If you are a big fan of wildlife and looking for an adventurous destination for kids as well as adults, then you must plan a short getaway to Jim Corbett National Park near a small town called Ramnagar.
The small jungle town situated in the Nainital district of Uttarakhand, and inhibits a lot of endangered animals like Bengal tigers, spotted deer, barking deer, wild boar, Indian elephants, and leopards along with a vivid species of birds and reptiles. This particular wildlife region is famous especially for its numerous migratory birds like greater cormorant, lesser cormorant, mallard, common teals, ruddy shelduck, common shelduck, northern pintail, and northern shoveler etc. that visit the forest throughout the year.
According to wildlife experts, the time from March to June is considered the best time for animal sightings at the famous Corbett Tiger Reserve. As entire North India gets really hot in summer, even here the weather might go up to 40 degree Celsius, due to which a lot of wild animals and birds come out near water sources to stay hydrated. There are five active zones in this reserve region that are open for tourists for a wildlife safari, where you can spot the animals and birds in their natural habitat. The five active zones for tourism activities are: Bijarani zone, Jhirna Zone, Dhela zone, Dhikala zone, and Durga Devi zone.
The safari is conducted only by the approved vehicles of the forest department, and they have very strict rules about preserving the forest life so avoid taking plastic bottles and polybags inside the park.
During monsoon, all Corbett zones are closed, but the Sitabani buffer zone remains open round the year. A word of advice – since the wildlife park opens for the public during the limited time, it is recommended that you book your safari trips in advance through the official website of the tiger park. Last minute bookings can be really expensive and you might not get your favourtie slots.
What to do in the forest town
While most people go to this region for the first-hand experience in the most famous jungles of India, there are a couple of other things that one can plan along with the safari. In the lush Patlidun valley, one can explore nearby places like the Sitabani Forest, Tumariya Dam, Kotabag, Garjia Temple, Dhangari Museum and explore the banks of river Kosi. The ancient temple of Sitabani holds mythological importance for Hindus, it is believed that this is the place where Sita stayed during her exile and raised her sons Luv and Kush.
While there are many options to stay and enjoy the local food, we stayed the eco-friendly Aahana The Corbett Wilderness, which is situated amidst the teak and sal forest of Bijrani Zone.
The massive 14 acres resort has a walking track of over a kilometer, where one can spot up to 130 species of birds and experience a curated and sustainable wildlife experience and witness sightings of wild elephants, jackals, and deer, besides occasional wild boars.
One can also check out the Sewage Treatment Plant in the whole of Asia at the Aahana resort, and learn about recycling the entire water in the property. The water from sewer and bath goes back to the property through root-zone treatment and solid waste management, nourishes the entire land and a special canna flower zone developed over a layer of gravel.
Speaking of water management, one must visit the Kosi river that flows through the town but sadly it is highly neglected by the local authorizes and facing a lot of water pollution.
How to reach Ramnagar
While the beautiful hill station Nainital is just 70 Kms away from Ramnagar, one can also reach there from Almora (approx 130 Kms away) or from Ranikhet, which is 125 Kms far. If you take the road journey, as a bonus you can stop and check out the full bloom in litchi and mango farms that are absolutely delightful.
From Delhi, the distance is around 240 Kms, and one can book a train or plan a road journey to reach the forests. Here are some popular routes if you prefer road trips via bus or taxis.
Delhi: Delhi-Moradabad-Thakurdwara-Kashipur-Ramnagar (240 Kms)
Lucknow: Lucknow-Bareilly-Kichha-Haldwani-Ramnagar (about 400 Kms)
Nainital: Via Kaladhungi to Ramnagar (70 Kms)