Jim Corbett National Park, Uttrakhand, India

Jim Corbett - PC - Nitesh Ranga - Insta ID - @traveller_mate
Has it ever happened with you that you plan to visit a certain place but due to some reason or the other, your plans to visit that place don't materialize? Jim Corbett was one such destination in my list. I planned to visit Jim Corbett in 2009, didn't happen; then I planned for it twice in 2010, didn't work out. I didn't give up and planned again in 2012, but as the fate had it, it got cancelled for some reason or the other. I thought to close this loop in 2016 where I had already set goals for myself to visit the places on my list. But now I am happy that finally I made it to Jim Corbett this year.

Jim Corbett National Park is the oldest national park in India and was established in 1936 as Hailey National Park to protect the endangered Bengal tiger. It is located in Nainital district of Uttarakhand and was named after Jim Corbett who played a key role in its establishment. Corbett National Park comprises 520.8 km sq area of hills, riverine belts, marshy depressions, grasslands and a large lake. Given it's close proximity to Delhi, whenever someone asked me that if have I been to Jim Corbett, and I had to say no, not yet; people often raised their eyebrows. I have no clue why they did that and it felt odd as well.

We, a group of 14 friends cum colleagues, decided to visit Jim Corbett during mid-November. I have heard November is a good season to visit Jim Corbett, plus many zones get opened during this period. The weather is also perfect and the probability is pretty high to spot a tiger as well. The only mistake we made was that we finalized on the dates too late due to which we could not get the entry to the most sought after Dhikala zone as bookings are done pretty well in advance. As they say that beggars can't be choosers so we had to settle with the whatever was available - The Durga Devi Zone which is a hilly terrain and chances of spotting a tiger in a hilly terrain are as good as winning a lottery. With little hope, we blocked our Sunday early morning slot for Durga Devi Zone a week in advance.

18th November 2016, Friday

We were lucky that the night we were supposed to leave, we had an office party the same night. So our dinner and booze were sorted. We partied hard until the place was almost empty and around 11:30pm, we left Gurgaon (Delhi-NCR) for Jim Corbett (265kms journey) in a Tempo Traveller.

Everyone was tired but no one slept, we sang, laughed, listened to loud music and what not. Around 3am, we stopped for refreshments and had tea/coffee, paranthas etc. and after 30 minutes of break, we were back on the road. Though I pretended to be awake but I took a much needed nap for about an hour. Roads weren't in a great shape and we encountered fog as well in the wee hours. It took us a lot more time to reach our hotel than anticipated.

19th November 2016, Saturday

The Groupfie
We reached our hotel at 9am and checked into our beautiful rooms and had breakfast immediately after. We thought to have rest until lunch time and then planned to explore the areas nearby. After lunch, we left for Corbett falls (waterfall), but by the time we reached, it was closed for public. We tried our best to convince the gatekeeper, but all efforts went to vain. Well, we did what best we could do, i.e. we clicked some lot of pictures and decided to go out somewhere else and explore the place on our own.

We met on the way
We followed the route a friend along knew and continued the beautiful hilly ride. Sun was almost set by that time and we reached the place where we saw the river stream almost crossing the road. To our surprise, we spotted two wild elephants just besides the road. It was almost dark but I managed to click elephant's picture, but the moment elephant noticed the flash, he got angry and he made the noise what we call trumpet, angry trumpet in this case. We asked the tempo traveler driver to accelerate else the elephant might have attacked our vehicle. Well, we left the spot right on time and the whole idea of 'exploration on our own' turned out to be a pleasant surprise.

The Angry Elephant
We got off our tempo traveler few meters away and did photography session near the river stream. It was indeed a refreshing experience and we returned to our hotel where the bonfire was arranged along with tea/coffee and really really spicy pakoras. Since the use of speakers is not allowed in any of the Jim Corbett hotels, we played music on our own mini portable Bluetooth speakers and later played dumb charades.

After having dinner, we all went to our room and started playing cards/jenga etc. We played until 2am despite knowing that we had to wake up at 4:30am for our early morning Jungle Safari.

20th November 2016, Sunday

The moon
My alarm went off at 4am but I was too tired/sleepy to wake up and turned the alarm off and went back to sleep. Few minutes later someone from the group banged on our door which helped us to wake up finally. We quickly got ready and by 5am, everyone was ready to jump on to the three jeeps we had booked but the only problem was that the jeeps were nowhere in the sight. We waited for half an hour and finally the jeeps showed up. It was dark outside and we all covered ourselves pretty well to protect ourselves from the cold winds and jumped on to our open jeeps. To be honest, I did try to act like a hero by standing at the back of the open jeep, but when the chilly strong wind struck on my face, I thought the only good idea is to settle down and sit quietly. On the way we stopped for tea and biscuits to warm up ourselves. It was way too cold that I had imagined and I covered every part of my face too. Durga Devi Zone is the farthest of all the zones and we had to travel 45 minutes to reach that gate.

On arrival at the gate, our ID proofs were checked and we entered Durga Devi Zone. As I mentioned earlier, it is a hilly terrain and chance of spotting a tiger were rarest of the rare. But we did spot Barking deer, Sambar deer, monkey and foot prints of tiger. Well, people often say that those are artificial foot prints just to keep tourists excited, but I am not sure how true is that?

Though the scenery inside the jungle is indeed beautiful and we enjoyed the views, fresh air and photography of course.

PC - Nitesh Ranga - Insta ID - @traveller_mate
The experience was so exhausting and rejuvenating at the same time. Around 10am we returned back to our hotel and relaxed for a while. I was so hungry that I rushed for the breakfast and had almost everything they had to offer in their buffet. It was time for us to leave the beautiful place. We packed our stuff and around 1pm, we left Jim Corbett to come back to our loved ones.

Though we were not lucky to spot any tiger, but we did enjoy the trip, we enjoyed the company we had, the laughs we had and the bonds we made.

Hey wait, we did spot the tigers, though only in the painting in our hotel.


  1. Good one buddy, my curiousty was at it's max on the Angry Elephant episode..hope he wasn't a relative of AB 😁 (just kidding) btw
    Thanks for the credits bro !!
    Hope you visit Kerela soon and we'll have a new experience to read.

  2. Good stuff....the friend along who helped u spot the elephants is happy to read this...

  3. I am extremely impressed along with your writing abilities, Thanks for this great share.


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