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CORBETT NATIONAL PARK

 

About Corbett National Park

The Corbett National Park just short of 300 km northeast of Delhi, cradled in the foothills of the Himalaya's in the state of Uttrakhand in the North India. It is India's first national park and also one of her finest.

This park has quite a history. Long ago, on the banks of the river Ramganga, there lived a flourishing community. Today, some evidence of their culture is found in fragments of terra-cotta and the remains of their temples along the river. This community lived by clearing some of the forest in the duns (valleys) and had to fight a constant battle to keep their farmlands free from the invading jungle.



The First in a Series:
 The 40 years following the arrival of the British in this area in 1820 were disastrous. Trees were felled mercilessly for timber and these virgin forests were devastated. It was a Major Ramsay who took the first real systematic measures which, in years to follow, were to restore the forests to their former health.

Cattle stations were removed, cultivation was stopped, a fire-fighting force was established and, most important, the removal of timber without a license was totally prohibited. Then in 1907, the possibility of creating a game sanctuary in this area was first mooted, but was rejected outright. Two forest officers, E.R. Stevens and his successor, E.A. Smythies, were to take up this cause again. However, it was only later, when Smythies was conservator that he consulted Major Jim Corbett who knew this area well, regarding the possible boundaries for a proposed national park.

During the 1930s, tiger shooting was in vogue and many a viceroy, governor-general and other dignitary visited this area - the famous terai and bhabar tracts of the then United Provinces - to bag their tigers from elephant-back and high machans in elaborate tamashas (entertainments): tiger shoots. However, it was through the efforts of other hunters, the true conservationists, who abhorred this form of sport and massacre, that Sir Malcolm Hailey, then Governor of the United Provinces, keenly accepted the recommendation that an area of 99.07 sq miles (256.59 sq km) be set aside for the park. Thus, on Aug. 8, 1936, the Hailey National Park, India's first, was established.

Tribute to an Enlightened Hunter: In 1952, a few years after India attained independence, the park's name was changed to Ramganga National Park, after the life-giving Ramganga river that flows through almost the whole length of it. In 1957, it was renamed once more, Corbett National Park, in honor and memory of the late Jim Corbett, the legendary, hunter-naturalist turned author and photographer who had helped in demarcating the park's boundaries and setting it up. it was in this area that he had shot the dreaded "maneaters," the notorious Kanda Maneater being one of them. His books on these thrilling, true-life adventures, The Maneaters of Kumaon and The Maneating Leopard of Rudraprayag, are perennial best-sellers, well-known all over the world.

The man who had influenced Jim Corbett most to hang up his guns and take to the camera was a forest officer, F. W. Champion, the pioneer of wildlife photography in India



In the late 1960's and the early 1970's, the world was hit by the awareness that the Indian tiger ( Panthera Tigers ) was on the brink of extinction and that of an estimates 40,ooo at the turn of the centaury. less than 2000 survived in the wild. A far reaching project was envisaged. Its philosophy was that, if the tiger and its habitat were totally protected in tiger reserves, then other species of fauna and flora too would flourish as nature would maintain her own balance. Thus, with the help of the World Wildlife Fund, Project Tiger was launched at Dhikala in the Corbett National Park on Apr. I, 1973. This National Park was one of the first tiger reserves along with seven others in the country; today, there are 15 such reserves. The tiger census for 1984 reveals that there are now 4005 tigers in India.

Topography :
The Corbett National Park or just "Corbett" as it is also popularly known is situated in the hilly districts of Pauri Garhwal and Nainital of the northern state of Uttar Pradesh. It lies between latitude 29 13' North and 29 35' North . and longitude 78 33' East and 78 46' East. The park comprises an area of 201 sq miles, (520.6 sq km). Of this, an area of 123.5 sq miles (320 sq km) is the core - the sanctum, where no kind of disturbance is permitted. There is a move to expand the park by another 425 sq miles (l100 sq km). After that an area of 116 sq miles (300 sq km) added to the northern area of the park. This expansion is keenly sought after by conservationists as it will link the park with other forests through corridor's. This is important to help the overflow of animals to level out, prevent inbreeding and ensure that viable gene pools are maintained.

The area in the Himalayan foothills in which the park is situated is known as the South Patlidun. In elevation the park ranges between 1312 feet (400 meters) at its lowest to 3970 feet (1210 meters) at its highest. Corbett is, in fact, a large valley with its long axis from east to west. Through this valley run three thickly forested ridge systems roughly parallel to one another and in the same direction. Small offshoots of these ridges run north to south and the valleys formed in between are known as sots. The ridge to the north forms the boundary of the park in that direction and Kanda, the highest point, with its magnificent panoramic view of the park is here.

Between the northern ridge and the median ridge which is the longest is the Ramganga river, which enters the park from the northeast, flows through the park into the reservoir and makes its exit at Kalagarh towards the southwest. The southern ridge is a bit lower and this area of the park is drier and is notable for its more deciduous type of vegetation and its own rugged' charm.

A topographic change of significance that took place in the park was the inundation of 16 sq miles (42 sq km) of prime habitat when almost a tenth of the park's area was lost to the waters of a multipurpose hydel dam at Kalagarh. This is the largest earthern dam in Asia and lies at the southwestern fringe of Corbett. The construction of the dam certainly was not in the best interest of the park. Conservationists had feared that the changes that would come with such a dam would bring about adverse effects but the changes by and large have been absorbed by the remarkable resilience of nature.

The waters first started to fill up in 1974. In 1976, when they had inundated a greater part of the reservoir, the elephant migration routes linking the park with the western and northwestern reserved forests were cut off. Not for long though. Those great, accomplished surveyors of gradients and trailblazers soon established other routes. There was a shift of animals from the affected areas to higher ground. There will also be changes that are less apparent at this stage and though some research has been done, much more is needed and is planned to study these changes in detail. The lake, besides just its scenic charm, has added to the park in a few ways. A large number of species of water birds, both migrants and others, have begun to frequent its waters, though mainly in winter. Crocodiles - both the long-snouted, fish-eating gharial (Gavialis gangeticus) and the mugger (Crocodylus palustris) have found new homes here and their numbers have increased. They can often be seen sunning themselves on the sand banks.

For anglers too the lake is a paradise. Sporting fish such as the mahseer (Barbus tor) and malee (Wallago allu), abound in the lake and in the river. The mahseer is a well-known fighting fish. Fishing with rod and line is allowed if a permit is first obtained. Fishing in the river, however, offers greater pleasure as well as good exercise to the sportsman who is called upon to pit his skill to outwit the mighty mahseer. The lake offers better fishing perhaps, but lacks the thrill and sport of the river.

Rich Variety:
Over 50 mammal, 580 bird and 25 reptile species have been list~d in Corbett. The insect life in itself is astounding and though not much work has been done in this respect even the layman will be amazed at its abundance, mainly after the monsoon.

Dhikala.
Pug marks are seen in abundance on the roadsides, paths and animal trails. It's by tracing these pug marks, which bear individual characteristics, that the estimated population, which has shown a marked increase from 40 in 1972 to 90 tigers in 1984, is known. 164 Tigers in 2009.

Leopards (Panthera pardus) are found in the hilly areas of the park. They do sometimes venture into the lower jungles but at much risk to themselves from tigers. There have been many cases of leopards being killed and eaten by tigers. The leopard is, however, a great survivor and can sustain itself on even small birds and rodents. The lesser cats such as the leopard cat (Fe/is bengalensis horsfieldi), the jungle cat (Felis chaus), the rare fishing cat (Felis viverina) and some others are found here, but being nocturnal are rarely seen. The sloth bear (Melursus ursinus) is found in the Bijrani-Malani areas of the park. It can be seen on the roadsides in the early morning or late evening, busily demolishing termite mounds for the grubs, or in the mahwa (Madhura indica) trees, relishing the sweet sticky flowers, which ferment in the hot season and are intoxicating.



The Himalayan black bear (Selenarctos thibetanus) is seen in the higher hills towards Kanda but only rarely and that too in the cold winters.
The dhole (Cuon a/pinus), the wild dog, is also rare and seen in the southern areas of Corbett towards Bijrani. The jackal (Canis aureus) is commonly seen around all the campus areas. During the fawning season, jackals are most active and can be seen killing and carrying off newly dropped chital fawns.


The yellow-throated marten (Martes .f/avieula flavieula), the Himalayan palm civet (Paguma larvata grayi), the Indian gray mongoose (Herpestes dwardsi), the common otter (Lutra lutra montieola) and the blacknaped hare (Lepus nigrieo/lis rufieaudatus) are some of the smaller resident mammals. The porcupine (Hystrix indica) can also be seen at night near the garbage dumps of the campus at Dhikala.

Elephants (E/ephas maximus) are. one of the main attractions of Corbett
. The whole jungle belongs to them. It is possible to see a herd or even a lone tusker crossing the road. Corbett's elephants by and large are well behaved, but one must always remember that, "Elephants have the right of way." The park's elephant population varies from about 200 to 300 and more in summer, when the sub-herds amalgamate and form large herds.

Of the four species of deer that are found here are the chital (Axis axis), the wellknown spotted deer and considered one of the most beautiful in the world. This is one of the chief prey animals of the carnivora. A smaller cousin of the chital, the para (Axis porcinus) is found in the more open grassland and riverain areas. The sambar ( Cervus unicolor) is the largest Asiatic deer and is sought after by the larger adult tigers of the park. The kakkar (Muntiacus muntjak), also called the barking deer, is the smallest of the four. Nervous and shy, it warns the jungle's denizens of danger with its hoarse, dog-like bark.
The Goat-antelopes are represented by the ghoral (Nemorhaedus goral) in Corbett. Ghorals can be spotted on a drive up the hilly road to Kanda.

Wild boar (Sus serofa)
are found in the forests as well as in the grasslands, sometimes seen in sounders of 10 to 30 pigs. Even the tigers respect the large male boars. In encounters sometimes, tigers are known to have been killed by a large male wild boar. The Langur (Presby tis entellus) and the rhesus (Macaca mulatta) are well distributed throughout the park and also warn the jungle with their alarm calls, when they see either tiger or It';opard from their tree-top perches
.


 

HOW TO REACH CORBETT NATIONAL PARK
 

Corbett National Park By Air
Patanagar airport is the nearest airport to Corbett National Park. It is a domestic airport at a distance of nearly 50 km from Corbett National Park and a cab will charge about Rs 1000 for travel from airport to Corbett. Nearest International airport is New Delhi, which is about 260 km away and is well connected to most of the major foreign cities.

Corbett National Park By Bus
Corbett National Park bus station connects to all nearby cities by the public transport systems in Uttarakhand state. Deluxe and semi deluxe buses can be availed from Delhi to Corbett National park.

Corbett National Park By Train
Ramnagar railway station is the nearest railhead which is about 60 km away. The station is well connected to many major cities in India.


 

Jeep & Elephant Safari - Corbett National Park
 

Starting Date : 15th Nov to 15th June.
Rest of the Time Dhikala Gate is closed for the Visitors
The other gate Bizrani will open till 15 July and Jhirna gate thru out the year.

WINTER (Oct to Jan)
MORNING - 06 : 30 to 10 : 30 AM,
EVENING - 01 : 30 to 5 : 30 PM

SUMMER SAFARI TIMING (Feb to June)
MORNING - 06 : 00 to 10 :00 AM
EVENING - 02 : 30 to 06 : 30 PM


 

Safari Facilities - Corbett National National Park.

 

Park Safari by Jeep (Open)
Knowledgeable English Speaking Naturalist
Elephant Ride
Visit to Villages to experience local culture
Transfer facilities to and from Railway Station and Hotel
Transport Arrangements to any part of India by Ac / Non Ac Car / Coach.
Railway Ticketing
Accommodation Arrange at Hotel of your choice.
Assistance on arrival and departure