Rajaji National Park is an Indian national park that encompasses the Shivaliks, near the foothills of the Himalayas. It is spread over 820 km2, and three districts of Uttarakhand: Haridwar, Dehradun and Pauri Garhwal. In 1983, three wildlife sanctuaries in the area namely, Chilla, Motichur and Rajaji sanctuaries were merged into one national park and named Rajaji National Park. Rajaji National Park has been named after C. Rajagopalachari (Rajaji), a prominent leader of the Freedom Struggle, the second and last Governor-General of independent India and one of the first recipients of India's highest civilian award Bharat Ratna (in 1954).
Rajaji National Park contains tropical and subtropical moist broadleaf forests, in particular those of the Upper Gangetic Plains moist deciduous forests ecoregion. The forest ecosystems of the Rajaji National Park are quite varied and diverse. A general survey of the forests reveals some important types of plant associations: Shorea, Mallotus and Adina community; Shorea, Terminalia and Bridelia community; Dalbergia, Acacia community; Syzygium, Phoebe and Drypetes community. The tropical forest ecosystems of the park have many unique characteristics, which have both scientific as well as practical significance for development. Based on the physiognomy and floristic composition, the permanent vegetation of the park can be grouped into following six types
Inhabiting the dense green jungles that form the park are an impressive array of creatures - 23 species of mammals - including tigers, leopards, elephants, deer, jungle cat, wild boar and sloth bear - and 315 species of birds are found in Rajaji . The most prominent avian species include pea fowl, woodpeckers, pheasants, kingfishers and barbets, supplemented by a number of migratory species during the winter months. Besides that, the rivers which flow through the park harbour fish such as trout and mahseer.
The park has the largest population of Elephants in Uttarakhand. It also has a good number of Tigers and Leopards. Both elephants and tiger are here, at the North-Western limit of their distribution in India. Wild animal species found in Rajaji National Park include
The park also houses over four hundred bird species including the Great Pied Hornbill, Himalayan Pied Kingfisher and the fire tailed sunbird. This area is the first staging ground after the migratory birds cross over the Himalayas into the Indian subcontinent.
There is 34 Km Nature Safari Trail and drive passing through undulating forest track, hilly terrain, lush green valleys, river beds, dense forests, sprawling grasslands and many never before seen greenery and vegetation.
During this drive Visitors can see large number of peafowls feeding on seeds, fruits, tender grass and sometimes peacocks dancing with their tail feathers are also encountered. Spotted deer or cheetal groups are commonly visible during Safari, leaves and fruits dropped by monkeys one may see quite frequently. In the woodland, Sambhar, the largest deer in south east Asia can be seen browsing. The largest land mammal, the Elephant is also commonly sighted during the Nature Safari. This 2-3 hour drive is definitely a visitor's delight.
New Offer: Good NEWS for truly jungle lovers, Now we are offering Jungle Safaris at two locations
1. Chila Range
2. Motichur Range
Very soon in Dhaulkhand Range too (famous for Leopards)
While within the Rajaji National Park, many wildlife safaris will be available for tourists and visitors and these can be taken up in order to cover all sections of the park in a comprehensive manner. A wildlife safari can cost you around Rs 700 and you will need to book the jeep beforehand. These safaris are provided in two timings - at 6 in the morning and at 3 in the afternoon
Due to the close proximity Rajaji's Climate is mostly same as of Rishikesh. The park is open from mid-November to mid-June. Winters are the most pleasant time to visit the park i.e. between November and March, when the temperature ranges between 20-25°C during the day. In summer, temperatures can be as high as 48°C. During winter, making it convenient to visit the park. The park remains closed in the rainy season, when there is an average 750mm. of rainfall.
Within the Rajaji National Park are ten forest resthouses, at Beribara, Chilla, Ranipur, Dholkhand, Kunnao, Motichur, Kansrao, Satyanarain, Phandowala and Kasarodi along with 6 Gujjar Huts. The resthouse at Dholkhand is currently not open to visitors, but the others charge approximately Rs 75-150 (for Indians) and Rs 225-450 (for foreigners). The accommodation provided is fairly basic, and there are no catering facilities. You'll have to bring your own food along, and do your own cooking- utensils and crockery are provided.
In addition to this Chilla has GMVN Chilla Cottages, GMVN offers a Tourist Rest House with AC, Delux, Executive rooms and dormotary facilities alongwith 6 Gujjar Huts,where visitors can stay to enjoy the beauty and splendour of the park.
One of the reasons for Rajaji's popularity is that it's conveniently situated for anybody coming from Delhi. The national capital is only 231 km from the park, and there are convenient overnight trains from Delhi to Haridwar and Dehradun, from where there are connecting buses to Rajaji. Similarly, the capital of Uttar Pradesh, Lucknow, is linked by bus to Haridwar and Dehradun. From Rajaji, the nearest airport is Jolly Grant, at Dehradun, while the most convenient railheads are Haridwar and Dehradun. Both have railway connections to the rest of the country.
Rajaji is accessible through different gates; the Ramgarh Gate and Mohand Gate are within 25 km of Dehradun, while the Motichur, Ranipur and Chilla Gates are just about 9 km from Haridwar. Kunnao Gate is 6 km from Rishikesh, and Laldhang gate is 25 km from Kotdwar.
Within the park, the only way of getting around, if you haven't got your own vehicle, is by elephant. Elephant rides of about 2.5 hours each are organized by the park authorities and cost between Rs 50 and Rs 100 per person.