Though Jim Corbett Tiger reserve is famous for its tiger population, Dhikala zone in corbett reserve with mesmerising stretches of grasslands, garlanded by a lake that extends till the horizon, is the most striking place for hard core wildlife lovers and the grasslands are one of the best locations for elephant photography.
The Dhikala ecotourism zone has the most picturesque landscape in the Corbett National Park. Dhikala zone is the largest among the five zones of the Corbett tiger reserve with having the most beautiful landscape which consists of dense Sal forest, large grassland, narrow valley and various channels of the Ramganga river
With the mercury soaring in summer month’s elephant’s herds start marching to the lake adjacent to the grasslands and the river Ramganga which is considered as the lifeline of Corbett tiger reserve.
Today its our second day at Corbett. Since the attempt to sight a tiger in the morning safari was in vain, in spite of hours spent waiting, we decided to move towards the grasslands for the evening safari. Hemu our guide and driver and one of the most sought after tiger tracking expert in the park, comfortably maneuvered the Gypsy through the bumpy mud tracks heading to the grasslands and was also in full alert looking for a possible striped cat in the grassland. As our jeep inched towards the lake we could see a small group marching out of the dense forest towards the water body.
Unlike some other Safari jeeps, Hemu parked the jeep at a safe distance from the elephants, but well within the reach of our camera. Maybe be he was well aware of the speed and power of the jumbos.
What a beautiful sight! Herds of elephants led by the matriach parading through the grassland towards the lake; Calfs encircled by the members of the herd, trying to come out of the protective ring and walk freely. In between the group trumpets annoucning their arrival. It seemed like they were issuing a warning “Keep away, don’t try to mess with us.”
The finally hit the lake splashing and spraying water all over the body, pushing the hesitant calves to the lake. Now the lake is all theirs.
Nothing more enjoyable than watching elephants playing in the river on a very hot day, surprisingly they were good swimmers and sight of them coming up after submerging completely made my day.
I was always yearning to capture elephants playing with water like this and finally i could do it. After cooling and cleaning themselves, they gradually started heading back to the woods.
The time seemed to pass so quickly and we were supposed to reach our campsite by 6:30. By now sun was gradually descending behind the hills, painting the lake and the surrounds in glowing crimson colour. A herd of elephant were still moving close to the lake.
Though we were devoid of tiger sighting, elephants really made our day. Hemu was always punctual and was in a hurry to drop us back. As the last rays of sunlight gradually disappeard we raced down the dust filled dirt track towards the forest camp.
Adventures at Corbett park never ends. I shall be back with my adventures in corbett tiger reserve. Till then good bye.