Jim Corbett National Park is one of the most celebrated wildlife reserve in India. This park is spread in Nanital, Pauri and Almora district. Corbett National Park is an amazing blend of high hills, swamp, River side belts and green meadows covering an area of 522 kilometres at the foot hills of the great himalayas and this makes the park a heaven for wildlife adventures lovers. This park is famous for variety of rare flora, wild animals, reptiles and birds species. A pathway adorn with mango orchards leads one into a complete different world housing a record number of 488 different species of plants and 580 birds type. Moreover a plethora of 25 reptile species and 50 species of mammals are reasons enough to go personal with this wonderland. Visitors are allowed May to June to visit Corbett National Park.
The park was then named as the ‘Hailey National Park’ and was later renamed as ‘Corbett National Park’ after James Edward Corbett the noted hunter turned conservationist of the area. The area came under ‘Project Tiger’ in 1971 when Gov. of India launched this ambitious conservation project. Jim Corbett National Park, which is a part of the larger Corbett Tiger Reserve, a Project Tiger Reserve lies in the Nainital district of Uttarakhand. The magical landscape of Corbett is well known and fabled for its tiger richness. Established in the year 1936 as Hailey National Park, Corbett has the glory of being India’s oldest and most prestigious National Park. It is also being honoured as the place where Project Tiger was first launched in 1973. This unique tiger territory is best known as the father who gave birth of the Project Tiger in India to protect the most endangered species and the Royal of India called Tigers.
Spans over an extent of 520 square kilometres, its whole area comprises of hills, marshy depressions, riverine belts, grasslands and large lake. It is among the few tiger reserves in India that allows overnight stays in the lap of the National Park. Nature watch and wildlife viewing in the park is done in an open four wheeler Jeep and on elephant back. Sheltering a healthy population of tigers and rare species like Otters and the endemic fish eating crocodile, the national park is one of the most sought after destinations for the wildlife buffs. Dhikala, situated at the border of the extensive Patil Dun valley, is the most popular destination in Corbett because of its superb location and sheer abundance of wildlife present.
Today after addition of areas into the originally declared National Park, the total area of Tiger Reserve extends 1288.31 sq. kms spreading over three districts of Uttarakhand viz., Pauri, Nainital and Almora. Corbett National Park covers an area of 521 sq. km and together with the neighbouring Sonanadi Wildlife Sanctuary and Reserve Forest areas, forms the Corbett Tiger Reserve. Geographically it is located between the Shiwalik Himalayas and the terai. The streams, rivers and ridges criss-crossing the terrain, present Corbett with a remarkable variety of landscapes. This vivid mosaic of habitats wet and dry, plain and mountainous, gentle and rugged, forests and grasslands supports numerous plant and animal species, representing Himalayan as well as plains ecosystem. The most famous of Corbett’s wild residents are the Royal Bengal Tiger and the Asiatic Elephant. In addition to that with over 550 species of avifauna Corbett is one of the richest bird regions of the Country and has been declared as an ‘Important Bird Area’ (IBA) by Bird-life International.
The Tourist Zones:
In order to promote tourism in the region Corbett National Park has been divided into five different zones. These are the marked buffer or core area of the park where visitors can be part of wildlife safari and can enjoy the intriguing behavior of the animals with bare eyes at proximity.
Bijrani Safari Zone :
Bijrani Zone is very popular tourist’s hub because of its abundant natural beauty and open grasslands. The entry gate of the zone is located at only 01 Km from Ramnagar city.
Jhirna Safari Zone :
Jhirna is another important tourist zone in the Jim Corbett National park that is open for tourist round the year. Jhirna Gate is located at 16 km from Ramnagar city.
Dhela Safari Zone :
Dhela is a new eco tourism zone in Corbett National Park included in tiger reserve zone in November 2014. This is the only area in the reserve’s buffer zone open to tourists in CTR. The zone is retaining the attention of large number of tourist because of its wealthy flora and fauna, open throughout the year, located at an approximate distance of 13 Km from Ramnagar City.
Dhikala Zone :
Being the largest and most varied zone in Corbett, Dhikala is famous for its abundant natural beauty as well as offering the best sight for exotic fauna. The entry gate is 18 km away from Ramnagar city. Night stay inside the Dhikala Tourism Zone is highly recommended for the hard core wildlife enthusiasts.
Durga Devi Zone :
Located on the north-eastern boundary of the Jim Corbett National Park, Durga Devi zone is the heaven on planet earth for those who are fond of bird watching. Entry gate is located at an approximate distance of 36 km from Ramnagar city.
Corbett Landscape (Sitabani) Zone :
Corbett Landscape (Sitabani) Zone doesn’t fall under the Corbett Tiger Reserve area. If you are fond of serene ambiance of the natural beauty, must visit Sitabani area.
How To Reach
Ramnagar is perhaps the best approach to the Corbett National Park which forms the headquarters of CTR. This small city is well connected by road and rail network with major cities of India like Delhi, Moradabad, Nainital and Bareilly. Once you reach Ramnagar, then it takes only half an hour to reach Corbett National Park. The park is around 15 Kms from Ramnagar railway station.
Ramnagar has a very good network of road that connects the different cities. The Corbett National Park is situated at an approximate surface distance of 260 Kilometer from India’s national capital Delhi. The state government of Uttarakhand plies buses at a short interval of time from Delhi, Moradabad, Haldawani, and Nainital that reaches Corbett directly.
The railway station in Ramnagar receives trains from different major cities of India like Delhi, Moradabad and Bareilly. A direct train to Ramnagar runs from Delhi. You can check out for Ranikhet Express, Corbett Link Express and Kathgodam Express that takes you directly to Ramnagar.
The other mode to visit the picturesque park is via the ‘Ramganga conducted tour’ which takes the tourists to the Dhikala Zone for Day Visit in Canters (capacity of up to 16 adults). Every day two Canter rides are conducted in morning and two in the evening shifts.
Every tourist season, Dhikala Ecotourism zone open after monsoon on 15th of November for day visit (via Ramganga Conducted Tours), while Durga Devi and Bijrani Zone opens for day visits from 15th of October onwards. Jhirna and Dhela remain open throughout the year for day visits. The Bijrani ecotourism zone is famous among the tourists for its beautiful Sal forest and expansive grasslands. Elephant safari is conducted here for the willing visitors. The safaris are a great source of learning for the visitors about Indian Wildlife and conservation efforts. Along with Bijrani, for the convenience of visitors and streamlining tourism management in Corbett Tiger Reserve, the reserve has been divided into six mutually exclusive tourism zones, each having separate gate for entry.