Surprise, surprise, Corbett National park - India’s first national reserve – got quite popular in April 2012! Corbett is situated in Uttarakhand and was started in the year 1936. It covers an area of 1288 sq. kms and is flanked by the Himalayas and the Terai-bhabar region on either side.
This diverse yet rich landscape is home to some of the rarest fauna species including Indian Tigers, Asian Elephants, Leopards, deer, wild boars, Asiatic jackals, and Otters. Corbett’s birdlife cannot be missed either. Ospreys, ducks, Flycatchers, Great Barbets, and Wallcreepers fly miles (across oceans at times) into the park to escape the extreme cold in the Himalayas up north!
It is perhaps for these reasons that 74 judges from Delhi decided to take an official holiday at Corbett in April 2012. While Delhi’s judiciary defended the move stating that the trip would help in “personality development and would also act as a stress-buster”; the common janta was not too happy! The reason for this unhappiness was not just that these 74 judges ignored the judiciary for four days across six, Delhi, district courts. It was also the fact that these courts already had a backlog of “2.72 crore” cases as of March 2010!! In other words, Corbett made news for charming a substantial chunk of Delhi’s judiciary who were otherwise supposed to be resolving the common man’s disputes!
This is not the only reason that made Corbett popular in April! A pilot project called E-eye (electronic eye) was initiated in the reserve during this month. This project, the first of its kind in the country, was well-received. The E-eye project uses ten, high resolution, thermal and infrared cameras to monitor the movement of animals (tigers in particular) in poaching-sensitive areas. It will also generate alarms and help in tracking big cats when they cross the reserve’s boundaries.
What is surprising is that big cats (tigers and leopards) continue to be poached although Corbett is swarming with tourists, bureaucrats, forest officials, and film-makers! Yes, Corbett’s stunning landscape attracts a lot of film-makers as well! The latest film crew that visited the reserve is likely to be from the movie titled “The Forest”. The movie will hit the screens on May 4th and is going to be release by PVR Cinemas under the ‘Directors Rare’ initiative. So, if you have not visited Corbett already, you can watch “The Forest” and get a quick glimpse of this forested paradise.
To add to the mounting woes of human encroachment, Corbett has witnessed an unprecedented number of tourists this year! People visit from far across the world to spot Corbett’s elusive fauna. So, what is it that makes Corbett such a popular reserve? You see, Corbett was infested with man-eating tigers during the early decades of the 20th century.
These man-eaters (mainly tigers and leopards) were shot to death by famous British hunter Jim Corbett. He immortalized his hunts through best-selling books such as the Man-eaters of Kumaon, and The Man-eating Leopard of Rudraprayag. Thus, from the early 20th century till date, Corbett continues to mesmerize tourists.
Today, tigers continue to be the center focus of the Corbett reserve and about 200 of them thrive in the park. In fact, India’s tiger conservation program was initiated at Corbett on 1st April, 1973.
If you want to visit Corbett, then the best time is between mid – October until late June. The park is so huge that it is divided into four zones – Jhirna, Bijrani, Sonandi, Domunda, and Dhikala. During the peak season, all four zones are open to public. You can explore the park through jeep safaris and elephant rides. Even if you do not spot the elusive tiger, the park’s other inhabitants and sheer beauty will keep you mesmerized!
So, pack your bag, pick up good binoculars, shop for Jim Corbett’s books and head off to that forested paradise in Uttarakhand. What are you waiting for?