of the finest habitats of the tiger in India,
the Corbett National Park
nestles in the foothills of the Himalayas
in Uttaranchal, in the area known as South
Patlidun. With it's varied topography, diverse
flora and fauna and the natural splendour
of its landscapes, the Park is a precious
Established in 1936, this reserve was known
as the Hailey National Park. It was later
renamed after Jim Corbett
the famous hunter, author and pioneer conservationist
who helped set up this wildlife sanctuary.
At present, this national park encompasses
an area of about 520 sq. Kms whish includes,
the vast reservoir formed by the Kalagarh
dam across the river Ramganga. It is one
of the best manged protected areas in the
country and attracts thousand of visitors
each year. This area is also a tiger reserve
under the Project Tiger.
Park is a large valley with forested ridges running
through it. The magnificent Ramganga River winds
through its entire length in a south - south westerly
direction and numerous forest streams and rivulets
that flow into it carve up the area into little
ridges and ravines. Dense stands of sal and mixed
deciduous forests are found throughout the Park
while the 'chaurs' or the grasslands in the valleys
- about one -tenth of the core area, offer visitors
a better view of wildlife.
in the Park ranging from 400m to 1210
m there is a rich diversity in habitat. Animals
of the Himalayas and those of peninsular India can
both be seen here and over 50 mammal and 25 reptile
species have been recorded at Corbett.
Among the predators are the tiger, leopard, diverse
species of lesser cats and the dhole - the wild
dog. There are antelopes (nilgai and ghoral) varieties
of deer (hog deer, sambhar, chital or spotted deer
and barking deer), the primates (rhesus and langur)
and other animals like jackals, foxes, civets, wild
boar, sloth bear, black bear and a range of reptiles
including the cobra, python and two species of crocodile.
The rare fish eating,
long snouted gharial and the more robust mugger
can be seen basking along the sand banks and pools
of the Ramganga. The river which is also noted for
sporting fish, the mighty mahaseer and
the malee is popular with anglers.
is the home of 580 species
of birds including water fowl, 17 types of woodpecker,
raptors like the Pallas fishing eagle, harriers
and kites, peafowl, kalij pheasant, the rare chir
pheasant, red jungle fowl, minivets, shrikes, cuckoos,
drongos and barbets. A fine reservoir on the river
formed with the building of a dam at Kalagarh now
attracts diverse species of water birds - both local
and migratory. With its avian variety Corbett
is a marvellous location for bird watchers also.
With the Project Tiger launched in 1973,
for the total environmental protection
of this endangered species, Corbett
has seen an increase in the tiger population.
This nocturnal predator is not often spotted
during the day though its pugmarks are
commonly seen along the road sides and
forest trails. With a bit of luck, visitors
do occasionally catch a glimpse of this
majestic animal as they drive through
the park to the Dhikala complex. at the
heart of the core area is picturesquely
located at the edge of a grassy plateau
perched high above the Ramganga reservoir
and set into a bend in the river. The
grasslands of the Dhikala Chaur disappear
into the dense sal forests of the foothills.
This is a favourite viewing
area. The chaur and surrounding forests
support the highest density of tigers
in the country -
about one every 5 sq. Km. Splendid herds
of Chital, hog deer and elephants are also
to be seen here. There are viewing towers
as well as elephant rides for visitors -
morning and evening. This is perhaps the
best way to see wildlife for it is possible
to go deep into the park on elephants, to
get close to the animals in an unobtrusive
manner and to get a clear view of them.
Being the centre of tourist activity, a
range of accommodation is available at Dhikala,
including 3 room cabins ( with coolers or
air conditioners on request, and attached
baths ), forest rest houses, three bedded
huts, Swiss cottage tents and log hut dormitories.
Restaurants, a library, a field post office,
first aid centre, an open air theatre and
a provision store are some of the other
facilities available for visitors.
also offers a number of forest rest houses located
in picturesque spots around the park, isolated,
ideal for wildlife enthusiasts, photographers, anglers,
bird watchers - who wish to enjoy and feel the jungle.
Just 9 km. from
Ramnagar - where the Park headquarters is
located is the fine 6 room rest house at Bijrani.
A big chaur close by, where the deer collect at
night, is ideal for watching the animals and elephant
rides are available for visitors.
Along the route to Dhikala and soon after the entrance
gate at Dhangarhi is another charming two room rest
house at Sultan.