The Corbett National Park and Tiger Reserve are inextricably linked with “Project Tiger” in the country and have placed Uttarakhand on the world wildlife tourism map forever.
People all over the world identify Uttarakhand region with this famous national park which is a constant reminder of the hunter turned conservationist Jim Corbett.
Home of the roaring tiger, trumpeting elephant and singing birds, the Park, India’s first national park, would turn seventy six on August 8.
Founded on August 8,1936 as Hailey National Park, Corbett National Park in the Uttarakhand Himalayas, is tiger hub at its best. Initially named after United Provinces (now Uttar Pradesh) Governor Sir Malcolm Hailey, the park was later named Ramganga National Park in 1952.
It was in 1957 that it was finally renamed as Corbett National Park in honour and memory of the late Jim Corbett who had helped in setting up the park and demarcating its boundaries.
Corbett National Park has the distinction of being the first park in the country to have been brought under the auspices of “Project Tiger”. The park is also known as the “Land of Roar, Trumpet and Song”. On July 25, 2010, the park celebrated the birth anniversary of Jim Corbett whose memories still linger in and around Corbett Park.
Children from Chhoti Haldwani village, which was named by Corbett himself, dressed up like Corbett and his sister Margaret (Maggie), reminded people of the message of conservation given by Corbett.
Kaladhungi, a picturesque hamlet about 35 km from the park, has been an inseparable part of the endless tiger stories of Kumaon focussing around the legendary Jim Corbett. It is this place where he resided.
Born in 1875, Corbett stayed in Kumaon till 1947 and after that left for Kenya where he died in 1955. His home in Kaladhungi is now a museum.
Noted actor Tom Alter, who regularly visits the park, says he spent all his winter vacations here between 1958 and 1966. “The impressions created then are still strong in my mind. Corbett has given me a lot and I will try to give my bit back to it,” he said.
More than 2 lakh tourists visit the park between November and June every year.
Dhikala is the most well known zone in Corbett. It is located at the edge of the broad Patli Dun valley through which the Ramganga flows in numerous channels. The Tourist Complex overlooks Dhikala Chaur (one of the largest remaining grasslands of the Park) and Phulai Chaur.
The Jhirna Zone, which is towards the southern boundary of the reserve will, as usual, remain open throughout the year. The area in and around Bijrani once formed part of a shooting block. During the British period it was known for the quality of game hunting that it offered to shikaris. Jhirna was a farming village until 1994 when it was successfully relocated under Project Tiger. Dhikala is the most well known zone in Corbett. It is located at the edge of the broad Patli Dun valley through which the Ramganga flows in numerous channels.
Renowned Wildlife Expert AJT Johnsingh, who devoured the stories of Jim Corbett in Tamil translation during childhood, has described, through his own writings, all places in Kumaon and Garhwal Corbett talked about in his stories of maneating tigers, and documented the changes.
Dr Johnsingh wrote a book On Corbett’s Trail and Other Tales from Tree-tops, to convey the beauty and thrill of Indian forests and its wildlife. He takes the reader for walks in the jungle with him and makes him see through his trained eyes.
Johnsingh describes Jim Corbett as “a demi-God in my childhood memories”. “His absorbing descriptions of jungle lore which I read as a child in the local library kindled my desire to become a student of nature for life”.
“My life began in the southern end of south India in Nanguneri and it was there, one dusty afternoon, that I accidentally discovered a Tamil translation of Maneaters of Kumaon. It cast a spell on me that still have not lifted,” he added.
Johnsingh gives a vivid description of the dense jungle near Devidhura in Kumaon which is talked about by Corbett in The Temple Tiger. When Johnsingh visited the area in 1993, 84 years after Corbett’s visit, he found widespread change. “The dense oak and scrub jungle near Devidhura that Corbett mentions has been lost to cultivation. It was evident that it had ceased to be a habitat for the tiger a long time ago”.
Src: Daily Pioneer