Corbett National Park is one of the finest wildlife sanctuaries in India and is also one of the popular travel destinations in Uttarakhand. It is an amazing experience to explore the oldest sanctuary in the country. Corbett Park can be accessed from Ramnagar in Uttarakhand. The sanctuary spans around 1288 square km and has Himalayan foothills to its north. Ramganga river cuts through the sanctuary and is a prime source of water for the wildlife.This sanctuary is the first designated tiger reserve of India.
If you would like to watch videos before reading the article, given below is a playlist of three wonderful videos on Corbett:
Attractions and Places to Visit
Personal vehicles aren’t allowed in the sanctuary. You can explore the sanctuary by a government-approved vehicle. The vehicles can be booked from Ramnagar reception center, your hotel can also help you do this. You can also opt for an elephant safari. Visitors are allowed in three zones: Dhikala, Jhirna, and Bijrani. Dhikala is the most scenic and ideal for spotting a big game.
For more information on safari: www.corbettonline.uk.gov.in
Tiger is the biggest attraction for the visitors to Corbett. As per a report by the Wildlife Institute of India, there are about 215 tigers in the sanctuary. But they remain elusive. There are various other animals in the park which includes sambar, barking deer, jackal, wild boar, elephants, spotted chital, and monkeys. Amongst birds you can spot crow pheasant, pied kingfisher, and crested serpent eagle.
Walking Safaris and Treks
Walking inside the park isn’t permitted, but you can always go for guided treks in the buffer zones. Exploring the jungles on foot is an amazing experience. For guides, you can check beforehand with your hotel or resort.
When you are in a sanctuary which is named after Jim Corbett, you would like to know more about him. This museum is housed in a bungalow where Jim Corbett used to spend his winters. Rest of the time he was to be found in his Nainital bungalow. The museum houses paintings depicting his life and maps showing the locations where he eliminated man-eating tigers. Avid fans of Jim Corbett would be aware of all these details, but would still like to see the winter retreat of the conservationist. The museum is situated at Kaladhungi, about 30 km from Ramnagar.
A blogger, Anuradha Shankar, has written a wonderful post about this museum. You can read it here: www.anushankarn.blogspot.in/2011/11/jim-corbett-museum.html
If you are a Corbett enthusiast or a proponent of eco-tourism, you’ll love this place. In fact, you should plan to stay here. A community called ‘Corbett Gram Vikas Samiti’ has been formed in a village called Chhoti Haldwani, situated close to the Corbett Museum. This community’s aim is to protect and present the heritage of Jim Corbett. They offer guide services, homestays, heritage walks, bird watching tours, and conduct folk dance and music programs. This place is ideal for explorers and curious travellers. You can visit their website for more information: www.corbettvillage.in.
This cascade of water, located in the middle of the forest, falls from a height of over 60 feet. It is a short drive away from Corbett Museum. The last stretch of 1 km has to be done on foot. Do keep enough water with you. Bathing under the fall isn’t allowed; so you will have to satisfy yourself by soaking in the nature and taking a few snaps.
Garjiya Devi Temple
This temple, dedicated to a Goddess, enjoys a picturesque location. It is situated on a hillock bang on the river bed of Kosi. Be prepared for a long queue to get into the temple, as it is a much-revered shrine of the region. There are a good number of steps to be climbed to reach the temple.
This river flows parallel to the Ramnagar-Ranikhet Road. Some of the resorts have this river flowing in the proximity. If you aren’t lucky enough to be close to it, do grab an opportunity to lounge around on its banks. Garjiya Devi Temple, situated right in the bed of the river, offers an easy access to its waters. Kosi almost dries up in summer but that doesn’t deter its beauty. The stones and pebbles in the bed surrounded by the forest have their own charm and you would surely feel enticed to spend some time there.
This ancient shrine is situated in the middle of the forest in the Sitabani Zone. This is a newly introduced zone and generally preferred by those who fail to get the permit for Corbett Park. You need a permit for this zone as well. In the temple, there is an idol of Sita with Lav and Kush in her lap. As per a legend, Sita lived here after having abandoned by Rama.
This barrage – also called Ramganga Dam – is constructed on Ramganga river. It is situated in the Kalagarh area in the south-western part of the sanctuary. Built in the mid-1970s, the construction of this barrage had submerged 80 sq. km of low-lying area. This place attracts many migratory waterfowls during winter.
How to reach Corbett?
By Road: Most of the hotels and resorts meant for Corbett Park are situated near Ramnagar which is 64 km west of Nainital. Dehradun, the state capital, is 230 km north of Ramnagar.
By Rail: The nearest railhead is at Ramnagar which has two daily trains connecting it with Delhi.
By Air: The nearest airport for Ramnagar is Pantnagar airport (82 km). Dehradun’s Jolly Grant Airport is 207 km.