Jim Corbett National Park and the Corbett Tiger Reserve (CTR) is India’s oldest national park and Asia’s first national Park which was found in 1936 and was known as Hailey National Park. The idea of first building such a park was commissioned under the rule of Sir Malcolm Hailey, the then Governor of the United Provinces. The project was majorly looked after by the legendary tiger hunter Jim Corbett who claimed to know the area well. The national park was renamed as Corbett national Park in 1955-56 to honor Jim Corbett who played a significant role in the formation and conservation of the national park. He is also famous as the author of The Man-Eaters of Kumaon where he recorded his experience at the park.
Jim Corbett National Park has five zones – Bijrani, Durgadevi, Dhikala, Sitabani, and Jhirna. The mark is open to visitors from min-November to mid-June; however, Jhirna is open all year. The most famous of all five zones is Dhikala as it is located deep inside the forest and is the park’s designated core area which means it has the highest number of animals in the area.
Though tiger spotting takes a lot of patience (many days in the forest) and luck, the best time to actually spot them is from April till the park closes. This is the time when the forest cover is lower and the animals have to come out in the open in search for water.
Apart from tigers, other animals that can be seen within the national park include wild elephants – around 300 of them live in the reserve, rhesus macaques, several kinds of deer such as spotted deer, barking deer, hog deer, and sambar, sloth bears, peacocks, leopards, crocodiles, wild boars, and jackals.
The Ramganga Reservoir at the Jim Corbett National Park is well-known for the different varieties of migratory birds that can be seen inhabiting the area, especially in the months of December till the end of March. Claims of spotting around 600 various species have been made.
If you are interested in knowing about the life of Jim Corbett, the man behind the national park, you can visit his former house in Kaladhungi, which is now a museum. (Entry-INR50, 08:00 A.M. to 05:00 P.M.)
The main reception center of the park is situated in Ramnagar opposite the Ramnagar bus station. Contact here to know about tours, tariffs, and bookings.
Try to book in advance and remember to book your permits as soon as your reservations are done as permits tend to be sold on first-come-first-serve basis. If you plan to stay at Dhikala Forest Lodge within Dhikala zone, book 60 days in advance. Check the Dhikala Firest Lodge section on the Corbett National Park’s website. You can also book safaris here or find more about your options. Note that, individual permits are issued for each zone and one permit can’t be used for another zone. If you wish to explore more than one region, mention it at the time of applying for the permit. Also, only 180 vehicles are allowed inside the park in a given day.
Remember to carry binoculars or rent one at park gates. Carry mosquito repellent and water.
For more information, visit the website of Corbett National Park.
Jim Corbett National Park is located in Nainital, a district in Uttarakhand. The best approach to the national park is via Ramnagar. Also, most bookings and permits are available at Ramnagar. Ramnagar is connected to all the major nearby cities by road and rail.
There are state government buses operating from the cities of Delhi, Haldwani, and Nainital which take you to Corbett directly.
Alternatively, you can get a train reservation to Ramnagar railway station from Delhi, Dehradun, and Lucknow. Jim Corbett National park is only 15 km from Ramnagar Railway Station