Jim Corbett Park - A Breath Taking Experience.
Updated: Jul 4, 2020
Jungles are my personal favorite, even if I miss watching the main attraction i.e. Tigers, I am never unhappy in a Forest. I love the feel of it….the wildness, the mud roads, animals, peace, trees, you name it and I love it. So, on our last jungle excursion we had planned a trip to Jim Corbett Park. In fact we had visited Nainital, Rhishikesh, and Mussoorie along with it but here I would like to share an experience we had at Jim Corbett Park.
I have visited this place twice and both the times I missed the chance of getting a glimpse of the Hero "Tiger". Both my experiences of Jim Corbett Park are absolutely different. The first time I went to Jim Corbett, I had no idea about what exactly to expect and I went along with the planned Itinerary of our tour planner which was 8 years ago. We stayed at Ramnagar the nearest town to Jim Corbett National park. The place had innumerable resorts and accommodations and we stayed at a beautiful resort named Tiger Camp. The resort is impeccable with delicious food and well kept rooms and surroundings. We woke up at 5 am and set on our Safari to Jhirna gate. We spotted one elephant & deer’s in the whole journey. Jim Corbett National park is a vast and dense jungle so chances of sighting are less as compared to smaller jungle such as Tadoba and Ranthambore. We had only one Safari that cost us Rs. 3000 for 2 Adults 8 years ago.
The second time I was more cautious and planned things ahead of time and booked a government rest house inside the jungle. Though the booking is done online through the office site of Jim Corbett Park it is next to impossible to get the desired rest house so you have to book it through an agent. There are around 4-5 rest houses inside Jim Corbett National park. The most famous is Dhikala from where the Safari starts and the place is over looking the Ramganga River where you have more chances of spotting animals. In spite of doing all the settings we could not get Dhikala guest house and we had to opt for Sultan Guest house which is the first guest house after you enter the forest check post and Dhikala is around one hour away from sultan. I was super disappointed as I wanted to stay in dhikala. But as they say if you ask for something with all your heart, you definitely get it. So the turn of events began when we reached sultan. 😜
Sultan is a Big Bungalow with 2 bedrooms, a dinning room and kitchen. It had a beautiful veranda surrounded by wildness. We were 5 of us me, Goureya, Ashvath, Mohini and Ganesh and the setting was perfect for us. But they had no canteen facility so we had to shop from a local shop in Ramnagar and a cook was provided by the govt. Sultan costed us Rs. 32000/- with 2 families along with the safaris and entry fees.
Note : If you are going to Jim Corbett Park and specifically to Dhikala, it is mandatory to book the safari 25-30 days prior in time, so plan accordingly. Dhikala zone is not open for outside safaris except for 1 or 2 canters that enter the zone in the Morning and go back in the evening. So if you want to enjoy Dhikala you have to stay in Government Rest house and book the same well in advance. If you ever stay at Sultan, buy extra grocery since the driver, cook, and cleaner and their families have food from the groceries made available by the guests.
We reached our guest house at around 12 am, freshened up and went ahead to have lunch at the Dhikala Guest house since the safari was scheduled to start at 4 P.M. We gave instructions to our cook about our night’s food requirement and left for the safari. Little did we know that we won’t be able to come back for dinner that night!🙄
After having lunch we roamed in the Dhikala area before the safari. We talked about missing the chance to stay at the place and with heavy heart left for the Safari. Near the water body many vehicles were waiting for a glimpse of Tiger since someone saw it a few minutes ago in the vicinity. Monkeys were restless and continuously dropping leaves from the trees (A sign that Tiger was nearby – As per our guide), we waited there for 1 hr but unfortunately could not spot him. We spotted family of elephants, jungle cat, Eagle, Owl, deer etc and the safari was about to end when one tyre of our jeep came off and the vehicle came to a halt.
Believe me sitting in a non working vehicle in middle of a jungle is terrifying. I started hearing sounds of Tiger, the games mind play when you are scared.😂 Our driver was of no help, he further scared us saying that this is a road adjacent to the river and all the animals come here to drink water. Elephants would break the vehicle along with us if caught on road. Thankfully the safari was coming to an end and various jeep started going past us filled with people. One jeep carrying only 2 travellers dropped us at Dhikala Guest House and we were told that a Government Vehicle will drop us at Sultan Guest House. We waited till 7 P.M. but no vehicle came to pick us up, by then the jungle was dark enough and Sultan was 1 hr away from Dhikala. It was also not allowed to roam in the jungle after 6 P.M. Our driver informed us that we won’t be able to go back and we have to stay at Dhikala itself. So here we are, destiny played it role and we were granted our wish to stay at Dhikala. We were 5 of us since no rooms were available we were provided with a dormitory. The Dormitory was a wooden chalet with bunk beds which my son absolutely loved. We were fine with it too as we had a chance to stay at Dhikala. As per the news reports Uttarakhand was suppose to be hit by a storm. Since things were looking fine we informed our parents that the reports were all bogus and there is absolutely no sign of storm but the whole picture changed at night. It started lightening, thundering and raining suddenly. Staying in a wooden chalet surrounded by tall tress all around, the sounds of wind were loud and clear. We could hear the wind waves coming from far away in the jungle, I could not sleep through out the night and closed my eyes only after the rain and thunderstorm subsided at around 4 am.
Morning Safari started at 7 a.m. and since we had no personal bathrooms we just freshened up had our morning tea and left for the Safari. Our driver had gone to get our vehicle repaired and we were given another vehicle with different driver who was eccentric in every sense. In the safari a herd of elephants were crossing the road and this man (our new driver) had no patience to wait for them, we continuously requested him to slow down but he did not pay any heed and only stopped when one of the elephants gave him a warning. But we definitely missed capturing a very pretty picture in our camera though we got a video later when he was forced to stop.
After the safari we were dropped at our rest House Sultan. The driver got us to the rest house in half the time through the rough bumpy jungle road. I don’t understand why such drivers are even allowed in Jungle routes, they need to understand that we are driving in animals habitat and we need to respect there presence around. Anyways we reached our rest house and felt relaxed, the next safari was at 3 P.M. and we had a lot of time to enjoy our stay at the rest house. Since it was raining the atmosphere was cool and beautiful. We asked our cook for a tea in the veranda and the same was arranged. We enjoyed a hot cup of tea in the beautiful Veranda and realized that Sultan was a much better option to stay than Dhikala. The Cook prepared simple but delicious food unlike Dhikala Canteen food which was absolutely tasteless and super expensive. We ate our food rested a bit and were ready to venture for another safari.
Our Old driver was back and we were happy to see him, he took us on the inner road leading to a water body and with no vehicles around it was adventurous enough. As I said earlier we did not see a Tiger but we enjoyed the jungle. We came back before the sunset had our tea, an early dinner and some game of cards and called it a day.
Note : If you are going to Jim Corbett Park in Summers do not forget to carry Glares and Scarfs to protect yourself from the sun and dust.
Jim Corbett Park is a paradise for bird watchers and our driver cum guide told us that he had a regular customer who came from England every year in winters not for the Tiger but to just watch the birds and therefore he was quick in locating birds and we were more than happy to capture them in our Cameras.
Next day we had our morning Safari and our last one before we leave Jim Corbett Park with loads of memories and a heavy heart. I have to say that staying inside the Jungle is an experience in itself and should be tried at least once in a lifetime. 😍