Planning a visit to Jim Corbett National Park in Ramnagar, Uttarakhand, India? Corbett National Park is one of the best national parks in India to witness stunning wildlife in India. We’ve crafted this ultimate guide to Corbett Tiger Reserve to help you plan a perfect trip to Corbett India.
One of the best national parks in the world, the first national park of India, and the oldest national park in India, Jim Corbett National Park is blessed by mother nature.
The national park is, unquestionably, one of the best places to visit in India for wildlife enthusiasts and nature lovers. Corbett Tiger Reserve is a site for the Project Tiger initiative, a well-known wildlife conservation project. Also, the reserve is a top tiger reserve in India with the highest number of Royal Bengal Tigers (Jim Corbett national park tiger population is about 250) meaning higher chances of tiger sightings. Well, do you need a reason to visit a wilderness haven?
Established by an India-born British-Irish hunter and naturalist, Edward James Corbett in 1936 as Hailey National Park to protect the endangered Bengal tiger, Jim Corbett National Park brags of being the oldest national park in Asia. It was renamed Ramganga National Park (named after the river flowing through Corbett National Park) just after Independence and eventually Jim Corbett National Park in 1955 to honor Sir Jim Corbett.
In 1974, Corbett Wildlife Sanctuary was picked out as a location for launching the Project Tiger initiative, a well-known wildlife conservation project. Later, the Kalagarh forest division including Sonanadi Wildlife Sanctuary was added to the reserve area.
Today, Jim Corbett is one of the 13 protected areas covered by the World Wildlife Fund under the Terai Arc Landscape Programme (TAL).
Beautifully placed on the foothills of the Himalayas, Jim Corbett is located in Nainital (Pauri Garhwal) District in Uttarakhand state in Northern India. Ramnagar, being the nearest town, is best known as the gateway to the Corbett Tiger Reserve.
Ramnagar is the nearest town to Jim Corbett. Jim Corbett national park is about 272 km from Delhi and takes around 6 hours to reach. Ramnagar can be easily reached by rail and road from New Delhi.
If you’re coming by your own car, it’s a smooth drive to Corbett via NH9 from Delhi. If driving isn’t your thing, you can board the UPSRTC bus from Delhi or catch the Ranikhet Express Train from New Delhi Railway Station to Ramnagar Railway Station. Thereafter, you can hire a local taxi or cab from the railway station or bus stand to your resort.
PS: Owing to its proximity to Delhi, Jim Corbett is easy to explore as a weekend trip from Delhi.
To streamline the tourism activities inside the tiger reserve area, Corbett National Park is divided into six ecotourism zones:
5. Durga Devi
One of the finest zones in Jim Corbett, Dhikala is only open to the tourists who stay in a forest rest house inside the zone. Dhikala offers a canter safari and elephant safari for its residents. The zone is famous for its breathtaking landscape consisting of dense Sal forest, lush grassland, narrow valley, and diverse waterways of the River Ramganga.
Considered the second-best after Dhikala, the Bijrani zone is, in fact, no less than Dhikala. One of the most tiger rich areas, the zone presents beautiful Sal forests and large grasslands. Bijrani offers both jeep safari and elephant safari.
Jhirna zone was added to Corbett Tiger Reserve in 1994. The zone offers jeep safari only. Deciduous forest interspersed with lush open grasslands define this zone’s topography.
Garjia Zone can be accessed from Amdanda Gate. With a topography consisting of sal forests and grasslands, Garjia is a tiger rich zone. The grassland (chaurs) near Garjia Zone viz. Machaan Chaur, Badhai Chaur, Ringora Chaur adds to the beauty of the forest reserve.
The newest of all zones, Dhela was included in Corbett Tiger Reserve in 2014. The zone has rich flora including Sal, Rohini, Haldu, Bahera, and Kusum forests, and fauna including tigers, leopards, elephants, sloth bears, and a large species of birds.
A hill safari zone, Durga Devi is famous for the rich population of wild elephants and otters near Domunda Bridge. Ramganga and Mandal Rivers add an extra touch of beauty to the landscape of Durga Devi. You can spot Mahsheer fish in this zone’s rivers.
Carved out of Kalagarh Forest Division, Pakhro was added to Corbett Tiger Reserve in 1991 under the Project Tiger and Project Elephant initiatives. Located in the north of Pakhro river, the Pakhro zone is known for dense sal and rich bamboo forests, amazing wildlife (Asiatic elephants, tigers, leopards, sambar, cheetal, and reptiles) as well as intriguing species of birds. The zones can be accessed through Durgadevi Gate, Kalagarh Gate, and Vatanvasa Gate.
Reached through Durgadevi Gate, Kalagarh Gate, and Vatanvasa Gate, Sonanadi Zone is located in the north of Sonanadi River and is blessed with amazing nature and wildlife.
Sitabani Forest Zone is a buffer zone located outside of the Corbett Tiger Reserve area. The zone is famous for its dense forest, glassy rivers and streams, and ancient temples. Being a buffer zone, it’s less likely to spot tigers or leopards here. You can definitely spot elephants, sambar deer, and Nilgai. With about 600 species on burds, Sitabani is a haven for bird-watchers. The best part about this zone is that apart from jeep safari and elephant safari, you can explore this zone by walk and even by your own car.
Corbett National Park is a delight no matter what’s the season. Each season has its own charms and quirks.
Winter and Spring (Mid-November to Mid-June) are the best seasons to visit Corbett. It’s when all the zones are open to the public, the weather is pleasant, and safaris are enjoyable at Jim Corbett.
The park remains partly closed during the monsoon season (July to September). Only Jhirna and Dhela zones and Sonanadi Wildlife Sanctuary are open during monsoon.
The Jim Corbett jeep safari tours and canter safari tours are allowed in two shifts (morning and evening) in each zone with a limited number of jeeps in each shift.
A safari jeep can carry a maximum of 6 adults and 2 children excluding the driver and guide. Elephant ride is available on a first-come-first-serve basis.
A canter (open bus) has 16 seats and you need to book your seat well in advance. Book your canter safari seat the same day you book your stay in Dhikala forest rest house.
Entry timings for safari change with the season.
Winter Safari Timings:
|Morning Safari – 07:00 am||Morning Safari – 10:00 am|
|Evening Safari – 02:00 pm||Evening Safari – 05:30 pm|
Summer Safari Timings:
|Morning Safari – 06:00 am||Morning Safari – 09:30 am|
|Evening Safari – 03:00 pm||Evening Safari – 06:30 pm|
Here are the other required details of different zones:
|Dhikala||Dhangari Gate||32 km from Ramnagar||15th November to 15th June||Day Canter Safari||4 canters (64 seats) in one shift||Dhikala FRH, Gairal FRH, Sarpduli FRH, Sultan FRH|
|Bijrani||Amdanda Gate||2 km from Ramnagar||15th October to 30th June||Day Jeep Safari/ Day Elephant Safari||30 jeeps in one shift||Bijrani FRH and Malani FRH|
|Jhirna||Dhela Gate||15 km from Ramnagar||Throughout the year (subject to weather conditions)||Day Jeep Safari/ Day Elephant Safari||30 jeeps in one shift||Jhirna FRH and Dhela FRH|
|Durgadevi||Durgadevi Gate||28 km from Ramnagar||15th October to 15th June||Day Jeep Safari||15 jeeps in one shift||Lohachaur FRH|
|Dhela||Dhela Gate||15 km from Ramnagar||Throughout the year (subject to weather conditions)||Day Jeep Safari||15 jeeps in one shift||NO FRH in Dhela Zone|
|Garjiya||Amdanda Gate||2 km from Ramnagar||15th October to 30th June||Day Jeep Safari||30 jeeps in one shift||Garjia FRH and Malani FRH|
|Sonanadi||Vatanvasa Gate/Durgadevi Gate/ Kalagarh Gate||20 km from Kotdwar||15th October to 15th June||Day Jeep Safari||15 jeeps in one shift||Haldaparao FRH, Rathuwadhab FRH, Mundiyapani FRH, and Morghati FRH|
|Pakhro||Vatanvasa Gate/Durgadevi Gate/ Kalagarh Gate||20 km from Kotdwar||15th October to 15th June||Day Jeep Safari / Day Elephant Safari||10 jeeps in one shift||Lohachaur FRH, Rithuadhab FRH and Halduparao FRH|
|Sitabani Forest (Buffer Zone)||Teda Gate for entry and Paulgarh Gate for exit||4 km from Ramnagar||Throughout the year||Day Jeep Safari / Day Elephant Safari / Private Vehicle Allowed||unlimited||NO FRH in Sitabani Zone|
To get an entry inside Corbett Tiger Reserve for Jim Corbett National Park safari, you need to get a day safari permit that can be obtained at the entry gate of the respective zone. If you are planning to stay in one of the Forest Rest Houses inside different zones, the permit is issued at the Corbett Reserve Park’s office in Ramnagar.
You can also pre-book the day safari or FRH accommodation online here. You need to register yourself before you proceed with safari bookings or accommodation bookings.
Be informed that the amount is non-refundable and non-transferable.
Whether booked online or onsite, you need to show a photo id proof (driving license/voter id/pan card/Aadhar card) and give the complete details of the person (gender, full name, birth date, etc.). Foreign nationals need to show their passports.
Check the tariff details for jungle safari and FRH accommodation here.
Note: If you plan to stay inside the park, make sure to book well, like quite well in advance. As per Jim Corbett National Park’s official website, the suggested time frames for advance booking are 46 days for Indian and SAARC nationals and 91 days for foreign nationals. Also, you must book accommodation near the gate you have booked your safari from to minimize your travel time.
Please be informed that you need to stay inside the Dhikala zone to enjoy a canter safari of the Dhikala zone. There are many government-run and private camping options available inside the park for people who love to stay amid wilderness and nature.
For travelers who prefer luxury and comfort over camping need not get disheartened as there are some awesome luxury resorts, hotels, and specialty lodging in and around the national park.
Jim’s Jungle Retreat: The way this resort has been designed and managed is appreciable. Staying in the beautiful and rustic chalets in the middle of the lush woods gives a real wilderness feel. A nature walk with knowledgeable naturalists is a highlight. Plus, the food that feels like home.
Winsome Resort & Spa Corbett: Perfect location. Peaceful. Spacious Rooms. Good Food. Warm and Friendly Staff.
Taj Corbett Resort & Spa: Taj doesn’t need an introduction! Next level, of course.
The Solluna Resort: With superb views of Merchula Valley and Ranganga River, The Solluna Resort offers unique premier cottages featuring fossil paintings, glass ceilings, private pebble ponds, a lovely seating area, a minibar, and an ensuite bathroom. Food is tasty and diverse.
Corbett Orchid View: A good value for money.
The Pahadi Organic: A family-friendly hotel with aesthetically designed rooms with a beautiful view, a garden, a pahadi restaurant, and a children’s playground.,
Paatlidun Safari Lodge: One of the best safari lodges in Corbett, Paatlidun is all about an authentic rustic and nature experience. A great place to stay for families with kids. Exceptional is the word!
Camp Hornbill Corbett: A eco-friendly accommodation that feels like home away from home. You can imagine how it feels being close to wilderness yet enjoy all the homely pleasures.
It was our second visit to Jim Corbett National Park. We, often, make trips into the wilderness (Jim Corbett is easier to plan from Delhi), wishing to relax and rejuvenate away from the maddening crowd and never-ending to-do list. My daughter was excited as she loves to see animals roaming freely in the jungle than in the cages in a zoo. She couldn’t stop gushing about it.
My expectations for the trip were simple. A few days of fun with the family, pampering my body and soul, grabbing the moments of peace which are hard to find in the city, sit on the boulders of Kosi river enjoying the sound of the water and view of the mountains….and….possibly sighting a tiger during the jungle safari.
Our trip was as always planned at the eleventh hour, so we couldn’t book Dhikala Forest Lodge which is preferable because it’s a most-sought-after zone where one gets a chance to see wildlife up close while staying deep inside the forest that translates to higher chances of seeing tigers. And one can’t go for a safari in Dhikala while staying outside of the zone.
We booked our stay at Jim’s Jungle Retreat (because of its jungle-like ambiance) and it was a good decision. One has to drive through the lush forest to reach here and some people have claimed tiger sighting on the way to the resort. The evening nature walk through the forest along the Kosi river escorted by an informative guide is one of the major attractions at Jim’s Jungle.
We spent a leisurely time in the pool and enjoyed the beautiful documentary of Jim Corbett on a huge screen showcasing the importance of saving tigers in the evening. It was a great learning session.
The next day, early in the morning; we started our Elephant Safari and mini-me kept talking to the mahout (driver of the elephant) all the time asking about the jungle, elephant, and other animals. Though we didn’t spot any tiger; the ride was thrilling. Most importantly, my daughter was overjoyed.
After a hearty lunch at the resort; it was time for the jeep safari which was pre-booked for us. As soon as the jeep safari started; my daughter too started asking numerous questions. Our safari mates were trying to satisfy her inquisitive mind. She was confused as to why we people come to the jungle and intrude in their living space or abode. She asked me if it is okay to encroach someone’s home without invitation or permission. We all were mute.
Our driver explained to her that we’ll not do anything wrong to the animals and we are here to just see them in their natural surroundings without harming them. She just shrugged her shoulders but it was certainly a contemplative discussion. We as adults definitely need to think about our contrasting principles before we tell our kids to do the right thing. We teach lessons to our kids and sometimes forget to follow those lessons ourselves.
We didn’t spot the tiger the first time and I always believed that there’s always the next time. And this was that next time We saw a majestic tiger crossing the road just before our jeep. We were exhilarated. As if our trip was a success.
The tiger is, undoubtedly, extraordinary and rare but pursuing the tiger can make you lose out on other lovely and exquisite boons (exotic birds, beautiful flowers, rare trees, and other animals) the forests possess. Don’t rush past all the beauty! The rest is luck!
The trip was as awesome as I thought it to be. And it was an eye-opener too.
Nature has healing power. You come back refreshed!
“Mother nature has the power to please, to comfort, to calm, and to nature one’s soul.”
A visit to the Jim Corbett is incomplete without Safari in Corbett. Elephant Safari, Canter Safari, and Jeep Safari are offered inside the national park. Elephant Safari is a fun activity for kids though the chances of seeing tigers are dim here. Jeep Safaris are your best bet if tiger sighting is your goal as they take you to the otherwise inaccessible areas and zones of the reserve.
Apart from incredible wildlife – trekking, mountain biking, rock climbing, bird-watching, nature walk, river crossing, fishing, rappelling, river rafting, and a lot more adventure activities await you at Jim Corbett. Trekking is best enjoyed in Sitabani.
Just about a 45 minutes drive from Corbett, Corbett Museum in Kaladhungi is worth a visit, especially with kids. The ex-abode of Jim Corbett, a legendary hunter, the museum now showcases his chattels as well as fascinating information about Jim Corbett’s flora and fauna. It’s the best place to know some of the interesting facts about Jim Corbett national park.
Trivia: Jim Corbett wrote many books with Man-Eaters of Kumaon being the most successful which was adapted into a Hollywood Movie, Man-Eater of Kumaon.
A short hike (about 2 km) from Nainital road takes you to a small, scenic waterfall nestled in woods, Corbett Falls. You can stop by at the falls on the way to Corbett Museum.
Garjiya Temple by the River Kosi is another gem here. It houses a statue of Vishnu made of unique and rare stone that dates back to the 9th-century. Legend has it that if you visit the temple on Kartik Poornima, your wishes come true.
Nainital is just about 65 km from Jim Corbett and can be added to the itinerary if you’ve extra days on hand.
Hope our complete guide to Corbett Tiger Reserve helps you plan a perfect trip to Jim Corbett with family.