The Tantalizing Tale of Jim Corbett National Park in Uttarakhand
The district of Nainital in Uttarakhand houses a whopping Corbett Tiger Reserve with an area of 520.8 sq km. Amidst this Reserve, you will find the Jim Corbett National Park stretching across 520.8 sq km that exhibits various species of fauna and flora. The park attracts tourists with Wild Elephants, Leopards, Tigers, Birds, and Vegetation and offers accommodation so that, the people can enjoy the blissful company.
A glimpse into the place’s glorifying History and rich Geography will surely allure you to visit and spend some quality time in the preserved wilderness.
Know the Past
The place between the Terai and the Siwalik Himalayas was the hunting place of the then British rulers. In 1936, in this very ground, the Hailey National Park was set up which was later re-named as Jim Corbett National Park. Jim Corbett was a prominent hunter who spent many years in India and later in his life turned into a photographer and creator. He played an active role in creating this park and so as a gesture of remembrance, the re-naming was done.
In 1971-73, the World Wildlife Fund teamed up with this park to begin a note-worthy venture of ‘Project Tiger’. The thought behind this movement was to preserve the vulnerable natural creations like tigers and its species. Presently, this park is a prominent eco-tourism center that has a stronghold of tigers as well as various other animals.
The Corbett Tiger Reserve extends across three districts namely Almora, Pauri, and Nainital in Uttarakhand and comprises of the National Park and Sonanadi Wildlife Sanctuary. The entire area of Corbett National Park is blessed with natural diversities that help to keep the tourist busy and happy. The park is a proud shelter of 50 mammal species, 25 reptile species, 600 bird species, and 110 tree species. The topography of the park contains variation which offers the tourist a chance to enjoy the Nature’s creativity. You will come across riverine areas with ridges interweaving the terrain, hilly and plateau areas and temporary swampy-marshy areas. The binary of dry and wet, rugged and gentle, grassland and forest, plain ecosystem and mountain ecosystem etc. is worth watching.
River Ramganga is the primal source of water of the park which is fed by its tributaries Palain, Mandal and Sonanadi. You will also find the Kosi River flowing past the park to increase its beauty. The park is popular for its fantastic flora collection of Sal, Bel, Semal, Khair, Kuthber, Ber, Dhak, Khingan, Rohini, Bamboo, Pula, Kharpat, Chbilla, Bakli etc.
The park enjoys a fluctuating climate through the calendar with annual rainfall ranging between 1400-2800 mm. The temperature drops down to 4-degree centigrade in winter and rises to 44 degrees in summer.
The Tourist Zones
This is a spot amidst the park popular for seeing a variety of creatures. You will have to enter this from the ‘Amdanda Gate' which is just one km away from Ramnagar city. Here the open grasslands meet with the thick forest of Sal trees to create a serene view. A lucky you will be able to see deer, Wild Boar, Sloth Bear, Monkeys, Langoor, Krait, Cobra, Lizard, King Cobra, Jungle Cat, Royal Bengal Tigers, Martins etc. You can also get a chance to explore the depth of the park through elephant or jeep rides.
This zone is the recent most entry in the park and opened in 2014. You can enter this zone from the Dhela gate which is at a distance of 17km from the Ramnagar City. This open zone which you can explore in an open zone is welcoming tourist all year round. You will be able to spot a wide variety of animals and creatures like Wild beer, Hornbill, Tiger, Elephant, and Martin to name some.
In 1994, this zone was incorporated in the park and is at the southernmost boundary of the Reserve. This place also stays open throughout the year and can be availed from the Dhela gate. The zone offers great visibility of various type of wildlife from the open jeep.
Durga Devi Zone:
The Northeastern zone in the Corbett Tiger Reserve is popular as the Durga Devi or Hill Safari zone. The Mandal and Ramganga rivers flow through these areas and make this area prone to spotting wild elephants. From the Ramnagar city, the entry gate is located 30 km away to introduce you to the paradise of bird watchers. You will be able to enjoy open jeep rides through the zone and track Mahsheer fish.
Dhikala Zone :
This zone is known to be the largest and most loved place of the tourists. It offers them the golden chance to see endless animals and creatures with the fun and excitement of night stay at the forest lodge. The Dhangari gate is the entrance to this zone which is 18 km from the Ramnagar city. You will be able to enjoy Open jeep, Open bus (Canter with sixteen seats) and elephant rides. Here you can spot Hog deer, Leopards, Alligators, Crocodiles, Trouts, Birds, Otters, Wild elephants, Royal Bengal Tigers and many more.
Sitabani Buffer Zone :
This buffer zone is not really under the Tiger Reserve but that doesn’t make it any less beautiful. This is woodland region dotted with flying fowls, multiple natural beauties, and temples. With any prior authorization, you will be able to roam through the forest using elephant or jeep safari.
Things to Do
When a place is so rich with resources, it indeed offers certain activities to the onlookers to make their visit memorable. You can take part in numerous activities and make your trip all the more worthwhile. The Dhikala and Bijrani zones mainly house most of the entertainments.
The entrance of Dhikala Zone has a visitor/ interpretation center that informs the tourist about the important points and also houses maps, stuffed animals, dioramas to provide entertainment and convenience.
The best thing to do on a wildlife tour is to go for a safari to witness the true beauty of nature and animals in their natural habitat. Being aware of this, the National Park has itself arranged for safaris to introduce you to the actual essence of the place. This safari offers you a quality time to spot the different inhabitants of the park.
Wait and Watch
The park also has towers and machans for the tourist in various zones, so that the people can wait there to catch a glimpse of any animal that crosses by.
Exploring on Elephants
The fun doubles when you get to view the forest and its residents from the top of an elephant. Various zones offer this opportunity to the interested tourists to roam around on these large animals which are used for patrolling the property. The booking is carried out on the first come, first serve basis.
The authority also organizes for movie-evenings in different zones to make the tourists all the more aware of the wildlife by showing films on or about them.
The Park is equally popular for its bird reserve where numerous migratory and resident fowls grace the tourists with their presence. Any bird watcher would thoroughly enjoy his/her time here by watching the feathered beauties. You can spot Great Slaty Woodpecker, Pin-Tailed Green Pigeon, Racket-Tailed Drongo, Lineated Barbet, Broadbill, Collared Falconet, Red-headed Vulture, Great Hornbill, Spot-bellied Eagle Owl, and Palla's Fishing Eagle.
The park tour is incomplete if you don't visit the Bungalow of Jim Corbett which is at Kaladhungi, 30 km away from Ramnagar, on the way to Nainital. The house has been turned into a museum and exhibits the past glory of Mr. Corbett and his life. The neighbors still remember the person with reverence.
If you are an avid reader who loves to gather information, then the library in Dhikala will surely please you. You can spend your free time turning the pages of books of various genres.
The park is bestowed with multiple beautiful spots which you must visit. The Dhangarhi Museum, Sunrise Point, Corbett Water Fall, Sitabani Temple, Kalagarh Dam, and Girija Devi Temple are those places.
The park not only offers you passive views but also lets you become active to make your adrenaline rush. Rappeling, Crawling, Rock-Climbing, Waterway Crossing are some of the activities which the nearby resorts and lodges arrange.
In order to have fun, one must never forget about safety and keeping that in mind, the Park remains closed during monsoon. The condition of the weather and rain harms the roads and washes it away, which can only be restored and repaired after the rainy season. Various zones remain closed during various periods for a day visit and night stay. The period between 15th November and 15th June is the best time to wander in the wilderness of this park without any restriction and fear.
The city of Ramnagar acts as the base camp of this National Park that is approximately 242 km away from Delhi. This city has a well-knit transport system and you can reach here by availing bus, train or plane.
- Delhi and Dehradun serve as the nearest airport and the Pantnagar Airport is also scheduling regular flights.
- You can avail a direct train from Delhi or can come via taxi after getting down from the train in Kashipur/Haldwani/Kathgodam.
- The roads of Bareilly, Delhi, Nainital, and Muradabad are connected to Ramnagar and you can take state buses to reach the city safely by traversing between 62 and 430 km depending on your route.
You can either go for a night stay or day visit or enjoy both as per your preferences. Taking help of the website, you can either book your safari or book your stay at the lodges in different zones with comfortable feeding and lodging amenities.
Indeed visit the Jim Corbett National Park!