Experience at Corbett

#1 Jan 28th, 2018, 19:40
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  • niladrik is offline
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Arrival
Gypsy was standing at the entrance of the Aamdanga gate, Bijrani zone. Inside four of us were eagerly looking at our watch –we wanted to get into Jim Corbett National Park. Sunlight was yet to usher in another day but we could not hold onto our excitement of moving into India’s oldest tiger reserve.


As the rays of the rising sun started greeting us through the trees , we looked around to get a feel of the forest. The first look at Corbett was breathtaking! It is a beautiful lush forest (even in the relatively drier season of March) with its dense cover of haldu, sal, rohini, and various other kind of trees. The guide informed us that Corbett is home to around 50 species of mammals, 110 tree varieties, 25 reptile species and 550 odd bird species!! Well it is not possible to view every flora and fauna in 4 safaris and like all tourists to Indian jungles we were prompt to let our guide know that we have come to see the king who rules here-the Royal Bengal Tiger !!



The tigers here at Corbett have a history –from time to time some of the well known man-eaters in India had originated here and had ushered in a reign of terror as described by the great Jim Corbett. Even today as we moved deeper into the forest , our guide told us about a tiger which had killed two people a few days back and had subsequently died during the capture operation 24 hours ago. The very thought of venturing into such a territory adds extra bit of excitement and thrill – are we then tracking potential man-eaters?

First Glimpse

We started encountering the different deer species –spotted, sambar , barking deer as the look for the elusive king gradually intensified through deer or monkey calls or pugmarks on the ground. This is the uncertain part of tiger sighting –you can never be sure when and how the tiger would appear. Loads of patience and perseverance is required to spot the tiger and our Corbett experience was just no exception.
Having spent close to 3 hours tracking the tiger, we were waiting near a natural water pool and as the gypsies turned to move to another spot somebody spotted a tiger crossing the road!! We turned our heads and saw the animal fast disappearing into the bushes as the gypsies raced to catch a glimpse from close range. The thick and dense undergrowth , so typical of Corbett made it virtually impossible to click any image of the tiger as it moved further inside. We were happy to see the tiger but not satisfied for sure-we wanted to see more of this majestic beast!
Not Just Tiger
By the end of our 3rd safari almost every sign of wildlife in Corbett had unfolded before our curious eyes, be it the rare yellow throated marten (sadly we could not click any image), the pair of curious jackals, ever alert herds of deers grazing here and there or the eagle on top of a tree that presented perfect view for a bird lover!!


Jungle is not about tiger only –we realized this on encountering the big herd of wild elephants that refused to yield any space as they moved along the road. As we followed them slowly , one of the adults suddenly stopped to warn us should we get any closer ! Tuskers are known to be fast runners so we decided to keep a safe distance. This was the first time I saw wild elephants and these giant beasts certainly gave us some of the best shots of wildlife in Corbett!



Encounter with the Bijrani Queen

Finally it was left to the 4th safari –our last chance to spot a tiger at Jim Corbett National Park . The gypsy again went to every natural water pool, every potential spot with record of tiger sighting, we listened to every call that broke the silence of the forests but the tiger was not be seen!!! Just as we were putting the cameras back into the bags, one of the persons stopped our gypsy and told our guide about the spot where Sharmilee has been spotted. We were rejuvenated once again .Will we be able to see the tiger for a longer period now? Or We will miss it just like we did earlier? Thoughts like these crossed our minds till we reached the spot.
Sharmilee, or the BijraniQueen, as she is more popularly known as, is the proud tigress of the Bijrani zone of Corbett national park. She has been the cynosure of the tourists coming to Corbett every year. I realized this every second during my seemingly endless wait to see her, as everyone else also waited with bated breath to catch a glimpse of her. Gypsies had made a beeline and I wondered if at all I could see her.
The throne chosen by the “Queen” for her afternoon siesta overlooked the narrow road that meandered down through the dense forest cover. It took our gypsy almost half an hour to move a few metres close to where she was sleeping. Through the dense undergrowth and branches of the trees, I could finally see her face as she raised her head. Completely mesmerized by her magnificent looks, I kept looking on at one of the most beautiful creatures on this planet!
Sharmilee gradually raised her head , licked her paws, yawned to reveal those canines amidst the whispering “wows” , “uffs” and innumerable clicks that intertwined with the other jungle sounds all around. We eagerly waited in anticipation of her next move. Would she rise and move? Myself and Suman (my friend and fellow co-traveller ) had our cameras ready to capture the tiger walk.
Sharmilee peered over the bushes and grass– eyes of the tiger as they say!!! ! I was excited as I clicked the best of shots I could manage – a full grown tigress staring at me!! Those eyes had an intense and blood curdling look about them !! I kept aside the camera and joined Dibyendu and Rahul in observing the gestures of the tigress . Sharmilee continued to rest though. Tigers spend most part of the day sleeping or simply lying down to conserve the energy that would be required during hunting or territory patrolling. She was no exception. I was disappointed not to see her walk past our gypsies but I cherished the forty odd minutes I spent in her company. I wish I could spend some more time with her - it was so fulfilling yet insatiable.





All the sights of wildlife for the past couple of days somehow paled in comparison to the encounter I had with the Bijrani queen at the fag end of our tour. The true essence of Jim Corbett’s words was now clear to me-
“Those who have never seen a tiger under favourable conditions in his natural surroundings can have no conception of the grace of movement and beauty of colouring of this most graceful and most beautiful of all animals in our Indian jungles”
As the tour concluded, I vowed to plan the next one soon; there was something about the Queen that made me crave to venture back into the wild and savour the grace and regality that she exhibited.

If You Go

Jim Corbett National Park is located in the northern state of Uttarakhand of India around 250 Kms from New Delhi which is well connected to all major cities outside and inside India via flights. Nearest railway station is Ramnagar –daily trains are available connecting Ramnagar and Delhi.
All useful information and online booking of safaris for day visits to the park and forest accommodation in different rest houses (Dhikala/Bijrani/Jhirna) can be obtained from the official website-

http://corbettonline.uk.gov.in/

Happy Tiger Tracking !!
Last edited by aarosh; Jan 28th, 2018 at 20:54..
#2 Jan 28th, 2018, 19:43
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#2
Great to read about your Corbett experience.

Ronak.
#3 Jan 28th, 2018, 19:44
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  • niladrik is offline
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Thanks...but somehow the pics are not displaying. Not sure what went wrong
#4 Jan 28th, 2018, 20:03
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You would need to copy and paste the .jpg link. I have done it for a couple of links.
#5 Jan 28th, 2018, 20:50
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Thanks but somehow I am unable to edit the post. Not seeing any option..how did you do it?
Save the Tiger Save Forests

https://tigertalesofindia.blog/
#6 Jan 28th, 2018, 20:56
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I have pasted the images from the links. As you are a new member you will not be able to edit images till you complete 10 days as a member or have 10 posts under your belt.
#7 Jan 28th, 2018, 21:17
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Thanks for sharing and welcome to India Mike.
#8 Jan 28th, 2018, 22:41
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Thanks a lot for your help on this

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