Jim Corbett National Park is one of the most decorated and famous park in India, located in the state of Uttrakhand.
Lot of stories are available on the internet about the park and it has been presented as the best park in India to see Tigers being a Tiger reserve. I was also thrilled after reading all those stories and the campaign running on television and print media highlighting the glory of the park, and then started my quest to visit the park and witness all good things which I had read about this park.
It was the second attempt, when I succeeded in getting booking for entry at Corbett National park at my desired dates. No doubt, the booking has to be made at least one month advance to visit Corbett park and during winter season specially New Year time, booking has to be done at least two months in advance. This fact was less known to me during my first attempt in 2019 and thereafter came COVID-19 which stopped me from taking journey. But, I was waiting for things to get bit normal and as soon as I got the chance, I booked my safari, in the month of October 2020. After reading many good reviews, I had booked safari for two days and both the days, my location was different.
Zones of Corbett
Jim Corbett has been divided into many zones and as advertised, all the zones are equally good. But it is not so the case.
Definition of “GOOD” differs from person to person and likes and dislikes of individuals.
My definition goes with the general perception of that place, which has the tagline ‘Corbett is the Home of Tiger’s‘ which has been advertised in such a way that the Tiger can be seen anywhere in the jungle and it is easily accessible.
The above perception is totally wrong.
Indeed, tiger has no limitations or boundaries inside jungle but having said that, it doesn’t mean that it is available everywhere in abundance. The real fact is that, the limitations have been defined inside the jungle for tigers to stay and they are being monitored on a regular basis. So the probability of human having contact with Tiger is only 1 out of 10 days visit, which means only 10% of total tourists visiting Corbett to see Tiger in a natural habitat.
In such a case, visiting Corbett from all the gates is technically useless, if the purpose is to see Tigers. There are several gates like Jhirna, Bijrani, Dhela, Dhikala, etc which have been portrayed as the best entry gates to the Corbett park having similar features, fl0ra and fauna, but it is just a marketing gimmick.
If the purpose is to enjoy forest, than all the gates are equally good because jungle is equally good in all shape and size and each entry gate will showcase its own part and view of jungle. After all, to feel the freshness of air and cool breeze, there is no best choice or the least choice, because every zone is best and has its own scenery and habitat.
But if the purpose is to see the Tigers than the choice is very limited and believe me, do not fall into the marketing trics of the booking agencies showing pictures of Tigers around jeeps in all the zones, because those are the rare sights and the probability is only 10% or even less. The only zone which has the highest probability of sighting Tiger is Dhikala and rest are just like a wildlife safari and nothing more than that. (Wildlife safari is technically different from Tiger safari). The best part of Dhikala zone is that, it opens for a very limited part of year starting 15th November and booking has to be done at least 2 months in advance, due to heavy rush. I hope this fact clarifies the whole strategy of Jim Corbett park, the zone which has maximum tiger is open for the shortest part of year and rest zones are open either for 6-7 months or throughout the year.