4 months into the year and I think my new year resolution of traveling more in India is being followed. My stopover in New Delhi (where the metro completely floored me) served as a small detour from my main vacation destination of Jim Corbett National Park, located in the Uttarakand region of India. To be honest, I, like many others, had never heard of Jim Corbett National Park. Call me ignorant but I didn’t even know that India is one of the few places in the world where you can spot a tiger in it’s natural habit. Apparently Kaal, another bollywood flick, was based on the park as well.
Our family friends have been visiting this park as an annual holiday for the past 17 years and vouched about the wonderful experience they had. This time around, my sister-in-law, along with my husband and I, decided to tagalong with our family friends. So what do we have to say about the experience? AMAZING!!!
There are numerous “wow” factors about spending 4 days and 3 nights at the Dikhala Lodge within Jim Corbett National Park. First of all, seeing wild elephants, tigers and various deer in their natural habits, just a few feet away from you is surreal. We actually had the wild elephants charge at us twice!!! It was terrifying, but left us with an great high. Our days were long (woke up at 5 AM) as we would go out for animal, particularly tiger, sightings from 6 AM to 10:30 AM and then again from 3 PM to 7 PM. Even though we were driven around the expansive park in a comfortable and open air Maruti Gypsy, we would pretty much be spent and exhausted when we got to our rooms.
The landscape of the park is also quite splendid. From lush and dense forests to crystal clear water, the park has it all. There are mountains and lakes within the park. I loved being in the quite and scenic forest as much as I liked sighting the animals. No loud horns, no traffic-just being able to take in the natural beauty of the jungle. However, be sure to take along mosquito repellant as it is essential during the evenings.
You might wonder how easy is it to see a tiger in the park. For us, getting to see a tiger took a while and a lot of effort, primarily from our trusted guide, Dilshad. Dilshad would watch for tiger pug marks on the road to understand the tiger trail. He would hear for animal calls from deer and monkeys that indicated a tiger is on the move. We would wait for hours by a water hole in hopes that a tiger would come to quench his thirst. Our efforts finally paid off on the third day when we sighted a tiger for a good 3-4 minutes as the tiger unveiled himself from the dark bushes of the jungle. We were may be 3 feet away from the tiger, and the experience was amazing. We all were excited and terrified at the same time because tiger could have pounced on us at any moment. Instead, this tiger just stared at us for a good minute and continued his journey to the top of the mountain.
I can go on and on about our stay at Corbett, but I will keep it short and ask you all to experience it for yourself if possible. The park has something for all and makes for a unique and wonderful holiday. Leaving you all with some pictures from our trip.