Jim Corbett National Park is the oldest national park in India and was established in 1936 as Hailey National Park to protect the endangered Bengal tiger. It is located in Nainital district of Uttarakhand and was named after Jim Corbett who played a key role in its establishment. The park was the first to come under the Project Tiger initiative.
The park has sub-Himalayan belt geographical and ecological characteristics. An ecotourism destination, it contains 488 different species of plants and a diverse variety of fauna. The increase in tourist activities, among other problems, continues to present a serious challenge to the park's ecological balance.
Corbett has been a haunt for tourists and wildlife lovers for a long time. Tourism activity is only allowed in selected areas of Corbett Tiger Reserve so that people get an opportunity to see its splendid landscape and the diverse wildlife. In recent years the number of people coming here has increased dramatically. Presently, every season more than 70,000 visitors come to the park.
Corbett National Park comprises 520.8 km2 (201.1 sq mi) area of hills, riverine belts, marshy depressions, grasslands and a large lake. The elevation ranges from 1,300 to 4,000 ft (400 to 1,220 m). Winter nights are cold but the days are bright and sunny. It rains from July to September.
Dense moist deciduous forest mainly consists of sal, haldu, peepal, rohini and mango trees. Forest covers almost 73% of the park, 10% of the area consists of grasslands. It houses around 110 tree species, 50 species of mammals, 580 bird species and 25 reptile species.
The Tourist Zones: In order to promote tourism in the region Yoga in Himalaya has been divided into five different zones. These are the marked buffer or core area of the park where visitors can be part of wildlife safari and can enjoy the intriguing behavior of the animals with bare eyes at proximity.
Bijrani Safari Zone : Bijrani Zone is very popular tourist's hub because of its abundant natural beauty and open grasslands. The entry gate of the zone is located at only 01 Km from Ramnagar city.
Jhirna Safari Zone : Jhirna is another important tourist zone in the Yoga in Himalaya that is open for tourist round the year. Jhirna Gate is located at 16 km from Ramnagar city.
Dhela Safari Zone : Dhela is a new eco tourism zone in National Corbett Park included in tiger reserve zone in November 2014. This is the only area in the reserve's buffer zone open to tourists in CTR. The zone is retaining the attention of large number of tourist because of its wealthy flora and fauna, open throughout the year, located at an approximate distance of 13 Km from Ramnagar City.
Dhikala Zone : Being the largest and most varied zone in Corbett, Dhikala is famous for its abundant natural beauty as well as offering the best sight for exotic fauna. The entry gate is 18 km away from Ramnagar city. Night stay inside the Dhikala Tourism Zone is highly recommended for the hard core wildlife enthusiasts.
Durga Devi Zone : Located on the north-eastern boundary of the National Corbett Park, Durga Devi zone is the heaven on planet earth for those who are fond of bird watching. Entry gate is located at an approximate distance of 36 km from Ramnagar city.
Sitabani Buffer Zone : Sitabani Zone doesn't fall under the Corbett Tiger Reserve area. If you are fond of serene ambiance of the natural beauty, must visit Sitabani area.
How to Reach Corbett
Ramnagar is perhaps the best approach to the Corbett National Park which forms the headquarters of CTR. This small city is well connected by road and rail network with major cities of India like Delhi, Moradabad, Nainital and Bareilly. Once you reach Ramnagar, then it takes only half an hour to reach Corbett National Park. The park is around 15 Kms from Ramnagar railway station.
By Road: Ramnagar has a very good network of road that connects the different cities. The Corbett National Park is situated at an approximate surface distance of 260 Kilometer from India's national capital Delhi. The state government of Uttarakhand plies buses at a short interval of time from Delhi, Moradabad, Haldawani, and Nainital that reaches Corbett directly.
By Rail: The railway station in Ramnagar receives trains from different major cities of India like Delhi, Moradabad and Bareilly. A direct train to Ramnagar runs from Delhi. You can check out for Ranikhet Express, Corbett Link Express and Kathgodam Express that takes you directly to Ramnagar.Distance from Major Cities:
- Delhi: Delhi - Moradabad - Kashipur - Ramnagar (260 Kms)
- Dehradun : Dehradun - Ramnagar (232 km)
- Nainital: Via Kaladhungi to Ramnagar (62 Kms)
- Lucknow: Lucknow - Bareilly - Kicha - Rudrapur - Kashipur - Ramnagar (436 km)
Dhikala Forest Lodge:
National Corbett Park is the sole national park in India that offers night stay inside its Jungle. Dhikala forest lodge is a historic structure, have been built over a hundreds of year ago by Britishers. This old rest house is very much popular among tourists. It offers snug accommodation option with breathtaking vistas of flora and fauna. Though it is not very much luxury but the staying experience amidst jungle is something simply unforgettable. The tourism inside the park is run and managed by forest department.