Stepping out of civilization and into wilderness takes some courage. It is a paradigm shift. None of the comforts one takes for granted in everyday life will be available here. In the middle of the forest you will be without electricity no matter what the outside temperature. So in the summers simply sweat it out during the night without fans and in the winters, wrap that rajai closer to you and snuggle up for warmth. The food that is prepared will be vegetarian so no meat and an egg may be your only comfort. Early to bed and early to rise will be the motto so say good bye to any late night you may have envisioned. No network for the cell phone so all those important phone calls and emails will have to be on hold. This is the jungle. And it has its own rules to live by. Leaving behind the trappings of civilizations, one embraces the honesty and serenity of the forest called Corbett National Park.
The beauty of the park lies not in the varied species of flora and fauna that one can find here, but in the realization that around every turn and bend, is a whole new world to be explored. It is a world that is unique to you and your experience of it and no two people can have the same experience here. Yes, the park is famous for the tiger population it homes (some census will surely tell the numbers) but it abounds in huge variety of deer ranging from the petite Barking deer also known as Kakar to the biggest of the deer species, Sambar and the all elusive Hog deer. You will come across a lone bear, or an entire herd of elephants. Fox will re define the fox trot for you and the crocs and gharial will prove to you their stealth and power. Mahseer fish that is found only in Ramganga river will tantalize you. The forest abounds in birds both migratory and resident. The sharp cry of the fishing eagle will be easily discernible and it will be delight to spot a sleepy owl up some tree. Water birds and storks will be found doing their special dance as they catch fish near the Ramganaga reservoir or in the many rivers that flow throughout the forest.
You can drive through the hill sides of Kanda or the grasslands at Dhikala. The Flame of the Forest with its bright red flowers will make an appearance here and there amidst the tall oak and teak. Be careful of plucking a ber from the nearby shrub for it can hide a python or the clump of bamboo which is the favourite hideout of elephants. The sal forest will put on a wonderful display in the afternoon breeze when its flowers fall to the ground like giant drops of rain.
If luck is with you, the elusive tiger will put in an appearance. You can see him basking in the sun in winters from the heights of High Bank. Looking from this vantage point high above, you can observe this magnificent beast in its natural environment at length. Or you can catch a glimpse as it crosses one of the many paths in the forest going about a walk to inspect the territory acquired with great difficulty. The pug marks it leaves behind on these paths will provide vital information to you giving away details like gender, how long ago did it traverse, whether it was walking or trotting along after something it had spotted.
The one thing that is above all of this is the aura of the jungle and the impression it leaves on you. Behind a clump of trees, could be a lone elephant, enjoying a dust bath. The grassland hides herds of deer. The tiger may not be seen, but he is everywhere in the jungle. In the evening, the jungle is alive with alarm calls from various animals indicating that the predator is afoot. The jungle comes alive with these sounds. And sitting in your forest rest house, having had a full meal at 8 pm, listening to these sounds and imagining the activity in the jungle where there is no electricity, one is thankful to have experienced this and prays that this remains for generations to enjoy.