In the Lap of Nature – Jim Corbett National Park

Succumbing to intense pressure from friends to join us on our trips, I have decided to let go of the Wheel and be among friends on our next visit. The wild always has a special place in my heart; the smell and colours of the forest, music of a rivulet, sights of chirpy birds and wild animals roaming around freely in their natural habitat – it has an exciting aura to it. So visiting Jim Corbett National Park in the state of Uttaranchal was something I was looking forward to for quite some time.

On the jungle trail

On the jungle trail

We were five families comprising 18 members including a 6 month old bundle of joy. We found ourselves in a bus on a cool March night and reached Ramnagar the following morning. The road via Kashipur, passing through lush green/golden wheat fields and flowering mango orchards, would’ve been ideal for driving but then, alas I’m not at the wheel!. After obtaining necessary documents from the Forest Office, we proceeded towards Dhikala, the jungle resort 50 km inside the jungle. Some 18 km away was the entrance into the park where they have a souvenir shop. Shall grab a copy of Sir Corbett’s ‘Man eaters of Kumaon’ on the way back, I assured myself (which I did!). The narrow jungle road was barely enough for our bus. We had to cross many dry river beds full of round stones (due to which the forest is closed for visitors during monsoons). The bridges, wherever there were, are made of wood and gave us jitters as we crossed them. River Ramganga runs down like a fawn along the path, often with little falls.

The flora was of the milder variety – no thick undergrowth. Tall sal trees with ‘fire in the forest’ here and there and some other colourful leaves. Lot of ‘curry leaves’ and gooseberry trees too but what takes your breath away is the freshness all around, the sounds and the smells of forest and little flowers of varying hues. We were not allowed to get off from the vehicle so no trekking is possible; even sounding the horn is taboo.

Slowly the sightings started. Colourful birds at first including wild fowl then spotted deer and boar. While we were crossing a river bed, saw a lonely tusker standing majestically by the river mouth which was just 100 meters away and as the bus slowed down, he lifted his head and gave us such a ferocious look, we made good our escape before the beast could decide to charge down at the intruders of his privacy.

These deer are 'spotted' everywhere

These deer are ‘spotted’ everywhere

At last we reached Dhikala. It was a cluster of small buildings at the edge of the trees and beginning of a vast grassland which reminded me of some African hamlet deep inside the jungle. The buildings are very much in tune with its surroundings and have appeared to be from the late 19th century. However, it is protected by electric fence. The complex is situated high above the banks of Ramganga but one is not allowed to venture out into the river for fear of crocodiles and other animals.

Meeting the heard

Meeting the heard

The view from the complex was simply awesome; to one side is the forest, the expanse of grassland on the other and on the third side stood blue mountains in a coat of mist far beyond the river bank. The breeze that flows brings in the fresh smell of the forest. Sitting under a huge tree, soaking in nature’s beauty all around, one simply is transported to another world, far from the madding crowd and toxic fumes – a world without worries.

As we stood watching from the platform high above the river, a herd of deer and boar looked up from the river bank. Then someone spotted movements at the far side of the marshy grassland. Elephants! As the group moved towards the river, we were able to take a count. There were over forty of them in two different herds! Big and small, they were grazing lazily.

The night too was lovely – starry sky, bird calls and cool breeze.

The best part of the trip was the early morning jeep safari where you get to be part of the jungle – each area has a different look, smell and colour to it. Elephant herds returning from the river came right in front of us. A mom and her baby elephant followed us for some time. Our guide spotted a host of birds – which we otherwise would’ve missed – and countless spotted deer, sambhar etc. The reservoir – Dhikala lake, as it is commonly called – with its azure waters and serene surroundings gives a breath-taking view. We are not allowed to enter the water of pick pebbles. Nature is preserved here in its pristine glory. Part of the movie ‘Kaal’ was shot here in the grasslands, I was told.

 By the lake

By the lake

We were not able to spot the mighty cat but were shown pug marks. Heard from the staff that one was in the vicinity but we somehow missed it.

The restaurant offers excellent food (veg only). A one hour film about the wild is shown every evening in which many interesting facts about the wild is depicted.

It was in fact, an invigorating and exhilarating experience which left some indelible frames in my mind. A ‘must visit’ for all nature/adventure lovers.


Dhikala is the best place to stay as it offers panoramic view, good food and feel of the jungle. Other hotels are in the periphery and the ones inside (Govt. run like Dhikala) does not have restaurants attached to it.

Weekends at Dhikala are reserved for those on package tour from Uttaranchal Tourism deptt. so if you want to drive down, opt for weekdays. Do the bookings much in advance. Reach Ramnagar before noon. Gateway to the Park closes early.

No TV, Radio or Mobile. Forget everything else and be one with Nature.


  • Nandan says:

    Welcome Patrick as a writing ghumakkar, we have been reading your comments on other stories, now its other’s turn to read your story.

    I have been to Corbett. Its really an awesome place, the killing quietness of these tall trees takes one over. Gairal, another place to stay inside, has a restaurant. Bijrani (you reach this palce through the first gate, aamdanda gate) has one.

    By the way, there is a different kind of fun to stay in a FRH (Forest Rest House) which has no restaurant since you have to cook yourself :)

    I am very impressed by your style, the way you elaborate. Very engaging read.

    I know you had some more pics, send them over and I would put it on.

  • Udayan says:

    Hi Patrick.You are a wonderful story teller.Don’t loose this gifted habit u can go a long way.By the way i am planning a visit to the corbet your inputs will be of great help.Thanks Buddy

  • Manish khamesra says:

    Beautiful Patrick. I can smell the freshness of Corbett National park sitting at my home. You saw herds of Elephant , 40 of them. WOW, it should surely be an awesome experience.

    Welcome on board, we would be waiting to hear more from you.

  • Kostubh says:

    Hi Patrick, after going through ur story I m feeling myself unfortunate that I couldn’t meet such a great writer……….actually I lives in Ramnagar(nearest town to CTR) and also work as a travel person here. Anyways next time I hope we’ll meet. Dont forget to meet me in your next visit. You can contact me for any assitance also Regarding Corbett. My cell no. is 09837092025 or can mail me at [email protected].

  • nandanjha says:

    Kostubh has been helping ghumakkars at Corbett, with good feedback. Great work.

    I put 2 more pics.

  • Aditya says:

    I visited Corbett in starting of March this year. Kostubh did the complete arrangement of safari and gave right advice about staying in FRH. Great help during my trip. I will write a separate post about my visit very soon.

  • Patrick Jones says:

    Thank you all, guys

    I would love to ‘live’ behind the wheel but my trips are ‘few and far in between’ so won’t hear much from me. However, you can expect a lot of comments :-)

    Nandan: Agree with you on the joys of living in FRH and doing own cooking but Uttaranchal tourism site still proclaims Dhikala as the only place with a restaurant. Thanks a lot for the uploads

    Kostubh: Hey! this is ‘simple, humble’ Pat Jones, not a Ruskin Bond! Anyway, I’ll surely contact you on my next visit.


  • Celine says:

    I admire the spirit of the parents of the 6 month old bundle of joy. :)

    Nature parks usually have the effect of a world without worry. I had the pleasure of making a whirlwind trip to Corbett National Park just last month through the Bijrani Gate. With a four hour jeep safari (yes, 4), I got the feeling that I had a glimpse of our wonderful nature that fills us with awe with its flora and fauna.

    You have written your experiences vividly here. Thank you for sharing it with us. :)

  • Patrick Jones says:

    Thanks a lot for your kind words, Celine.

    Can’t wait to read your ‘Petra’ experiences. Hope we’ll get a glimpse soon.

  • Patrick Jasper says:

    Hi patrick. This is another patrick from Lucknow. i was just wondering – how did u get teh booking for dhikala? The KMVN site has bookings only for Ramnagar?

  • Patrick Jones says:


    Glad to have another Pat on board :-)

    You need to visit KVMN office personally. I did it at their New Delhi office. The staff was helpful but the Ramnagar Forest Office took their sweet time to issue the permits, on the day of the actual visit. So you need to be there at Ramnagar in time. You’ll also require to furnish the name and age of all the visitors at the forest office. So be prepared with a list of visitors especially if you are in a group.

    Have an enjoyable trip and share the experience with us.

  • arvindpadmanabhan says:

    Yes, I read first two “man-eater” books of Corbett when I was in school. True classics. The forested landscape of India is beautifully sketched in his books. You feel you are walking with him as a fellow adventurer in the tracks of a man-eater.

  • Patrick Jones says:

    You are right, they are excellent books. It gives a glimpse into the village life of those times and the magnificent animals.

  • tushar says:

    hey Pattrick,

    I am from the same town Ramnagar.
    and let me tell you that there are many othe exotic locations too in the city that are still unexplored..

    this is my birth place and let me tell u that for last 22 years me and friends have never repeated any location for our weekends safari……….so u can imagine about the no. of sights the city have..

    I love my place a lot and let me tell u that there is no such place in the world…

    it is a true heaven.

  • Amit says:


    I have been to Jim Corbett Last Year with my Spouse & 2 & 1/2 Year Daughter. Its awesome Place. Luckily we got Booking in Dhikala FRH for two nights . We booked a Jeep in Ram Nagar for 3 days. Dhikala recalled me movie Kaal , Looks like most of the movie Shoting has been near to it a. We had Seen Barking Dear , Wild Boar , Tuskar but unfortunately missed Tiger.Tiger fresh Pug marks are around the forest Elephant Safari inside Dhikala is Lifetime experience. I would suggest to visit in Summers . Its best time to Spot Wild LIfe . But Spending some time inside Jungle is itself Awesome Experience

    • Patrick Jones says:

      Indeed its a wonderful place, Amit. I still relish the memories. Once I got immersed myself in the beauty of the place, tiger became secondary. Really amazing!

  • ChatpataDun says:

    I have heard a lot about Jim Corbett Park. Both good and bad. Some of my friends visited the park to see the glimpses of tiger, returned quite disappointed.

  • abu says:

    How abt tigers?

  • abu says:

    dint u see any tigers moving around?

    • Pat Jones says:

      If your visit is solely to meet the big cat, you are most likely to be disappointed. However, just a drive deep inside the jungle is equally rewarding for a nature-lover.


    Hi Patrick,

    Enjoyed reading your travelogue to Jim Corbett National Park. Explained view of fields and orchard on the way also interesting. Images shows that it was amazing trip.

    thanks for sharing.

  • nishant pant says:


    I have read each and every ones experience and there are lot
    of stories about Jim Corbett.The more you hear the more you
    get impatient and you want to visit the place . I would like
    to visit Jim corbett and would like to know the charge for
    jeep during the day and the best time to visit plus I would
    like to see the tiger. I live in Delhi . Do I need permission from
    someone to visit the safari and who is the contact person.

    Nice write up by Patrick Jones : In the Lap of Nature Jim Corbett National Park

    Great input by Nandan ,Kostubh ,nandanjha ,Aditya,celine ,tushar and amit

    Hi Kostubh ,

    I would love to contact you when I am in Ramnagar . Kindly let me know
    the details below .

    1) process to visit Jim Corbett and
    2) what is the best time.
    3)Also provide whether I need to take approval ,
    4)what items can i CARRY ,
    5)MY STAY , accomodation and basic sight seeing cost.

    you have been helping a
    lot and if your number is same below I will contact you once I am there .
    please provide me with the complete detail . My mail id is [email protected]

    I live in delhi .

    contact me for any assitance also Regarding Corbett. My cell no. is 09837092025 or can mail me at thejunglegui[email protected].


    Nishant Pant


  • Pat says:

    Thanks, Nishant.

    You may visit CTR any season except monsoons but summer is best for tiger sighting. Sure Kostubh or any recent visitor will be able to help you with more inputs.

    Happy travelling!


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