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Jim Corbett National Park

Lying on the foothills of the Himalayas and sharing the giant mountain's geographic and ecological characteristic, Jim Corbett National park is one of India's first wildlife reserves. It is located in Uttarakhand annexing the Nainital,Pauri Garwhal and Bijnore districts of Uttaranchal.

An ecotourism destination, the Jim Corbett Wildlife Park contains around 488 different species of plants and a wide variety of fauna. The park is home to the most prestigious and extinct Royal Bengal Tigers, One-horned Rhinoceros, Spotted Deer, Wild Boars, Sambar, Barking Deers, Rhesus Macaques, Langur Monkeys, Leopards, Peacocks, King Cobra, Muntjac, Flying Fox, Indian Pangolin, fish eating Gharial Crocodile, Muggers (Indian Marsh Crocodiles) and herds of Wild Elephants. Moreover, the variety of bird species extending beyond 500 makes the wild reserve a birdwatcher's paradise.

History and Geography

Established in 1936 as the Hailey National Park,Jim CorbettNational Park is the first wildlife reserve of India. Initially called the Ramganga National Park, it was rechristened as Jim Corbett National Park in 1956 in memory of the hunter turned conservationist Jim Corbett who played a crucial role in its establishment.

The reserve spreads across 1318.54 sq. km. including 520 sq. km of core area and 797.72 sq. km of buffer area. Jim Corbett National Park is located in the core area and the buffer accommodates reserve forests and the Sonanadi Wildlife Sanctuary. The wildlife reserve is well known for its terai (moist land) - a combination of marshy jungle and grassland that stretches between the foothills of the Himalayas and the Indian plains.

More than 70% of the forest is surrounded by dense moist deciduous forest with mostly sal trees, accompanied by haldu, pipal, rohini and mango trees. The rest comprises grasslands that offer a wonderful view of the Jim Corbett National Park.

Corbett boasts of overlapping plains and high altitude. The altitudes at the wild reserve vary between 400m to 1,200 m above sea level and the highest point of Corbett's is the Kanda Ridge that lies at an altitude of 1043m.

The park ends at the Shivalik region of the outer Himalayas, the catchment area of Ramganga, a tributary of the river Ganges. Dammed at Kalagarh, the southwestern end of the reserve, Ramganga adds incredible beauty to the reserve by attracting number of winter migrant birds. Flowing through the heart of the reserve, Ramganga is stocked with mighty Mahseer, Indian Trout, Goonch and is popular with anglers.

Wildlife Safaris

Jim Corbett is a treat to any visitor since all kinds of safaris are conducted to enjoy the flora and fauna. Listed below are few safaris offered in the Jim Corbett National Park. The timing for each safari varies depending on the season.

Jeep Safari: Considered as the best and secured way of trailing the forest, Jeep safari enables visitors to enjoy the entire stretch of the reserve in a stipulated period. Usually a 6- seater gypsy with an expert driver and a nature guide is arranged. Nature guides are compulsory since they help you spot the wildlife and make sure that you are not lost on your way inside the forest. Jeep safaris are generally done via three entry gates namely Jirna Gate (Open round the year), Bijrani Gate (open between 1 October and 30 June) and Dhangari Gate (open between 16 Nov and 15 June).

Elephant Safari: If you are a nature lover and prefer not to disturb the wildlife with the roaring sounds of jeep and car, then the elephant safari is for you. An elephant safari in Corbett takes you through the periphery of the tiger reserves covering thick forests, deep valleys and rugged trails. Also, explore the forest rest house in proximity, built during the British Raj.

Fishing Safari: Enjoy sustainable angling at the Ramganga, that flows from the East to West of the reserve. For natural conservation, intensive fishing is denied and angling is restricted to certain buffer areas permitted by the Forest Department. Ramganga is rich in Mahseer, a fresh water scaly fish that can attain huge size and is considered the best sport fish in the world. Mahseers are very rare and experts have identified about six species in India including the Golden or Himalayan Mahseer (tor putitora), silver and black mahseer. Goonch, the fresh water scavenger is also found in the Ramganga River. The best time to angle the big Mahseer is after its breeding.

Bird Safari: The Jim Corbett National Park has more than 500 species of birds including the Hornbill, Barbets and Woodpeckers.

Nature Walk: One of the best ecotourism sites of India, Jim Corbett national park is rich in all natural resources. Naturalists who unveil the wonders of nature accompany you on these walks. The trail stretches along the banks of the river Kosi with simple paths between healing herbs and picturesque plains and terrains filled with greeneries.

Jim Corbett Resort

Plenty of hotels and resorts are found within the vicinity of this wildlife reserve. Corbett consists of five tourism zones - Dhikala, Jhirna, Bijrani, Sonanadi and Domunda. Each zone has separate entry gate and a handful of rest houses. Located in the tiger reserve, Corbett Hideaway resort lies in the middle of the think mango grove and is very close to the Ramganga River. Apart from mango trees, one can also spot bountiful jackfruit tree and variegated bamboos including sacaram, bushes of hibiscus, rainflower, gandharaja, ticoma, raat ki rani and haemilia, azalea aplenty, guava trees around the resort.

Dhikala Zone: The zone stretches between the broad PatilDun Valley and the Ramganga River and covers areas like Sarapduli, Sultan, Gairal, Khinnanauli and Kanda. Kanda has the highest rest house in the reserve at an altitude of 1100m that provides a panoramic view of the Corbett's.

Bijrani Zone: This zone includes Bijrani and the Malani, one of the picturesque resorts of the reserve. Bijrani was once the shooting block of British who ruled India. It is believed that they had a wonderful hunting game at this spot. Compared to Dhikala, Bijrani is drier and is diverse in vegetation.

Jhirna Zone: The rest house lies on a drier and scrubby vegetation area surrounding Shivalik landscape. The north side of the resort is covered with dense bamboo patches and is home to a variety of habitats including tiger, leopard, deer, sloth bear and wild bear.

Sonanadi Wildlife Sanctuary: The zone covers Lohachaur, Rathuadhab and Halduparao. Both Rathuadhab and Halduparao are rich in elephants.

Time to Visit

The best time to visit Jim Corbett National Park is from November 15 to June 15. The wildlife reserve remains closed between June 16 and November 14 due to monsoon that floods the riverbed and cuts the fragile road link. Jim Corbett reserve has two entries from the city. The closest is the one that lie 1-m from central Ramnagar on the road to Bijrani camp. This gate is ideal for day trips. The Dhangarhi Gate is located 18 kms from the highway Ranikhet that provides access to the northern and northwestern portion of the JimCorbett National Park covering the Ramganga River.

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Jim Corbett National Park
Jim Corbett National Park