In Search of Tiger at Corbett Tiger Reserve

30.03.2012 was the last working day after which we get a week to relax after a hectic three months working for the Banks in our profession. Thus began the search for visiting some soothing and worth places nearby to relax. After some research work & browsing we concluded to start with visiting the most famous Tiger Reserve in India, the Jim Corbett from there to Nainital and then to Kausani and back to Delhi via Goaldam. Three of us started off in my car (Swift Vxi) at or around 2 PM from Delhi. Soon we were at India Gate then a left turn towards Purana Quila to head through Akshar Dham Mandir crossing the Nizammuddin Bridge over R. Yamuna and go straight on NH 24 upto Moradabad on bye pass.

India Gate

India Gate


On NH 24

On NH 24

U Turn to Jim Corbett

U Turn to Jim Corbett

The road upto Moradabad is excellent, a U-turn towards Kashipur on Moradabad bye-pass leads towards Ram Nagar, a base for Jim Corbett for those who don’t get bookings in any of the FRH in the park. Bookings of the FRH are made well in advance hence we were supposed to stay a night at Ramnagar. The road through Kashipur was in bad condition through several villages and kasbas. We reached Ram Nagar at or around 8 PM. A local shopkeeper informed us about a resort which was a large property with ample rooms and tent accommodation with a restaurant in good shape in a wild environment in the town. We preferred to stay in the rooms because the tents don’t have attached baths. The tariff was very reasonable @ Rs. 1,000/-. After relaxing and refreshing we inspected the property by strolling amidst the trees and bushes which was planted in a planned manner to give a wild impression to its visitors. Our concern for getting an entry pass for the reserve was sorted by the Manager of the resort by informing about the office of the Forest department located in Ram Nagar close to the resort. There are as many as five gates for entering the reserve’s five zones however, only 60 vehicles are allowed at a time to enter the reserve through any gates. An early visit to the reservation office is essential to get the entry pass for entering the reserve through the most sought zones i.e. Dhikala or Bijrani which are generally booked in advance specially during week ends and seasons.

Tourism Zone: Entry Gate
Dhikala: Dhangarhi
Jhirna: Khara,Kalagarh
Bijrani: Amadanda
Sonanadi: Vatanvasa
Domunda: Durgadevi

Hanging at Resort

Hanging at Resort

Early morning therefore, we headed towards the reservation office and found many open Gypsy parked there. Though one can enter the reserve in ones own vehicle, we preferred to hire an open gypsy to have the feel of a jungle trail. Soon the driver Mr. Luthra guided us to obtain the entry pass immediately because only few entries through one of the preferred zone i.e. Jhirna was left. After completing the paper work formalities and paying the entry fees, we were allotted a pass for the vehicle and three of us, through the Kalagarh gate. We parked our car in the campus of the reservation office with many other vehicles already parked there and boarded in our gypsy. Jhirna is almost 5 km from Ram Nagar through a narrow pebbled road with hundreds of road breakers to check the speed low. The road upto Jhirna is also through the jungle and sparsely populated with some vendors renting Binoculars, Cameras and selling caps with prints of the Jim Corbett logos. The monkeys and variety of species of insects and birds can be sighted well before entering the designated reserve forest area.

Jhirna Gate

Jhirna Gate

Welcomed by Common Monkeys

Welcomed by Common Monkeys

Dabur Honey

Dabur Honey

Soon we reached the entry point of the reserve with boards of do’s and don’ts and other important information affixed. The entry inside the reserve without a nature guide is not permissible hence the nature guide Mr. Anil Chaudhary also boarded our gypsy after the formalities of exhibiting our entry pass to the official on duty.

No admission without PERMISSION

No admission without PERMISSION

Tariff

Tariff

Time Table

Time Table

The drivers and the nature guides are immaculately trained, prudent and hard core nature lovers who passionately and proudly perform their duties by guiding the tourists with relevant facts and history of the reserve and about its habitats. Their charges are fixed and timings are strictly maintained. A walk either in the buffer or the core is strictly not allowed and cautiously monitored and followed by the nature guide and driver to avoid any untoward incident. It is believed that the animals always see us even though if we can’t spot them in their habitat, after all we are in their region.

Buffer Area of Corbett

Buffer Area of Corbett

Dry & Arid River Bed

Dry & Arid River Bed

The CORE Area!

The CORE Area!

Spotted Deers spotted!

Spotted Deers spotted!

The different zones offer varied landscapes with opportunities to sight different floras and faunas. The presence of animals varies in accordance with the landscape suitable to their habitats. The landscape of Jhirna is drier than in Dhikala and vegetation is mostly scrub. Jhirna was a farming village until 1994 when it was successfully relocated under Project Tiger. The abandoned farmland is gradually reverting to a wild state and is being managed to develop grassland habitat. The nearby terrain consists of numerous sots and narrow gorges running through typically Shiwalik landscape. The hills to the north of Jhirna are covered with dense patches of bamboo. Apart from being a good habitat for tiger, leopard and deer, the place hosts other interesting mammals like sloth bear and wild boar. A variety of birds can also be enjoyed here.

First Catch

First Catch

Black & White

Black & White

Peacocks in peak

Peacocks in peak

Shy of Camera

Shy of Camera

So Colorful

So Colorful

Verge of Extinction

Verge of Extinction

Desi MURGA !

Desi MURGA !

Not the Desi again!

Not the Desi again!

Its REAL!

Its REAL!

We were very excited to see the herd of elephants which has been spotted by one of the nature guides early morning and we were informed that a male tiger is also reported wandering in the area during the early morning. There is a defined route for every visitor to follow from the entry gate which ends at the FRH inside the jungle. On the way there is a watch tower alongside the river for watching animals reaching at the stream for drinking water and bathing. We tried it but in vain. The spotted deer, peacocks, variety of birds including the sparrows were a delight to watch. Suddenly, the driver stopped the vehicle and we found some fresh pug marks of a tiger on the sand beside the road. After a few meters we spotted some scratch marks on a tree probably made in the past. These proofs however, evidenced the truth of story we were told by the nature guide about the male tiger visited the place early morning. Elephant herd might have walked away leaving signs of crushed bushes and flattened shrubs. The dream of sighting the mighty RBT remained a dream but it was good to see the evidence of their presence that retained the hope to see the king in future also.

Nature Lovers

Nature Lovers

Watch Tower

Watch Tower

Fresh PUG Marks

Fresh PUG Marks

Marking its presence.....

Marking its presence…..

Slowly but steadily we reached at the end point upto which a vehicle is allowed inside the reserve of Jhirna Range. There is an FRH built in 1995 for accommodation with a small restaurant offering tea, water and snacks. A large round bamboo cage was so interesting to see which is meant for caging humans while watching wild life from inside it. All the vehicles that started early from Ram Nagar were at a halt for refreshments and cooling the engines of the vehicles that were running in 2nd gear all its way inside the core. The restaurant owner was busy selling every item at a substantial high price without confronting any complaints from its customers. Monkeys in large numbers were also remarkably happy making kids enjoy their stupidity and eating in abundance in bargain from anywhere to anything.

FRH at Jhirna

FRH at Jhirna

CAGE for visitors

CAGE for visitors

Waiting for the Driver

Waiting for the Driver

The return journey is through the same path, the to and fro takes approx. 4 hrs. By 10 am we were back to the parking. Picked our car and headed towards our next destination i.e. Nainital via Kaladhungi 70 km and a 2 hr drive through a well maintained single road in serenity with picturesque view and fresh aroma of the Himalayan flora.

Nainital via Kaladhungi

Nainital via Kaladhungi

About Jim Corbett National Park (Compiled from different sources)

Jim Corbett National Park is the oldest National Park in Asia and the first to come under Tiger project. It was established in 1936 as Hailey National Park to protect the endangered Bengal Tiger. The reserve was renamed in 1954–55 as Ramganga National Park and was again renamed in 1955–56 as Corbett National Park in honour of the well-known author and wildlife conservationist Jim Corbett, who played a key role in creating the reserve by using his influence to persuade the provincial government to establish it.

Situated in the foothills of the Himalayas, in the newly created state of Uttarakhand is haven for wildlife lovers in India. The present area of the Corbett national park is 1318.54 sq. km. including 520 sq. km. of core area of and 797.72 sq. km. of buffer area. The core area of the Corbett tiger reserve forms the Corbett National Park while the buffer contains reserve forests (496.54 sq.km.) as well as the Sonanadi Wildlife Sanctuary (301.18 sq.km.) Flat valleys are interspersed with hilly ridges and the Park’s rolling grasslands provide an excellent view of its rich eco system.

Corbett National Park is one of India’s most beautiful wildlife areas has a tiger population of around 160, which makes this park as the last and the most important bastion of this endangered species in India. Every year almost 1 lac visitors visit the reserve from India and abroad that also comprises of naturalists and researchers to film makers and photographers. A wide range of accommodation is available at different zones of the reserve out of which the Dhikala is most sought and furnished with modern amenities for which an advance booking of 60 days is required. Presenting the names of the rest houses available at Jim Corbett.

FRH available at Jim Corbett:

DHIKALA ZONE:

1. Dhikala 2. Sarapduli 3. Sultan 4. Gairal 5, Khinnanauli & 6. Kanda

BIJRANI ZONE:

1. Malani & 2. Bijrani

JHIRNA ZONE:

1. Jhirna

SONANADI WLS:

1. Lohachaur 2. Rathuadhab & 3. Halduparao

Tips to visitors:

1. Delhi to Jim Corbett via Moradabad-Kashipur: 280 KM (6 hrs.)
2. Nearest railway station & Bus Stand: Ramnagar
3. Best time to visit (any time except in rainy season)
4. Advance booking in FRH of your choice will add thrill else easy accommodation available at Ramnagar.
5. Hire a Gypsy available at Reservation Office at Ramnagar on fixed rate.
6. Carry light & dull cotton cloths in summer and light woolens in winter. A compatible camera is a must carry. Binoculars are available on rent (not much required). You may buy a cap with Corbett’s logo as a souvenir.
7. Don’t leave anything in your vehicle unattended, monkey thieves may smartly carry them away in no time.
8. Reach the reservation office very early to obtain passes of your choice.
9. Spotting the Tiger is only by chance and not by choice so don’t feel sad if you can’t make it this time.
10. Last but not the least, don’t spoil the tranquility & always beware that you are in other’s territory so behave with caution and due respect.

18 Comments

  • Prasad Np says:

    Hi Ajay: A very good and detailed post with all the relevant information. I liked the bird pictures in their natural habitat…

  • AJAY SHARMA says:

    Dear Prasad,
    Thanks for reading and appreciating. Only if I could name those colorful birds!

    Keep travelling
    Ajay

  • SilentSoul says:

    You didnt see tiger …alas we too could never see in corbett or sariska. But the log was stil interesting with beautiful fotos

  • Sir,
    Thanks for sharing detailed information. Planning to visit this place in next March. It will surely help me.

  • AJAY SHARMA says:

    Hi there!
    Thanks for praises. Sariska don’t have tigers now. Visited it twice, it lost its essence due to excessive human interference & traffic to the Temple inside. Tiger is often viewed in Bandhavgarh and Ranthambhor only. Planning a visit!

    Keep travelling
    Ajay

  • AJAY SHARMA says:

    Dear Nareshji,
    Good to hear that. If your dates are fixed then book the Dhikala FRH well in advance to stay a night inside the reserve. Once you have a booking, you will be allowed to go inside with your own vehicle. Hope you will bring some fascinating pictures of the RBT and share them.

    Keep travelling
    Ajay

  • Nandan Jha says:

    Great pics Ajay and good log. Tiger has remained elusive for me in CTR, been there many many times (15-20 odd times).

    If Naturebuff gets to read this then probably he can help us identify the birds.

  • AJAY SHARMA says:

    Thanks Nandan,

    Amazing! 20 times in one place WOW! When I lived in Jharkhand, I have visited one place called Betla Forest as many as 15 times might be. But that was always with our relatives and friends from Kolkata & WB who have a passion for the place. It would be nice if someone name those birds.

    Regards

  • Avtar Singh says:

    Hi Ajay ji
    Very nice and informative post along with beautiful pics particularly of the birds. Hope to visit the place soon.
    Thanx for sharing, keep traveling and keep writing…:)

  • AJAY SHARMA says:

    Avtarji! thanks a lot for the motivation. Yes! traveling is on….. hope to share them one by one as time permits.

    Wishing a very happy Dipawali to you & your family

    Keep traveling

    Ajay

  • Saurabh Gupta says:

    Sharma Ji,

    A very detailed & informative post. Pictures are good.

    It’s very difficult to search a tiger in corbett. I have visited 6-7 times in bizrani zone but never spotted the tiger but I was lucky in my single trip of Dhikala I have spotted the tiger.

    Thanks for sharing.

    • AJAY SHARMA says:

      Dear Saurabh,
      Thanks, sighting tiger is only by chance. Its delightful to just visit the regime with a feeling that they are still there.

      Keep traveling
      Ajay

  • Nirdesh Singh says:

    Hi Ajay,

    Nice informative post about Jim Corbett Park a place I have never been to.

    The only tigers spotted here are the forest guards with fake tiger skins just to keep the visitors coming in!

  • ashutosh sharma says:

    sir i just wnat to know you overall experience and what was the cost for renting binoculars.
    please reply as i will be going to jim corbett from the college.

    thank you for sharing your posts.

  • AJAY SHARMA says:

    Dear Ashutosh,
    Thanks for reading the log. We enjoyed the jungle safari to the fullest, though it is rare to sight any big cat in Corbett but its landscape is very wild and every one enjoy its serene nature very much. The binoculars are found renting on the way to the main entrances of all the gates for Rs. 100/- per binocular. Your driver & nature guide will spontaneously stop there while on journey to the wild. Feel free for any further tips.

    Keep travelling,
    Ajay

  • rakeshp says:

    Dear Sharma ji,
    After seeing your post , planning for the visit by end of nov 2015.

    Regards,
    Rakesh pandey

  • Virag Sharma says:

    5, Khinnanauli – This is only for VIPs
    6. Kanda – No Longer via Dhikala , Road broken not maintained you one cant go via Dhikala or cant come to Dhikala

    Dhikala is Best of all zone

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *