ABOUT JIM CORBETT NATIONAL PARK
About Jim Corbett National Park
Jim Corbett National Park, nestled amid at the foothills of the western Himalayas, is the oldest protected area in South Asia. Part of the larger Corbett Tiger Reserve, the park boasts of rich flora and fauna along with being home to the majestic Bengal Tiger! The unique biodiversity of the area is the most diverse in the western Himalayan region. Established in 1936 as Hailey National Park, Corbett takes pride in being India’s first National Park and also the one where Project Tiger – one of the first initiatives to protect the national animal, was started.
Corbett is one of the few national parks which offers tourists an opportunity to stay overnight in forest lodges built in various zones of the Park. Since Corbett is a home to a large number of tigers, rare otters, fish eating crocodiles, wild elephants, and many other species, it is no less than a pilgrimage destination for wildlife enthusiasts.
The park has the highest number of tigers anywhere in India and also has the highest number of birdlife in terms of species for any Tiger Reserve.
Jim Corbett Quick Facts
Area: 1318 sq km including Sonanadi WLS
Latitude: 29.5486° N
Nearest town & Railway Station: Ramnagar
Nearest Airport: New Delhi
Best Time To Visit - Winter
Winter (November – March): Days are clear and pleasant, Nights get cold. Early mornings can be foggy in December & January.Great time for bird-watching and Tiger sighting.
Best Time To Visit - Summer
Summer (April to June): Hot days with pleasant nights. Ideal time for sighting animals, especially elephants and Tigers.
Rich History of the Park
As the oldest national park in India, Corbett has got a detailed history to itself. When the British were ruling the princely state of Tehri Garhwal during the 1860s, the Boksas tribe was evicted from the forest in order to protect the forest from cultivation and cattle farming by the tribes. In 1879, the area was declared as a Reserve Forest and gradually, conservation of the endangered flora and fauna became vital. Thus, Sir Jim Corbett marked a 323.75 square kilometre boundary for the forest and coined the name Hailey National Park, which was Asia’s first National Park. Post-Independence, the name was changed to Ramganga National Park, named after the mighty Ramganga river flowing through the park. Later, the park came to be known as Corbett National Park, a name dedicated to Sir Jim Corbett.
Gradually, the park expanded to the area of Kalagarh forest and Sonanadi Wildlife Sanctuary and today, the entire area is 1,318 square kilometres, with 520 square kilometres being a core area and the rest of it being buffer area.
Located close to the famous hill station of Nainital, the area has a cool and relaxing weather. The rainfall (June to September) is between 1400-2800mm. The temperature range is from 4 degree in winter (November to February) to 44 degrees in summer (March to June). The park is open between November 15 to June 15.
Flora and Fauna
As a place where Project Tiger was first started in India, Corbett National Park houses the Royal Bengal Tiger, which you can spot in its own habitat if lucky. Along with it, other rare species like Himalayan Black Bears, Rhesus Macaques, Yellow-Throated Martens, Hog Dear, Barking Deer and Sambar Deer can be sighted here. Along with Tigers, other members from the cat family like Leopard, Jungle Cat and Fishing Cat also mark their homes here. The Indian Python and King Cobra can also be seen in and around the park. A total of over 500 bird species, 33 reptiles, and several amphibians dwell in this park.
Along with being a home to several endangered wildlife species, the Park and surrounding forests boast of many plant species as well. Plants like Chir Pine, Banj Oak, Kanju, Jamuns, Aamla (Indian Gooseberry), Date Palms, Bel, Mahua and Bakli, which build a perfect natural habitat for the animals and birds here. Some of the most colourful flowers like Kachnaar, Dhak, Indian Coral, Amaltas and Semal also bloom here in spring, making it a sight no less than heaven. Overall, the park has around 110 species of plants setting their roots here.
Other Park Activities and Sightseeing
Along with wildlife safaris, the park and surrounding area offers many other fun activities which can add memorable experiences to your vacation and make it a lifetime experience. Most of the exciting activities are carried out in the Dhikala and Bijrani zones of the park. Some of them include:
Watch Towers: The park has watch towers which are open for tourists to visit. People can enjoy the lush green forests from here while the cold winds blow. If lucky, the forest always has a surprise in the form of an animal or bird sighting.
Photography: For anyone visiting Corbett National Park, capturing the natural beauty and wildlife of the place in pictures easily tops the wish list. Along with the diverse wildlife of tigers, elephants, deers, otters, the park is also a birders paradise. You will find many indigenous and migratory birds in the different parts of the forest. But it is not just the wildlife, Corbett also has divine landscapes from serene grasslands to mighty mountain ranges and dense Sal forests to fast flowing rivers that you can capture through your lens.
Dhangarhi Museum: Located at the Dhangarhi gate which is also the entry point to the Dhikala Zone, the museum houses taxidermy, displays of animals including tigers and leopards. There is also memento shop here where you can buy Corbett related souvenirs, books written on Corbett and local food items.
Crocodile Point: Located near Marchula, this is a viewing point to sight the famous Crocodiles of Corbett on the banks of the Ramganga river.
Local food tasting: Visit 'Pahadi Organic', to taste an expansive variety of organic, lip-smacking Garhwali and Kumaoni delicacies prepared by the locals of the region. Located in a small village 'Totam' nestled in the hills, the place will surely give you a glimpse of local culture, traditions, history, and natural beauty.
Corbett Falls & Museum: Located 30 km away from the main town of Ramnagar, Corbett falls is a scenic waterfall amidst dense teak forests. A few kilometers away is the Jim Corbett Museum which used to be the residence of Sir Jim Corbett which has now been converted into a Museum. The museum has a host of memorabilia from the times of Corbett's stay here.