Corbett National Park

Area: 1318 sq. km
Best Time To Visit: November to April
Location:Lies in two districts Nainital and Pauri, Uttaranchal
Nearest Access: Ramnagar (19km)
Main Wildlife:Found Bengal Tiger, Asiatic Elephant and its rich avi fauna

Welcome to Jim Corbett National Park, the first wildlife reserve of India, extending over an area of more than 500 sq km in the Himalayan foothills. Corbett national park was established in 1936, as the Hailey National Park. In 1955-56 it has changed to Ramganga National Park and finally Jim Corbett National Park in the honor of legendary hunter-turned- conservationist, best known for hunting man-eating tigers and leopards in the Kumaon and lower Garhwal in the 1920s.

Corbett National park is known for its varied wildlife, and as the site for the launching of Project Tiger. Corbett National Park was one of the nine tiger reserves created at the launch of the Project Tiger in 1973. The original area of the Corbett National Park was 323.75 sq. km. to which 197.07 sq. km. was added later. In 1991, an area of 797.72 sq km was added as buffer area of the Corbett Tiger Reserve. It area includes kalagarh forest division and Ramnagar forest division.

The Main animals found in the national park wildlife found in the Corbett National Park include the tiger, elephant, chital, sambar, nilgai, gharial, King Cobra, muntjac, wild boar, hedgehog, common musk shrew, flying fox, Indian Pangolin, and nearly 600 species of birds. Corbett National Park receives thousands of visitors every year. A variety of facilities are available to house tourists within and outside the park.


Flora And Fauna

Corbett National Park is rich in vegetation, with different kinds of trees and shrubs. The lower reaches of the Park, where the land is flat compared to the upper reaches, consists of tall and slender sal (Shorea robusta) trees. Shisham (Dalbergia sissoo) and khair (Acacia katechu) trees are found in the middle reaches, while the upper reaches of the mountains are full of bakli (Anogeissus latifolia), chir (Pinus roxburghii), gurail (Bauhinia racemosa) and bamboo trees. The Park is dotted with lantana shrubs, a species that is a great cause for concern. Imported years ago from America, the lantana shrub ensures that nothing else grows near it. In the Park are 110 species of trees, 51 species of shrubs, and over 33 species of bamboo and grass that are mostly found in chowds, or meadows.

Corbett National Park has more than 50 species of mammals, 585 species of birds and 25 species of reptiles, but the Park is known for its elephants and leopards, not its tigers. Many kinds of deer, namely chital (spotted deer), sambar (Indian stag), chinkara (Indian gazelle), pada (hog deer) and muntjac (barking deer) abound in the Park. Tiger sighting is rare, in spite of a lot of alarm calls from monkeys and deer. Elephant herds comprising tuskers, females and calves are commonly seen. However, an elephant herd with calves is perhaps the most dangerous encounter in the wild, for elephants are very possessive of their young and do not hesitate to charge at intruding human beings.

Leopard sighting is even rarer than that of the tiger, and these spotted cats confine themselves to the higher reaches of the Park. Other feline species found in the Park are leopard cats, jungle cats, the rare fishing cat, and caracal, to name a few. Sloth bears, wild boars, monkeys, dholes (wild dogs), jackals and ghorals (mountain goats) also inhabit the Park.

The aquatic reptile population in the Park consists of mugger (Crocodylus palustris) and gharial (Gavialis gangeticus) crocodiles, while Indian rock pythons, Russell’s vipers, cobras, king cobras and common kraits are some of the snakes found in the Park. Bird life includes parakeets, flycatchers, babblers, cuckoos, robins, bulbuls, Indian and Great Pied hornbills, warblers and finches, to name a few.

Major Attractions

The main feature of this ridged valley is the Ramganga River, running broadly west by south west, the catchment streams of which vivisect the land into numerous little ridges and ravines. The topography is therefore very varied-the streams forming islands of 'sheesham' trees, the ridges being thickly foliated with 'sal' trees and the pastures carrying long grasses. In this variety of habitat abounds wildlife of enchanting beauty including 50 mammals, 577 birds and at least 25 reptiles. The river teems with mahseer, gharial, mugger and flocks of cormorants.

Project Tiger was inaugurated here on April 1, 1973. The center of tourist activity in the park always continues to be Dhikala, at the heart of the core area. Here, substantial residential accommodation has been built along one end of a large grassy plateau perched on the edge of the cliff bordering the Ramganga reservoir.

Apart from tigers, leopards as well as lesser cats such as the leopard cat, jungle cat, and fishing cat are also found here. The sloth bear, Himalayan black bear, dhole, jackal, yellow throated marten, Himalayan palm civet, Indian grey mongoose, common otter, porcupine, black naped hare are the other attractions of this area. It is possible to see elephants all over the park.

Four species of deer are found here. These are the barking deer, para, kakkar, and the well known spotted deer chital. The goat antelopes are represented by the ghoral.

There is a lot for the bird watching opportunities in this park as it has over 580 species of birds. Most of the water birds are the migrant variety, and arrive in winters. Some of these are the graylag, bareheaded goose, duck, grepe, snipe, sandpiper, gull and wagtail. The residents include darters, cormorants, egrets, herons, the black-necked stork and the spur winged lapwings.

The reptiles, which are residents of this area, are the rare fish eating, long-nosed crocodile gharial, and a few species of turtles and tortoises. The Indian python, viper, cobra, krait and king cobra also inhabit the Corbett National Park.

The national park offers invaluable experiences for adventurous and serious-minded wildlife-buffs, photographers and anglers. It is advantageous to have one's own vehicle here. Walking in some areas is permitted, but only when accompanied by a guide. Elephant rides for wildlife viewing, in the mornings and evenings, can be booked in the Dhikala complex.


Other Attractions


In the vicinity of the Corbett National Park are the wildlife sanctuaries like Rajaji National Park and Dudhwa National Park. Lucknow is the capital of Uttar Pradesh and one of the major tourist destinations in the country.

Rivers of Corbett : For the survival of such a remarkable gamut of floral and faunal species in Jim Jim Corbett National Park , water is a crucial factor. The Ramganga river forms the most prominent hydrological resource, supplemented by tributaries, most prominent of which are the Sonanadi, Mandal and Palain rivers. The river Kosi runs proximate to the Park and is also a significant water resource for nearby areas. Wildlife is dependent on rivers, more so in the dry season, for they provide drinking waters and also forms home to several key aquatic species.

Ramganga : Ramganga river is crucial for Corbett infact without it there would be no Corbett. It is the largest of the precious few perennial sources of water in the Park. A rain-fed river originating near Gairsain in the Lower Himalayas, the Ramganga traverses more than 100 km before entering Corbett near Marchula. Inside the Park it flows roughly 40 km till Kalagarh where it enters the plains. During this run through the Park it gathers waters from the Palain, Mandal and Sonanadi rivers.

The Ramganga is inhabited by key aquatic species like mahseer fish, the endangered gharials, mugger crocodiles, otters and turtles. Many species of birds, like kingfishers, fish-eagles, terns and storks depend on the Ramganga. During winters the Ramganga reservoir attracts many migratory bird species, especially waterbirds from Europe and Central Asia.

Kosi : The Kosi is a perennial river like the Ramganga and its catchment lies partially in Corbett NP. From Mohan through Dhikuli till Ramnagar, the Kosi forms the eastern boundary of Jim Corbett National Park. Even though the Kosi does not enter the Park boundary, wild animals from Corbett use it for drinking especially during pinch periods. Its bed is strewn with boulders and its flow is erratic and often changes course. Kosi is notorious for its unpredictable and damaging torrents during monsoon. Like Ramganga, the Kosi too is inhabited by mahseer and attracts migratory birds.

Sonanadi : The Sonanadi is an important tributary of the Ramganga. Named after this river the Sonanadi Wildlife Sanctuary adjoins Jim Corbett National Park and forms an important part of the Corbett Tiger Reserve. The Sonanadi enters the Park from the northwest direction and meets the Ramganga at the reservoir.
The name Sonanadi means river of gold. At one time grains of gold, found in the alluvial deposits washed down from the higher areas, were extracted from the bed sand by sieving, washing and mercury treatment.

Mandal and Palain : The Mandal rises in the eastern heights in Talla Salan in Chamoli district. Forming a part of the northeastern boundary, Mandal flows for 32 km and joins the Ramganga at Domunda a little distance above Gairal. During the dry season, the Mandal contains very little water but during the monsoons it turns into a furious torrent. It forms a vital breeding ground for the endangered mahseer. The Palain is the third important tributary of the Ramganga and enters the Park from a northern direction. It meets the Ramganga about 3 km north of the Ramganga reservoir.

Sots : Sot is the local name for a seasonal stream. While traveling across the park you may cross several of these bouldery dry streams. Though most of them appear dry and lifeless, they are very important for the Park ecology. Animals depend on these sots for their drinking water requirements for a good part of the year. There are some sots in Corbett that are perennial, important ones being Paterpani, Laldhang, Kothirao, Jhirna, Dhara and Garjia. Since water is a limiting factor, these perennial sots provide water to wildlife during pinch periods. Many of these sots are covered with thick growth of evergreen shrubs and bamboo clumps which form ideal shelter for many animals including the tiger.

How To Reach

Air : Phoolbagh, Pantnagar at a distance of 50 km is the nearest airport. Delhi at a distance of 300 km is the nearest international airport.

Rail : Ramnagar is on the broad gauge track from where the road transport options have to be availed to reach the park.

Road : Dhikala is 300 km from Delhi, 145 km from Lucknow and 51 km from Ramnagar. The route from Delhi spans Hapur-Murababad-Ramnagar. The turn off is some 7 km beyond Muradabad to the left, marked by a small board. The route from Lucknow spans Bareilly-Kichha-Rudrapur-Doraha-Kashipur.



General Information

Permits are necessary for entering Corbett Tiger Reserve. For day visits permits are obtained at the respective Entry Gates. However permits for night halts are issued at the CTR Reception Office at Ramnagar.

Day visits to Dhikala Tourism zone are not permitted except in conducted safari organized by Corbett Tiger Reserve. Only visitors who have prior accommodation reserved can enter Dhikala Zone.


Accommodation
For night halts three tourist complexes located at Dhikala, Gairal and Bijrani offer a choice of accommodation type. Dhikala has the maximum bed capacity including a dormitory. Basic lodging is available for tourists at other Forest Rest Houses at Malani, Sultan, Gairal, Sarpduli, Khinanauli, Kanda and Jhirna. Visitors can also stay at the Forest Rest Houses at Lohachaur, Rathuadhab, Halduparao, Mundiapani, Morghatti, Sendhikhal and Dhela.