If you’re planning a holiday in the greenbelt of India, there are hundreds of parks competing for your dollars, but we suggest one that will not only be great value for money, but also ideal for creating “us time” for you and your beloved ones. Nestled in the foothills of Himalayas in the lyrically named Uttarakhand, is a wildlife paradise celebrated worldwide for tiger sightings in particular. Though in India, the park is known by a western name, viz. the Jim Corbett National Park, established 1936, and named after Jim Corbett, a great hunter turned conservationist.
A Tiger Reserve, the Jim Corbett Park has a nice historic ring to it. Originally known as Hailey National Park, it was established to save the Indian Tiger in particular, apart from several other wilds from extinction. Now of course, the tigers are roaring and rolling in fine health!
The oldest national park, Jim Corbett spans an area of 1,288 sq ft, and is located between Terai region and Himalayas, and covers the twin districts of Nainital and Pauri. The altitude here ranges from 400 to 1,200 meters above mean sea level. The park’s wet and dry grasslands, rugged mountains and plains and its 110 species of trees with shrubs, bamboos and creepers is ideal foil and fodder for most of the species of wild animals and birds.
Jim Corbett National Park’s Green Estate: A bewildering variety of flora and fauna, over 50 species of mammals, 530 species of birds, 25 reptile species, Sal trees across nearly 70 percent of the area accompanied by Pipal, Mango, Rohini and Haldu trees, and Elephant grass.
Park’s Main Residents : Tiger, Leopard, Elephant, Black Buck, Sambhar, Himalayan Black Bear, Indian Grey Mongoose, Ghoral, Cheetal, Wild Dog, Jackal, Monkey and Langur, and the famous Indian Python. Ramganga river which flows through the park is harbors crocodiles, otters and Mahaseer fish.
Birdwatcher’s paradise: Corbett National Park is home to almost half of the bird species found in India. Parakeets, Orioles, Bulbuls, Doves, Hornbills, Kingfishers, Cuckoos, Owls, Bee Eaters, Finches, Forktails and many other rare species of birds can be spotted here throughout the year.
Which is the best time to visit the park?
Regulars would say anytime (!) but the park remains closed from mid-July to October due to monsoons, which means November to June is your ticket to this heavenly green.
The recommended way to explore the wildlife and escape from the tourists is through safari rides – either on an elephant or on jeep. Just imagine sitting plump on the comfy and extra-large back of an elephant wading through dense forests, deep valleys, and rough terrain, and you get the picture. Rather than surround sound, tune into Nature’s very own jugalbandi and we guarantee you, you’ll get up and dance!
How to reach Jim Corbett National Park
Air: The nearest airport is Phoolbagh airport in Pantnagar, 50 km away from Jim Corbett National Park.
Rail/Road: Ramnagar is the nearest railway station, at a distance of 51km from the Corbett National Park. It is connected by trains from Delhi, Varanasi and Lucknow. The Ramnagar main bus stand is connected by buses from cities like Lucknow, Agra and Delhi. Ramnagar is 145 km from Lucknow, and 300 km from Delhi.
Jim Corbett Park’s biggest draw at is of course tiger sightings. Those tiger moments that stay in your memory for ever are quite simply priceless and beyond description. Our advice: Just say grrrrrrr to that and roar.
For tourist who like their holidays served with a dose of laziness, enjoy timeless afternoons lazing and laking around fishing in the park, in Mandal, Ramganga, Kosi, and Kothari rivers. Stacks are available on hire. Resorts also arrange all type of equipment for fishing and angling trips here.
Walking is not allowed in the park but you can go trekking in the forest reserves around the park. Wear comfortable trekking shoes and cloth’s natural earth colors. And keep shhhhhhh. Don’t disturb the animals in their backyard.
Distance from New Delhi: 270 km; Dehradun: 265 km.