If you want to see tiger then come to Jim Corbett of Uttarakhand, this sanctuary is the best
Shambhunath Shukla, Senior Journalist
There was redness in the eastern sky and on the other side of the sky, the moon of the fifth day of the Krishna Paksha after Holi was waning after spreading its aura. We all were sitting quietly in the open gypsy. There was the sound of the animals, birds and insects of the forest speaking, everything else was silent. About 30 minutes passed, not even a single rabbit came out from the bush, then Ramu Kaka, the driver of our gypsy, said, it seems that the tiger has gone through some other way. Then we go. Ramu Kaka had guessed from Sambhar’s call that the lion had come out after drinking water from the nearby waterhole. This was the tiger reserve of Jim Corbett National Park. It was here that the border of Jhirna range and Amangarh Tiger Reserve of Uttar Pradesh used to meet.
There was a barbed fence between the two for about 200 meters, in which solar power current was run at night. But this fence is only for humans, animals do not consider any limit. We must have reached 100 meters after passing through this place that suddenly a tigress came out from the bush on the left side and two cubs behind. The driver immediately stopped the vehicle and gestured to keep quiet. Slowly the tigress moved away and crossed the road and jumped into the bushes on the other side.
If you want to see tigers, then Jim Corbett of Uttarakhand and Amangarh of Uttar Pradesh are the best sanctuaries. The easiest way to reach Jim Corbett from Delhi is via Gajraula, Moradabad, Thakurdwara, Kashipur and Ram Nagar. The road between Moradabad to Thakurdwara is very bad, so while returning we made the route from Ramnagar to Kaladhungi, Bajpur, Rudrapar to Rampur. From there board the NH-24 (now called NH-9) for Delhi. After spending the night in Ramnagar, you can enter Jim Corbett in the morning.
There are rest houses of the Forest Department inside Jim Corbett, but booking has to be done in advance. Some of these are booked online, but those with core areas are offline. All private hotels or resorts are out of range. These are also expensive and to enjoy jungle safari from there you have to go inside the range. So it is better to stay within the range. To go to any range of Jim Corbett, you have to leave your car in Ramnagar and you can go inside the rest house only by taking a gypsy of the safari people. This gypsy is available at the rate of Rs 3500 per day and the permit to go inside is available from the permit office of Ramnagar. Under this, per person fee of Rs 250, driver’s permit fee is also charged. 1000 rupees have to be paid separately for Gypsy’s entry. The rest houses inside are available at the rate of Rs 1250 to 2500 per room. Since there are very limited rest houses, booking should be done at least two months in advance.
I had booked for three days and two nights at Old Rest House in Jhirna range. Since it was built in 1908 and has the same appearance even today, this rest house was at the rate of Rs.5000 per day. However, being senior citizens, we got both the rooms at half the rate. Apart from my wife, I had daughter, son-in-law and grandchildren. The distance from Delhi to Jim Corbett is 245 kms, while from Lucknow it is 450 kms. There is rail service as well as bus service from both the capitals. It can also be reached by private vehicles.
Apart from Dhikala, Sultan, Brajrani and Manali are the best guest houses inside Jim Corbett. Out of this only Dhikala and Brajrani are available for tourists. Entry of common man is prohibited in Manali. To go there, you will have to take special permission from the forest department and you will have to tell that you are not just a wanderer, but you are interested in wildlife. Leopards are in abundance in Sultan and often they come to the forest rest house here and can be seen resting in the balcony. The Manali range is the most inaccessible and bears, elephants and tigers roam here. That is why there is a ban on tourist safari here. We have seen panther, tiger and bear many times in Manali, python too. The rest house here was built in 1929 and there is no electricity here. When you come out of your room at night, see that on the other side of the barbed fence of the rest house, innumerable red glowing eyes are staring at you. These are actually those violent animals, which are prevented from coming inside by the current of solar power running on the fence.