Tiger spotting at Jim Corbett National Park, Dhikala Photo journal
Yes, we saw the tiger near Dhikala! We waited for more than three hours at a spot quietly...
This was our fourth trip in two years to Jim Corbett National Park in Kumaon Himalaya, Uttarakhand. The eight of us Rohit, Meetali, Amit, Gursharan, Aditi, Dinesh, Pooja & Vishu caught the overnight train from Lucknow to Ramnagar via Moradabad.
We reached there early in the morning and found our driver cum guide (authorized by the park) Girish Dhasmana was waiting in an open Gypsy outside the Ramnagar station to whisk us away.
Dhasmana first took us to the forest department office for the necessary formalities to enter the park.
Jim Corbett National Park is spread in about 1288.6 square kilometers and holds the world record for maximum number of tigers in the wild. The latest counting says there are 186 tigers, 1500 elephants and more than 650 bird species.
Getting to Dhikala
On our first day while moving from the entrance gate to Dhikala, a giant tusker (a grown-up male elephant with tusks) crossed our path giving us a warm welcome as well as warning us that we were in their home, and should behave as a good guest.
It was just the beginning as we kept moving ahead slowly watching many other animals like Sambhar deer, spotted and barking deer, monkeys, a monitor lizard, and a group of alligators on the bank of Ramganga river.
Enjoying the jungle we reached Dhikala forest rest house at noon, where we were allotted rooms to stay for two days. Dhikala is a core area of the jungle and home to tigers, unlike Bijrani which is more of a buffer zone. Dhikala has dense forest with animals everywhere.
Evening Safari at Dhikala, Jim Corbett National Park
On reaching the Dhikala forest guest house, we got ready for the 4pm evening jingle safari ride in a gypsy.
Jim Corbett National Park has so much of everything - the mountains, river, grasslands, dense forest, birds, reptiles, tigers and other animals. The evening safari ended on a positive note as we enjoyed almost everything except a tiger.
Morning Jungle Safari, Dhikala
The next morning our driver cum guide Dhasmana took us to a dense forest area after hearing a deer's call according to which a tigress was out to hunt. Even after two hours of search we did not see her physically though we could here her call the cubs to breakfast after the kill. We kept silent and waited for a glimpse of the tigress or any of her cubs.
After three hours of a halt, we saw a cub on his way to have some water after the meal. As per our guide the cub was approximately one year old.
Following the young tiger finally we came to a spot from where the tiger was perfectly visible and ready to give us good pictures.
We kept silent as per the norms of a jungle safari, which enabled us to watch the tiger for about fifteen minutes at a spot. Any sort of action with a tiger in front of us could have got all of us in big trouble as a one year old tiger is big enough to hunt any animal except the elephant.
After this visit, we've become more committed to creating awareness about the role of nature in our life and about wildlife.
Tips for a jungle safari
- Follow the rules: do not walk in areas you are not permitted to do so.
- Clothing should be in jungle colours so as to camoflouge: clothes of light shades or preferably green, brown are less disturbing to the wild denizens.
- Avoid wearing strong perfumes and do not smoke in the jungle.
- Animals are extremely sensitive to the human voice. Don't make a noise, don't play music and don't blow the horn.
- Carry medication and insect repellent.
- Don't leave behind any litter. Plastic bags are big hazards for animals.
How to reach Jim Corbett National Park
Road: Lucknow to Ramnagar - 410 km, an 8 hour drive via Moradabad
Train: Daily train from Lucknow to Ramnagar - Janta Express (Train No. 4265) departure at 8:25 p.m. from Lucknow's Charbagh Railway station. Arrival at 6:25 a.m. at Ramnagar.
[Photo credit: Rohit Sharma]