Jim Corbett National Park is the oldest national park (established: 1936) to protect the Bengal Tiger. This park was the first one under the Project Tiger initiative. Not only tigers, this is a famous ecotourism hub with more than 488 different species of plants and a variety of wild animals (more than five hundred birds, fifty species of mammals, twenty five reptile species). As a young wild life photographer, this is my favourite place and I want to visit it 100 more times.
There are more than seventy thousand visitors to this park and this is a slight problem when the tourists are not managed properly. Tourism now is restricted to a few pockets.
Although everyone recommends otherwise, I like visiting this place during May June. It is warmer than the other months and the Tigers are spotted outside the water bodies to drink water. It gives me an opportunity to photograph them. You could also spot elephants during this time. During the rains, it is chilly and the reptiles are more active than the mammals. Winter nights are cold but days are sunny.
1. You’d find the Royal Bengal Tiger!
The Tiger needs no introduction. Majestic and elegant, these large cats give me goosebumps every time I see them. I fear them and admire them in equal measures. It is not common to spot a Royal Bengal tiger in a dense forest. But they do come out to drink water. So you know.
And at times, you can track them.
2. Photograph more than 500 species of Birds!
586 species of birds both resident and migratory, to be precise. You can choose what to photograph from this wide range of options which include Peacock, the crested serpent eagle and blossom-headed parakeet. My favourite is the mountain Hawk Eagle. This huge predator is very rare. I’m not sure if it could even lift a deer away!
3. Inquisitive Crocodile point.
Around 33 species of reptiles and 7 species of amphibians are recorded in this region. They bask under the sun near the “Crocodile point”. You can even spot Indian Rock Python here. Do you know: The Indian Rock python is an endangered species that can kill animals as huge as a Chital deer.
4. Trumpet of the Tuskers.
During the summers, the Indian elephants are spotted in herds of several hundred. When they come to a place in such huge herds, stomping and shaking the earth, they induce fear in anyone’s mind. But then again, it is exciting to see them.
5. Leopards of other animals.
Well, you can find other animals as well. Small cats include leopard cats, fishing cat and the jungle cats. Of all the other animals, you have to see the Leopards!
6. Hotspots in Jim Corbett.
Well, they say Jim Corbett National Park is one of the most beautiful national parks of India. Every wondered why? Well, have a look at the hotspots here. You would simply go gaga over them:
(a) Dhikala: Located at the fringes of Patli Dun Valley with Kanda ridge at the backdrop, the place offers a beautiful scenic sight. It has a rest house which was built 100 years. Don’t know if it’s haunted by ghosts.
(b) Kalagarh Dam : Situated at the South Western part, this place is best for bird watching. You can find migratory waterfowl in winter.
(c) Corbett Falls: The 20m waterfall located on the Kaladhungi – Ramnagar Highway ( 25 km from Kaladhungi and 4km from Ramnagar), is surrounded by dense forest. And shhh… the nature here maintains pin drop silence.
(d) Garjiya Devi Temple: The temple of Garjiya Devi, located on the bank of the Kosi river is most visited during Kartik Poornima ( November-December).
(e) Bijrani Safari Zone : This is one of the places visited by the tourists. It is very near to the Ramnagar city and offers natural beauty to be seen. It also has open grasslands.
(f) Sitabani Buffer Zone : Well, let me be a little honest here. The Sitabani Buffer Zone technically doesn’t fall under the Corbett Tiger Reserve Area. If you want to enjoy natural beauty, this place is perfect for you.
(g) Durga Devi Zone: This is another bird watching area. It is located at a distance of around 36 om from Ramnagar City.
(h) Jhirna Safari Zone: It is another tourist zone and is open all through the year. It is situated at a distance of approximately 16 km from Ramnagar City.
7. Flora, anyone?
488 different species! Yes, Jim Corbett boasts of having 488 different species of plants. Sal forest is the area where the tree density is very high while it is very low in the Anogeissus- Acacia catechu forests. However, regeneration of sapling and seedling is poor in the Sal area. Regeneration is occurring in other areas like Jamun and other areas.
8. Jeep Safaris.
Now this is one of the adventurous ways to enjoy the park. Go for Jeep Safaris, get frightened by tigers and other wild animals, if you are really scared.
9. Star Gaze inside a forest.
Okay, enough of cell phones and computers. Now leave that tech savvy character and enjoy a night under the stars. You will find a better picture than your Windows wallpaper.
10. The ROARS, the TRUMPETS and the SONGS.
Enjoy the orchestra of wild animals in Jim Corbett National Park. You can hear the trumpet of the great Tuskers in summer. Oh yes, you can also hear the leopards, jungle cat, barking deer, sambar dog, hog deer and chital , sloth, Himalayan black beers, Indian grey mongoose, otters, yellow- throated martens, Himalayan goral, Indian pangolins, langur , rhesus macaques, owl and nightjars.