Deep in the Jungle: Corbett National Park

One of India’s largest and best-known wildlife sanctuaries, the Corbett National Park lies about 6 hours’ drive from the national capital, Delhi. It’s a good place to relax, unwind, see deer, elephants, monkeys, birds – and, if you’re lucky, maybe a tiger too.


Corbett: the Park

Member Rating 0 out of 5 by phileasfogg on June 13, 2011

India’s first national park was set up in 1936, under the aegis of the then governor of the United Provinces, Malcolm Hailey. Among the people who pushed for the creation of the park, helped in its establishment, and played an important role in demarcating the boundaries of the park, was Jim Corbett. A little over two decades later, in 1957, the park was renamed in his honour – today, it’s the Jim Corbett National Park, one of Northern India’s most popular wildlife preserves and an easy weekend getaway from Delhi.

Some important facts, now.

To begin with, the vital stats:

Corbett National Park covers over 1,300 square kilometres of territory in the state of Uttarakhand. This includes both grasslands in the plains, as well as dense forests in the foothills of the Himalayas. On the eastern periphery of the park flows the Kosi river; within the park itself is another river, the Ramganga, and its tributaries.

The park is divided into three zones:
(a) The buffer zone, where villages exist, and villagers are allowed to collect timber or other forest produce (as long as they don’t actually chop down trees)
(b) The tourist zone, which is where tourists can move around
(c) The core zone, where only forest officials are permitted. This is the area that typically has the largest wildlife population.

Staying at Corbett:

No private hotels or resorts are allowed inside Corbett, so the only option if you are keen on staying within the park is to book rooms at one of the Forest Rest Houses (FRHs) operated by the Kumaon Mandal Vikas Nigam – the government tourist bureau. There are some 15 of these FRHs within Corbett. All provide very basic facilities: you’ll get clean linen and vegetarian food, but that’s about it. The most popular of the FRHs is the one at Dhikala, which is also the only FRH to have electricity round the clock: the others get power for only about 3 hours a day.

Dhikala is superbly sited – beside the Ramganga river, and with extensive grasslands beyond, so there’s plenty of opportunity to see everything from herds of wild elephants to spotted deer and even tiger (I’ve seen all of these while staying at Dhikala). Unfortunately, this makes Dhikala very sought after, so if you want to stay here, book well in advance – a couple of months before you arrive should be fine. Note that the park shuts down during the monsoon (mid-June to approximately October). For the first couple of weeks in June, Dhikala doesn’t accept bookings; accommodation is on a first-come, first-serve basis, which is a distinctly dicey proposition.

If you don’t mind staying outside the tourist zone of the park, there are literally dozens of private properties to choose from, along the Kosi river. These lie in an almost uninterrupted row between the riverbank and the highway that demarcates Corbett. Tariffs and facilities vary considerably. Try to look out for hotels near Gargia (also spelt Garjia) – they’re the nearest to the park gate, and chances of seeing wildlife are high.

Moving inside Corbett:

No private vehicles – except those operated by licensed travel agents for jeep safaris – are allowed inside Corbett. If you’ve come in your own vehicle to Corbett, you’ll have to leave it in the parking lot outside the park, and then enter – either on the 5-hour long ‘bus safari’ operated by the forest department (the bus leaves from the Dhikala gate; charges are Rs 1,125 per person), or in a hired jeep. Jeeps – driven by specially trained drivers, never self-driven – can be hired, either through your hotel or through one of the travel agents along the Gargia road. These jeeps have to be booked about a week in advance, because a special permit has to be obtained from the forest department. Permits are issued for four gates into the tourist zone: Dhikala, Bijrani, Khara and Durgadevi.

The other option is to go on elephant back. Government elephants carry tourists from Dhikala into the surrounding jungles on ‘safaris’ of about a couple of hours each. If you’re staying at one of the hotels outside the tourist zone, an elephant can be hired to take you on safari – these go into the woods across the Kosi river.

What you can hope to see:

Corbett is known primarily as a tiger reserve, but its population of tigers has declined over the past few years. The estimated number of tigers today is about 27 – and since they shy away from humans, don’t be terribly sure you’ll get to see one. You just may get to see pugmarks or a leftover kill, but that may be all. Much more common are the elephants – Corbett has about 700 of them, moving either in herds of cows and calves, or as solitary tuskers. There are 80 leopards (again, very difficult to sight), and – the most common – deer, which estimates number anywhere between 50,000 to 1,00,000. These include sambar, kakar (barking deer), chital (spotted deer) and hog deer. There are also monkeys – rhesus macaques and langurs; and a variety of small cats, such as civet cats, jungle cats and leopard cats. Water bodies like the Ramganga hold crocodiles and gharial. What you’re certain to see are the birds of Corbett. The park has an estimated 600 species of bird life, and even a half-hour drive through the jungle can show you a plethora of birds, such as red jungle fowl, kaleej pheasant, king fishers, rollers, lapwings, peafowl, and more.

Some dos and don’ts: The most important part of all this, and there are plenty of signboards in the tourist zone and at the gates to the park to alert visitors to the dangers of Corbett, both from the wildlife and to the wildlife.

(a) If you’re on the highway along the periphery of the park, do drive slow (a maximum of 45 km/hr for a car).
(b) Don’t honk.
(c) This used to apply when private vehicles were allowed into the tourist zone of Corbett: don’t drive at night. It still does apply to some extent on the peripheral highway, since a lot of Corbett’s wildlife is nocturnal or semi-nocturnal. Also, there is no fence to separate the park from the surrounding areas – just a thinning out of the jungle. This doesn’t really deter animals from venturing out, and night driving can either result in accidents that injure animals – or can cause you injury, should you have the ill luck to run into an angry tusker, for instance.
(d) Keep your voice down when in the jungle. Wild animals have superb hearing – a wildlife expert at the Corbett Museum told us that a deer can hear a raised voice 3 km away. If you want to see wildlife, keep mum.
(e) Don’t walk in the woods. Though Corbett is called a ‘park’, it’s not just a pretty landscape – it can be very dangerous.
(f) Don’t attempt to sleep outside. It’s hardly possible, now, what with forest rangers being alert to that sort of thing, but I remember the first time I visited Corbett, a ranger recounted an incident of an American tourist who managed to evade officials and erected a tent near Dhikala. A passing ranger noticed the tent a day or so later – empty. The tourist’s body, mauled by a tiger, was found nearby.

Corbett National Park

Uttarakhand, India
91-5947-253977

Corbett: the Man

Member Rating 0 out of 5 by phileasfogg on June 13, 2011

Ask an Indian who Jim Corbett was, and it’s highly unlikely that anybody will say "Boxer". The more educated and well-read, or the people of the hills (especially the villagers of Garhwal and Kumaon) are almost certain to say, "Hunter". Because Jim Corbett was born Edward James Corbett in 1875, in Nainital (the capital of the district of Kumaon, now in Uttarakhand state, but back then part of the United Provinces). From a very young age, Corbett was fond of roaming the dense forests of the area around where he had grown up. He was very comfortable in the jungle, and remained in touch with the wild side of India even after he had grown up and joined the Indian army.

As a colonel in the army, Corbett also became a ‘sportsman’ (as they euphemistically called hunters back then – men and even women who, for the sheer sake of showing off their fine aim, went out into the woods to stalk and shoot wildlife. Sometimes the shooting was for the need for food – only so much could be carried when on a long trek through the hills, with a vast entourage of coolies, guards, trackers and other servants following. More often than not, it seems, the pleasure was all in the ‘sport’ of it, and the moth-eaten tigerskins, leopardskins and antlers still found in very old bungalows are evidence of how much these shikaris (hunters) were to blame for the sorry state of Indian wildlife today.

Fortunately, somewhere down the line, Jim Corbett’s attention began to drift from shooting animals with a gun to shooting them with a camera instead. He became an avid photographer, and eventually a conservationist as well. In the 1930s, he was the one who helped push the then-governor of the United Provinces, Hailey, to conserve the swiftly vanishing wildlife of the area by declaring part of it a wildlife preserve. What resulted, in 1936, was India’s first national park, Hailey National Park.

In the meantime, too, Corbett’s prowess as a hunter had earned him respect in another field – as a hunter of man-eaters. Thanks to its dense jungles, the area of Garhwal and Kumaon had a large population of tigers and leopards. Thanks to reasons as varied as hunting accidents (a shot that didn’t kill, followed by a failure to trail and put an end to the animal), encounters with porcupines, and epidemics that ended up causing vast numbers of human corpses to lie about in the woods – some of these predators began preying on cattle, or even in some cases, humans.

The sheer terror spread by these man-eaters still makes for chilling statistics: the Champawat man-eater (the first man-eater to be killed by Corbett, in 1907), for instance, is believed to have killed at least 436 people, if not more. The tiger, and other man-eaters, would carry off villagers, sometimes from within their huts, sometimes from a group of people walking down a village road. The fear caused by them was such that life would come to a halt for weeks altogether: fields would go uncultivated, people would not even step out of their houses to gather firewood, and the roads would be deserted. Considering that these man-eaters sometimes held sway for many years (in the case of the leopard of Rudraprayag, 8 years), life must have been pretty unbearable).

Over the years, called in to help by the government, Corbett accounted for the killing of 33 man-eaters: 19 tigers and 14 leopards. He was revered by villagers and townspeople across the area as a sadhu or saint, and many people would bend in the traditional sign of reverence among the Hindus – to touch his feet – when they met him. He is still, more than 50 years after his death, remembered with affection and gratitude (as ‘Carpet Sahib’, though, by the illiterate) throughout the area.

Interestingly, Corbett also proved in later years to be, besides a conservationist, photographer and hunter, a fine writer. He wrote his memoirs of his hunting of various man-eaters, and they all make for very interesting reading. Do look out for these books: among the best are The Man-Eating Leopard of Rudraprayag and Man-Eaters of Kumaon. Both evoke a superb sense of the forest, and are excellent depictions of northern India in the early 20th century. They also reveal a lot about Corbett himself, his love for the jungles, and his affection, indeed, for the people he protected from the depredations of the man-eaters he killed. Most of Corbett’s range of books are available on Amazon.com.

Corbett National Park

Uttarakhand, India
91-5947-253977

Lovely locale, iffy Housekeeping

Member Rating 3 out of 5 by phileasfogg on June 13, 2011

When we were planning our trip to Corbett, we decided to check with my cousin – who worked for many years with Worldwide Fund for Nature (the WWF) and is very familiar with Corbett – on where we should stay. Though my cousin told us the best places to stay were inside the park (the Dhikala and Bijrani FRHs), he also warned us that these places were terribly difficult to book, because they’re so popular that bookings have to be done months in advance. He suggested, as an alternative, the Corbett Hideaway – it’s one of the private hotels nearest the park, and its standard is higher than that of most other hotels and resorts in the area.

The Corbett Hideaway is part of the Leisure Hotels chain. It’s a lovely place, spread out over 10 acres of land beside the Kosi river. Scattered across those 10 acres are more than 50 cottages. Our cottage lay down a gravel path near the edge of the Corbett Hideaway’s fence. It was surrounded by spreading mango trees (there are about 175 of them in the Corbett Hideaway), stands of bamboo, frangipani, jackfruit, and a variety of shrubs and bushes – especially hibiscus, oleander and jasmine. Where you have that much greenery, you’re bound to see lots of birds too. And we did: red-whiskered bulbuls, red-vented bulbuls, purple sunbirds, tailorbirds, and gorgeously decorative flycatchers.

Our cottage consisted of a largish room with an attached bathroom. The room, with its huge windows, was comfy and came with most of the amenities one would expect: a double bed, desk, table, chairs and coffee table, wardrobe (with a safe), tea and coffee fixings, and complimentary cookies and fruit. There were two bottles of water too, but these turned out to not be mineral water, so we ended up having to order mineral water from room service. The beds were good and comfortable, with clean crisp sheets and pillows that were just right.

What came as a disappointment was the bathroom. Other than that it looked shoddy (stains on the mirror, polish wearing off the wood, a pane in the window broken), there was the unforgiveable fact that we were checked into a cottage whose bathroom hadn’t been cleaned. It was swimming in water, and there were muddy footprints all across the floor. While we went to have lunch, the bathroom was cleaned – but when we returned, it still didn’t have a single towel. The towels – two bath towels, but no hand or face towels – came only after we’d complained. It was only the next day that we got a full complement of bath linen.

Also in the precincts of the Corbett Hideaway are a swimming pool, a pool table, a small spa, and a table tennis table. Wi-Fi is available 24 hours a day; you pay Rs 110 for an hour, which must be used at one go; or Rs 210 for 2 hours, which can be used over a period of 24 hours. Elephant safaris, jeep, bird walks and nature walks safaris can be booked through the naturalist/wildlife coordinator whose office is opposite the reception counter.

The Corbett Hideaway offers a bar (called the Tusker Bar; it’s near the swimming pool), an open-air grill room called Jim’s Grill (which offers mainly rough-and-ready ‘Western’ food like fried chicken or French fries) and the dining room, Gurney House (named after Jim Corbett’s house in Nainital). Although Gurney House does have an à la carte menu, this is where most people dine – off the buffet, since the Corbett Hideaway offers 2-night packages that include all meals (we paid Rs 10,500 for the package). The buffet is predominantly Indian, though there are some Western and/or Chinese dishes too – both pretty indifferent. The Indian food too tended to be erratic; some meals we had here were fantastic, others were either too spicy or too greasy, or both. The desserts – largely ‘traditional’ English desserts like cabinet pudding, diplomat pudding and bread pudding – were the same: good at some meals, pretty awful at others.

Though the food’s so-so and Housekeeping definitely need to pull up their socks, I’d probably stay at the Corbett Hideaway again. Just for the ambience, which is lovely; for the birds, the view across the river, and the fact that it, even with its flaws, is probably the best place to stay in around here.

The Corbett Hideaway (Corbett Park)
Zero Garjia Dhikuli
Ramnagar, Uttarakhand, 244715

A little disappointing - and then not

Member Rating 2 out of 5 by phileasfogg on June 13, 2011

No private vehicles are allowed inside the Corbett National Park. And since you can’t walk inside the park – it’s too dangerous, what with tigers, leopards and elephants roaming the park – the one way of really getting deep inside the area and seeing some of the local wildlife is by jeep. There is a small tourist bus, too, which the forest department operates. It begins from the Dhikala gate and does a 5-hour circuit of the park. Per person rates for a seat in the bus are Rs 1,125.

We weren’t keen on going in the bus – the people at the Corbett Hideaway resort, where we were staying, had told us that a jeep safari was recommended and could be booked through them. What’s more, when we visited the Corbett Museum at the Dhikala gate and saw the noisy group of tourists waiting there for the bus, we realised it was just as well; they were creating enough of a racket to scare off all wildlife for miles around.

Jeep safaris are operated by most of the larger hotels and resorts that lie between Corbett and the nearest town, Ramnagar. In addition, there are independent travel agents and tour operators from whom you can hire a jeep. Note that you don’t get self-drive vehicles: all jeeps are driven by specially trained drivers who know the jungle well. What’s more, jeeps are allowed into the park only after they’ve got special permits. The forest department issues these permits, and since only a limited number of jeeps are allowed in every day, you should book your jeep in advance – at least several days before you intend to go on the safari.

We had booked our jeep safari through the Corbett Hideaway (this required sending the hotel – fortunately through e-mail – our photographs, and a scanned image of my husband’s driving license, as proof of identity). The jeep safari cost Rs 3,228 – inclusive of fuel, jeep hire, permit, and the driver’s services.

The jeep safari was to begin at 5.30 AM, but the previous evening, while talking to the in-house naturalist, we were told that we should be at the hotel lobby by 5 AM. Tea and coffee are laid out in the hall next to the lobby, so everybody going off at this unearthly hour on jeep or elephant safaris can get their caffeine shot. Bleary-eyed and yawning, we too went and got coffee at 5.15, before going out to our jeep. It was an open jeep, with seats enough to accommodate four adults (plus one, if you sat beside the driver).

Our driver told us – to our disappointment – that the gate for which we’d received a permit was the Durgadevi gate. Corbett National Park has four gates through which tourist traffic is allowed in: Dhikala, Bijrani, Khara and Durgadevi. Of these, or so we were told by a man at the Corbett museum, the Durgadevi gate route is the one that allows least opportunity for seeing wildlife. This is because this part of the park is hilly and densely wooded, so animals are rarely seen. Our faces fell, of course, but there’s really nothing one can do in this matter. Which gate you get a permit for is completely a matter of luck.

It took us nearly 20 minutes to drive from our hotel to the Durgadevi gate, and we began seeing wildlife soon along the main road itself: a herd of spotted deer or chital grazing by the side of the road; rhesus macaques; langurs in a bare tree, their long tails hanging down from the branches; and a lone kakar or barking deer, a small and frightfully skittish creature that glanced up at us and ran off immediately.

Our driver stopped at the Durgadevi gate, where our permit had to be shown to the forest guard for us to be allowed in. From then on, it was a beautiful drive: dense forest on all sides, with sissoo, khair and sal trees looming up into the sky, and rohini flowers blooming crimson on roadside bushes. Our driver – who seemed to be very knowledgeable about the jungle – told us that these flowers are used to make sindoor or vermilion, which Hindu women smear in the parting of their hair to denote that they’re married. The road was a dirt road – gravel, dips now and then, occasional stones, but not as bad as some other hill roads I’ve been on. Having driven an hour into the park (past the Ramganga river too, in a scenic valley), we ended up at the Domukha forest checkpost, where a couple of other jeeps had also stopped to allow passengers to get off and stretch their legs. The checkpost has toilets – my husband went, and came back very hurriedly because they were so terribly smelly and dirty.

After our halt at Domukha (about ten minutes or so), we headed back along the road we’d come, another hour of travelling within the park, followed by half an hour from the Durgadevi gate to our hotel.

The all-important question: what did we see in the park in the way of wildlife? Nothing exciting, really. A couple of red jungle fowl. A kaleej pheasant. A few rhesus macaques. And what looked like a kakar, though it was such a fleeting glimpse, it could’ve been a hog deer or even a small chital.

But our safari wasn’t totally useless: on our way back from the Durgadevi gate to our hotel, beside the road, we saw a lone tusker. These solitary male elephants are notoriously unpredictable and dangerous, and I was getting very jittery while my husband insisted on taking photographs. Behind us, a truck reversed quickly in order to steer clear in case the tusker decided to charge. A man on a motorcycle, headed in the opposite direction from us, turned right around and decided he’d attempt the trip at some later time when the tusker had gone back into the forest.

So, yes: we did see some interesting wildlife. Only, it was all outside the tourist zone of the park!

Corbett National Park

Uttarakhand, India
91-5947-253977

Little wildlife spotted - yet good!

Member Rating 3 out of 5 by phileasfogg on June 13, 2011

While a jeep is a good way to cover a fair bit of ground within a short while, it does have the disadvantage of making rather a lot of noise – which, of course, drives away a lot of the more shy wildlife. A better alternative is to explore Corbett on elephant back. Elephants, since they don’t need to stick to roads, can penetrate deeper into the jungle, which raises your chances of getting a glimpse of wildlife. Also, since elephants don’t make obtrusive sounds, their tramping through the forests is taken mostly as a matter of course by other animals.

When we phoned the Corbett Hideaway to book our room, we were asked if we would also like to book an elephant safari. Since I’ve been on elephant safaris before – both times from the Dhikala FRH, and both times seeing huge numbers of wildlife, including once a tiger at disconcertingly close quarters – I was all for it. So we booked an elephant safari (about Rs 2,600). Elephants operated by private agents are allowed to carry visitors into the Corbett buffer zone, and we were told that though elephant safaris are possible throughout the day, the best times to go are either in the morning – at 5.30 AM – or in the evening, at 5 PM. We booked our elephant for 5 PM.

At about 4.45, according to the instructions of the in-house naturalist at the Corbett Hideaway, we made our way, about 2 km down the road, to one of the elephant stables (there are several of them here, operated by different private operators). Two elephants, both with a backload of tourists each, were coming down the road towards the stables. One of these – a female named Kaleena – turned out to be the one which would take us on our trip through the jungle.

Opposite the stables was an elephant mounting platform: you go up a flight of stairs, the mahout positions the elephant beside it, and you climb on to a sort of upside-down bedstead on the elephant’s back. Between the four ‘legs’ of the bedstead are thick iron rods; you put your legs under and the elephant sets off.

Our mahout told us that the route the elephant follows is across the Kosi river and into the forest beyond. He guided our elephant down a path through a local resort and down to the river (Kaleena relieved herself in it, too – which is why I advise you not to dip your feet, or bathe in the river, as a lot of other tourists seem to do!).

My husband was initially nervous about how Kaleena would handle the steep slopes through the jungle – especially near the riverbank and other, smaller, water courses. Have no fear: elephants are remarkably stable, more so even than the jeep we’d gone in earlier that day.
Having crossed the river, we spent about an hour making our way through the jungles on the other side of the Kosi. This is mainly scrub, with lantana weed and wild curry leaves forming a major part of the vegetation – and resulting in heavy undergrowth, which is very good at acting as a hiding place for a shy animal. Mostly, or so we’d been told, sunset during the summer is a good time to venture out into the jungle, because after the heat of the day, thirsty animals make their way to waterholes and watercourses. Unfortunately, our luck was out; just before we arrived in Corbett, it had rained for two days in succession; there was lots of water around, even in little streams that are usually dry – and it wasn’t too hot. So, the only wildlife we got to see were some langurs, a tiny herd of chital or spotted deer, and a peacock dancing (bad luck, again: we approached the peacock from the wrong end, so saw only the back of its gorgeous tail feathers before it took fright and scurried off!) Our mahout did, however, find some fresh pugmarks in the dust, and whispered to us that the jungle had gone quiet – a sure sign that there was a tiger somewhere around. He tried to find it, taking Kaleena ever deeper into the forest, but with no success.

We headed back by about 6.40 or so – the forest department has a rule that no tourists are allowed here after 7 PM – and had crossed the river by 7.

Not a very fruitful trip, considering that we saw almost no wildlife (or none worth the trip), but the very fact that we went so deep into the jungle was exhilarating in itself. We also narrowly missed a python that our mahout said he’d seen just the other day, replete with a chital it had swallowed – the snake, he said, was so full, it couldn’t have moved very far. Again, much searching didn’t yield any results. But, despite all that, an exciting little jaunt.

Important tip: wear jeans or heavy trousers, so that your legs are covered. The elephant typically goes along very narrow paths – often paths that are barely discernible – and our legs were being constantly raked by the branches of saplings, tall bushes and trees. Oh, and don’t talk above a whisper – it chases away wildlife.

Corbett National Park

Uttarakhand, India
91-5947-253977

Not a museum to visit

Member Rating 1 out of 5 by phileasfogg on June 13, 2011

I have one memory of the Corbett Museum: years ago, in the late 1980s, when I was a teenager, I’d visited Corbett National Park with my parents and sister. On our way out of the park – after a very fruitful trip – we’d stopped by to have a look at the museum. It was unbelievably seedy. This time, when my husband and I stopped to visit my parents on our way to Corbett, my father said: "Very mouldy stuffed animals." Ah. So I wasn’t the only one with those memories.

This time, even though I’d warned my husband that the museum was nothing great, we decided to visit it anyway – simply because Corbett is rather short of sights to see during the afternoon hours when animals take themselves off into cooler hideouts.

The museum lies just inside the Dhikala gate of the park. Between the museum and the gate is the Reception and Enquiry Office, where you have to go and buy tickets for the museum: Rs 10 per person if you’re Indian, Rs 50 per person if you’re not. Having bought our tickets, we went on, through a yellow-painted arch (on which ‘MUSEUM’ is written big and clear), to the semi-circular building that forms the Visitor Centre and the Museum. A plaque outside announced that the museum had been renovated in 1996, but frankly, after a tour of the modest range of exhibits inside, I don’t think much has changed in the years since I came here last.

There isn’t any really well-defined structure to this museum. There are four smallish halls, each with displays along the walls and here and there in the centre too. The displays are varied and other than the fact that they’re all mainly about the environment, they have often little in common. For instance, one display is an illustration of a food chain – just a painted picture that’s been labelled. There are other paintings too: for example, a large one of prehistoric people in Corbett facing up to elephant ancestors (mammoths? I have no idea; they had the curvy tusks one sees in pictures of mammoths, but not the long hair. A biologist may know better, or there could have been a decent sign alongside explaining what the mural was supposed to be about, what wildlife prehistoric humans in this area might encountered, what remains of prehistoric life have been found here, and so on, but nobody had bothered to do anything of the sort.

Instead, what there are, are sad-looking, sometimes dusty and moth-eaten stuffed animals (the tigers and the man-eating leopards, plus a two-day old baby elephant that died in an elephant stampede are perhaps the best preserved of the lot). There are maps of the park, showing buffer, tourist and core zones, the main water bodies, the locations of Forest Rest Houses and so on. There are maps of the state of Uttarakhand, with the locations of the different wildlife preserves in the state. There are boring lists, in some cases with photos, of the wildlife (including vegetation) to be found in Corbett, and there are some somewhat gruesome exhibits. I can live with the tiger skeleton and the elephant skulls (one each of a tusker, a cow and a calf), but the rather grubby foetuses etc floating in jars of formaldehyde were really not up my street.

If you’re in Corbett for a day or so and have absolutely nothing better to do, you might visit this museum. The only thing I can say for it is that there was a museum guide, a man who limped badly and walked with a cane but obviously knew a good bit about the exhibits and the park. He, of his own accord, offered to show us around the museum and helped make it vastly more interesting for us than it would have been otherwise. And then, just as we were pondering whether he expected baksheesh or not, he moved back behind the counter, obviously back to whatever work he’d been doing. A very pleasant surprise. But he didn’t seem to know any English, so unless you know Hindi, that’s not going to be much help.

Corbett Museum
Inside Dhikala Gate, Corbett National Park
Ramnagar, India

http://www.igougo.com/journal-j75812-Ramnagar-Deep_in_the_Jungle_Corbett_National_Park.html

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