“It kept staring at me with its yellow brooding eyes as it stood there in the distance at the turn of the street and then disappeared into the bushes. You can spot a leopard here every 15 days. I always keep my stick with me.”
-Rampal, Driver in Ramgarh, Nainital district, Uttarakhand
A visit to Corbett feels quite incomplete without the locals’ tales of their encounters with leopards, wild elephants, or sometimes even a tiger. And if you happen to stay somewhere near the jungle, don’t be too surprised to find a lost deer knocking on your door or hiding in the dense foliage in the backyard as you step out in the midnight to take in the clear starry night or the enigmatic air of the Corbett.
Jim Corbett National Park is a part of Corbett Tiger Reserve located in the north Indian state of Uttarakhand. Established in 1936, it enjoys the glory of being India’s oldest national park.
The legend has it that British hunter James Edward Corbett (1875-1955), after his several encounters with the tigers in the region and locally earning fame as the heroic slayer of the man-eating beasts, turned into a conservationist and encouraged the protection of the glorious carnivore. His book Man-eaters of Kumaon earned him international fame. Thus, what was once established as Hailey National Park came to be known as Jim Corbett National Park.
Today, home to the famed royal Bengal tigers, Asiatic elephants, and several other species of birds, reptiles, and mammals, Jim Corbett National Park is a favourite among jungle and wildlife enthusiasts, researchers, conservationists, and any traveller in search of peace or thrill.
Located primarily in the district of Nainital, the reserve covers an area of 1,288.31 square kilometres that also extends to the districts of Almora and Pauri in Uttarakhand. The park itself covers an area of 521 square kilometres. The rest is covered by the neighbouring Sonanadi Wildlife Sanctuary and Reserve Forest areas that, together with Jim Corbett National Park, constitute the Corbett Tiger Reserve.
Talking of the landscape, there are hills and mountains, streams and rivers, ridges and valleys, marshes and grasslands in the reserve located between the lower Himalayan range of Shiwalik and the terai.
Here, we become your guide to travelling in and around the place that gave became the point of genesis for the famous Project Tiger launched by the government of India in 1971. We give you some essential details on when to go, where to go, what to eat, what to do, what to shop, where to shop. Read on.