari scheduled next day. At night, due to heavy rain, there was no electricity for sometime, but I really enjoyed the ambiance. Carrying a torch is highly advisable.
Next day morning, after finishing quick breakfast, we boarded the jeep waiting to take us to the jungle safari. Never ever miss this safari ride as this is most important part of the trip. We spotted many deer, elephants, birds on the way. The only thing we are waiting to see now is a Royal Bengal tiger or a leopard. You need to be real lucky to spot one of them. This is the most adventurous part of the safari. We heard a peculiar bark from a deer. The guide told us, there is a tiger nearby. The bark from the deer is a call to all other animals to move away as there is a tiger nearby. The jeep driver stopped its engine. We kept our eyes wide open and waiting for the tiger to come out. We waited for 15 minutes there, but no luck. The suspense was immense.
One has to be very patient to see a tiger. We went to the other side expecting the tiger to come out from there. Tiger can come out from anywhere, you never know. Again no luck. But it is definite, that there is a tiger nearby. We heard the same call once again from a deer. We took our position again, the jeep engine was stopped and waiting for the tiger to come out. Suddenly, we found some noise coming out of the jungle. Saw two elephants breaking branches from the trees and feeding themselves. The elephants suddenly moved and started to come towards us. The driver had to start his engine and moved the vehicle back. The two elephants came out with a baby with them as if they were trying to protect the baby. The guide informed us, a tiger always follow an elephant trail to move around. Suddenly the jeep driver cried loudly – “Tiger, tiger”. We turned around and saw a Royal Bengal tiger stepped out and looking at us. It growled and quickly moved back into the forest. We got stunt for a moment. The picture taken by me was not that prominent, however, Patrick’s picture was clear. We all started to wish each other for being so lucky and said – “Mission accomplished”. Need to say, the tiger was at a distance of only 30 feet from us.
Then we moved around the forest. Reached a beautiful open grassland. Had to borrow the powerful Nikon binocular from the guide to take a view of beautiful spotted deer jumping around. We found some elephants also moving around. There were other jeeps too met us in the grassland out for a safari ride for other tourists. But no one spotted a tiger except us on that particular day. We reached back to Dhikala zone, engraved our name in tiger spotting register. While entering our name in the book, I found, most of the people successfully spotted a tiger in the region “Thandi Sadak” near Dhikala. We spotter the tiger there too. Later we climbed a watch tower located near a pond. In summer, tiger spend time there in cooling himself.
Finally we came back to the dormitory, packed our bag and boarded the same jeep to come out of the India’s largest national park. After a rush trip starting from Delhi for a span of seven days, the plan is now to relax for a day in a resort just outside the Jim Corbett national park before we get back to Bangalore to follow our daily routine. We pre-booked the accommodation at “Corbett riverside resort” which is at the bank of the Ramganga River. The driver took us there and left. It is a huge resort and beautiful too. It has lots of open spaces and they grow their own vegetation. Rooms were beautiful with all modern amenities. The buffet lunch and dinner was magnificent. It is an ideal place for all to relax and I highly recommend this resort which has no negatives at all.
We took a refreshing bath in the river. Had great food. They have arrangements for bon-fire too. Room is well equipped with room heaters and nice bed. We spent a lot of time drinking beer and discussing our trip sitting next to the river. The next day we took a cab arranged by the courteous hotel officials to reach to the Ramnagar railway station. We boarded the train “Ramnagar – Delhi Link express” which departs at 09.50 and reached Delhi at 15.30 with a delay of only 10 minutes. From Delhi station, we boarded the metro to reach Delhi airport. Boarding the metro was not as easy as it sounds, as there is thorough security check at the entrance and the queue is really long. If you are carrying a lot of luggage be ready to spend 30 to 45 minutes. We got the airport special tickets which were Rs80/head and had a nice ride to airport metro station. There are buses which will take you to the terminal from the metro station and charges are nominal. We boarded the Indigo flight at 19.05 and reached Bangalore after 2 and half hours.
Our trip started from Delhi, then to Agra, Haridwar & Rishikesh, Nainital, Kausani and Corbett finally came to an end. We gathered lot of happy memories from this trip and will be cherished life-long. And this blog will also help me to refresh every bit of our trip even after 50 years if I tend to forget.