Being the most celebrated ecotourism zone of the Corbett National Park, the Dhikala zone is well endowed with the spectacular wildlife which can be a pure bliss for any wildlife lovers. Along with the day Canter safari to explore the rich biodiversity, the Dikhala zone also offers the facility of night stay in the forest rest houses situated within the zone. Dhikala forest rest house and Gairal forest rest house are two such FRH where visitors can stay for the night and enjoy the wilderness. The charm of night stay in the forest is what draws wildlife tourists towards the forest rest houses.
The Gairal Rest House is the best forest house after the Dhikala rest house in the Dhikala zone. This place is a precious gem situated cozily in the lap of nature away from the crowd and chaos of the city. It is located around the 13 km from Dhangarhi, the entry gate of Dhikala zone and around 40 km from the Ramnagar city. The FRH compound is safeguarded by the solar electric wire to ward away wild animals to enter the premises. As the Gairal FRH is located deep in the forest so an amazing tranquility envelopes the whole surroundings, making it an enchanting place to calm your mind from all the chaotic thoughts and invigorate it while staying here.
Situated on the Ramganga river bank, the FRH offers you an astounding view of the river bank along with a chance to sight many animals and witness their activities near the river bed. More often than not, the king of the forest, the tiger gets sighted near the river bank who visits either for drinking water or in search of its prey. The herds of elephants can also be seen around the river drinking water or bathing and playing in the water. This place is also a paradise for bird lovers as one can get amazing birding opportunity nearby the forest home.
Canter safari is conducted by the Corbett forest officials in the Dhikala zone to provide an opportunity to explore the rich wildlife of this zone. The Canter safari is the only option for the wildlife lovers who stay out of the Dhikala tourism zone and want to visit the area because the Day Jeep safari is not conducted for this zone. The Canter is a 16-seater open bus and a seat on the Canter can be booked from online or from the Corbett National Park office in Ramnagar. The starting point of the Canter safari is Ramnagar Corbett office so the tourists can board the Canter here for the safari if they have pre-booked permit. During the day safari, the Canter makes a stop at the Dhikala forest rest house for a while and tourists can get down from the Canter, get refreshed, take a walk around the compound and can also enjoy the beauty of the overlooking Ramganga river as well as the chance sighting of various wild animals on the riverbed.
The accommodation at the Gairal FRH is nice and comfortable in comparison to the few other forest houses in Corbett. Being a forest rest house, it offers only the limited amenities in its rooms but rooms and attached bathrooms are clean and everything inside it is in good working conditions. All the rooms have the large double-bed along with the same furnishing in every room so it really doesn't matter which room you will be allotted. The accommodation in Gairal is divided into the three sections which are-
Old Forest Rest House - consists of 02 rooms
New Forest Rest House - consists of 04 rooms
Dormitory - consists of 08 beds
At present, only the new FRH and the Dormitory are available for the tourists to stay as the old FRH is not available for booking. All the rooms are very spacious and well ventilated, and the attached bathrooms are having western fittings with the 24-hour running water facility. By using the solar water heating system, hot water is provided to the guests. There is no electricity in the FRH, only the solar generated electric light is provided for the 2 hrs in the evening so no any electric appliances like Air-Conditioner, Television, Fan, etc. are provided in the rooms.
At Gairal rest house, the canteen run by GMVN offers you a nice dining facility with the limited menu for food. Don't expect a grandeur multi-cuisine dining here, but the foods offered are simple, homely with good taste. Apart from the meal, guests can buy snacks and mineral waters from the canteen. The non-vegetarian foods and wine are not allowed in the forest house.
The forest rest house remains open for the tourists from 15th November to 15th June every year. Apart from the above duration, the FRH is closed for any tourist activity due to the bad weather. For making a night stay at the Gairal FRH, you need to make an online booking in advance. The online advance booking option for the forest houses is available a maximum of 45 days in advance (for the Indian citizen) and a maximum of 90 days in advance (for foreign nationals). In order to reach the Gairal, you have to enter by the Dhangarhi gate which is located around 18 km from the Ramnagar. You have to hire the authorized safari jeep to enter the park.