Corbett National Park – An Indian safari.
Wildlife has always been my favorite subject; one such subject about which I want to explore more and more.
With Discovery Channel and Animal Planet Conservationist Dave Cooper.
As I start writing about Jim Corbett National Park, it reminds me of my famous lines “Sher Kahaan hai? Sher dikhao na yaar!!”
Two years ago, I remember my first entry into Jim Corbett, (India’s best known wildlife reserve). I remember the tiger possibly hidden somewhere in the woods.
I remember the trip; I thought this trip might be something out of the box when my pick-up vehicle left the pukka road, turning into a stretch of the forest where the only sign that people came this way regularly were the old tyre tracks.
The Jim’s Jungle Retreat was located in the buffer zone outside the national park, within nudging distance of an elephant’s trunk, a far cry from the tightly packed row of Corbett hotels along National Highway- 121. This place has three types of accommodation: cottages for adults, cottages for family, and also lodges. Food and beverages include all daily meals, including breakfast on the day of departure, soft drinks during the stay, afternoon tea, evening snacks and even refreshments on wildlife safaris. At present JJR appears to be an extension of the buffer zone forest. Most varieties of the indigenous bird species that stay in Corbett can be seen inside the 15-acres resort complex. My guided nature walk around the resort scared a small herd of deer into hoofing it. Birds swooped here and there busy catching the worms.
The presiding lord of the jungle, the tiger is present in one’s consciousness. Seventy seven years after its establishment as Hailey National Park, named after the hunter-conservationist Jim Corbett in 1957, the sanctuary and its surrounding still witness a mind- numbing scale of tiger slaughter. Fingers are often pointed towards the Van Gujjars, a nomadic tribe subsisting on cattle and moving around the forest to find ideal grazing grounds. It is said that the starving tiger sometimes attack the livestock and so the nomads are believed to be taking revenge as poachers.
TO HELP SAVE THE TIGERS, SUPPORT ORGANISATIONS SUCH AS WILDLIFE CONSERVATION TRUST. FOR MORE DETAILS VISIT www.wildlifeconservationtrust.org
The tiger is in the middle of the Van Gujjar region.
The hardiest of tourists go northwards to Marchula to cast a fishing line and sit patiently for the prize catch, mahseer,a variety of fresh water fish to bite the bait.
On my last night there sitting on the watchtower, entertained by the forest frogs, and night birds, I watched with a strange calmness my farewell dinner being carried up along a lantern-illuminated path. But then my eyes and ears had till then seen and heard shouts of only overeager tourists. For the first time, perhaps, I saw and heard the jungle!
The Sampark Kranti train leaves Old Delhi station at 4pm and reaches Ramnagar around 8:30pm; from there it is a 45 minutes drive to the Jim’s Jungle Retreat. Access to the retreat is through jungle.
Day excursions from the resort have to be by car. Walking around the buffer zone is the best as animals do come out of the national park into the buffer zone.
WHAT TO SEE AND DO:
There are jeep safaris which is of 3 hrs on sharing basis in the Jhirna and Bijrani forest ranges; elephant rides (1.5 hrs)in the Sitabani forest reserve range; walking and cycling safaris (3hrs); bird watching and village walks (2hrs); flora and fauna interpretation walk (2hrs).
Other activities include bird watching drive to Tumariya reservoir and bird watching drive and heritage trail in Chhoti Haldwani, the village where Jim Corbett lived.
Picture Courtesy : Sukanya Bora
Dr. Arundhati Bora (Veterinary Professor and Animal Physiologist)
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