After the Milam Glacier Trek ended on 25th May 2007, at Munsiary, I still had a 6 days left, before my flight back to Mumbai, from Delhi.
I was thinking, I will take a bus to Pithoragarh and see the Vivekanand Ashram at Mayawati. But Nirmal Das, a trekker from Kolkata, who I met at Lilam (he was going to Milam Glacier, with his wife & 8-yr old daughter) suggested I go to Ramnagar and try and see the Tigers, at the Corbett Park.
That seemed to be a good option -to visit the Corbett Park before it closed on 16th June, for monsoon.
So from Munisary, I went to Bhowali and stayed in the KMVN-TRC at Bhowali for 2 nights; making day trips to Nainital, by jeep. Nainital is just 11kms and 20 minutes. Bhowali is a nice, hill-station and it made sense to stay there and avoid over-crowded hotels in Nainital. On 28th May early morning took a share-jeep to Haldwani and from there got a UA Roadways bus to Ramnagar reaching in 2 hours.
This wild elephant was close to the jeep track near Malani Camp. My driver stopped and waited 20 minutes to see if it will move off. But it was busy powdering itself, with the mud from the track. When my driver lost patience ... and decided to drive past .... it turned and eyed us warily, seemed to consider a charge ... and took a step forward .. but driver, Sadiq, hit the accelerator ... and we moved away pretty fast!
I reached the Project Tiger Office (opposite Ramnagar Bus-stand) on 28th May 2007, at 9:30AM. There was huge rush of tourists, in front of the booking counters there .... and it looked like all the Forest Rest Houses (inside the Park) were full! Infact, most of the 7-8 FRHs, including the main one at Dhikala get booked fully, 2 months in advance!
The waiting rush of tourists, had to be satisfied with the day-trip Safari rides, in the 18-seater "Canters" to Dhikala Camp.
But I was lucky... I met up with a group of 3 boys from Delhi who had booking for a full cottage (with 2 double rooms) at the Malani FRH. They agreed to let me have one of the rooms, at half cost and they would use the other bedroom, with an extra bed. Yeah ... I was lucky!!
Malani was a nice colonial style cottage, in a beautiful forest setting. Bedrooms had attached bathrooms and fireplace. As nice Dining Hall and a Kitchen with cooking gas stove, crockery and a Cook too! You could cook yourself and family a pretty decent meal out here ..... all you had to do was buy the vegetables & provisions from the Ramnagar Market and bring it in.
Next day, after Malani Camp stay, I did a Dikhala Canter Safari starting at 1:00PM . The Dhikala Camp was even bigger and nicer than Malani. I agree a Dhikala stay would have been the best!
During the 2-3 park rides in the Jeep and in the Canter, I did'nt see any Tiger at all. I wasn't too disappointed.... I knew the chance of seeing a tiger was only 10% . But we did see plenty of Deer and Wild Elephants and ofcourse, birds and monkeys too.
To see all the Corbett Park pictures (as a slideshow) click HERE
21 Corbett Park
Safari Jeep Rides in Corbett Tiger Park
Corbett Tiger Park is a 521 Sq.Km. wildlife sanctuary in Uttaranchal; established in 1936, by Jim Corbett