An orientation film on Corbett National Park, made in conjunction with Corbett National Park and Wildlife Institute of India, with support from the US Fish and Wildlife Service.
Welcome to the Wild – the land of roar, trumpet and song – Corbett National Park.
280 kilometers north east of New Delhi, and 300 km from the Uttarakhand capital Dehradun, lies what is perhaps India’s most spectacular national park and tiger reserve. Encompassing 1288 sq. km of the foothills of the Terai region, Corbett, in the Nainital and Pauri Garhwal districts of Uttarakhand was established in 1936 and is Asia’s first national park and India’s first tiger reserve. Home to a colossal variety of wildlife, it is a much sought after nature and eco-tourism destination.
Initially named Hailey National Park by the British, the park was rechristened after the fêted hunter turned naturalist, Edward James Corbett who immortalized the area through his famed books. As a tribute to his contribution, the Park Authorities have restored his modest house at Kaladhungi where he lived, as a museum where visitors can go back in to history through sepia toned photographs and other memorabilia of his.
The focal entry point of Corbett National Park is Dhangarhi. The Interpretation Centre at this gateway to the wild provides visitors an overview of the park, elucidating its diverse landscape that enables a myriad of wildlife to thrive in the terrain. The Kaladhungi Corbett Museum and the Dhangarhi Interpretation Centre are open throughout the year for visitors.
Corbett National Park, one of the first tiger reserves of India, provides a safe haven for the tiger. The Corbett Tiger Reserve and the adjoining forests also provide an ideal and contiguous habitat for Asiatic elephants in India that frequent the park’s grassland meadows, known as Chaurs and river valleys. The reserve has around 700 wild elephants that forage on the ample and diverse green cover of the protected area.
The lush chaurs of the park are the haunt of herds of deer that inhabit this reserve. Corbett Tiger Reserve is home to 4 species of deer that thrive in the park- the spotted deer or the Cheetal, the largest of the India cervid- the Sambar, the muntjac or the Barking deer, the Hog deer, and the largest Indian antelope – the Nilgai.
Flowing down from the Kumaon Himalaya, the perennial river Ramganga is undoubtedly the lifeline of Corbett. This pristine water body is crucial for the survival of several aquatic creatures like otters, mahaseer fish and the long snouted crocodile — the gharial.
Of the 1200+ species of birds recorded in the Indian sub-continent, Corbett is home to more than 550 that find an ideal home in the woodlands, grasslands and wetlands of Corbett. Out of the approximately 69 species of raptors found in India, as many as 50 can be seen in Corbett as also many species of owls.
Apart from tigers, leopards, elephants and birds, the verdant landscapes of the park support a large array of insects, butterflies and rare plants. Animals such as langurs, jackals, wild boar, goral, Kaleej Pheasant and Red Junglefowl are also part of this lush terrain. At dusk, the forest comes alive with creatures of the night such as porcupines, owls, civets and bats.
The rest houses in Sultan, Gairal, Sarpduli, Khinnanauli, Kanda, Jhirna and Bijrani are located in idyllic spots. Dhikala tourism zone, however, is the most well known destination in Corbett located at the edge of the broad Patli Dun valley, offering a spectacular view of the valley, with the Kanda ridge in the backdrop. Visitors can however experience an equally spectacular view of landscape and wildlife in the Bijrani, Dounda, Jhirna and Sonanadi tourism zones.
The best season to visit Corbett National Park is during winters, from mid – November till the onset of monsoons in mid-June. For a rich and rewarding experience of this spectacular protected area and for the well being of its flora and fauna and that of the visitors, it is advisable to follow the visitor guidelines provided by the park authorities.
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