CORBETT JUNGLE CLUB RESORT

BAIL PARAV, RAM NAGARUTTARANCHAL

USP: Call of the jungle

The seven-hour drive from Delhi was spent in excitedly discussing “Will we, won't we” and exchanging notes with friends who had been to Jim Corbett National Park and returned after or without spotting a tiger. It was dusk — the magical moment — when we finally drove into the Jungle Club Resort, spread over seven acres inside the Sita Bani forest near the Park.

The 15 air-conditioned cottages and deluxe rooms are concealed by a mango grove, guava trees, exotic shrubs, variegated bamboo, bushes of hibiscus, bougainvillea, rain flower, ‘raat ki rani' and ‘gandharaj' – a bountiful jackfruit tree at the entrance is the first glimpse of the foliage inside.

The reception turns out to be a thatched hut and the man at the desk loses no time in advising that this is the place where one should just be outdoors. I make a mental note of the advice and tuck myself into bed after a simple buffet meal of dal, roti, matar-paneer and aloo-gobi. Next morning I opt for a two-hour open jeep safari that leaves the hotel at 4 a.m. The 1,318 sq km park has four gates, of which three are open to public. The resort is located near the Bijrani gate, while the other two are Jhirna and Dhikala.

On day one, the forest guide leads us through Jhirna and for two hours, our eyes and ears search for the big cat. The guide even imitates the call of a barking deer. No luck. He, however, shows us some 20 types of birds, deer and peacocks.

Again at 4 p.m., I take the elephant safari for two hours and return after sighting only deer. Another 12 hours later, at the crack of dawn, I am yet again on a safari, this time on a Canter bus with 20-odd people. We drive for six hours and go into the interiors from the Dhikala side – “right into the ‘killing fields”, as the guide said.

Even the slightest crackling of leaves – caused either by a peacock or a deer – evokes a lot of Oh's and Wow's, but the tiger remains elusive. We are shown pug marks and carcass of deer and are told that a family of four tigers was just there last week to feed on its prey. Each time the bus turned around a bend, there was a hushed silence — will the tiger show up? Meanwhile, we spotted five types of deer, wild boars, tuskers and also a crocodile on the bank of the river Ramganga.

“You have to be lucky by chance to spot tigers here,” the guide sighs in sympathy.

How to get there

Distance from Delhi is 240 km. You can go via Hapur, Gajraula, Moradabad, Kashipur and Ramnagar. The resort is located at Bail Parav, 12 km from Ramnagar town.

Tariff

Cottages Rs 10,555 and Deluxe Rooms Rs 9,555 (including tax and all meals). Seasonal and safari packages are also available. For details log on to www.corbettjungleresort.com.

Things to do

Other than the safaris, which are a must, you can visit the Girija Devi temple, Dhangari Museum and the Corbett falls. If you have more time, you can even drive up to Nainital (55 km) and Ranikhet (70 km).

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