The Big Cats and Corbett
Ramganga valley in Himalayan foothills
Go there for :
1200 sq. km
8°-25°C (Win); 15°-38°C (Sum)
Best Sightings :
Park Closed :
mid June-mid Nov
STD Code :
+91 - 5947
Nestled in the foothills of the Kumaon Himalayas in Uttaranchal, and
just a stone throw away from the verdant summer-retreat Nainital is one of
the safest havens of Indian wildlife - the Corbett National Park. The
legendary hunter-naturalist turned author Jim Corbett spent the most
eventful chunk of his life here and two years after his death, the once
Hailey National Park, was rechristened in 1957. Other than frequent, but
sudden sighting of the Big Cats amongst its mammoth Sal trees, Corbett
National Park boasts of being the progenitor of the Project Tiger (1973) in
India - the magna carta of tiger conservation.
Buy one of the Jim Corbett novels from the book-stores at the resorts to
read during those frosty nights and feel your spine tingle at the thought of
a man eater lurking right outside your window. Incase, you are frightened,
please remember Jim Corbett's man eaters belong to the 1940s when this area
was "where man must walk timorously, in awe and with a strong sense of
his own insignificance".
Corbett is kneaded with about 110
species of tree, 50 species of mammal, 580 species of bird and 25 species of
reptile. Wildlife sightings are maximum between March and June. Between
September and November, the weather is good, but suitable only if you are
not keen on spotting wildlife. The lifeline of the Park is the sparkling
Ramganga river which provides safe harbor to mahaseer fish.
The terrain is just perfect for the majestic Big Cats (1 tiger in every 5
acres) and their victim, which including deer, wild boar and some
lesser-known animals. Starting from tigers, elephants, pangolins, leopards/
panthers, chital (spotted deer), fishing cats, Himalayan black bears,
jackals, dholes, jungle cats, civets, otters, martens, porcupines, sambar
deer, hares, leopard cats, wild boars, macaques, sloth bears, langurs,
mongooses, hog deer, blue bulls (Nilgais), ghorals and barking deer are some
of the species which are found here. Along the Ramganga River shoreline, one
can spot the gharial crocodile and the 'Mugger' crocodile eating fish.
A fine reservoir on the river formed with the building of a dam at Kalagarh
attracts diverse species of birds, both local and migratory. They include
the Great Hornbill, Jungle Owlet, Slaty-headed Parakeet, Himalayan Swiftlet,
Lesser Fish-Eagle and even Great Thick-knee, Stork-billed Kingfisher and
Situated in the rich farm belt of Terai, on the
southeastern fringes of the great forests, the main administrative center
Ramnagar makes a fine Angling base camp. Permits have to be sought from the
Project Tiger Office in Ramnagar for fishing expeditions in Ramganga, Kosi,
Mandal and Kothri rivers. The reserve forest around the Tiger Reserve is an
enticing trekking terrain.
Jeep Safari, Horse Safari, Bird Safari, Elephant Safari, Fishing
safari and the Nature walk - all can be enjoyed here. Opt for jeep safaris
that can converge more of the jungle in lesser time. Accompanied by guides
and mahouts who decipher the warning calls of the jungle well, your trip is
sure to be eventful. All visitors to Corbett National Park have to obtain
permits from the park administration center at Ramnagar. Bring binoculars,
remain quiet, and avoid wearing bright colors or strong perfumes.
The park has two main zones, the Bijrani range lies
near Ramnagar and is the smaller of the two. The other larger range is known
as Dhikala (entry through the Dhangari gate), where entry is permitted only
to those who have an overnight stay permit at one of the five forest rest
houses. Dhikala is 50 km NW of Ramnagar.
Some of the main entry gates to the park are Dhangari gate
(20 km from Ramnagar), Amdanda gate (2 km), Khara gate (20 km), Durgadevi
gate (30 km), Vatanvasa gate (40 km from Kotdwar) and Teria gate.
Approximate park charges: Entry Fee : Rs. 50 (Indians) &
Rs. 400 (foreigners, 450 for overnight), Vehicle Entry : Rs. 750/day (heavy
vehicles), Rs. 150/day (light) & Rs. 400/day (mini bus), Elephant Ride :
Rs. 150 (Indians) & Rs. 250 (foreigners), Guide : Rs. 125/day/vehicle
(Dhikala) & Rs. 100 (4 hr trip, Bijrani), Camera : Still free, Rs. 100
Reach half an hour before the entry gates open, to complete
the required formalities.
It gets quite chilly in winters, so it is best to stuff your
bags with loads of woolens.
(at Kaladhungi, 32 km): This once bungalow
of Jim Corbett houses some of his memorabilia that includes include personal
letters, photographs, period furniture and of course the feel of a raw
rendezvous of an Indian jungle through the eyes of Corbett. The Entry fee is
nominal. A stroll in the quiet lanes of Kaladhungi with the backdrop of
rolling hills of Kumaon and thick forests is recommended for instant
(105 km): A hill station and a summer retreat popular since
the days of the British. The very route from Corbett to Nainital is one of
the world's most spectacular mountain roads as one scales the Kumaon Hills
to reach this delightful "lake city" at 6,350 ft.
Hop next to: Delhi
Haridwar, Mussorie, Rishikesh