This write up is based on my trip to Jim Corbett with friends. Hope this will will you plan your trip too.
Jim Corbett National Park & Tiger Reserve: An Introduction
Jim Corbett National park is probably the most renowned National Park in India. This tiger reserve also happens to be the very first wildlife sanctuary to be established in India. Originally named Hailey National Park after Governor Hailey, Jim Corbett National Park was created on August 6th 1936.
This National Park of India also happens to be one of the most bio-diverse ecosystems with home to numerous species of plants and animals. There are at least 448 species of plants, 33 species of reptiles, 7 species of amphibians and fishes, 37 species of dragon flies, 600 species of birds and an array of mammal species including Royal Bengal Tigers.
There are 6 safari zones in Jim Corbett named Jhirna, Bijrani, Dhikala, Dhela, Durgadevi, Pakro. Dhikala is one of the best safari zones offering highest probability of spotting Royal Bengal Tigers. From March till June is arguably the best time to visit Corbett for spotting wild animals as they come out to water holes to seek respite from heat.
Area: 520 square km (200 sq mi) of core area & 797.72 square km (308.00 sq mi) of buffer area
Opening Date: From October till June
Entry Gates: Bijrani, Dhangari, Jhirna, Durgadevi, and Vatanbasa (Kotdwar). Vatanvasa (Kotdwar) gate is the entry point for the Sonanadi Tourism Zone and is regulated from the Kotdwara reception center.
Entry Fees: 100 -1000
Jeep Safari Cost: Varies from INR 525 to INR 10000 depending on whether you are staying in forest rest house inside the Jim Corbett National Park or a resort or hotel near it.
Jungle Safari Timing: Morning safaris from 0600 hours to 1100 hours & evening safaris from 1430 to 1700 hours (timing may vary a little according to season and zone by +-15-30 minutes)
Distance from nearest Metropolis: 250 kilometres from New Delhi by Road
Major Attractions: Royal Bengal Tigers, Asian Elephants, Ghariyal, Rhinoceros
Best Time: March till June for sighting royal Bengal tiger in open
Flora & Fauna: 408 species of plants & trees, 586 species of birds, 50 species of mammals and 33 species of reptiles
Nearest Airport: Jolly Grant Airport, Dehradun
Nearest Railway Station: Ramnagar (2 direct trains from Delhi) and Kathgodam which enjoys better connectivity from destinations other than Delhi.
Accommodation: From budget hotels to luxury jungle resorts outside the reserve area to basic but comfortable government operated forest rest houses inside the park, there’s a range of options to stay during your trip to Jim Corbett.
Asian Elephant, Wildlife Safari in Jim Corbett National Park
Planning Jeep Safari in Jim Corbett National Park
- Every zone requires a different permit to enter and number of permits issued per day also varies according to safari zone
- Safari can be booked online in advance or through a tour operator or the hotel you pre-book for your stay in Corbett Tiger Reserve. Booking starts 45 days in advance and continues till the permits are sold out.
- If you are planning multiple safaris in different zone, plan ahead and it is recommended to do one zone a day as the average distance between two entry gates is 12-15 km.
- Also, where you book your hotel near Jim Corbett National Park is an important factor when it comes to jeep safari in Corbett and the timing and money your jeep safari might cost.
- If you are planning where to stay during your trip to Jim Corbett National Park, hotels/forest rest houses are available both inside and outside the reserve area/entry gate.
- Hotels near Jim Corbett but outside the reserve area entry point offer all modern amenities like pool, multi-cuisine restaurants, bar, Wi-Fi etc. whereas forest rest houses in Jim Corbett National Park inside the reserve area offer only the basic amenities and vegetarian food.
- If you are planning to do a safari in Dhikala zone, it is mandatory to stay inside the park in the forest rest house operated by the government. Visitors living outside are not given permit for safari in Dhikala zone.
- Always try and book your safari permits for Jim Corbett in advance to avoid last minute disappointments.
- Guests staying inside the Corbett tiger reserve do not require to pay any extra charges for safari permits as these are included in cost of accommodation itself.
- It is mandatory to stay inside Dhikala zone in order to be able to book a safari in the Dhikala zone. Dhikala happens to be the most popular zone for jungle safari in Jim Corbett National Park offering maximum chances to spot the royal Bengal tigers in their natural habitat.
- Jeep Safari is not allowed in Dhikala Zone. Only canter safari are operated by the forest department
How Many Permits are issued for Jeep Safari in Jim Corbett National Park?
|Zone||Number of Permits Issued Per Day|
64 permits for canter safari
30 permits each for morning and evening jeep safari
30 permits each for morning and evening jeep safari
15 permits each for morning and evening jeep safari
11 permits each for morning and evening jeep safari
What is the cost of entry into Jim Corbett National Park?
|Entry Fee||Indian||Foreign Nationals|
Per person for first three days/ two nights
1900 for 2 person | 3300 for 6 person
Vehicle (Registered gypsy) Fee for Night Stay
Vehicle (Registered gypsy) Fee for Day Trip (Bijrani, Sonanadi, Jhirna and Durgadevi)
Dhikala Forest Rest House Tariff
|Accommodation (Rates per room per night) At Dhikala||Indian Nationals||Foreign Nationals|
Old Forest Rest House (Room No. 1 & 2)
Old Forest Rest House (Room No. 3, 4 & 5)
Annexe 1, 2, 3, 4 & 6
Annexe 5 & 7
Log huts (per berth)
Dormitary (Sarpduli, Gairal, Halduparao, Lohachaur)
How to Book Dhikala Forest Rest House?
- Offical Website of Corbett Tiger Reserve, Ramnagar
Official Webportal of Corbett Tiger Reserve to make Night Stay and Jungle Safari Bookings.
You can book Dhikala Forest Rest House directly from the official site of Uttarakhand Tourism. Only those staying inside Dhikala are issued permits for canter safari in Dhikala Zone.
Dhikala Forest Rest House Room Interior Photo
Tariffs of other Rest Houses in Jim Corbett National Park
|Zone Name||Indian Nationals||Foreign Nationals|
Gairal (Old FRH)
Gairal (New FRH)
Bijrani Double Bed
Bijrani Four Bed Room
Bijrani Single Bed
Lohachaur, Halduparao, Malani
Dhela, Mudiapani, Rathudhab, Pakhro & Kalagarh
Photo of the Room of Gairal Forest Rest House
Other Charges to Consider When You Stay Inside Jim Corbett National Park
Camping Charge (For guides/Driver)
Extra Bed Charges
50% of Room Rent
50% of Room Rent
Housekeeping Charges (Per Room Per Night)
How to Book a Jeep Safari if you are staying Outside Jim Corbett National Park?
- There are three components to consider when you book a jeep safari in Jim Corbett Tiger Reserve: entry zone & permit, jeep and a guide. You need all three in order to enter and do safari in Corbett.
- The total cost for jeep safari in Jim Corbett National Park varies from approx. INR 5000 – INR 10,000 depending upon the zone, location of your hotel and its distance from the entry gate and guide charges.
- Apply and get the permit in advance to avoid last minute rush or disappointments.
- Try and book a hotel in close proximity to the entry gate of your preferred zone as each entry gate is located quite far from the other.
- Just so you know, most of the safari operators are based out of Ramnagar
What are All Entry Gates for Wildlife Safari in Jim Corbett National Park?
|Entry Gate||Zone||Distance||Opening Dates|
Approx 19 Kms from Ramnagar
15th November till 15th June
Approx 01 km from Ramnagar
1st October till 30th June
Approx 15 kms from Ramnagar
Open round the year
Approx 15 kms from Ramnagar
Open round the year
Durga Devi Gate
Durga Devi Zone
Approx 28 kms from Ramnagar
15th November till 15th June
Approx 19 kms from Kotdwar
1st October till 30th June
Other Things to Consider When Planning a Trip to Jim Corbett National Park
- Remember that it is illegal to do a night safari in Jim Corbett National Park. If someone makes an offer and ask for payment, beware of the scam.
- There have been incidents of drowning in the Kosi River in the past. Be very cautious if you do make a visit especially if you are traveling to Jim Corbett National Park with kids
- Always maintain a safe distance from wildlife and don’t provoke animals. It is anyway not allowed to get down from your vehicle during jeep safaris in Jim Corbett National Park. If however you find yourself in an awkward situation, be calm.
- Just to alleviate your fear, till date over a million visitors have done wildlife safari in Corbett Tiger Reserve in jeeps and there hasn’t been a single instance where they got attacked by a tiger.
- Although Jim Corbett National Park can be visited right from the day of its opening in October till it closes in June, the best time to visit Jim Corbett for tiger spotting is March till June as day temperatures soars and tigers head towards water holes in the afternoons.
- From December till February, weather gets very cold and chilly with average temperature in single digit. Do carry woolens, jackets and other winter gears as you’ll definitely need them
Climate of Jim Corbett National Park
Best Time To Visit Jim Corbett National Park
The best time to visit Jim Corbett National Park is from November till March.The weather remains mostly pleasant with occasional morning fogs in late December and early February.
However, it is the hotter months of April till June which offers the best opportunity for sighting tigers in Jim Corbett Tiger Reserve as hot day temperature makes the big cats roaming to find water holes for respite from summer sun. So if you want to visit Jim Corbett for tiger spotting best time to visit is probably the summer months.
How to Reach Jim Corbett National Park by Air, Rail & Road
How to Reach Jim Corbett National Park By Air
Personally, this mode of traveling is something I won’t recommend to reach any destination which is located in hill stations/mountains e.g. most of the tourist places to visit in Uttarakhand and Himachal Pradesh.
Having said that if you are traveling from far away like South India or North East India or even Rajasthan or Gujarat, you might have to book a plane ticket to reach Jim Corbett National Park.
The nearest airport to reach Jim Corbett is the Patanagar airport located approx. 50 kilometers away from Ramnagar. You’ll need to hire taxi from here to reach Corbett.
New Delhi’s Indira Gandhi International Airport is connected domestically as well as internationally and serves as an ideal base from where you can plan your trip to Jim Corbett National Park.
From New Delhi, it is approximately 247 kilometers which takes roughly 6-8 hours drive to arrive at the park.
How to Reach Jim Corbett National Park by Train
Ramnagar Railway Station is the nearest one to reach Jim Corbett by train. However, do note that trains ply to Ramnagar only from a few cities like Delhi, Varanasi, Haridwar and Lucknow. But Delhi is well connected by network of rails from almost every destination in India.
The point to keep in mind is that the direct train to Ramnagar has multiple stop and longer route and very much time consuming.
However, if you take the direct train Ranikhet Express and reach Kathgodam Railway Station. The overnight journey means you save up on a lots of time as compared to direct train to Ramnagar.
Kathgodam is located approximately 60 kilometers away and it takes roughly 2 hours to reach Jim Corbett National Park from taxis/cabs for hire. You can also take shared taxi if you are traveling on budget.
How to Reach Jim Corbett National Park by Road
|From Destination||Route||Distance in Kilometers||Approx. Time|
Delhi - Ghaziabad - Hapur - Gauraula - Moradabad - Pipal - Sana - Thakurdwara - Kashipur - Ramnagar
Alternate Route from Delhi
Delhi- Moradabad- via Pipalsana - Thakurdwara - Kashipur - Ramnagar
Chandigarh - Saharanpur - Roorkee- Hardiwar - Ramnagar
Bareilly - Kichha - Haldwani - Ramnagar
Nainital - Ramnagar (Via Kaladhungi)
Lucknow - Bareilly - Kicha - Rudrapur - Kashipur - Ramnagar
Frequently Asked Questions for Planning Safari in Jim Corbett
Question 1: Is safari open in Jim Corbett?
Answer: Jeep safari and canter safari (Dhikala Zone only) are now open but with SoPs and guidelines in place due to Covid-19 pandemic. Elephant safaris are currently not operational due to social distancing norms in place.
Question 2: Which safari is best in Jim Corbett?
Answer: By which, if you are referring to which zone (for sighting tigers), Bijrani is considered the best zone. Bajrani also happens to be the closest zone from Ramnagar where the nearest railhead is located. Another advantage is that most of the jeep safari operators are based out of Ramnagar making it cheapest available safari zone as well. After Bijrani, Dhikala and Dhela are considered the best for safari in Jim Corbett.
Question 3: How do I book a jeep safari in Jim Corbett?
Answer: You can book your jeep safari in Jim Corbett online by visiting the government website mentioned above or you can book your safari in Jim Corbett directly in person upon arrival in Ram Nagar from the park’s office counter. Yet another way to book is to contact a tour operator for package or get it done through the hotel if you are pre-booking it.
Question 4: Is there too much pollution in Jim Corbett?
Answer: Recently, it was in Google result that there is more pollution in Jim Corbett than even Delhi NCR which was completely misleading. The geography and topography of Jim Corbett which is located in the Terai Region of Himalayas ensures that pollution is never an issue. The level of pollution is on the most of the occasion quite negligible and seldom below permissible levels.
Question 5: Is open jeep safari safe in Jim Corbett?
Answer: It is quite safe to do open jeep safari in Jim Corbett. In the long history of the park, there has been no instance that a visitor, guide or a jeep was attacked by wild animals especially tigers.
Question 6: Is elephant safari available in Jim Corbett?
Answer: Elephant safari in Jim Corbett is available in only two zones: Dhikala and Bijrani. It is advisable to book it well in advance as most likely you won’t get it the same day.Another thing to keep in mind that Elephant safari could only be booked if you are booking the forest rest house inside the Dhikala and Bijrani zones. Those staying in hotels or resorts outside the periphery of the park cannot book elephant safari in Jim Corbett.
Keep in mind though that due to Covid-19 pandemic, elephant safari services in Jim Corbett are currently not in operation.
Question 7: How many days are sufficient for Jim Corbett?
Answer: Tough nut to crack. Totally depends on how much you are into wildlife. With over 450 animal species and over 500 bird special, there is a lot to see and experience in Jim Corbett. It can be done in a day if you can do two safaris in a day. The morning one and evening one. Some people do visit more than one zone and for that it’s best to stay one night in a hotel or resort near Jim Corbett. It will add more flexibility to Jim Corbett trip. Jim Corbett is a popular weekend getaway from Delhi, Chandigarh and Lucknow.
Question 8: Are private vehicles allowed inside Jim Corbett?
Answer: No, private vehicles are not allowed for safari in Jim Corbett. Only designated registered vehicles are allowed to conduct jeep safaris in Jim Corbett.
Question 9: What is the best time to visit Jim Corbett?
Answer: Most of the zones in Jim Corbett open on 1st of October every year and remain open till 30th June. Only Dhikala and Durga Devi Zone open on 15th of November and close on 15th of June.
Question 10: Can I book safari in Jim Corbett online?
Answer: Yes you can book it from the government website mentioned above in this article. Beware of the numerous namesake websites that your Google result will show. Look for the .gov.in domain in the URL of the site to ensure that it is a government site. Only there you can book your permit and safari online for the zone that you are planning to visit.
Question 11: Are pet dogs allowed inside Jim Corbett?
Answer: No, pet dogs are not allowed inside Jim Corbett.
Question 12: Which is the best package for Jim Corbett?
Answer: Best package for Jim Corbett is the one where you stay 2 nights and explore the park in unhurried manner. Many people even stay 3 nights, which I’d say is maximum duration one should spend there if they want to cover Bijrani, Dhela and Dhikala, 3 of the best zones of Jim Corbett. More than that id too much unless you are a naturalist/environmentalist.
Question: What is good itinerary for Jim Corbett, 3 days or 4 days?
Answer: Many also club their Jim Corbett trip with Nainital as well which can be done in 3 nights and 2 days. To experience more of Uttarakahnd, you can also include Mussoorie, Dhanaulti, Kanatal in your itinerary. A trip that includes Corbett (1N) – Nainital (1N) – Mussoorie (1N) – Dhanaulti/Kanatal (1N) can be done in min 5 days or you can extend nights if you have time up your sleeve.
Question: What should I wear in Jim Corbett?
Answer: If you are going sometime in April or June – Light cotton shirts and light pants or shorts are recommended. Khakis and Cargos go well. Take along a dark pair of sunglasses and don't forget your safari hats to complete the look (and for the functionality of it).
Covid-19 Guidelines for Planning a Trip to Jim Corbett National Park
- Online booking for day visit in Bijrani, Jhirna, Dhela, Pakhro, Dhikala, Durgadevi zone started from 10-10-2020.
- Night stay at various rest houses inside Corbett Tiger Reserve will start from 15.10.2020 at 10:00 am.
- Park Opening Date: 10 Oct 2020 to 10 Dec 2020
- However due to Covid-19 pandemic safety measures, for a wildlife safari in Jim Corbett National Park and for stay in guest houses located inside the tiger reserve following restrictions are in place:
- Testing of all visitors, drivers and guides for temperature using contactless thermometers be carried out at the entry point. In case any individual has a temperature higher than normal, he/she will not be allowed for safari.
- All visitors including drivers and guides shall ensure use of masks and face shields, and every vehicle shall have provision for a sanitizer which shall be used at the time of boarding/deboarding/whenever required.
- No Eco Tourist shall be allowed to disembark with in the tiger reserve.
General Guidelines for Post-Covid-19 Travel & Tourism in Uttarakhand
- It is mandatory for visitors to install Aarogya Setu App on their mobile phone.
- All visitors coming for jungle safari are required to register themselves on the Dehradun Smart City Web Portal before entering Uttarakhand.
- Registration documents will be verified on the state border check posts.
- Tourists must carry a COVID-19 negative test certificate and also upload it on the web portal during registration. RT-PCR test, TRUNAT, or CBNAAT must be done within 96 hours of the arrival at the state border.
- Visitors who aren’t carrying a negative test certificate will have to undergo antigen test at the border check post. Expenses
- It is a must to book a minimum 2 nights stay at hotel/ home stay.
- Tourists traveling for seven days or less are exempted from COVID-19 quarantine.
- Traveling for more than 10 days are required to undergo 10 days home quarantine.
- People have to adhere to all the safety norms and follow social distancing.
- It is compulsory to wear a mask in public places.