India Explored: The Wildlife Season - Corbett National Park: Posted By Arunchs

 

   

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Posted on: Monday , Apr 14, 2008 At 11:15 AM

The Wildlife Season - Corbett National Park

Summer is indeed the best time to visit hill stations to cool off from the heat of the plains. But if you are willing to dare the heat for your best wildlife experience, this is the time you should be heading to our National Parks.

Summer is the time when the forests run dry, forcing the animals to come out of their hiding and into waterholes. These is the time when, instead of scouring the forest, all you have to do is hide somewhere near water and watch a movie unfold in front of you, with many animals coming and going.

A deer on the bank of Ramaganga

Corbett National Park is one of the best places to go wildlife watching. Its proximity to Delhi is an added advantage, making it an easy weekend getaway. Here is all you wanted to know about Corbett National Park.

Overview. Corbett is one of the best-maintained National Parks in India. Even at a time when rest of the country saw sharp decline in tiger numbers, Corbett had maintained a healthy population. It also boasts of highest tiger density anywhere in India(74 tigers at 200 square kilometers. See http://www.indianexpress.com/story/206758.html), increasing your chances of sighting. But tigers are not the only attraction of the Park. There are elephants, wild cats, four types of deer(chital, sambar, barking deer and hog deer), otters, wild boars, porcupines, Gharials and muggers to see. If that is not enough, don't just keep looking for animals but go on early morning safaris on the bank of Ramaganga River and indulge in seeing the immensely beautiful landscapes at sunrise.

Corbett Landscapes

Corbett is an excellent birding destination too. The keen eyed naturalist will find a great variety of raptors(birds of prey) like Changeable Hawk Eagle, Fish Eagle, Serpent Eagle, Black Kite to name a few. And then there are vultures and Griffons, birds at water bodies like White Capped Redstart, River Lapwing, etc. The list is nearly 400 long, so I must refrain from carrying on.

Orientation. At less than 300km from Delhi, Corbett is easy to visit. The Park is in the foothills of Kumaon Himalayas in Uttaranchal on the Ramnagar-Ranikhet highway. Ramnagar is the road head to Corbett and the town also hosts the office of Corbett Tiger Reserve(CTR). Dhikala tourist village, deep inside the forest is the most sought after place for visitors. You are required to book a stay in Dhikala or one of the guest houses in this section to be able to visit this region, and day-trippers are not allowed unless you take the open bus safari organized by CTR. How-ever jeeps for day-trip are permitted at another section of the forest at Jhirna Gate.

If you plan to stay at Dhikala, you will need to have your own jeep to be able to reach Dhikala and then go on Safaris. You can hire jeeps at Ramnagar. Dhikala is located on the bank of Ramaganga River that runs through the park, which is an added attraction.

Things to do and Places to See.

Tiger sighting is the most sought after activity in Corbett. The best place to look for them is along Sambar road, which goes along the Ramaganga from Dhikala Tourist Village. The guides are familiar with the region and can lead you to places where sightings are likely.

Jeep Safari. If you have booked accommodation in Dhikala, you can go on Jeep Safaris and wildlife viewing in the forests in the region. Jeeps are allowed in the forest from sunrise to sunset and the best time to see wildlife is early morning hours or in the evening before the sun goes down. All jeeps are required to have a guide, who can be hired at Dhikala.

Jeep Safari

Elephant Safari. Once again, you have to be staying in Dhikala region to go on elephant safaris. The safaris are scheduled in morning and evening, and take you around the riverbed and nearby forests. Elephant Safari is the best way to spot tigers, as elephants can be good at finding and flushing out tigers.

Elephant Safari

Daily Bus Safari to Dhikala. An open mini bus leaves Ramnagar for a day trip to Dhikala and back everyday, starting at 8am and ending at 4pm. Though you can't expect an extensive tour of the forest, it is still worth taking, as it takes you deep into the forest till Dhikala. Arrive early in Ramnagar's CTR office to ensure your seat.

Bird watching. Several resorts in and around the Park can arrange bird watching tours. With more than 400 species of birds, and with more than 40 raptors among them, Corbett is a great place for birding. If you are a seasoned birdwatcher, you can also do it on your own when you go on Safaris in Dhikala or any other region. Most of the guides in Dhikala are good at sighting and identifying birds.

A changeable hawk eagle

Angling. Fishing is prohibited within the park, but you can get permits for angling in Kosi and Ramaganga rivers outside the park. Some resorts can arrange permits and angling tours.

Museum at Dhangadi Gate. Dhangadi Gate on the way to Dhikala has a museum that displays stuffed animals that were killed by Jim Corbett and other hunters. Seeing those tiger and spotting bullet marks in them is a worthy experience.

Other attractions. Corbett is close to hill stations Ranikhet and Nainital. You can plan an itinerary to Corbett that includes these places. Kaladhungi, the village near the park where Jim Corbett had lived now houses a museum.

Accommodation.

Dhikala Tourist village is the most sought after accommodation in the park. Book in advance through CTR Office. See http://www.corbettnationalpark.in/page'contactus.htm for contact details. There are a few more guesthouses inside the park on the way to Dhikala but they don't have restaurant facilities and you will have to make your own arrangements for food. There are resorts littered all along the road from Ramnagar to Dhangadi gate on the way to Dhikala, which provide mid-range to luxury accommodation. Note that if you are staying in these places, you will not be able to access the forest ranges of Dhikala with your own vehicle. Ramnagar has a few budget hotels if you have a tight budget.

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By arunchs| Posted on:16 Apr 2008

Thanks Mukesh. I use a basic Canon digital SLR
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By Mukesh Miyan| Posted on:16 Apr 2008

Good to read Arun..the pics are really lovely what camera are you using...
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By arunchs| Posted on:15 Apr 2008

I dont really know the numbers Uriah, but 35 to 40 may not be a bad guess.
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By Uriah Heep| Posted on:15 Apr 2008

hi! Arun... the supporting photographs are just superb!!! ....they're surely enticing me to seriously consider visiting the park this summers... what are the temperatures one can expect while out on a day safari??? think, you've left mentioning that :) please do now..
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