Tuesday, August 7, 2007
Known as the Hailey National Park at the time of its establishment on August 8, 1936, the name was later changed to 'Ramganga National Park' in 1954 and was changed yet again in 1956 to its present name. This name came from Jim Corbett’s name, the expert hunter, celebrated author and famous natural conservationist who hunted man-eater tigers here in the early part of the 20th century.
Spread over an area as vast as approx. 520 sq. Kms, the park’s elevation ranges between 400 to 1200 meters.
Geographically, the Park is actually a valley with ridges dotting its large tract. Many rivers and rivulets enhance the charm. The most prominent is the Ramganga.
Sal and other mixed deciduous forests are found throughout the Park while the grasslands known as the Chaurs, which cover about 1/10th of the park’s total area, give the tourist a better and uninterrupted view of the wildlife.
The park houses more than 50 mammal species and 25 reptile species. Antelopes like the Nilgai and the Ghoral, many varieties of deer including Hog deer, Sambhar, Chital etc, the ancestors to us humans like Rhesus and the good-old Langur are found in the area. The tiger and leopard are part of the species of cats found here. A special resident is the Dhole, the wild dog.
Many other species of animals like jackals, fox, wild boar, sloth bear, black bear and a vast range of reptiles like the cobra, python are also found apart from two species of crocodile. The Gharial can be seen relaxing in the pools of the Ramganga.
A staggeringly high number (580 to be precise) of species of birds are found here including water fowl, 17 types of woodpecker, kites, peafowl, the rare chir pheasant, the red jungle fowl, minivets, cuckoos, drongos and barbets. The reservoir on the river formed with the building of kalaghar dam attracts large number of migratory and other species of water birds. This makes it a Bird watcher’s paradise. It is considered a ‘Bird Park’ in the true sense.
Project Tiger, launched in 1973, was started from Corbett park itself. The predator is a nocturnal animal. So, seeing it in the daytime is considered good luck of the visitors.
The highest density of Tiger population is in the Chaurs and other forests. Chital, hog deer and elephants are also spotted here. The best ways to see wildlife, viewing-towers are present here in large numbers
The National Park office at Ramnagar offers jeeps on hire at reasonable prices. Elephants are available for wildlife viewing at Dhikala and Bijrani. Elephant-back rides on every morning and evening are worth the experience.
A range of accommodation is available at Dhikala, a nearby town, including luxurious 3 room cabins, Swiss cottage tents and log hut dormitories. The facilities available include restaurants, a library, a field post office, a first aid centre, an open air theatre and a provision store.