Jim Corbett National Park; The oldest national park located in Nainital district of Uttarakhand, India. It was established in 1936 as Hailey National Park to protect the endangered Bengal tiger. It has been named after Jim Corbett who played a key role in its establishment. The park was the first to come under the Project Tiger initiative. In the initial days it was named after Sir Malcolm Hailey, the Governor of United Provinces and thus, was popular as ‘Hailey National Park’. Later in 1954-55, it was called ‘Ramganga National Park’, as it covered the Ramganga River and the village. Later on it was again renamed as ‘Jim Corbett National Park’, so as to honor Edward James Jim Corbett - The man who contributed a lot to the establishment of the park.
The park has sub-Himalayan belt geographical and ecological characteristics. Corbett National Park comprises 520.8 km square area of hills, riverine belts, marshy depressions, grasslands and a large lake. The hills ranges from 1,300 to 4,000 ft (400 to 1,220 m). It contains 488 different species of plants and a diverse variety of fauna. Dense moist deciduous forest mainly consists of sal, haldu, peepal, rohini and mango trees. Forest covers almost 73% of the park, 10% of the area consists of grasslands. It houses around 110 tree species, 50 species of mammals, 580 bird species and 25 reptile species.
The weather is always at it extreme at Corbett National Park. The Summer months April to Mid July are quite hot. It rains heavily during Monsoon months i.e. from Mid-July to late August, while winter months, October till late March are a little cold.
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.
The Tourist Zones
Bijrani Safari Zone : Bijrani Zone is very popular tourist's hub because of its abundant natural beauty and open grasslands. The entry gate of the zone is located at only 01 Km from Ramnagar city.
Jhirna Safari Zone : Jhirna is another important tourist zone in the Jim Corbett National park that is open for tourist round the year. Jhirna Gate is located at 16 km from Ramnagar city.
Dhela Safari Zone : Dhela is a new eco tourism zone in Corbett National Park included in tiger reserve zone in November 2014. This is the only area in the reserve's buffer zone open to tourists in CTR. The zone is retaining the attention of large number of tourist because of its wealthy flora and fauna, open throughout the year, located at an approximate distance of 13 Km from Ramnagar City.
Dhikala Zone : Being the largest and most varied zone in Corbett, Dhikala is famous for its abundant natural beauty as well as offering the best sight for exotic fauna. The entry gate is 18 km away from Ramnagar city. Night stay inside the Dhikala Tourism Zone is highly recommended for the hard core wildlife enthusiasts.
Durga Devi Zone : Located on the north-eastern boundary of the Jim Corbett National Park, Durga Devi zone is the heaven on planet earth for those who are fond of bird watching. Entry gate is located at an approximate distance of 36 km from Ramnagar city.
Sitabani Buffer Zone : Sitabani Zone doesn't fall under the Corbett Tiger Reserve area but if you are fond of serene ambiance of the natural beauty, must visit Sitabani area.
Jim Corbett national park is well connected by road and train services from the major cities. One can reach here by train from Delhi. There is also a regular bus services from Jaipur, Agra, Dehradun, Rishikesh, Haridwar apart from -Delhi, Gurgaon, Noida, Faridabad and other major cities of India.