Total Coverage Area:
Established in: 1936 as a National Park
Originally Names As: Hailey National Park
Renamed As: Corbett National Park In 1957
Declared As: A Tiger Reserve In 1973
Corbett National Park
Duration: 8 Nights
/ 9 Days
Destinations Covered: Delhi " Corbett National Park " Lohachor "
Ratwadhap " Haldupura " Corbett National Park " Delhi
Corbett National Park is India’s first
National Park. The Park was established in August 8, 1936, and named
after the Governor of the United Provinces, Sir Malcolm Hailey, as
Hailey National Park. In 1952, the Park’s name was changed to Ramganga
National Park. In 1957, the Park was renamed yet again, this time after
Jim Corbett, the famed hunter-author-photographer-naturalist. Jim
Corbett is famous for his exploits in the jungles of Nainital and Kumaon,
where he shot many man-eaters. The Man-eaters of Kumaon, The Temple
Tiger and The Man-eating Leopard of Rudraprayag are a few of Jim
Corbett’s famous books. On the road to Nainital from the Park is Jim
Corbett’s home, now a museum.
Situated in the north of Uttar Pradesh, in Nainital and Garhwal
districts, Corbett National Park was the venue from where Project Tiger
was launched on April 1, 1973. Project Tiger aimed at saving the tiger
from extinction because a census in 1970 revealed that the tiger
population had dwindled to 2,000, from 40,000 in 1913.
The Park is situated in the Himalayan foothills, amidst forested
mountains that range from 400m (1,312ft) to 1,210m (3,970ft) in height.
Through most of the Park flows the Ramganga River, on the banks of which
lived a community in ancient times. It is believed that these people
cleared away a tiny part of the forest, and made the area their home.
Evidence in the form of terracotta figurines and ruined temples further
corroborate the fact that the Ramganga valley was the home of an ancient
The best places to stay within the Park are
at Dhikala, Gairal and Bijrani. However, Dhikala is rather crowded with
tourists. It is advisable to stay in Gairal, which is quiet and offers
excellent sightings. A notice at Gairal (“Survivors will be prosecuted”)
warns against swimming in the Ramganga because of gharials (a species of
crocodile) that can kill human beings. Ramnagar, the headquarters of
Project Tiger, is also a good place to stay. Jeeps can be hired from
here for safaris into the Park, and accommodation is better than at
Dhikala and Gairal.
Corbett National Park is rich in vegetation, with different kinds of
trees and shrubs. The lower reaches of the Park, where the land is flat
compared to the upper reaches, consists of tall and slender sal (Shorea
robusta) trees. Shisham (Dalbergia sissoo) and khair (Acacia katechu)
trees are found in the middle reaches, while the upper reaches of the
mountains are full of bakli (Anogeissus latifolia), chir (Pinus
roxburghii), gurail (Bauhinia racemosa) and bamboo trees. The Park is
dotted with lantana shrubs, a species that is a great cause for concern.
Imported years ago from America, the lantana shrub ensures that nothing
else grows near it. In the Park are 110 species of trees, 51 species of
shrubs, and over 33 species of bamboo and grass that are mostly found in
chowds, or meadows.
Corbett National Park has more than 50 species of mammals, 585 species
of birds and 25 species of reptiles, but the Park is known for its
elephants and leopards, not its tigers. Many kinds of deer, namely
chital (spotted deer), sambar (Indian stag), chinkara (Indian gazelle),
pada (hog deer) and muntjac (barking deer) abound in the Park. Tiger
sighting is rare, in spite of a lot of alarm calls from monkeys and
deer. Elephant herds comprising tuskers, females and calves are commonly
seen. However, an elephant herd with calves is perhaps the most
dangerous encounter in the wild, for elephants are very possessive of
their young and do not hesitate to charge at intruding human beings.
Leopard sighting is even rarer than that of the tiger, and these spotted
cats confine themselves to the higher reaches of the Park. Other feline
species found in the Park are leopard cats, jungle cats, the rare
fishing cat, and caracal, to name a few. Sloth bears, wild boars,
monkeys, dholes (wild dogs), jackals and ghorals (mountain goats) also
inhabit the Park.
The aquatic reptile population in the Park consists of mugger (Crocodylus
palustris) and gharial (Gavialis gangeticus) crocodiles, while Indian
rock pythons, Russell’s vipers, cobras, king cobras and common kraits
are some of the snakes found in the Park. Bird life includes parakeets,
flycatchers, babblers, cuckoos, robins, bulbuls, Indian and Great Pied
hornbills, warblers and finches, to name a few.
Elephant safaris can be arranged in Dhikala and Bijrani.
Jeep safaris are available from outside the Park as well as from Dhikala.
86km from Nainital.