The sheer natural splendour of Corbett National Park sets it apart from most of the other reserve forests and wildlife sanctuaries, not only in India but across the world. Situated in the Nainital district of Uttarakhand, it is spread over an area of about 1300 square kms. of which about 500 square kms. comprise the core area and the rest is the buffer zone. Hills, river belts, wide expanse of grasslands, marshes and a number of lakes of different sizes traverse the picturesque landscape. The elevation ranging from 1300ft to 4000ft the forest cover is predominantly deciduous with sal, haldu, pipal, rohini and mango trees spreading over almost 75% of the park area. Incidentally, the Park happens to be an eco-tourism destination with almost 488 species of plants and a very interesting variety of fauna.
Established in 1936, Corbett National Park is the oldest national park in India.
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Called the Hailey National Park originally, the Park was renamed in 1957 in honour of Jim Corbett, the legendary hunter-turned-naturalist to recognise his contributions in setting it up. The Project Tiger was launched in Corbett National Park in 1973 as a conservation programme for saving the Indian Tiger population and this park was one of the first such tiger reserves in the country.
The main attraction of the Corbett National Park is of course the majestic Royal Bengal Tiger. The dense jungles, natural water-holes and the Ramganga river and an adequate prey-base make this reserve an ideal habitat for the tiger, which however is not very easily spotted.
Leopards and smaller felines like the jungle cat, fishing cat and the leopard cat are residents of this jungle but the cat family in general is very elusive. Other mammals include the deer family (barking deer, sambar, black buck and chital), the Sloth Bear and the Himalayan Black bears, mongooses,otters, goat-antelpoes, langurs and rhesus monkeys. Elephants may be seen either in herds or occasionally as the lone tuskar. Corbett is the bird-watchers paradise with a wide range of avian species. Corbett National park. Along the Ramganga River shores, can be spotted the long-snouted, Gharial Crocodile and the ‘Mugger’ Crocodile. The Corbett national Park had undertaken a breeding programme for crocodiles to prevent its extinction.
How to reach
Ramnagar town is the HQ for Corbett Tiger Reserve and any official work involving the forest office has to be completed here. There are direct trains to Ramnagar from Delhi, Varanasi and Lucknow. Ramnagar is also well connected by road to Lucknow, Nainital, Ranikhet, Haridwar, Dehradun and New Delhi (295 kms). From Ramnagar one has to arrange for transporttion to the Park itself.