Meeting Mr Tiger at Corbett

Corbett National Park is located just 71 km from Nainital and the drive is just wonderful both for driving and visually. The park is divided into 4 main tourist zones – Dhikala, Bijrani, Jirna and Durgadevi in the order of preference by tourists. Dhikala and Bijrani have perennial water sources and hence the chances of sighting the tiger are more. Jirna, on the other hand has water during the monsoon while dry during the summer. Durgadevi has both hilly terrain and is far and hence is least preferred by both tourists and gypsy drivers alike. Bijrani is nearest to Rampur town while Durgadevi is farthest. Entry to the Dhikala zone is though the Dhangadi gate which also houses a pretty good museum. Day Safaris are allowed at all zones except the Dhikala zone. A conducted day tour by a canter van is allowed to the Dhikala zone. Alternatively safaris and private vehicles are allowed into this zone only if one has overnight stay bookings/permits for the forest rest houses in the park.

Corbett Featuring the Ram Ganga Reservoir
Corbett Featuring the Ram Ganga Reservoir

On our first day at Corbett we managed to hire a gypsy into the Jirna Tourist zone in Corbett. Unfortunately we could not get the morning safari or the afternoon safari to Bijrani Tourist zone. Both the driver of the gypsy and the guide warned us that it would be difficult to see any sightings as the Jirna area lacked perennial water sources. Sure enough, as the hours went by we sighted just a few monkeys and Deer as well as some birds. For a few moments we heard birds screech and the driver stopped expecting a call (that’s local national park lingo for a tiger roaming about – the other animals sound the alarm and this is termed a call). However it turned out to be a false alarm. On our return we sighted a few deer and smaller animals but not the elusive tiger.

Inside Jhirna
Inside Jirna

Forest Rest House at Jirna
Forest Rest House at Jirna – one can stay here too!

The next day we joined the conducted tour to Dhikala Tourist zone. Again we were unlucky not to get the morning tour. Anyway the 1 hour drive to the Dhikala rest house was uneventful with a few deer, crocs and a Gharial being spotted. The fun started after lunch. The Ramganga reservoir is higher above the Dhikala rest house and as we approached it we saw a herd of wild elephants ambling along for a drink of water led by the majestic matriarch. Further ahead two more herds were making their way to the river. As we approached the herd in the middle the matriarch rushed to the herd waving her trunk. Immediately the male tuskers took up flank positions while the females formed a protective ring around the calves. It was a humbling site. The whole herd then retreated. We were not sure if this reaction was due to our presence or due to the presence of the other herds.

Croc at Corbett
A croc

Ghariyal at Corbett
A Ghariyal

Dhikala Forest Rest house Lounge
Dhikala Forest Rest house Lounge – They serve Buffet Veg Lunch for Rs. 150/- a plate

A herd of elephants at Corbett
A herd of elephants

Sambhar Deer at Corbett
Sambhar Deer

Spotted Deer Cheetal
Spotted Deer

As we approached the edge of the Ramganga we had the rare opportunity of seeing three different herds of elephants approaching along the reservoir with the jungle in the background one behind the other. After a few minutes the van turned back. As we contemplated the majesty of these animals in the wild and rued the fact that we had missed the all elusive tiger, the van rounded a corner where two stationary gypsies were stationed with the occupants motionless and binoculars and cameras aimed across the river at a round yellow spot about a klick away. A flicker of emotion swept through the van and everyone surged towards the edge. Lo and behold there was our tiger. In their excitement everyone forgot to be silent until reminded with angry shushes from the occupants of the gypsies. With glee, photographs were taken and taken again just to be sure. We had got our prize. Satisfied, we made our way back to base. Paisa Vasool.

Tiger at Corbett
At last the Tiger

Corbett Falls and Kaladhungi
On the way down to Corbett is the Jim Corbett museum housed in Jim Corbett’s original house at Kaladhungi preserved for posterity. There’s some history to be seen there. There is a small shop selling t-Shirts, trinkets, books and other interesting stuff which can be purchased. Just a few metres on the left of the turn off to Ramanagar is the Corbett falls. It is preserved in all its natural glory with water all year through and calm and peaceful in the mornings (a bit crowded in the afternoons but not as crowded as other famous waterfalls). There’s an entry fee and a resort outside too. A bath on the falls does you wonders.

Corbett Falls
Corbett Falls

Jim Corbett Museum
Jim Corbett Museum

So that was about it. Hopefully you ghumakkars liked it.Corbett can seem like a complex place for the well meaning traveller – bookings, safaris etc. etc. Do catch my next post where corbett is simplified


  • Hi Petric,
    This is Kostubh From Corbett, very nice article…and you’re so lucky this time….awesome pics………For more recent pic any time you can click at

  • sanajy soni says:

    nice travellogue. Happy to find that you got see the yellow spot i.e. tiger. It is really pasisa vassol.

  • A Krishnmurthy says:

    Good naration. The article is travel guru for visitors to Corbett.

  • nandanjha says:

    Very nice pics Patrick. I think probably this is the first time, I am as close to someone who sighted a tiger and clicked a photo and shared with me :)

    In first paragraph, you must have meant ‘Ramnagar’ and not ‘Rampur’. Its been long, I went to Dhikala. Summer is now at its peak so not sure whether I would be able to do it but may be in winters when it opens again.

    Looking fwd to your next post on ‘Corbett Simplified’ :)

  • Patrick says:

    yup i stand corrected – Its Ramnagar and not Rampur.

  • Celine says:

    The Sambhar and Chinkara pictures are beautiful.

    I had a four and half hours tour of the Corbett a little over two months back, and I did NOT sight the tiger but was not one bit disappointed.

    In fact, everything else I saw and the experience I’ve had at the National Park is beyond any value in terms of money!

  • Patrick Jones says:

    You are amongst the very few who had the joy of sighting a Tiger at Corbett.

    Not that it matter much; as Celine said, Corbett is an altogether different experience – even without seeing the mighty cat.

    Great post!

  • Patrick Jasper says:

    Thanks a lot for your kind comments friends. We did really have a great time at corbett. Although it was summer we were told that sightings are more during this time. I have also heard that post nov 15 when the park opens after the monsoon, the park is really a visual treat but again flip side (I was told) sightings are not as numerous as in summer.

  • nandanjha says:

    Celine – Thats Cheetal. Chinkaras are similar but without that floral-coat.

  • Ram Dhall says:

    Good description and some beautiful pictures.

    I have been to Corbett 3-4 times, but mostly in the winters and as you correctly observed, the sightings are limited during this period. But then, as Patrick and Celine have said, going to Corbett is in itself a different experience, irrespective of what you come across. Staying overnight at Khilanauli Resort in Dhikala during a bone chilling evening with very little light (lights are permitted only for an hour or so) and jackals howling and hyenas shrieking intermittently, is something beyond description.

    Glad that you not only sighted the big cat, but also managed to take a good picture. Thanks for sharing.

  • Avinash says:

    Wonderful pics.

  • Dorey says:

    Tigers are so elusive that you are so lucky to have spotted one in the wild. I remember sitting awake bleary eyed in the animal watch tower in Simlipal near a ‘licking ground’ on a full moon night ( animals are said to be active then) in vain, though we heard the alarming barks of the barking deer every now and then. That’s a great writeup !!

  • Patrick Jasper says:

    Thanks a lot Ram, Avinash and Dorey for your comments.

  • Celine says:

    Thank you for the clarification on Chinkara and Cheetal Nandan.

    And Patrick and Ram too for supporting my view.

    May I add those who are really very keen to sight the tiger are most likely to do so in Bandhavgarh National Park?

  • manish khamesra says:

    Beautiful account Patrick and also you are so lucky to spot the tiger too. Watching wild elephants is a fun too and that is evident in your description also.

    There is so much to see in Corbett and even if nothing else, roaming in the park with the cool breeze and smell of that green vegetation is a treat in itself.

    I think that trip of yours will be one to remember for long …

  • backpakker says:

    never been to corbett thanks for these beautiful pics ..Its always been a dream to sight a tiger and what a view

  • Patrick says:

    Thanks lakshmi and Manish.
    It was truly a wonderful experience.

  • BT Traveler says:

    Very enjoyable article …….. I felt like a “virtual eco-tourist” following this itinerary around from day to day and destination to destination! Thanks!

  • Sanjay Nair says:

    Hey Guys,

    I guess…I am really lucky….went to corbett twice. Both in the winters. Saw 3 tigers the first time and one pregnant tigress the second time…which was a week ago! :)….but what most of you all have said is true….corbett is beyond tiger sightings….its a place that enchants you.

    I am going again in april this time! :)

  • Ravijit says:


    is there any place within a short driving distance of jhirna where one can have meals?

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