Wildlife photographer Sudhir Shivaram returns to Corbett National Park in Uttarakhand every year to capture its evocative landscapes and curious inhabitants. His words paint a vivid picture too as he narrates his experiences. By Sumeet Keswani

Sudhir Shivaram
In a typical scene on thandi sadak in Dhikala, while we waited for the tiger to show himself at one site, he appeared at another.

For acclaimed wildlife photographer Sudhir Shivaram, the love affair with Corbett National Park started in 2013 on a family trip. He had heard a lot about the forest, but the trip still managed to amaze him.

Sudhir Shivaram
The grasslands of the area see scores of elephants congregate during summer, seeking out a waterbody for a cool dip.

Ever since he has visited his favourite forest at least once a year to capture its mesmerising landscapes and dazzling biodiversity.

Sudhir Shivaram
A tawny fish owl checks out its human visitors.

“Many people come back from Corbett National Park and tell me they didn’t see anything,” notes Shivaram. “But if you haven’t been to the Dhikala zone, you haven’t really seen Corbett.” The grasslands of Dhikala, especially in their summer shades of April and May, offer a great opportunity to capture wild elephants in huge numbers. These tuskers are also famous for indulging in dust baths here. It’s a habit that makes for great shots.

Sudhir Shivaram
The tigress Parwali relaxes by her favourite pool across River Ramganga.

The vastness and openness of the Dhikala landscape also lends it to wide-angle frames of scores of tuskers making a beeline to their favourite watering holes. In fact, it is frames like these that draw Shivaram to this neck of the woods every year. “No other part in the world can boast of such landscapes,” he says.

Sudhir Shivaram
Early mornings, even in summer, are covered with a mist that creates the perfect mood for a big cat quest in Dhikala.

But the landscape is not as pristine as it once was. Today, the Ramganga is dotted with plastic trash.

Sudhir Shivaram
We waited an entire afternoon listening to alarm calls of sambar deer. Finally, in the evening, the king made an appearance, granting me the signature Corbett shot of a tiger strolling against the Ramganga waters.

Shivaram says that the state of his favourite national park has underlined the urgency and significance of preserving nature. He strives to create the same awareness on his photography tours.

Sudhir Shivaram
An elephant enjoys a dust bath in the open grasslands of Dhikala.

Although Shivaram does not equate Corbett with its tigers, a sighting is always a bonus. And his favourite member of the wild cat species is Parwali. One of the most beautiful tigresses he’s seen, Parwali lives across the Ramganga River and is found lurking near a particular waterbody that she’s made her own. “I’ve spent a long time capturing her lounging around the pool in summers. It is great when a tiger goes about its natural behaviour, not bothered about your presence in the vicinity.”

Sudhir Shivaram
A king vulture scans the area for kills.

Having captured Corbett in its many moods and hues, Shivaram still does not have his coveted frame: “The undulating blues of the sky, the white stones on the river banks, and a tiger chasing its prey in the gushing Ramganga River.”

Sudhir Shivaram
A barking deer feeds almost nonchalantly, oblivious to the danger lurking around. A tiger had been seen on this spot a few hours prior to this moment.

Another frame he would love to have on his walls is a backlit tiger crossing the river during the golden hour. Until he gets these, you can spot the wildlife photographer waiting by the river banks of Corbett National Park every summer.

Related: Namah in Corbett Is A Perfect Getaway For a May Day Getaway