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Jim Corbett National Park

Jim Corbett National Park, -Asia’s first national park, was initially called Hailey National Park after Lord Malcolm Hailey, the then Governor of the United Province. Since then, it has been renamed twice – once as Ramganga National Park and finally as Jim Corbett National Park to honour James Corbett, who helped set up the park.

Jim Corbett is one of Uttarakhand’s most renowned safari destinations. It is also home to the largest concentration of royal Bengal tigers. Based on the recent data, the tiger population is thriving. Jim Cobrbett’s other attractions include its lush forest landscape, Corbett waterfall, Corbett museum, and several Hindu temples within the park.

The‌ ‌History‌ ‌of‌ Jim Corbett National Park

  • 1869: The British forest department procured the forest land where Jim Corbett National Park stands today. After gaining control over it, the British prohibited cultivation and cattle rearing in the area.
  • 1879: The forest was declared a reserved forest with allowance for restricted tree-felling.
  • 1907: The British administration considered turning the forest into a game reserve, but it didn’t come through. It took them years to figure out the park boundaries.
  • 1936: Almost three decades later, Hailey National Park, Asia’s first national park, was established. The reserve covered 323.75 square kilometres of forest land. At this point hunting was still allowed in the park.
  • 1947-1955: After India gained its independence, the park was renamed Ramganga National Park after the river Ramganga.
  • 1956: After the death of Edward Jim Corbett, who helped set up the park, it was renamed as Jim Corbett National Park to honour his commitment to the conservation of wildlife. The same year all hunting within the park was banned. Even tree-felling was restricted to domestic purposes.
  • 1991: Jim Corbett Tiger Reserve was expanded by adding a buffer zone of 797.72 square kilometres to the park.

Wildlife in Jim Corbett National Park

The park’s 252 Bengal tigers are its premier attraction together with a good concentration of other wildlife such as 450-500 elephants and resident crocodiles.

Jim Corbett National Park is home to two crocodile species – gharial and mugger crocodile. Both can be spotted in the Dhikala zone of the park’s crocodile pool. Jim Corbett has over 400 crocodiles in the park, which significantly increases the chances of spotting a crocodile during a safari. The Burmese python is another species of reptile that is commonly seen in the park. Other reptile species include turtles, kraits, cobras, monitor lizards, and Russell’s viper.

Leopard, fishing cat, leopard cat, and jungle cat are the land predators present in the park. Jim Corbett has several deer species such as hog deer, sambar, chital, and barking deer.

With over 600 highly diverse bird species, Jim Corbett is a birding haven. This extensive list of birds includes both the park’s resident and migratory species. Peregrine falcon, steppe eagle, and booted hawk-eagle are the migratory birds of prey that can be spotted in the park between November to March.

Jim Corbett National Park Premier Attractions

  • Corbett Waterfall: The 66 feet high scenic waterfall is located near Jim Corbett National Park in Nainital. On a full moon, the waterfall looks almost mystical. Safari visitors have been known to camp near the waterfall. An ideal spot for bird watching, visitors to the falls have noticed how the sound of the waterfall perfectly complements the birds chirping in the vicinity.
  • River Rafting: River rafting on the speedy waters of the Kosi river is a thrilling adventure and one of the many activities offered by the park. Visitors can also go rappelling, angling and fishing on the river. July to September is a great time to go river rafting on the Kosi river.
  • Corbett Museum: James Edward Corbett has left behind quite a legacy: The Corbett Museum was originally a bungalow that belonged to Jim Corbett displaying many of his personal belongings, which includes letters, photographs, antiques and other The museum opens every day at 9 am and is closed to the public at 5 pm.

Temples in Jim Corbett National Park

  • Durga Mandir: This temple dedicated to the Hindu Goddess Durga is an architectural marvel that has been known to attract tourists since its inception. Its location within the dense forests adds to its appeal.
  • Garjiya Devi Temple: A temple dedicated to Garjiya Devi, one of the Goddess Parvati’s incarnations, is located atop a large rock in the middle of the Kosi river. Following the Hindu calendar, a large fair is held at the temple on Kartik Poornima.
  • Sitabani Temple: Dedicated to Hindu Goddess Sita, who lived in the Sitavani jungle when she was exiled, Sitabani Temple is also known for its stellar architecture.

When To visit Jim Corbett National Park

Winters in Jim Corbett are the most pleasant time to visit the park. Therefore, October to February is ideal for bird and tiger watching as well as spotting migratory species visiting the park.

While most of the park zones remain closed for the duration of the monsoon, the Jhirna zone remains open throughout the year. Planning a trip during the monsoons can help visitors avoid the crowds. As it is off-season, visiting the park may also be budget-friendly – both in terms of safari packages and accommodation. As we have already seen, it is also ideal for river rafting on the Kosi river. In summer, the Kosi river is very shallow, making rafting impossible.

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