Jim Corbett National Park, Uttarakhand
One of the oldest national parks in the country, Jim Corbett National Park is located in the Nainital district of Uttarakhand. Established in 1963 to save the endangered Bengal tiger, the park was initially called the Halley National park. Jim Corbett National Park also has the honour of launching Project Tiger in 1973
The park is a great ecotourism destination with a splendid landscape comprising of a large lake, areas of hills, marshy depressions, grassland along with a great variety of flora and fauna. Spread over an area of 520 square kilometres, the park is a heaven for nature, wildlife and bird lovers. It is one of the few Tiger reserves in India that allows people stay overnight in the lap of nature. The park hosts a healthy population of Tigers, rare species like Otters, fish eating crocodiles, Asiatic elephants, different species of deer and more than 650 species of resident and migratory birds.
The park has the glorious river Ramganga flowing through its length. One can find the slender snouted gharial and the marsh crocodiles along the banks of the river. The park has been divided into five different zones in order to promote tourism and offers adventure, thrill, and amusement backed with a rich history to enthral wildlife enthusiasts not just from India but across the globe.
Ramnagar is the best bet to reach Corbet National Park as the place is well connected with road and rail network with major cities of North India like Delhi, Moradabad, Bareilly, Nainital. The park is around 15kms away from Ramnagar railway station and it takes about half an hour to reach the park from there. Direct trains are available from Delhi, Moradabad and Bareilly to reach Ramnagar.
It is about 260kms away from National Capital Delhi with a good road connectivity. Uttarakhand state transport buses also ply at regular intervals from Delhi, Moradabad, Nainital and Bareilly reaching directly to Corbett.
Jim Corbett National Park is primarily open from mid-November to mid-June. However, the Jhirna zone in the park is open for tourists throughout the year. Bijrani zone is open for tourists from mid-October till mid-June and the famous Dhikala zone is open from 15th November till mid-June. The park is primarily closed during the monsoon period as the roads in Bijrani and Dhikala zones get completely washed away. The park gates get closed at sunset and no drive outs are allowed that time.
Winter season is the best time to visit Corbett as the weather is extremely pleasant and one can spot the animals lazing around to soak in some sunlight. The park is also home to a lot of unseen and beautiful birds at this time of the year.
Monsoons is a time when most of the park is closed as the roads get washed away and it’s also the mating time for the animals. But one can surely visit the Jhirna zone which is open throughout the year for an amazing trekking experience. The natural beauty is at its peak but there is also a high risk of landslides and soil erosion.
Summers are extremely hot in Corbett. The temperature gets extremely high which compels the animals to come out of their habitats in search of water. If one chooses to visit the park during this time then there is a high chance to get a glimpse of the endangered species.
Corbett is divided into five tourists’ zones for people to visit the park from various directions throughout the year. Wild safaris are being organised which help the visitors be a part of the natural surroundings of the animals.
1. Bijrani Safari zone is a popular tourist hub owing to its natural beauty and grasslands. The entry gate of this zone is situated about 1 km away from Ramnagar city.
2. Jhirna Safari Zone is another popular entry zone to Corbett National park, situated 16kms away from Ramnagar city. The zone is open for tourists round the year.
3. Dhela Safari Zone is a new eco-tourism zone that was included in tiger reserve zone in November 2014. It is the only area in the reserve buffer zone open to tourists in Corbett National Park. Open throughout the year, the zone is situated about 13km away from Ramnagar city and attracts a large number of tourists owing to an exotic flora and fauna.
4. Dhikala Safari Zone is the most popular, largest and varied safari zone in Corbett National Park. Popular for its abundant natural beauty, this zone offers the best sight for some wealthy fauna in the region. The entry gate for this zone is situated about 18km away from Ramnagar city and hard-core wildlife enthusiasts do a night stay in this tourist zone.
5. Durga Devi Zone is on the north eastern boundary of the national park. The entry gate is about 36kms away from Ramnagar city and is popular as the zone for exquisite bird watching.
6. Sitabani Buffer Zone is the popular zone for serene natural beauty and doesn’t fall under the Corbett Tiger Reserve area.
Other key attractions in Corbett National Park apart from wildlife safari are:
Kalagarh Dam which is located in the south west part of the national park and is a popular bird watching site. The place hosts many migratory birds during winters.
Corbett Falls is a 20m water fall situated 25km from Ramnagar city and about 4km from Kaladungi. Situated on Kaladungi and Ramnagar highway, the water fall is surrounded by dense forest and is extremely scenic.
Garjiya Devi temple is a sacred pilgrim spot located on the bank of river Kosi and is situated about 14km away from Ramnagar. The temple is a popular tourist spot around Kartik Poornima in the month of November/December.
Corbett National Park also serves as a great stop over point for people visiting the hill town of Nainital. It is situated about 150km away from Jim Corbett National Park and makes for a great travel combo option from Delhi.
Corbett National Park has a host of exotic resorts offering great facilities for a comfortable stay. The place is fast growing as a destination wedding option for people in Delhi, Uttar Pradesh and Uttarakhand. It is also a great weekend getaway option when you wish to get away from the busy city life. Though it is difficult to site the Tiger but one can surely spot other animals and simply enjoy the natural beauty of the place.
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