February 28, 2014

My TripAdvisor Review No.20: Corbett National Park

“Call of the Wild”
5 of 5 stars Reviewed 4 February 2014
We had to get out of our warm beds at 5.30 am to be ready in time for our pre-booked Gypsy to take us to the entry gate of the National Park. The drive from the Club Mahindra Corbett Safari Resort to the Amdanda gate of the Bijrani zone in the open top Gypsy was chilly but invigorating. Mr. Kailash offered us blankets to cover ourselves, but we had already protected ourselves well against the biting November morning breeze.

Jim Corbett National Park is a world renowned wildlife sanctuary and the first National Park of India. It is home to the endangered Bengal tiger and a host of other wild animals like the Asian elephant, leopard, sloth bear, spotted deer (chital), barking deer (muntjak), sambar, wild boar, langur and rhesus monkey. In addition you can see a variety of multi coloured birds, like kingfisher, parakeet, cuckoo, bulbul, eagles, peacock, heron, and egret among others.

We were the first to reach the Amdanda gate and had to wait some time till the gate opened at 6.30 am. All the other Gypsys started coming and lining up behind us. The identification of one visitor in each vehicle is checked before the group is let in. We had booked our safari online almost a month in advance, through Mr. Ramesh Suyal, who is amongst one of the best known guides in Corbett.

We saw quite a number of chital, sambar, muntjak and rhesus monkeys, after witnessing a beautiful sunrise at Bijrani Forest Rest House. After roaming the jungles for another hour we finally heard the alarm call of the chital. We saw pug marks and droppings of a tigress and her cubs. The tigress had crossed the track some minutes back, but wasn’t visible anymore. We waited for about 15 minutes in pin drop silence, but in vain. We moved on till we reached a riverbed with 4 more Gypsys parked around, also waiting for Tigress to reappear. But we knew from the sight of the monkeys playing in the trees, that Tigress had seen us and disappeared into the high grass, without letting any of us, who had come from afar; get even a fleeting glimpse of Her Majesty and her little ones.

We took a break from the drive at Zero Point, where we climbed up to the top of a watchtower and had a bird’s eye view of the Park. This is the only place in the Park where the visitors are allowed to get down from their vehicles and take a short walk.

The only other type of safari allowed in Corbett is on an elephant. The elephant takes you deeper into the jungle better than any 4WD can. It is advisable to wear long trousers, full sleeve shirts, and a cap or hat, so that you don’t get scratched by the brambles and branches. It is truly an amazing experience to see the animals so near, since they don’t run away from the elephant, from high up on the howdah.

To get the real feel of the jungle one must try to stay in one of Tourist Rest Houses inside the Park. Bookings can be done through the Field Director, Corbett Tiger Reserve at Ramnagar, or the offices of the Uttarakhand Tourism Development Board. However, there are many privately run Lodges and Hotels in the periphery of Corbett Park and Ramnagar (the nearest town), where one can easily stay and enjoy the Jeep and Elephant safaris booked through them.
Visited December 2013

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