A Day at Corbett National Park, Uttarakhand – Part 1
Posted on: August 23, 2018.

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It was in October last year, that my friend asked me if I would be interested in accompanying him on a day’s visit to Corbett National Park, Uttarakhand. I readily consented, as a National Park visit would be any nature-lover’s dream, and the opportunity of a lifetime.

Apparently, one of his friends was going to try and vie for an online group reservation for six of us—in a tight window of time at the stroke of midnight—to stay at the Park, but only for a restricted period of one day from 16th – 17th December. Of the apparently hundreds of thousands of people across the country who would try, only a random twelve would be confirmed for a dormitory accommodation. He said that we’d wait and see if the booking goes through.

Fortunately, our group got a confirmed booking and I began to finalize my journey plans to New Delhi. I touched down safely in Indira Gandhi International Airport on 15th December, and my friend was there to welcome me. At the end of the day, we’d be taking the overnight train to Ramnagar in Uttarakhand, the railway station nearest to the Park.

Corbett National Park—divided into six ecotourism zones named Bijrani, Dhikala, Jhirna, Sonanadi, Durga Devi, and Dhela—attracts a large number of wildlife tourists. Our camp was at Dhikala. Visitors could take two four-hour safaris, one that leaves afternoon, and another early in the morning, that tours the Dhikala Zone, hoping spot the highly evasive Royal Bengal Tiger. However, as our luck would have it, all we managed to see was the majestic Asiatic Elephant, deer, stag, nilghai, and a few rare birds.

While the pictures I have put up below shall do the talking about the verdant natural beauty of the Park, I believe its history, outlined in brief below, would also be interesting…

The region, an eclectic mosaic of landscapes, is an undulating terrain crisscrossed by minor streams, rivers, ravines, small plateaus, and ridges, geographically located in a valley between the Lesser Himalaya on the north, and the Shivalik Range in the South.

The unique ecological significance of region was recognized in 1936 and consequently designated as a National Park—the first of its kind to be established in mainland Asia, and India oldest—named ‘Hailey National Park’, later renamed as ‘Corbett National Park’ after noted hunter-turned-conservationist of the area, James Edward Corbett.

Subsequently, the 521-square-kilometer national park area—along with the neighbouring Sonanadi Wildlife Sanctuary and Reserve Forest areas—became an aegis under the umbrella known as ‘Corbett Tiger Reserve’, when the Government of India launched an ambitious conservation project named “Project Tiger” in 1971.

Corbett Tiger Reserve (CTR) is a vivid cornucopia of habitats—wet and dry, plain and mountainous, gentle and rugged, forests and grasslands—that represent both Himalayan and Plains ecosystem, which support numerous plant and animal species, the Royal Bengal Tiger and the Asiatic Elephant being its most famous wild residents. Corbett, with over 550 species of avifauna (“birds”), is one of the richest bird regions of the country, declared an “Important Bird Area” (IBA) by Birdlife International.

…After the day at Corbett National Park, we proceeded from Ramnagar higher up to the city of Ranikhet for a view of the Himalayas…!

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