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Corbett National Park: Famous for wild population of tigers, leopards, elephants

June 03
21:05 2011

Located in the foothills of the Himalayas is the majestic Corbett National Park. Home to a variety of flora and fauna, it is famous for its wild population of tigers, leopards and elephants. Corbett National Park was established in 1936, as the Hailey National Park. India’s first national park and the first sanctuary to come under Project Tiger, Corbett supports a variety of vegetation making it the ideal habitat for the tiger and its prey.

Jim Corbett Wildlife National Park is a majestic place for nature and wildlife lovers. In this wildlife park you can choose the option of Elephant Safari or Jeep Safari. The park is situated on the bank of Ramganga River. Forests of Sal are very famous for this area. In this park thrive more than 600 birds, 50 mammals, and 25 reptiles. It is also very famous for elephants and tigers. More commonly seen wildlife includes the wild elephant, langur monkey (black face, long tail), rhesus macaque, peacock, and several type of deer including chital (spotted deer), sambars, hog deer and barking deer. There are also crocodiles, the odd-looking gavial or gharial, monitor lizards, wild boars and jackals. Leopards (referred to as panthers in India) are occasionally seen. The Jim Corbett Wildlife Sanctuary is also a bird-watcher’s paradise, and since the creation of the Kalagarah Dam on the Ramganga River, large number of waterfowl have been attracted here.

Once a popular hunting ground of the British, this 201 square mile park was named in honor of the late Jim Corbett, the legendary hunter-naturalist turned author and photographer who most of his years in this area had contributed in setting up the this park. With the help of the World Wildlife Fund, Project Tiger was launched in Corbett National Park in 1973 and it is one of the first such tiger reserves in the country.

Flora: The varied topography comprises hilly and riverine areas, temporary marshy depressions, plateaus and ravines. The lower areas are almost completely populated by Sal trees. In the Jim Corbett National Park are found 110 tree species.

Major Wildlife Attractions

Corbett is a haven for tigers as well as its prey, which include four kinds of deer, wild boar and some lesser-known animals. Leopards are mostly found in the hilly areas of the park. Some nocturnal cats found here are the leopard cat, jungle cat and fishing cat. Sloth bear is found in the lower regions of the park while the Himalayan black bear is seen in the higher hills only. The dole or wild dog can be seen in the southern areas of the park along with the Jackal.

Some of the smaller residents of the park are Himalayan Palm Civet, Indian Gray Mongoose, Common Otter, Blacknaped Hare and Porcupine. Elephants are among the main attractions of Jim Corbett Park. Along the Ramganga River shores, one can spot the long-snouted, fish-eating Gharial, Crocodile and the ‘Mugger’ Crocodile. Also seen on the rocky hillsides is the Ghoral or Goat Antelopes. The Langur and Rhesus Monkeys are well distributed through out the park and warning the whole Jungle with alarm calls when they see either a tiger or leopard from tree-top perches.

Other Attractions

Ramnagar: Situated in the rich farm belt of Terai, on the southeastern fringes of the great forests, the busy market town of Ramnagar is the main administrative centre for Corbett National Park and Project Tiger. Ramnagar makes a fishing base camp. At Lohachaur, 15-kms north along the River Kosi, good anglers are in with a chance of landing the legendary Mahseer, a redoubtable battling River Carp. Permits to have a go must be sought from the Project Tiger office in Ramnagar. Most resorts also arrange all inclusive fishing trips.

Wildlife Viewing: Chital, Sambar, and various other deer species find refuge in the Savannah grasslands known as the Maidan, behind the campsite to the south, tigers are occasionally drawn in looking for prey. Two hour elephant rides explore this sea of grass, rarely penetrating far into the deep jungles beyond. Try to convince your Mahout or elephant driver to venture in, as they can be quite magical. Come at dusk or dawn; in the heat of the day you probably won’t come across much more than deer among the tall grass. Tiger-sightings are few and far between, but you may be rewarded with fresh pug marks.

Jeep Safari in Corbett: Jeeps Safari, is the most convenient way to travel within Corbett National Park, and can be rented for the park trips from Ramnagar, from the KMVN Tourist Lodge and other travel agencies. One bus each day goes to Dikhala from Ramnagar, stopping at the Forest Rest houses en route. Banking and other important tourist facilities are available at Ramnagar and Lucknow.
Note: Bring binoculars, remain quiet, and don’t wear bright colors or strong perfumes.

Best Time to Visit: The best visiting season of Corbett is from November 15 to June 15. Corbett remains closed between June 16 and November 14, when the monsoons flood the river beds and cut the fragile road links.

How to get there
Air: Phoolbagh, Pantnagar at a distance of 50-kms is the nearest airport. Delhi at a distance of 300-kms 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. For faster trains and connections to other parts change at Moradabad.

Road: Dhikala is 300-kms from Delhi, 145-kms from Lucknow and 51-kms from Ramnagar. The route from Delhi spans Hapur-Murababad-Ramnagar. The turn off is some 7-kms beyond Muradabad to the left, marked by a small board. The route from Lucknow spans Bareilly–Kichha–Rudrapur–Doraha–Kashipur. Ramnagar is served by frequent buses to and from Nainital and Ranikhet, 112-kms north. Buses arrive every half hour or so after the eight hour trip from Delhi; Delhi Transport Corporation runs a semi deluxe service, and most of the alternatives are pretty basic.

Entry Inside The Corbett National Park: Visitors are advised to reach the gate half an hour in advance to complete the formalities for entry into the park.

Tourist Information Centers: All visitors to Corbett National Park have to obtain permits from the park administration centre at Ramnagar. The closest of the various gates into the Corbett National Park, 1-m from central Ramnagar, is on the road to Bijrani camp, 11-km away, a base for day trips. Dhangarhi Gate, 18-kms along the highway north to Ranikhet, provides access to the northern and north western portion of the Jim Corbett Park along the Ramnagar River valley, and to the main camp of Dhikala.

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