Set on the lap of the Lesser Himalaya in the state of Uttarakhand, the Jim Corbett National Park brings forth a panoptic territory of sheen and sheer landscape layered with a wide range of flora and cut across by the Ramganga River. Within the dense wood you can feel the intensity of the warm breath and a shiver shoots through your senses when you encounter a tiger passing by. The Jim Corbett National Park, formerly known as the Hailey National Park and established in the year 1936, is a renowned tiger reserve in India. Just before the launch of Project Tiger in the year 1974, the park comprised an area stretching approximately 324 square kilometers. Thereafter several measures were undertaken to expand the territory to protect the forest from excessive poaching and deforestation. Today the Jim Corbett National Park covers an area of 1318.54 square kilometers, of which 520 square kilometers is core area and 797.72 square kilometers is buffer area.
Just after taking over the land from the Raja of Tehri Garhwal, the British introduced several measures to protect the forest resources and established control over the land, prohibiting cultivation and grazing of live stock. After converting it to a reserve forest in the late 19th century, proposals were carried out to start a national park in the soil. In the year 1930, actions taken by Sir Jim Corbett that led to the establishment of Asia’s first national park, the Hailey National Park, in the year 1936, which was renamed to Corbett National Park in the year 1956. Further, the process for demarcation started after the launch of Project Tiger in the year 1974. Since 1991 the Jim Corbett National Park has a core area of 520 square kilometers and a buffer area of 797.72 square kilometers.
Secluded within the Lesser Himalaya in the north and the Shivalik in the south the Jim Corbett National Park protects several species of natural habitats, which includes animals, plants, insects, birds and fishes. Furthermore parts having an undulated landscape offer short treks that allow you to delve into the wilderness and form a bond with nature. Covering the entire buffer area, the Corbett National Park is divided into 5 safari zones that include Dhikala, Jhirna, Bijrani, Sonanadi and Domunda.
The refreshing jungle safari takes you to the dense interiors of Corbett National Park and steers you to explore and get acquainted with a wide range of plant species, which includes a rich verdure in the midst of moist deciduous and Himalayan subtropical pine forests. Amongst the plant species Sal, Jamun, Sissoor, Khir, Chir Pine, Date Palm, Kanju, Aamla, Bel, Kusum, Mahua, Bakli, Teak, Eucalyptus, Silver Oak and Bottlebrush are easily spotted. The park is also dominated by vast bamboo forest that confines several flowering trees like Kachnaar, Semal, Dhak, Madaar and Amaltas.
The park is an abode to Bengal tigers, which are rarely sighted due to the abundance of camouflage in the reserve. The park is also home to leopards, many types of small cats, deer and bear, Indian grey mongoose, otters, langurs and other mammals. Reptiles like the Indian python and crocodiles are also found. Further one who has a sniffing nose may also sight a variety of insects. Varied species of migratory birds and Fish Eagle, Cinereous Vulture, Pallas’s Fish Eagle, Tawny Fish and Spot-bellied Eagle Owl, Great Slaty Woodpecker, Ibisbill, Wallcreeper, Hodgson’s Bushchat, Bright-headed Cisticola, Rosy Minivet, White-tailed Rubythroat are some of the other species that are regularly seen in and around the park.
The Jim Corbett National Park not only invites global tourists for wildlife safaris but also bustles their getaway with activities like fishing in the Ramganga River and hiking opportunities through the undulated terrain. Many exotic fishes are also found here, with the Golden Mahseer being the most celebrated one; it is a large freshwater river fish belonging to the carp family. Other important species of fish include are Corbett are Goonch, Indian trout and Rohu.
The park hosts two types of jungle safaris, Jeep Safaris and Canter Safaris. Bijrani, Jhirna, Sonanadi and Domunda come within the Jeep Safari Zone whereas the Canter Safari Zone only covers Dhikala Zone. The Jeep Safari Zones are open to travellers from 15th of October whereas the Canter Zone is open from 15th of November. Most of the areas within the park are closed from 30th of June to 14th of October.
During the peak season, in the course of winter and spring seasons, from October to March, the morning safari starts from 6 and the afternoon safari starts from 1:30. From April to June, the timings are 5:45 am and 2:30 pm. Only for the Dhikala Zone, the afternoon safari begins from 11:30 from November to March, while for the April to June period the afternoon safari is scheduled from 12:30.
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