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Introducing Corbett National Park

For anyone who visits Corbett National Park, it sooner or later becomes an addiction. If you sit back and think about it, sometimes you wonder, why! Sightings of wildlife are much more difficult here than other parks in India. Then why does it lure you back time and again?! Is it the beautiful landscape and scenery? Is it the fact that you actually have to try and outwit the animals to get to see them? Is it the warmth of the people looking after the park? Or is it proximity to a major city serving as a hub? I guess the answer to the question is "all of the above".




The entrance - Amdanda gate

Corbett National Park, or just "Corbett", has a long history behind it. It also has the unique honour of being India's first national park. The forest cover that now comprises the park, owes it's existence to the initial efforts of a Major Ramsay during the "British Raj". Along with his initial efforts and those of others to follow, this area was saved from the wrath of urbanisation. In the early 1900s, the first efforts were made to try and demarcate the area as a national park. It was only in 1936, after an era of tiger shooting as a fashion, that Sir Malcolm Hailey, who at that time was the Governor of the United Provinces, under pressure from true conservationists, allocated an area of 256 sq km for the national park. The park was named after him as "The Hailey National Park" on August 8th 1936. Five years after India gained independence, in 1952, the park's name was changed to "The Ramganga National Park". This was as a tribute to the life-giving river that runs through the entire length of the park. Then in 1957, the park was once again renamed "Corbett National Park" after the legendary Jim Corbett, the hunter turned conservationist, who probably understood the area and it's inhabitants, man and animal, better than anyone else. He had also helped in the setting up of the park and it's boundaries. His books, almost all of which were based in and around this area, have enthralled many a generation and given birth to many a naturalist. Corbett National Park then came even more into prominence in the 1970's after realization dawned upon the country that the extinction of the Indian tiger was a definite possibility. The help of the World Wildlife Fund was sought to help activate the far thinking "Project Tiger". This project was launched at the Dhikala Forest Rest House on April 1st 1973. Since then, there has been no looking back for Corbett National Park, which is still considered one of the prime National Parks of the country.