Jim Corbett National Park is a forested wildlife sanctuary in northern India’s Uttarakhand State. Rich in flora and fauna, it’s known for its Bengal tigers. Animals, including tigers, leopards and wild elephants, roam the Dhikala zone. On the banks of the Ramganga Reservoir, the Sonanadi zone is home to elephants and leopards, along with hundreds of species of birds. At a distance of 4 km from Ramnagar Railway Station, 65 km from Nainital, 232 km from Dehradun, and 261 km from Delhi, Jim Corbett National Park is India’s oldest and most popular National Park situated in Nainital district of Uttarakhand. The Park acts as a protection zone for Bengal Tigers of India. It is one of the wellknown Uttarakhand tourist places and among the best places to visit near Delhi.
Corbett National Park was established in 1936 as Hailey National Park. After India’s independence the park was named as Ramganga National Park but later in 1956, it was renamed after Jim Corbett – the famous hunter turned conservationist and author, who played a major role in the establishment of the national park. The area came under Project Tiger in 1973. Spread over an area of about 520 sq. km, out of which 330 sq. km forms the core area. Owing to its location in the Himalayan low lands, many streams flow through the park, supporting the diverse vegetation. The altitude of this park ranges from 360 m to 1,040 m.
Corbett National Park is one of the best managed and protected areas in the country and attracts thousands of Indian and Foreign visitors each year. It is home to around 50 species of trees, 580 bird species and 25 reptile species. The park is also home to wide variety of wildlife including Tigers, Elephants, Chital, Sambar Deer, Nilgai, Gharial, King Cobra, Muntjac, Wild boar, Hedgehog, common Musk Shrew, Flying fox and Indian Pangolin.
In order to promote tourism in the region, Corbett National Park has been divided into 5 different zones, Bijrani, Dhikala, Jhirna, Durgadevi, and Dhela. Dhikala Ecotourism zone opens after monsoon on 15th November for day visit, while Durgadevi and Bijrani Zones open from 15th October onwards. Bijrani, Dhikala and Durgadevi zones are closed from June 15th onwards. Jhirna and Dhela remain open throughout the year for day visits.
Bijrani Zone is very popular tourist’s hub because of its abundant natural beauty and open grasslands. The entry gate of the zone is located at only 4 km from Ramnagar city. The probability of spotting a tiger in Bijrani Zone is high as compared to other zones of Jim Corbett National Park. It is easy to avail forest rest house accommodation at this zone. Jeep Safari and Elephant safari are available here for visitors.
Jhirna Zone is another important tourist zone in the park that is open for tourist throughout the year. Jhirna Gate is located at a distance of 15 km from Ramnagar city. Dhela Safari Zone is a new eco-tourism zone introduced in November 2014. This is the only area open to tourists in the Tiger Reserve’s buffer zone while the remaining are located in core zone of the park. This zone located at a distance of 15 km from Ramnagar City.
Dhikala Zone, the largest and most varied zone in Corbett, is famous for its abundant natural beauty as well as offering the best sight for exotic fauna. The entry gate is 20 km away from Ramnagar. Night stay inside the Dhikala Tourism Zone is highly recommended for wildlife enthusiasts. Durgadevi Zone is located on the north-eastern boundary of the Jim Corbett National Park and is the heaven for those who are fond of bird watching. Entry gate is located at an approximate distance of 30 km from Ramnagar.
Permits for day visits to these zones are available online on Park website. The Day Visit/Jungle Safari is done only with vehicles registered with the park administration as private vehicles are not allowed inside the park. It is always advisable to book safaris prior to arrival, especially during weekends as there are only 60 vehicles allowed inside the Corbett National Park at a time. Apart from Ramnagar, accommodation facilities are available in Dhikala, Sarpdhuli, Gairal, Sultan, Bijrani, Malani, Jhirna, Dhela, Halduparao, Kanda and Lohachaur in the Sonanadi Tourism Zone.
Ramnagar is the gateway to Corbett and the nearest airport is at Pantnagar, 82 km away while Delhi is the closest international airport which is 261 km away. Ramnagar railway station is the nearest railway station which is well connected by train with Moradabad, Chandigarh, Delhi, Haridwar, Mumbai, Howrah, Dehradun, Agra and Jaisalmer. Ramnagar can also be reached by bus from Nainital, Delhi, Haridwar, Dehradun and Chandigarh.
The best time to visit Corbett National Park is from November to June while peak seasons are December & May. The major areas of the park remain closed from Jul to Oct. However, the buffer zones Jhirna and Dhela are open throughout the year.