A trip to Jim Corbett National Park may not be everyone’s cup of tea. As you toss about the back of a gypsy clutching your hat. The only protection against the blazing sun, you wonder if it’s all worth it. Wiping off the wad of dust on your face every five seconds on your way through the forest with hot winds for the company. You repeatedly question your decision to visit. However, this is the iconic Jim Corbett. Scan the vast yellow-greens, with hand on your forehead, shielding the ferocious sun in vain, you understand the true pristine nature of this place. Pierce your ears for the slightest movement, and you are captivated by the musical medley of the nature-the rustle of leaves as a deer makes its way to the stream, the twittering birds and a langur innocently sucking nectar off a wildflower.
Jim Corbett national park is not a single forest, its many in one. It’s got riverine vegetation along the meandering Ramganga and Kosi rivers and the faint fragrance of the thick Sal and deciduous trees truly enraptures you. There is something truly magical and mystical about this place, and you realize it the second you set your foot in.
Safaris are the most indispensable part of the visit to Jim Corbett and the forest department provides truly enriching ones. The reserve is divided into different zones. The largest being ‘Dhikala’ known for its vast grasslands that camouflage herds of elephants. ‘Bijrani’ zone is popular for tiger sightings and the ‘Jhirna’ zone is a paradise for birdwatchers. Hence it’s no surprise that the safari experience is one to cherish. Safari is more than just seeing things, there is always a story behind. The trails of tiger padding past on its way to the watering hole probably sated after a good meal. The trails of a bear finding a good spot to sleep are all stories that you truly visualize in a safari.
The spot where a python slid across the river bed and the deep footprints of an elephant who must have run off scared hearing something are all stories that unravel in a truly exhilarating safari. You also end up learning different things in a safari. For instance, very few know the fact that termites which are a bane for the furniture at home are essentially a sign of a forest’s good health. If the visual charisma doesn’t prove the true richness of Jim Corbett, then at least the umpteen number of termite hills spotted around will.
The royal Bengal tiger is the star attraction of this place and if you are lucky enough you will spot them during your safaris. However many have left Jim Corbett disappointed not seeing this true visual specimen. The ferocious and proud look of this enigmatic beast as it slowly pads along the forest is a view to etch in your memory and frames. The deer, especially the hog deer it drinks water from the streams. And its quick feet on the slightest disturbance will all leave you spellbound. The view of kraits and cobras slithering along will send a shiver down your spine. The mesmerizing view of elephants bathing at the river banks is also something that adds to the charm of a Jim Corbett safari.
Elephant rides are not for the faint-hearted but if it’s in you. Then this will be a very memorable experience without a doubt. The rides are organized and follow a specific trail with a professional presentation at all times. Mornings are the best time for an elephant time ride and it’s a truly enthralling experience. As you sit above this magnificent beast you see the true beauty of the Jim Corbett.
Brushing off the branches of trees as you make your way into the woods. You see several fascinating things-the slithering snakes, peacocks spreading their beautiful plumes, and squirrels bickering to name a few. The pounding heart is a sure sign the experience is nothing short of exhilarating. Ambling over lowlands at the height of an elephant is doubtlessly an adventure that one should engage in.
Spine-tingling is the best adjective to describe rafting experience along river Koshi at Jim Corbett. The ice-cold water and the adventurous nature of the activity are gripping, to say the least. The chilling water gives the soul a rush of adrenaline beyond words. The cold water splashing and spraying at your face and body. Will whilst you drift by bends and curves of the meandering Koshi is an unforgettable moment. The thumping heart as you row your way along the river with currents hitting left and right almost toppling the raft is deafening. Once you are in, it’s safe to say you are hooked to the rush. The pain is unnoticeable while you are in the moment. But as you sit at the banks milking every moment of the experience you had, you start feeling the soreness. A very minor and temporary price for an everlasting experience. If there is an adventurer in you, it’s safe to say Jim Corbett has your back.
Jim Corbett’s visit is doubtlessly a memory that will be etched eternally in your memory. The awestruck moments when you saw the ferocious Royal Bengal tiger. The tranquillity of vast greens of the forests and the sheer thrills of rafting are all moments to live for. It’s funny how something can leave you speechless and make you a storyteller all at once. That’s Jim Corbett National Park in a nutshell.
If you are visiting Jim Corbett, do try to explore to Nainital also
Suggested Reads:- The Valley of Flowers