Jim Corbett National Park, which is a part of the larger Corbett Tiger Reserve, a Project Tiger Reserve lies in the Nainital district of Uttarakhand. The magical landscape of Corbett is well known and fabled for its tiger richness. Established in the year 1936 as Hailey National Park, Corbett has the glory of being India's oldest and most prestigious National Park. It is also being honored as the place where Project Tiger was first launched in 1973. This unique tiger territory is best known as the father who gave birth of the Project Tiger in India to protect the most endangered species and the Royal of India called Tigers.
Spans over an extent of 520 square kilometers, its whole area comprises of hills, marshy depressions, riverine belts, grasslands and large lake. It is among the few tiger reserves in India that allows overnight stays in the lap of the National Park. Nature watch and wildlife viewing in the park is done in an open four wheeler Jeep and on elephant back. Sheltering a healthy population of tigers and rare species like Otters and the endemic fish eating crocodile, the national park is one of the most sought after destinations for the wildlife buffs. Dhikala, situated at the border of the extensive Patil Dun valley, is the most popular destination in Corbett because of its superb location and sheer abundance of wildlife present.
If you love bird watching then Corbett is virtual haven for such tourists. Corbett and its adjoining area is a home to more than 650 species of residents and migratory birds. Particularly Dhikala is fine place to look for birds of prey, more than over 50 species of raptors alone shows the healthy biodiversity of the area. Their multiplex behavior is intriguing and their varied songs are very much pleasing to the ear. In a nutshell, this finest national park of India is well known for rich and varied wildlife including royal Bengal tiger, elephant, four to five species of deer and rich birdlife.
The Tourist Zones: In order to promote tourism in the region Corbett National Park has been divided into five different zones. These are the marked buffer or core area of the park where visitors can be part of wildlife safari and can enjoy the intriguing behavior of the animals with bare eyes at proximity.
Ramnagar is perhaps the best approach to the Corbett National Park which forms the headquarters of CTR. This small city is well connected by road and rail network with major cities of India like Delhi, Moradabad, Nainital and Bareilly. Once you reach Ramnagar, then it takes only half an hour to reach Corbett National Park. The park is around 15 Kms from Ramnagar railway station.
By Road: Ramnagar has a very good network of road that connects the different cities. The Corbett National Park is situated at an approximate surface distance of 260 Kilometer from India's national capital Delhi. The state government of Uttarakhand plies buses at a short interval of time from Delhi, Moradabad, Haldawani, and Nainital that reaches Corbett directly.
By Rail: The railway station in Ramnagar receives trains from different major cities of India like Delhi, Moradabad and Bareilly. A direct train to Ramnagar runs from Delhi. You can check out for Ranikhet Express, Corbett Link Express and Kathgodam Express that takes you directly to Ramnagar. Distance from Major Cities:
Jim Corbett National Park is the sole national park in India that offers night stay inside its Jungle. Dhikala forest lodge is a historic structure, have been built over a hundreds of year ago by Britishers. This old rest house is very much popular among tourists. It offers snug accommodation option with breathtaking vistas of flora and fauna. Though it is not very much luxury but the staying experience amidst jungle is something simply unforgettable. The tourism inside the park is run and managed by forest department.
Accommodation facilities are available in Dhikala, Sarpdhuli, Gairal, Sultan, Bijrani, Malani, Jhirna, Dhela, Halduparao, Kanda and Lohachaur in the Sonanadi Tourism Zone. All rooms are provided with double beds and with basic amenities. A twelve bed dormitory at Dhikala and an eight bed dormitory at Gairal are also available for the visitors intending to stay inside the forest.
Apart from Night Stay Accommodation facilities in the forest rest houses, Corbett Tiger Reserve also offers Day Visit/Jungle Safari facilities for the visiting tourist. This is a preferred way by many tourists to visit the park who cannot come for longer stays or wish to stay outside the park. The Day Visit/Jungle Safari is done 'only' with vehicles registered with the park administration as private vehicles are not allowed inside the park. Bookings for Day Visit/Jungle Safari can be done using this website.
The other mode to visit the picturesque park is via the 'Ramganga conducted tour' which takes the tourists to the Dhikala Zone for Day Visit in Canters (capacity of up to 16 adults). Every day two Canter rides are conducted in morning and two in the evening shifts.
Every tourist season, Dhikala Ecotourism zone open after monsoon on 15th of November for day visit (via Ramganga Conducted Tours), while Durga Devi and Bijrani Zone opens for day visits from 15th of October onwards. Jhirna and Dhela remain open throughout the year for day visits. The Bijrani ecotourism zone is famous among the tourists for its beautiful Sal forest and expansive grasslands. Elephant safari is conducted here for the willing visitors. The safaris are a great source of learning for the visitors about Indian Wildlife and conservation efforts.
Along with Bijrani, for the convenience of visitors and streamlining tourism management in Corbett Tiger Reserve, the reserve has been divided into six mutually exclusive tourism zones, each having separate gate for entry.