The constant need to escape the hustle and bustle of the city, to go for a vacation in calm and serene surroundings, cannot be avoided. Tucked in Uttarakhand is Jim Corbett National Park, the natural haven on the surface of the Earth. Nestled between the Shivaliks and the Himalayas, this place has its charm and is a treasure for wildlife and nature enthusiasts.
The destination for exhilarating wildlife, jaded greenery, and grasslands, and innumerable varieties of flora and fauna, this place makes a spectacular landscape. It is one of the most visited national parks in the country, covering over 520 square kilometers. It is the house of the greatest number of wild tigers and a plethora of other species, some of which are endangered.
History of the park
Established in 1936, the park has gone through several name changes, starting from Hailey National Park to Ramganga in 1955 to Corbett in 1956. The park was previously a private property of the Tehri Garhwal princely state, and the Raja of Tehri later surrendered a part of the particular region to the East India Company to eliminate the Gurkhas from his domain. In 1860, the tribes of Boksas, who used to grow crops, were also eliminated by the British with the introduction of new rules.
In 1868, the process of park preservation began under the reign of the British Forest Department, and this prohibited cultivation activities. Cattle station operations were also carried out during this period under the rule of Major Ramsay, a British Officer.
In 1879, the forests were categorized into reserve forests, and later in the early 1900s, several British officers suggested the construction of a national park on these grounds. A game reserve, an idea of the British administration, was built in 1907.
Furthermore, in 1930, the process of demarcation began under the guidance of a British-Indian hunter, Jim Corbett, and later in 1936 a reserve park was established named Hailey National Park. This was Asia’s first national park, sprawling over approximately 325 square kilometers of area. After its development, strict rules and regulations against killing, hunting, and capturing of animals and birds were imposed.
During the Second World War, the park witnessed excessive poaching and timber cutting; however, in 1991, the area was enlisted as a buffer zone to the Kalagarh Tiger Reserve. Later in 1974, this park was chosen as the launching site for a wildlife conservation project called the Project Tiger.
At present, Jim Corbett National Park’s headquarters are situated in Nainital from where all its activities are administered. The Jim Corbett National Park in Uttarakhand is not only rich in wildlife, fauna, and flora, but also history.
Activities to engage in when visiting Jim Corbett
Besides the wildlife and the lush green areas, there is a lot for you to enjoy in Jim Corbett National Park. There are many recreational, adventurous, and exciting activities for you to enjoy in and around the National Park. Some of these enthralling and thrilling activities are,
1. Jungle Safari
One of the most popular activities that are also an excellent way of exploring the park is a Jungle Safari. You could choose between a jeep or a canter safari option and traverse the wilderness of the park. Earlier, elephant safari was also an option, but that has been banned recently.
Five zones are segregated according to the safari, namely,
A. Bijrani zone
B. Dhikala zone
C. Durgadevi zone
D. Jhirna zone
E. Dhela zone
2. River Rafting
This exciting water sport is a must-have experience when visiting Jim Corbett. One can enjoy this activity in the River Kosi that offers just the spine-tingling, sensational feeling. The best time to enjoy river rafting is from July to September, during the monsoon season. However, in case of heavy downpour, it is unavailable as it becomes risky during such times.
3. Bird Watching
The mega-reserves of Jim Corbett are the habitat to a variety of species of birds as well. The travelers can find regional to exotic and migrant birds chirping all around the park. These species can be well observed around the time of November and December.
The bliss of relaxing under the sky in the woods, and camping in nature is a feeling of content and warmth from within. This experience is worth it and makes you feel closer to nature. You get the option of a permanent camp that is in the form of a cottage across the park’s periphery and temporary in the Sitabani forest to choose from.
5. Adventure Activities
Mountain biking is a sport to relish, and a biking tour can help you explore the area. A bridge slithering activity that involves sliding down from a bridge into the River Kosi is also an adventurous activity that many people enjoy. Rock climbing, rappelling, and river crossing are also some of the other activities that are wholesome and enjoyable.
Do’s and Don'ts in Jim Corbett National Park
Every national park has certain written or unwritten rules. Some of these for Jim Corbett are,
● Ensure to take the proper permits beforehand.
● Maintain a safe distance from animals.
● Appoint a guide, as they will ensure that you travel all the areas of the park where there is a probability of spotting animals.
● When on a safari tour, don’t carry any non-biodegradable products.
● Maintain silence as the quieter you are, the more are your chances of watching wildlife.
● Don’t use flashlights while clicking, as the animal’s eyes are sensitive.
● Do not litter inside the park and avoid feeding animals.
Enjoy the forest, wilderness, lush greens, rivers, activities, and much more in these immensely rich and serene surroundings!