Corbett National Park is the oldest national park in India and also holds the distinguishing factor of being Asia’s first national park. Established in 1936 and originally named Hailey National Park the primary goal of this park was to protect the endangered Royal Bengal Tiger. With the Ramganga river, forming an essential element of the forest, the Jim Corbett National Park is an ideal landscape for nature lovers, photography enthusiasts, travellers and every such individual who wants to behold the beauty of a place like this and experience all the adventures and treats it has got to offer.
Area – The park covers an area of 520 sq km. This is roughly the size of the city of Delhi. This includes hills, marshes, river belts, grasslands and many lakes. The flora and fauna found here is varied, beautiful and often endangered. Just to name a few animals – Royal Bengal tiger, leopards, sloth bears and Himalayan black bears, elephants, barking deer, sambar deer and cobra.
A little about the founder – Though Sir Malcolm Hailey is the brain behind Asia’s first national park the place itself is named after Jim Corbett. Corbett was a colonel in the British Army famed more for his prowess in hunting man eaters in the Kumaon region in India. The story goes that Corbett bought a camera which then made him very curious about the habitat of the tiger and the conservation of the species. He was extremely empathetic to the cause of the poor which is why he only hunted tigers if they were known to kill humans (at least that’s what we know) Corbett is famous for his authorship too.
How to Get Here – You can get here from Delhi, which is also the closest airport. The drive from Delhi is about 250 – 300kms. Ramnagar is the closest railway station as well as bus stop and is about 40 kms. Both the bus station and railway station are easy to get to from Delhi, Nainital, Dehradun and Ranikhet.
Plan Ahead – If you are planning a trip to Corbett you should make sure you have your accommodation and tours planned way in advance. The number of tourists coming here have seen a dramatic increase in recent years and upto 70,000 visitors are expected each season.
Things to Do – Visit the Corbett falls. Surrounded by lush green vegetation on all sides this fall is a hidden gem. Do not miss it. The Ramganga dam – a 3km/ 2mile upstream dam build for the purposes for irrigation and hydro-electricity supports life around this region. A trip to Dorothy’s seat is also recommended. At 7520ft this is one of the highest points in Nainital and probably the best scenic spot in Nainital. There are grand stretches of mountains as far as the eye can see and a lovely bird’s eye view of the Naini Lake below.
Spotting the Royal Bengal – even if you are unable to spot one of these elusive prowlers you can rest assured there are many of them in the forest. It is advisable to not go off the beaten track too often and stick to the roads – mud or tar. Never take shortcuts even if it reduces your walking distance and even if you are in the outskirts of the park.
Take a camera – This is probably one of the best places to be a photographer. No selfie stick required!
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