JIM CORBETT NATIONAL PARK
Jim Corbett National Park is the oldest national park of India established in the year 1936 by the British government for the conservation of wildlife in India as Hailey National Park. After Independence the name was changed into Ram Ganga National Park and again in the year 1957 it renamed as Corbett National Park. Jim Corbett National Park spreads over two different districts of Uttarakhand namely Nainital and Pauri Garwhal with altitude varies from 400 to 1220 meter. Nestled at the foothills of Shivalik Mountains, Jim Corbett National Park was the first to come under ‘Project Tiger’ initiative. The main entrance of Jim Corbett National Park is Ramnagar town which is located on the banks of Koshi River. Though River Koshi and River Ramganga (West) along with its tributaries like Palain, Mandal and Sonanadi serves as the key hydrological resources to Corbett National Park. To the opposite of Ramnagar bus stand is the office of forest department which serves tourists to get permits for jungle visit, safari, forest rest house booking and car arrangements for jungle safari. The whole area of Corbett National Park comprises of hills, marshy depressions, riverine belts, grasslands and large lakes. Corbett National Park is one of the thirteen protected areas covered by the World Wide Fund for Nature under their Terai Arc Landscape Program. The program aims to protect three of the five terrestrial flagship species, the tiger, the Asian elephant and the great one-horned rhinoceros, by restoring corridors of forest to link 13 protected areas of Nepal and India, to enable wildlife migration.
Location and Distribution: Jim Corbett National Park is spread over an area of 1318.54 sq. km, among which Corbett National Park occupies 520.82 sq km, Sona River Wildlife Sanctuary occupies 301.18 sq km and Kalagarh Reserve Forest occupies 496.54 sq km. All these three sanctuaries forms Jim Corbett National Park or Jim Corbett National Tiger Reserve. Jim Corbett National Park is guarded with mountain ranges from all sides. For the conservation of wildlife in India, British government built this National Park at the foothills of Shivalik mountain range at Patli – Doon Valley on both the banks of River Ramganga. During that time Corbett National Park was spread over an area of about 323 sq km. The main entrance of Jim Corbett National Park is Ramnagar. The core area of Corbett National Park is 520.82 sq. km and the Buffer Zone is spreads over 797.72 sq. km. To the south of the tourist rest house there is a watch tower.
History of Corbett National Park: Jim Corbett National Park was established in the year 1936 and was named by the then governor of India Sir Malcolm Hailey as Haily National Park. In the year 1954 – 1955 the name of this national was changed into Ram Ganga National Park. In the year 1957 this national park was renamed as Corbett National Park by the name of the eminent hunter, naturalist and conservationist Jim Corbett. From 1966 the total area of this national park was increased into 520 sq. km. In the year 1973 on 01st April Corbett National Park in a joint association with Worldwide Fund for Nature developed this national park into a Tiger Reserve. In the year 1991 an area of about 797.72 sq. km was added as Buffer area of Corbett Tiger Reserve.
Flora: Jim Corbett National Park has dense moist deciduous forest mainly consists of Sal, Haldu, Peepal, Rohini and Mango trees. At Jim Corbett National Park 73% of the area is under forest cover while 10% of the area consists of grasslands. Jim Corbett National Park houses to 110 species of trees, and along with 488 different species of plants have been recorded in the national park.
Fauna: Jim Corbett National Park is popularly known for its varied wildlife among which the most noteworthy are Tigers, Wild Elephants and Leopards. Other than these Corbett National Park also has a great variety of wildlife animals in terms of habitat diversity of which 50 species of mammals are recorded. These includes Sambhar, Nilgai, Himalayan Black Bear, Elephants, Leopard, Wild Dogs, Wild Hog, Chital Deer, Barking Deer, Sambar Deer, Hog Deer, Sloth Bear, Indian Grey Mongoose, Yellow Throated Martens, Himalayan Goral, Indian Pangolins, Langur, Wild Buffalos, Civet, Jungle Cat, Leopard Cat, Wild Boar, Otter and others.
Reptiles: Jim Corbett National Park is also home to about 25 species of reptiles among which the notable are Crocodiles, Gharials, Pythons and Turtles, King Cobra, Lizard and others.
Birds: More than 580 species of birds inhabit Jim Corbett National Park Among these birds to name but a few are Indian Pea Fowl, Chestnut Headed Bea Eater, Palm Headed Parakeet, Red Turtle Dove, Small Pratincole, Woolly Necked Stork, Common Kingfisher, Himalayan Grey Headed Fishing Eagle, Brown Fish Owl, Grey Hornbills, Peacocks, Lineated Barbet, Blue Throated Barbet, Crimson Breasted Barbet, Black Naped Green Woodpecker, Lesser Golden Backed Woodpecker, Long Tailed Broadbill, Golden Oriole, Stork Billed Kingfisher, Species of Fork Tails, Darter, Brown Dipper, Crested Hawk Eagle, Little Green Heron, Maroon Orioles, Pond Heron, Booted Hawk Eagle, Pallas Fishing Eagle, Himalayan Grey Headed Fishing Eagle, Cinereous Vulture and many others.
Places to visit:
Garjiya Devi Temple: Garjiya Devi Temple is a temple lies on the outskirts of Jim Corbett National Park situated in the village Garjia on the Dhikala Road. The temple is dedicated to Goddess Parvati. The temple is located about 12 km from Ramnagar on the top of a huge rock on the Kosi River tributary. The periphery of this temple offers charming view of the surrounding landscape. There are more than 100 steps to climb in order to reach the temple.
Corbett Waterfall: Corbett waterfall is scenic waterfall located around 25 km away from Ramnagar and surrounded by dense forests of Teak woods all over. The area is an ideal spot for camping, picnic and relaxing. Corbett Falls flow down from a height of 20 meters and is about 02 km trek from Kaladungi.
Corbett Museum: Corbett Museum is a heritage museum dedicated to the eminent naturalist, conservationist and hunter Jim Corbett. The museum is located at Chota Haldwani near Kaladhungi village which is about 03 km. Corbett Museum lies around 28 km from Ramnagar, the safari booking center. The museum was once the winter residence of Jim Corbett along with his family. Corbett Museum remains open from 09.00 am to 05.00 pm.
Dhangarhi Forest Museum: Dhangarhi Forest Museum is situated near Dhangarhi gate which is the main entrance to the national park. This museum is standing here since the time of existence of the man eating tigers of Corbett National Park. This museum is one of the major attractions of visiting Jim Corbett National Park. The museum displays stuffed wild animals hunted in the national park along with glass enclosures of Wild Elephants and Tigers.
Tourism Zones and Entry Points in Corbett National Park:
Jim Corbett National Park is divided into five different eco-tourism zones in order to manage tourism activities within the tiger reserve area. These five eco-tourism zones are namely Dhikala Zone, Bijarani Zone, Jhirna zone, Dhela Zone and Durga Devi Zone. The forest department of Jim Corbett Tiger Reserve organize forest safari in two different shifts in every eco-tourism zone in order to ensure proper number of tourist flow. Below mention the timing and the entry gates of each of these zones.
Dhikala Zone: The Dhikala zone is open only for the tourists staying at Forest Rest House. Dhikala zone remain open from 15th November to 15th June. The entry gate of Dhikala Zone is Dhangadi which is located around 15 km from Ramnagar. Dhikala Zone is the largest and the most visited forest safari varied zone of Jim Corbett National Park. Tourists are advised to make night halt at Dhikala Tourism zone during their visit to Corbett National Park to spot most of the wildlife activities. At Dhikala Zone Cantary safari are also arranged two times a day. One is at 06.00 am and another is at 11.30 am.
Bijarani: The Bijrani Tourism Zone of Jim Corbett National Park is an important tourism zone mainly popular for its abundant natural beauty and open grasslands. The entry gate of Bijrani zone is Amdanda which is located around 02 km from Ramnagar. Bijrani Tourism Zone remains open from 15th October to 30th June.
Jhirna: Jhirna is another important tourist Zone of Jim Corbett National Park. The entry gate of Jhirna is Dhela Gate located around 16 km away from Ramnagar. Jhirna tourist zone remains open throughout the year except the month of July. Jhirna is located on the southern periphery of Corbett Tiger Reserve. Day visit to Jhirna Zone is through Dhela Gate. The topography of Jhirina Tourism Zone mainly comprises of deciduous forests interspersed with plush open grasslands and offers great site of wildlife activities.
Dhela Zone: The Dhela Tourism Zone is spread over an area of 1173 hectares and is the sixth eco-tourism zone of Corbett National Park which was brought to light in the tourism map of India in the year 2014. The entry gate to Dhela is known as Dhela gate and is located around 20 km away from Ramnagar. Dhela Tourism Zone is ideal to spot Tigers, Elephants, Bears and Leopards along with abundant flora and bird population. Dhela Tourism Zone is the only area lies in the buffer zone of Corbett Tiger Reserve and it remains open throughout the year (depending on the climatic condition).
Durga Devi: The Durga Devi Tourism Zone is located on the North – Eastern boundary of Jim Corbett National Park. Durga Devi Eco Tourism Zone is one of the six eco-tourism zones of Corbett National Park and it boasts of having the most beautiful landscape of the national park. The view of the hilly terrains at the backdrop of the lush green forests with intense tranquility is what defines the beauty of Durga Devi Eco Tourism Zone. For bird loving and watching enthusiasts Durga Devi Tourism Zone is a paradise as it boasts wide species of exotic birds. The entry gate of Durga Devi Tourism Zone is Durga Devi and is located around 28 km from Ramnagar. The Durgadevi Zone is open for the tourists from 15th October to 15th June every year.
Sonanadi: Sonanadi Tourism Range or Tourism Zone is located within Sonanadi Wildlife Sanctuary which is a part of Corbett National Park. Sonanadi was developed as a natural habitat of wide species of flora and fauna. The Sonanadi wildlife sanctuary is spread over an area of about 301.18 sq. km and is located to the north of Sonanadi River. Sona Nadi Tourism Zone can be accesses from three different entry gates namely Durga Devi, Kalagarh and Vantanvasa. Though a new entry gate to Sonanadi Range has been introduced named as Pakhro Gate or Pakhro Zone. The Sonanadi Tourism Zone in Jim Corbett National Park is located around 51 km away from Ramnagar. The Sonanadi Wildlife Sanctuary is tucked between the grandiose of two different wildlife sanctuaries namely Corbett Tiger Reserve and Rajaji National Park. Sonanadi Tourism Zone can also be accessed from Kotdwar which is located around 23 km away from Pakhro Gate. Sonanadi Tourism Zone has FRHs located at different locations to accommodate tourists. Tourists can avail both Elephant safari and Jeep Safari in Sonanadi Tourism Zone. The Sonanadi Tourism Zone remains open for tourists from October 15th to June 15th.
Things to know/ Guidelines/ Rules – Corbett National Park:
Tourists will be allowed to enter the jungle with well-informed forest guide of forest department.
Day visit permits are given for Bijarani, Durga Devi and Jhirna zone from October 15th to November 15th.
Tourists need to hire jeep to enter Corbett National Park. In both the cases the time schedule of the safari are for 04 hours.
The permit provided to visitors for Corbett National Park remains valid only for 3 days.
Apart from Dhikala, the permission for day visit in the forest is available from the respective office of individual zones.
Visitors are required to collect a clearance certificate from the respective authorities before leaving their place of stay within Corbett Tiger Reserve.
Visitors are strictly prohibited from littering around the jungle and also they are recommended not to wear too much colourful cloths inside the forest.
Visitors are advised to carry mosquito repellent cream, drinking water, torch and other needful things.
Tourists need to validate their entry pass from the presiding officer along with their Voter’s ID card and government ID proof.
Tourists are strictly prohibited to roam outside the boundary of the forest rest house.
For wildlife photographers are requested not to step down from the vehicle inside the forest while taking pictures.
Visitors are not permitted to shout, play loud music, blowing horns within the Tiger Reserve area. Driving inside the forest area after sunset is also strictly prohibited.
Chasing, feeding or teasing the wild animals inside the forest area is strictly prohibited.
Fishing without permit is strictly prohibited within the national park.
How to Reach/ Getting There:
By Air: Pantnagar Airport is the nearest airport to Jim Corbett National Park which is located around 80 km away. Pantnagar is a domestic airport and is well connected to Delhi with regular flights. Jim Corbett National Park is well connected with metaled road with Pantnagar Airport. The nearby International Airport is at Delhi.
By Train: The nearest rail head to Jim Corbett National Park is Ramnagar which is located around 05 km away. Ramnagar is well connected by strong railway networks with major cities of India. Ramnagar is located around 90 km away from Kathgodam and 95 km away from Lalkuan. . In both the cases it takes 02 hours by car to reach Ramnagar. A more convenient option would be to avail a train upto Moradabad and from there change a train upto Ramnagar as Ramnagar is terminus of Delhi – Moradabad – Ramnagar broad gauge branch of the North Eastern railway.
By Road: Jim Corbett National Park is well connected with major destinations of North India by strong motorable roads. Hired or reserved taxis are easily available from major destinations of Uttarakhand to Jim Corbett National Park. Luxury buses are also operational between Delhi to Ramnagar and Corbett National Park.
Distance of Ramnagar with other major locations:
Delhi – Moradabad – Kashipur – Ramnagar: 240 km
Lucknow – Berili – Kicha – Haldwani – Ramnagar: 160 km
Lucknow – Berili – Kicha – Rudrapur – Kashipur – Ramnagar: 145 km
Nainital – Kaladhungi – Ramnagar: 62 km
Dehradun – Ramnagar: 250 km
Best time of Visit: Jim Corbett National Park experiences three different seasons throughout the year. These are winter – November to February, summer – March to June and Monsoon – July to October. Though the climatic conditions of Jim Corbett National Park remains pleasant and makes it ideal for tourists all the year round, but it is advisable for tourists to visit here during the month of winters. The monsoon within Corbett National Park gives back an earthy reminder of the wilderness but as some of the zones remains closed during this time of the year hence makes the tour incomplete. But in the monsoon season the surrounding greenery becomes denser. In summers the humidity level remains low and for the presence of dense trees and wilderness all around the place remains usually cool.