Corbett National Park – Tigers by the Tale
Who says wild is not beautiful? Does the sight of elephant not excite you or the birds chitter do not make you look in wonder? Yes it does! And we cannot run away from the fact that how fearful is the roars, we can go miles and miles just to get a glimpse of big wild cat.
When it comes to live meeting with the fiery creature, India is a dreamland. With number of wildlife sanctuaries that are especially known for the ‘TIGER’ the nation fetches animal lovers from all the corners of the world. And among its several sanctuaries, one is Corbett National Park, the oldest national park in India.
Corbett National Park is a legendary name among the wildlife treasure of India. For adventure seekers, explorers and wildlife lovers, it is a fusion of breathtaking beauty and thrill, located in Ramnagar town of Nainital District of Uttarakhand. It was in 1936 when the park was established as Hailey National Park but later on change to its present name in order to honour the valuable contribution of Jim Corbett, a legendary British hunter turned conservationist, naturalist and author. Thus, it is also known as “Jim Corbett National Park” and is the first one to be listed under the “Project Tiger”, a government’s initiative for the protection of endangered Bengal tiger.
Surrounded with pristine natural beauty, Corbett Wildlife Sanctuary features sub-Himalayan ecological and geographical characteristics. Its strategic location that partially covers both the Lesser Himalaya in north and Shivaliks in the south is adorned with various distinct geo features like low plateaus, ridges, ravines, grasslands, marshy depressions and small streams as well as River Ramganga. Don’t take it as a surprise if you spend hours just in admiring the natural allure of this national park.
For those who have keen interest in bird watching then Corbett Park is a hidden paradise waiting eagerly to get explored. The moment you step inside its dark world of moist deciduous and pine woods, the whispers and rays picking from the leaves will greet you to a different panorama. Along with its most sought wild attractions, the park also bears a treasure chest of over 450 flora species, making itself a good rejuvenating point blessed by Mother Nature. The allure associated with Corbett National Park does not end here only. The more you explore; the more you will get mesmerized.
The Prized Possessions….
Let the roars and trumpets make you feel that adrenaline pump in your veins; let the murmurs bring you back to the earthy world; let the prevailing silence of woods capture your mindscape.
For some among us a journey to Jim Corbett National Park is only about wildness, for some it is more about the exploration of nature’s rich treasure and for some it is just a leisure break but it doesn’t matter at all because in the end you all are gone to be lost in its magical escapes.
There are over 500 species of mammals, amphibians, fishes, reptiles and birds that inhabit in the park. One can witness wild creatures of both peninsular India and Himalayan region including thars, bharals, leopards, serows, elephants, brown and Himalayan black bears and of course the BIG WILD CAT-TIGER.
Along with them, you can also spot wild boar and diverse types of lesser cats as well as wide range of avian species. While the streams and water bodies provide shelter to fish varieties such as hill trout, mahaseer and conch.
Attractions at Corbett…
There are several interesting things to do and see in Corbett Tiger Reserve, as popularly known, along with tiger and wildlife spotting. It is a place that fascinates travelers of all age groups equally, the only thing that you require is time as the enormity of the park is dotted with several prized possessions.
With a total spread of around 1318.54 square kilometers, the park is basically divided into two parts: a core area with a coverage of 520 sq km and that mainly forms the national park and a buffer area of about 496 sq km that contains Sonanadi Wildlife Sanctuary and reserve forests. So, focusing on the attractions in and around Corbett, visitors must check out these places to make their trip more worthy.
Corbett Falls: Situated at a distance of 25 km away from Ramnagar, Corbett Water Falls is an eye-soothing 20 meter high water fall site. With a canopy of thick forest vegetation, this refreshing site is an ideal camping hangout place and is preferred by those who love to unwind in the tranquility of nature with the whispering rhythm and rippling fall playing music in the background. Corbett Falls is also a good site to spot birds and to do jungle trekking.
Corbett Wildlife Museum: A drive of mere 3 km after Kaladhungi town, on the road that leads to Nainital, will lead you to Corbett Wildlife Museum. Often dubbed as Kaladhungi Corbett Museum, the place is dedicated to Jim Corbett and exhibits his personal collections of sketches, paintings, articles and documents as well as focuses on the preservation and conservation of our wildlife. Opening time of the museum is 7.00 A.M. to 6 P.M.
Rivers: It is obvious that in an area surrounded with such rich vegetation, rivers or water bodies come as no surprise. Then what makes them so attractive is their refreshing appeal, just a quick look of two rivers of Corbett, namely, the Ramganga and Kosi will rejuvenate your tired body and mind. River Ramganga along with its tributaries is a part of the park and enriches its geography with its swift flow while the more you move towards Dhikuli, the more you will felt the presence of Kosi River, which follows a close course with the park in the eastern side.
Kalagarh Dam: Situated in the south-west part of the reserve, Kalagarh Dam provides visitors excellent chances to capture some best shots of birds enjoying their freedom in a world of wildness.
Dhikala: Having Kanda ridges in the backdrop and overlooking Ramganga River, Dhikala is the core area of Corbett. Blessed with eye-catching natural beauty, it is situated on the outer reaches of Patli Dun valley. The 50km journey to Dhikala is adorned with several beautiful sights in which sighting of chitals, elephants, jackals, deer and even the fiery TIGER is a reward for visitors.
Activities at Jim Corbett National Park
Its time to get involved in some leisure activities at Corbett Tiger Reserve. Give a break to your wild trekking trails and enjoy some candid moments of your life in the lap of nature.
Obstacle course If you like to test your strength and fitness with an army like training program then also you can do and enjoy it at Corbett. From Tarzan swing to spider web to trampoline, you have multiple activities to keep yourself engage at the park other than wildlife trails.
River Rafting: For the freaking adventure lovers, river rafting is another great option to feel excitement and thrill in your veins. River rafting at Corbett Tiger Reserve can be done in Kosi River but it can only be done during monsoon season.
Safari Types and Zones
It is no doubt that Corbett National Park is a heaven for wildlife seekers and nature lovers. And the best way to enjoy and explore its rich treasure is through safaris. Whether you want to spot herds of animals basking under sun or want to feel the roaring thrill, safaris at Corbett are regarded as one of the main attractions of the park. Tourists can choose among three types of safaris to have a life thrilling encounter with the roaring wild cat-TIGER.
Jeep Safari: One of the most sought ways to experience the liveliness of Corbett without disturbing the everyday routine of jungle habitants, jeep safaris provide 360 degrees views of the surrounding beauty. It is considered as the best way to cover large distance expeditions within a short duration of time and is quite fruitful for those who want to capture wild moments under the lens.
Elephant Safari: A more traditional way to explore the jungle, elephant safaris are meant for wider views of the surrounding because of the height. Enjoy the pleasure of an elephant ride while spotting tigers, leopards, jackals, Himalayan black bear, dhole and many more wildlife attractions in the green landscapes of Corbett.
Canter Safari: One can call canter safari more as a ‘OPEN bus safari’ in common terms. It is another exciting and popular way to track Corbett trails. However, canter safari is allowed only at Dhikala Zone and is available only from 15th November to 15th June. If you are looking for a bus safari ride then you have to book it well in advance at the office of Corbett in Ramnagar only.
Similar to ways of exploration, Corbett features five distinct safari zones too, each with its own charm and wild allure. Let’s check them out.
Dhikala Zone: Blessed with enormous striking beauty, Dhikala Zone is the most popular safari zone at the park. It is nestled on the periphery of Patli Dun Valley and features the synchronic beauty of rippling Ramganga and a dense forest cover that provides home to various jungle creatures including the endangered Bengal tiger. Under its wide grasslands (Phulai chaur and Dhikala Chaur), tourists can easily spot elephants, chitals and deer as well as numerous bird species such as vulture, jungle fowl, kingfisher, dove, woodpecker, seagull and many more.
Dhikala Zone also features a historic lodging structure for those who want to stay within the park but there is no entry during the day in the zone and night stays are compulsory for everyone along with some other rules. This safari zone of the park opens from 15th November till 15th June only. Don’t miss Dhikala Watch Tower for some astounding views of the zone.
Jhirna Zone: Located 16 km away from Ramnagar, Jhirna Zone is a popular region to spot wild bear. The zone is opened throughout the year and is much drier in comparison to other zones of Corbett. Don’t take it as a surprise if you are greeted by the melodious chirpings of birds who mainly reside in the bamboo jungle of Jhirna Zone. Jeep safaris are the only mode to satisfy your expedition desires in this particular zone of the reserve.
Bijrani Zone: Situated just 1 km away from Ramnagar, tourists have to cross buffer zone (5km) to reach Bijrani Zone via Amadanda. The zone is a good area to sight monkeys, elephants, chitals, deer and tiger also. Along with them, if you want to catch a glimpse of different species of reptiles then also Bijrani Zone is a good choice to explore. Thanks to its green grassland escapes and dense Sal forest that provide home to numerous bird species. Jeeps and elephants are the best safari modes. Tourists can visit the zone from 01ST October to 30th June every year.
Durga Devi Zone: Drive 28km from Ramnagar to reach Durga Devi Zone, the breeding spot of masher fish. The zone is also known as Loha Chaur and is mainly known for its hilly landscapes. If you have the courage to explore deep inside the gorges and forest where no loco lag is possible then the zone is the right choice for you. It is common to catch herds of elephants engaging in their daily routines at Durga Devi Zone. Bird watching is the major leisure activity that tourists can enjoy in the zone. The active period is from 15th NOVEMBER till 15TH June every year.
Whatever safari mode you choose and whatever zone you prefer, you have to take the consent of Jim Corbett Park’s Directorate to enter any safari zone and to book safari in Corbett. As per safari timing is considered then it varies according to the zones.
Where to Stay in Corbett
When it comes to accommodation, there are multiple budget and luxury hotels available to stay within and around Corbett National Park in Uttarakhand. But if you especially want to stay within the enormity of wilderness then check out these forest lodges in Corbett and make your trip more mesmerizing and enthrall.
Dhikala Forest Lodge: As the name suggests, Dhikala Forest Lodge lies in Dhikala Zone and is a forest-department operated guest house. The lodge is around 30 km away from the entry gate Dhangarhi. There are 32 well-maintained rooms and 2 dormitories with 12 beds each.
Sarapduli: Another excellent rest house within Dhikala Zone, Sarapduli is placed on the flat terrain of southern shores of Ramganga River. Its ideal location on Dhangarhi-Dhikala track provides an advantage of spotting large animals including elephant and tiger.
Sultan: En route to Dhikala from Dhangarhi, Sultan is the first forest lodge that will welcome tourists. Its location in one of the best stretches of the reserve is the highpoint of this forest abode.
Gairal: A short off-beaten path from the main Dhangarhi-Dhikala road leads you to Gairal. The forest lodge is located on the entry point of Ramganga River in the park and that’s why features tranquil surroundings.
Khinnanauli: A new addition among the forest guesthouses in Corbett, Khinnanauli lies in the heart of tiger territory- Khinnanauli Chaur and provides easy access to every corner of the park.
Kanda: Encircled by rich Himalayan vegetation, Kanda forest lodge is situated in the northern region of Corbett. Its elevated location (1100 meters) offers panoramic views of the park and the river. Do take care of the bumpy and narrow path to Kanda rest house.
Malani: Lying in the core zone of Corbett, Malani rest house is 12km northwest of Bijrani. Journey to the rest house is full of beautiful mammal and birds’ sights.
Jhirna: Situated on the way to Kalagarh from Ramnagar, Jhirna rest house is located within the southern periphery of the park.
Loha chaur: Access Lohachaur forest lodge from Durga Devi Gate. It is a part of Sonanadi Wildlife Sanctuary and is situated in the northern part of the reserve, on the shores of river Mandal, a tributary of Ramganga.
Rathuadhab: A favourite place to stay if you want to capture the movements of elephants in your memories, Rathuadhab rest house is situated in the northern buffer area, on the covered path that connects Durga Devi and Vatanvasa.
Halduparao: Constructed around 100 years ago, it is another lodging option within Sonanadi Wildlife Sanctuary’s limitations. An easily accessible location between Sonanadi and Palain rivers make Halduparao well-known among visitors.
Best Time to Visit Corbett Park
Before starting your Spotting Tiger expedition at Corbett National Park it is good to know the best time to visit Corbett National Park. In comparison to several other protected areas around the country, Corbett Park has temperate climatic conditions with hot summers, heavy monsoon and cold winters. In summers, mercury usually touches 40 degree Celsius whereas in winters, it may vary in between 5 to 30 degree Celsius with bright sunny days and chilly nights. The rainy period starts from July and lasts up to September.
Though you can visit the park during any month of the year but winters are considered as the best time to explore the park along with animals sights as they come out from their hide outs to bask sun openly. For bird watchers too, winter is an ideal time. However, if you want to fill your Corbett memories with sights of roaming animals then summer is the ideal period to throng the park as most of the vegetation gets dry and it is quite easy to spot wildlife, including tiger. March is considered the best month to visit Corbett as the temperature is quite ideal for both tourists and park’s natives.
How to Reach Corbett National Park
Being a major tourist attraction of India and a jewel of Uttarakhand state, accessing the location of Corbett Reserve is not a difficult task now, irrespective of your preferred place. The nearest town Ramnagar is around 12 km while Ramnagar is located about 70 km away from Nainital. You can also reach Ramnagar via road from Dehradun, Haridwar, Ranikhet, New Delhi and Lucknow.
But if you are traveling straight to Corbett Tiger Reserve from New Delhi then it will be around 270 km while from Lucknow the distance is little far (400 km). Those are coming from Ranikhet will have to drive around 3 to 4 hours to reach the reserve.
Closest Airport: Delhi International Airport (295 km)
Nearby Railhead: Ramnagar Railway Station (12 km)
Do’s and Don’ts
Like other tour guides, this tour guide of Jim Corbett National Park is also not complete without knowing some useful and important tips that you must keep in mind during your tour period in the park.
- Do carry all the necessary permits along with you while heading to Corbett.
- Your habit of driving off track would disturb everyday activities of animals in the park and may also lead to damage of floral vegetation. So it is better to follow the known and guided roads and treks only.
- It is must to follow the sound guidelines to maintain the harmony of the reserve.
- Consumption of non-vegetarian food, smoking and alcohol drinking within the precincts of the park is a punishable offense.
- Do not carry any kind of arms like gun or pistol. Maintain a safe distance from the animals.
- It is good to wear less bright clothes, perfumes and deodorants as these things can distract animals.
- Do carry your cameras but never use flash while clicking any shot. Animals’ eyes are very sensitive and the flash light may cause some harm to them. So it is good to use only natural light.
- Do not feed, chase or throw objects on animals. Even don’t try to herd animals for a better picture.
- Littering the park is against the law and if found guilty then fine may be charged.