Experiencing a Jungle Stay in Jim Corbett’s Dhikala Forest
Going on a 2-3 hours of safari is one thing. But to get a true taste of the wild you should be experiencing a jungle stay in Jim Corbett’s Dhikala Forest. A unique experience that you will cherish for the rest of your days. The Dhikala Forest Lodge in Jim Corbett National Park is something that not many know about. You literally get to live right in the heart of the wild. Just a few things which you must know about this place and enjoying this experience.
Where’s the Jungle Stay?
Jim Corbett National Park is massive. Just like every other national park, Jim Corbett is also divided into separate zones. There are a total 5 zones inside the national park and each one has its own gate. Dhikala is one such zone which is the biggest and the best for spotting tigers. The closest gate to the zone is called Dhangari. Dhikala Forest Lodge is about 35 kms inside the national park from its main gate.
How to get there?
The nearest town to the national park is Ramnagar. You can reach the town by road or get a train, depending on where you’re coming from. If you’re coming from far off and prefer a flight, then the nearest airport is the one in Dehradun. From there you can get a cab, a bus or make your way to the railway station and get a train to Ramnagar. All of it depends on your budget and convenience.
How to book a stay at Dhikala Forest Lodge?
First thing’s first. Not everyone can go there. In the sense, not everyone who is visiting the national park can just go there. The only way you can book a stay here is through the official website of Jim Corbett National Park. You will have to book your stay here 46 days in advance. While you’re at it, you will also have to get a permit for a night stay. You will get a breakdown of the prices which includes the rent, housekeeping cost, the driver’s fee, etc.
There are many packages that Jim Corbett National Park provides which includes multiple jeep safaris and a stay at the lodge. So depending on your plan and your preference, you can choose what makes the most sense to you. Just know that each zone requires a separate permit. So by booking a stay at the Dhikala Forest Lodge and getting a permit for this zone, the safari you’ll be experiencing will also be in Dhikala itself. But it will be totally amazing!
Read our article about Experiencing Jim Corbett National Park to know just what all you can experience is this huge national park.
Once you’ve booked your stay, you will have to book yourself a jeep and a naturalist too. Again, there will be a separate cost for that. Quite frankly, the entire process to get the essentials in place for a jungle stay in Dhikala can be a little annoying and maybe even confusing. But trust us, once you have everything in place, the experience will be one of the best you’ve ever had. It will all be worth your while.
So once you have all those things in place, you get to the main gate, show your permit and other details. You’ll be provided with a pickup service that takes you to the forest lodge. Which means that you’ll first have to make your way to the little town, Ramnagar. From there, the Dhangari entry gate is about 18 kms away. You also have the option of calling your guide and asking him to pick you up from Ramnagar.
Dhikala Forest Lodge
This is a simple humble guest house of sorts which is run by the Forest Rangers in the zone. You get the basic amenities like electricity and geysers but don’t expect air conditioners. Although, there are different types of stays available, which include Hutments, Cabins and the Forest Rest House, amongst others. But there’s not a lot of difference between them all. Each of them are clean and well maintained though so that’s not something to worry about.
An important thing to know is that as per the regulations of the place, electricity is cut off at 9 pm. Also, you don’t get packaged items or non-vegetarian food inside. There’s a canteen in the complex which provides breakfast, lunch and dinner. Although they have a fixed menu and are vegetarian food, they’re simple and delicious. These meals cost around 150 rupees and are not part of the money you pay for the stay.
Beyond this, there’s another canteen which serves a limited amount of snacks like Maggi, eggs, Tea and Coffee. So that’s something you can resort to if you get hungry in between. You get normal drinking water and not packaged bottled water. Apart from these things, you can’t get anything else. If needed, you can carry some bottles of water for yourself. It’s mandatory for you to make sure you take your garbage along with you.
So just make sure you clean up after yourself and carry a bag for any garbage you might leave behind. If needed, you’ll be provided one at the entrance for about 50 rupees. Also, having alcohol inside is also not allowed. They are strict regarding these things and if you don’t adhere to their regulations, you will be fined. But that’s the beauty of the place. Everything they do is to ensure that the wildlife and their natural habitat is not affected in any way.
What makes Dhikala Forest Lodge special?
Honestly, there are many reasons. The various measures taken to maintain the lodge is one of them. The second reason is how you’re at the heart of the action. Which also means that your safari will start in Dhikala itself. This gives you a lot more time on your safari to spot the wildlife and enjoy the park in general. As opposed to starting at the main entrance and then driving for a few kilometers before reaching the hotspots.
Then there’s the fact that you’re living deep in the grasslands with just the wilderness all around you. When staying here, you literally get to experience the sounds of tigers roaring, elephants trumpeting or just the birds chirping. These don’t happen all the time, but when they do, it’s oh so amazing! Even just the peaceful silence with just the sound of leaves rustling is comforting.
Getting a booking here can be difficult but if you do, it will be one of the best wildlife experiences of your life.