Fact Sheet

Uttarakhand Basic Information

  • State Capital: Dehradun
  • Languages: Hindi, Garwhali, Kumaoni, English
  • Population: 8,479,562
  • Mountain Cover: 93% Forest Cover: 64%
  • Currency: Indian Rupees (INR)
  • Winter: November to February (Minimum temperature 0 degrees Celsius and maximum 28 degrees Celsius)
  • Summer: March to June (Minimum temperature 18 degrees Celsius and maximum 40 degrees Celsius)
  • Monsoon: June to October (Minimum temperature 14 degrees Celsius and maximum 40 degrees Celsius, humidity however can go above 80%)
  • Rainfall: 1400 - 2800 mm

 

Corbett National Park

  • Area: 1288 sq. km (combining core and buffer forest)
  • Altitude: 400 to 1110 m above mean sea level
  • Vegetation: Moist deciduous, Tropical dry deciduous, Subtropical Conifers
  • Corbett National Park stays open as follows:
    • Jhirna zone- year round.
    • Bijrani zone- 1st October till 30th June.
    • Durgadevi, Dhikala & Halduparao- 15th November till 15th June

     

Major towns
RURALTRAVELLER is based near Ramnagar, which is the biggest town near Corbett Tiger Reserve.  Other nearby towns includes Almora, Nainital and Ranikhet. 


Communication
Long distance telephone, fax and internet cafes are available in Ramnagar. Mobile phone service (GSM) is provided by Cell One, Airtel, Hutch (Vodafone), Idea "roaming services" are provided by all major telephone companies in Ramnagar.


Medical
All basic health care facilities are available. The government hospital and a couple of nursing homes may not be as good as a European or American hospital, however they abide by law to use safe and sterilized equipment. Medical stores are well stocked with good medicines. Volunteers must obtain personal medical travel insurance.


Money
INR (Indian National Rupees) is a restricted currency so you may not be able to change money before you come to India. Delhi airport has currency change offices.  Use these as you are more likely to get a good exchange rate at the airport rather than outside. 


Traveller’s cheques are not accepted. There are ATM counters in and around Ramnagar. Money transfer facilities by Western Union are available. Credit cards aren’t of much use.


Health and Safety
In terms of diseases and personal health issues we strongly advise you to consult your local doctor about standard routine vaccinations (tetanus, hepatitis and so on).


In terms of more serious diseases you should consult your local doctor.  We cannot give advice pertaining to certain vaccinations, malaria and rabies both are prevelant so it’s better to take precautions. You can reduce risks by following preventative measures such as keeping mosquitoes away with an insect repellent and coils, avoid stray dogs or monkeys they can be carriers of rabies.  However, you may like to get vaccinated against rabies, and a few other rare, but serious diseases.


The dreaded ‘Delhi belly’ or bacterial or amoebic dysentery is something that concerns everyone. Taking precautions reduces of infection.  We advise people to drink filtered water (either bottled mineral water, or water that has been treated by reverse osmosis (RO), or other filtering methods), and to avoid “street” food from vendors that don’t look like they’re paying much attention to hygiene (look for flies and uncovered food).


The food at our accommodations is hygienically prepared, safe water is provided. Always be prepared for stomach upsets for the first few days while you get acclimatised.


Electrolyte drinks can be bought from shops or medical stores – it’s important to stay hydrated if you are suffering from diarrhoea.  Do get an anti-diarrhoeal medicine, it is sometimes best to leave things to nature.


Important Points to Consider


Climate and Clothing
Dress according to the season, bringing appropriate clothing and equipment. Try and wear neutral colours such as green, brown, beige, camo or khaki. Preferably conservative clothes, as scantily clad people (bare shoulders, cleavage, legs and arms), particularly women are a cultural shock for the community.


Food
Most people have tried Indian food before coming to India, so you have a rough idea of what to expect, but foreign Indian restaurant food is not exactly the same as traditional Indian food. In most of the places you will be nourished with traditional Indian food. It can be spicy and sometimes reasonably hot.


Culture
The area is very rural and does not have pubs, bars or nightclubs. The villages are small and the people curious especially with foreigners so please take this as an innocent curiosity, rather than an invasion of privacy. Local customs may seem strange but its their traditional way of life.
Large cities and towns will be very different as it could be crowded, noisy and chaotic, and in many places poverty can come as a surprise.


Hints & tips


Essential items to bring:

  • Binoculars (8x40 are reasonable for the jungle)
  • Personal laptop
  • Unlocked cell phone
  • Walking shoes
  • Sandals for wading in the river
  • Sleeping bag
  • Pen and paper
  • Medicines (mosquito repellents, anti diarrhoea, pain killer, etc)
  • Camera
  • Flashlight
  • Water purification tablets and filter
  • Charger

 

Other tips:

  • Flights can be cheap if booked 2 months in advance
  • Ask for some smaller denominations of INR (100s & 50s) at the bureau-de-change, very few places have change for 500s or 1000s.
  • Watch-out for pick-pockets around busy stations and tourist areas.
  • Getting a visa is straightforward but can take time.

 

Recommended reading includes:

  • Man-eaters of Kumaon Omnibus Part 1, Jim Corbett – Oxford University Press
  • Man-eaters of Kumaon Omnibus Part 2, Jim Corbett – Oxford University Press
  • Any of the Jim Corbett books
  • Birds of Northern India, Richard Grimmett & Tim Inskipp
  • A Field Guide to the Mammals of the Indian Subcontinent, KK Gurung & Raj Singh
  • Snakes of India the Field Guide – Romulus Whitaker & Ashok Captain

 

CODE OF CONDUCT
Conduct and behaviour is important as you will be living with the sensitive rural community.  You will be briefed on local customs and traditions.

 

  • Use of any kind of Drug is punishable and will lead to immediate expulsion from the project/area followed by persecution.
  • Extreme alcoholism is unacceptable.
  • Anti-social behaviour is not tolerated.
  • Scantily dressed people are a cultural shock for the rural community.
  • During hikes in the forest you’ll be accompanied by a guide. Walking alone especially in the forest is not allowed.
  • You are to keep us informed about your movement in the area (it is a safety precaution).
  • Hikes after dark and night fishing are not permitted.
  • Try and respect local customs.
  • We are governed by rules and regulations of Corbett Tiger Reserve and Government of India and expect students/guests to do the same.
  • No loud music or shouting after dark.
  • Respect homestay/lodge rules.

 

Infringement of above rules can result in the termination of  stay and all costs will be non-refundable.