An elephant safari into the grasslands and jungles searching for tiger or a herd of wild elephants is the highlight of any visit to Jim Corbett national park. The best way to see wildlife is on elephant back. An elephant safari allows travel deeper into the wilderness and to get very close to wildlife without scaring the animals away. Commonly observed wildlife includes the spotted deer, wild boars, sambar, barking deer, rhesus macaques, langur monkeys, peacocks and herds of wild elephants. Corbett is a paradise for birdwatcher's, containing over 580 different species of birds.
The primary purpose of the Corbett tiger reserve is to save the animals and plants of the Ramganga river valley, particularly the tiger and the fish eating gharial crocodile. The 2003 census of Corbett tiger reserve indicates that there are close to 150 tigers at Corbett tiger reserve, a spectacular increase since 1976, when 44 tiger were estimated to live inside the reserve. Both the muggar (Indian marsh crocodile, also known as mugger) and gharial, a species of fish-eating crocodile, are present in the park. It is estimated that 16 muggar and 4 gharials were present in the park during 1974. Numbers are increasing with the release of 250 young gharial reared in captivity between 1982 and 1994, and now that the muggar population breeds in the Ramganga reservoir. A 1997 census counted 283 gharials and 301 muggars at Corbett.
Corbett is famous for the richness and diversity of its wildlife which included over 50 species of mammals and over 580 species of birds. The national park is an important refuge for the tiger, Indian elephant, wild dog, leopard cat, Indian pangolin and hog deer. All of which were once common throughout the terai of Uttar Pradesh but are now rarely seen outside the park. The terai (moist land) is a belt of marshy jungle and grassland stretching between the foothills of the Himalayas and the Indian plains, a large part of the terai is in Nepal. Corbett's avifauna is particularly interesting because of the overlap between the plains and high altitudes. The Ramganga river is a source of attraction to many winter migrant birds. A number of high altitude birds also visit the national park during winter. With altitudes at Corbett ranging from 400 meters to 1,200 meters above sea level, there is a rich variety of habitats. Nearly 73% of the park is covered by dense moist deciduous forest with a predominance of sal trees, accompanied by haldu, pipal, rohini and mango trees. While 10% of the core area is composed of grasslands in the valleys, which offer visitors a better view of Corbett's wildlife.
Jim Corbett national park is located in the state of Uttaranchal (a new state, formed in 2000, from the northern part of Uttar Pradesh state), India. The park is part of the Corbett tiger reserve which lies in the foothills of the Himalayas within the districts of Nainital, Pauri Garhwal, Almora and Binjore. Corbett tiger reserve covers an area of about 1,300 sq. km including about 500 sq. km of core area and 800 sq. km of buffer area. The core area forms the Corbett national park while the buffer area contains the Sonanadi wildlife sanctuary and reserve forests. Corbett tiger reserve forms the catchment area of the Ramganga, a tributary of the river Ganga.
The park is the oldest national park on the Indian subcontinent, established in August 1936. It was originally called the Hailey national park after the then governor of United Province (Uttar Pradesh), Sir Malcolm Hailey. After independence, in 1947, the park was renamed the Ramganga national park. In 1957, the park was named the Jim Corbett national park in memory of the legendary hunter and conservationist, who was largely responsible for marking out the park boundaries and helped in setting up the park.
Dhikala in Corbett national park has the distinction of being the venue, during 1974, for the inauguration of Project Tiger, India's ambitious conservation program to save the tiger and its habitat. The creation of 9 tiger reserves, including Corbett, was announced. In 1972, India's tiger population had fallen to an all time low of 1,800. A 1993 census suggests that India's tiger population stands at 3,750. There are now 27 declared tiger reserves covering more than 37,700 sq km.
Every year 70,000 people visit Corbett national park from India and abroad. The park is only open from mid November to mid June because monsoon rains wash away the roads during the other times of year. It is only by November that the roads are repaired and can be used again. The headquarters of Corbett tiger reserve is at the town of Ramnagar. The major accommodation inside Corbett national park is located at Dhikala.
|Train No.||Train Name||Origin||Dep.Time||Destination||Arr.Time||Days Of Run|
|SNo||Station Name||Arrival Time||Dep. Time||Distance (km)|
|Entry fee valid for 2 nights||350 Rupees per person|
|Entry fee for each extra day||175 Rupees per person|
|Jeep Entry fee||100 Rupees|
|Movie Camera||5,000 Rupees|
|Nature Guide for Jeep for up to 4 hours||100 Rupees|
|Elephant safari at Dhikala lasting about 2 hours||100 Rupees per person|
|Dormitory accommodation at Dhikala||Rs 100 per night|
No public buses were running from Ramnagar to Dhikala when I visited so I had to make my own arrangements. There was a conducted bus trip from Ramnagar to Dhikala, leaving at 7am in the morning. But the prices for the bus trip was very high so no one was using the service. Much better value are the Jeeps for hire at Ramnagar. I met some follow travellers and we rented a Jeep for one full day for Rs 1200, the cost shared between us. The jeep drove us from Ramnagar to Dhikala and waited there overnight. The next morning the Jeep returned us back to Ramnagar. The Jeep driver had also promised to take us on an afternoon Jeep safari if we were unable to get an elephant safari. Fortunately, we did manage to go on an afternoon elephant ride. There were many Indian tourists at Dhikala so an elephant safari may not be possible on the first day of arrival at Dhikala.
Good Points about Corbett national park
Bad Points about Corbett national park