Jim Corbett National Park – Corbett Tiger Reserve

Jim Corbett National Park – Corbett Tiger Reserve


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Corbett Tiger Reserve or Jim Corbett National Park first came to existence in the year 1936, initially named as “Hailey National Park” was the first national park established in India with breath taking landscapes and diverse wildlife like tigers (Royal Bengal Tigers), leopards, elephants, wide variety of birds. It was named Jim Corbett National in the honour of the legendary Hunter Jim Corbett.

Jim Corbett National Park was the first place to launch the ambitious “Project Tiger” which was first launched in the year 1973 at Corbett National Park, spanning more than 12881 Sq /kms, which actually spreads among three districts i.e. Pauri, Nainital and Almora quite a wide area. There are wide variety of birds, flora and fauna flourishing in the jungle/reserve i.e. approx. 450 to 550 species of variety of fauna and can be found.

Jim Corbett National Park Flora

With Ramganga River and also the river Kosi also flowing inside the park flows helps to serve as a significant water resources for the nearby area, Jim Corbett National Park has numerous peaks and plateaus serves as an ideal spot of various fauna and flora. Ranging from Bamboo plants to different types of shrubs can be found in Jim Corbett National Park. Prominent flora found in the national park are Sal trees, Chaurs (grasslands), Khair-Sissoo forests and much more. The river plants on other hand have its own distinctive hierarchy. There are more than 600 species of trees, shrubs, herbs, bamboos, grasses, climbers and ferns in the Jim Corbett National Park one would be surprised to find abundant curry leaves trees (popular spice used in many curries) in the flora of the forest as you go around the national park.

Jim Corbett National Park Fauna

One thing when we speak about fauna in Jim Corbett National Park, we find plenty of spotted deer’s (one of the most commonly found in the national park), Sambar Deer’s (one of the largest in the deer family) ,Barking Deer’s ( these deer’s bark when they trace the smell of a tiger its called a “CALL” in the animal kingdom which alerts all the other animals around), elephants (Asian elephant), buffalo, Indian monkeys and langur (i.e. black faced langur) and the Himalayan black bear and Predators like The Royal Bengal Tiger, Leopard, Jungle Cat, birds like tawny fish owl, parakeet, eagle, vulture {approx. around 500 to 600 species of avifauna (i.e. birds of a particular region)  have been found in the Jim Corbett National Park}, large no.of reptiles are also found like ghadials, Indian python can be found in the national park.

Zones:

Keeping in mind the safety of the animals and the visitors, the visitors are allowed to visit the jungle/Jim Corbett National Park’s buffer zone. It’s the only national park in India where a visitor is allowed to stay overnight in these buffer zones (i.e. in the forest rest houses (FRH)). For these FRH’s one has to book them in advance i.e. 45 days for Indian national & 90 days for a foreign national. These bookings are given on first come first serve basis. One can find the information and book them on Corbett Tiger Reserve (Note: the park is closed in the rainy season from June to November 15th, Expect for Jhirna Zone which is open all round the year). Since during the monsoon the roads in the park are completely washed away and are made again as the park reopens for the visitors, the park is closed completely during this time of the year.

The whole forest is divided into four zones i.e.  Dhikala, Bijrani, Jhirna and Durga Devi Zones.

Among the four zones Dhikala is the largest zone and the most sought-after zone among the visitors as it is wildly populated with Bengal tigers, Asian elephants, various varieties of deer’s, reptiles, vultures. The best time to visit is summer when the tall grass is all gone and the predators/animals are lured towards the remaining water areas to quench their thirst.

Safari:

Normally any visitors are allowed to visit through safari (registered gypsies with the park authorities) to all the zones expect for Dhikala Zone where Canter (16-Seater) is operated by the park authorities two times daily. All the safaris too all zones are two times in a day (i.e. morning 6.00 am and afternoon 3.00 pm) the timings change through the year as notified the park authorities. The difference between the canter and the jeep is the canter follows a strict prescribed route in the park (i.e. Dhikala zone) and the open jeep on the other hand is free to follow their route in the specified zone as per the guide and the driver. Each jeep can allow max 6 members excluding the driver and including the guide. Per vehicle it cost roughly Rs. 5000/- (all Charges inclusive)

Jeep Safari Corbett Tiger Reserve

One has to take permit from the park authorities as mentioned similar to the booking for FRH i.e. 45 days for Indian national & 90 days for a foreign national. These bookings are given on first come first serve basis. Please note as supreme court order only 30 jeep allowed in any zone at one time, so it all about planning oneself and getting the booking done well in advance. For further information please visit Corbett Tiger Reserve. Mostly the resort/hotel helps you to book these safaris as per availability, we were put at Corbett Wood Resort (near the Jhirna Gate) please click for in depth review.

Note: Please carry your ID’s for verification at the gate for entry, which are physically verified by the park authorities.

We booked 2 safaris (Open Jeep Safari) one in Bijrani Zone (Morning) and other one in Jhirna Zone (Evening).

These safaris take you through the natural beauty of the park, spotting the flora and fauna of the park and also gives us chance to spot the wild predators of the park (especially “The Royal Bengal Tiger”). It’s an amazing experience for anyone going through the pristine forest and witness the nature unfolding in front of you. Mind you ! we are among the jungle dwellers 😊…there might be chilling/ hair raising moments one can come across as we came across herd of elephants about to cross the road but stood still and took refuge in the vegetation just next out jeeps and we heard trumpet from one of the elephants, waiting in anxiety not knowing what might happen next. Its all worth the effort one should say. We also spotted a barking deer and a pug mark of the royal predator “Tiger”, which was a day old.

Apart from the above activities one can do other activities like camping, bird watching, nature photography, nature treks, river crossing and bathing also 😊 (i.e. in koshi river) and also one visit Gajria Temple (the local deity), Corbett water falls, Dhangarhi Museum and last not the least Corbett Museum (gives a glimpse of the legendary Jim Corbett) the once house of Jim Corbett is turned into a museum giving your chronologically events of his work and the list of man eaters he has hunted and his personal belongings like caps, guns,  letters and several other antique pieces. And also you can also find a small thrift shop in the premises, where you can buy souvenirs for yourself or anybody, which will be rightfully used for the upkeep of the house/museum and the park 😊..!  This falls on your way to Nainital in Kaladhungi.

How to Reach ??

  • By Air: If one is travelling by flight, Phoolbagh in Patnanagar and Delhi Airport will be the nearest airport to Jim Corbett National Park.
  • By Train: If you are coming / arriving from Delhi, visitors can board any trains between Delhi and Ramnagar, the nearest available train station. From Ramnagar it is only 30 to 40 minutes by road, one can reach by hiring a local taxi, which are abundant near the station. Trains from major cities come to or pass through Ramnagar.
  • By Road: Jim Corbett National Park/Corbett Tiger Reserve is well connected by roads from major cities like Delhi, Haridwar, Nainital and Dehradun. Please note the road from Haridwar is undergoing repair and they are laying new roads, one of the worst roads, for anybody to travel through those routes.
 To Summarise:
  • Please keep your valid entry permits ready for checking when you are entering the national park.
  • Government approved guide is a compulsion, they do provide one when you are booking the safari, it always safe to have one.
  • Please carry your Id’s as they are required at the entry of the safari and many places when you are on travel.
  • Please do listen to your guide and the driver, they are experienced and better judge of the situation when you are in the park.
  • Do not step out of the jeep when you are in national park, it’s an offence legally.
  • Keep your cameras and other equipment ready to shot, as we do not know when an opportunity would throw itself across.
  • Please do not try to offer any food to the animals, when on safari, it illegal and prohibited.
  • All the vehicles should leave the jungle after prescribed time both in the morning and evening, otherwise one has to pay fine as charged by the authorities.
  • Visitor vehicles are not allowed inside the jungle/park premises.

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