Rajaji National Park
Rajaji National Park is a renowned national park located in the Indian state of Uttarakhand. Named after the prominent freedom fighter C. Rajagopalachari, the park was established in 1983 and covers an area of approximately 820 square kilometres (316 square miles). It spans across three districts: Haridwar, Dehradun, and Pauri Garhwal.
Flora and Fauna: Rajaji National Park is known for its rich biodiversity and serves as a significant corridor for wildlife migration between the Himalayan foothills and the Shivalik range. The park is a heaven for diverse flora and fauna. It encompasses various forest types, including Sal forests, mixed broad-leaved forests, and scrubland. The major tree species found here are Sal, Shisham, Amla, Haldu, and Bamboo.
The park is home to a wide array of animal species, including Asian elephants, tigers, leopards, sloth bears, Himalayan black bears, sambar deer, spotted deer, barking deer, wild boars, langurs, and many more. It is also a habitat for several avian species, such as the great hornbill, Himalayan pied kingfisher, white-capped water redstart, pheasants, woodpeckers, and barbets.
Rivers and Water Bodies: The Park is intersected by three major rivers: Ganga, Yamuna, and Chambal. These rivers and their tributaries provide a vital water source for the park's ecosystem. The pristine river Ganga flows through the park, adding to its scenic beauty.
Safari and Wildlife Viewing: Rajaji National Park offers thrilling safari experiences to explore its diverse wildlife. Jeep safaris are popular, allowing visitors to venture deep into the park's interior and catch glimpses of wildlife in their natural habitat. The safari routes traverse through dense forests, grasslands, and riverbanks, offering opportunities to spot elephants, tigers, leopards, deer, and various bird species.
Bird Watching: With its varied habitats, Rajaji National Park is a paradise for birdwatchers. The park boasts over 315 species of birds, including both resident and migratory species. Bird enthusiasts can spot colourful birds like the great hornbill, crested kingfisher, jungle fowl, barbets, bulbuls, woodpeckers, and many more.
Trekking and Nature Walks: Rajaji National Park offers several trekking routes and nature trails for adventure enthusiasts and nature lovers. These treks provide opportunities to explore the park's scenic beauty, spot wildlife, and immerse oneself in the tranquillity of nature.
Conservation Initiatives: The Park is dedicated to the conservation of its diverse ecosystem. Several measures have been implemented to protect the wildlife, including anti-poaching drives, habitat restoration, and community-based conservation programs. Efforts are also underway to address human-wildlife conflict and promote sustainable tourism practices.
Nearby Attractions: Rajaji National Park is located in close proximity to other popular tourist destinations in Uttarakhand. Visitors can explore the holy city of Haridwar, known for its religious significance and the Ganga Aarti ceremony. The hill station of Rishikesh, renowned for its yoga and spiritual retreats, is also nearby.
There are 7 gates to Rajaji National Park. Two of the gates- Ramgarh gate and Mohand gate are 14Km and 25Km from Dehradun respectively. Ranipur gate, Motichur gate and Chila gate are all 9Km away from Haridwar. Kunao gate is 6Km from Rishikesh and Laldhang gate is 25Km from Kotdwara.
Famous Tourist Attractions near Rajaji National Park | Places to visit near Rajaji National Park
Rajaji National Park is surrounded by several popular tourist attractions that offer diverse experiences. Here are some famous tourist attractions near Rajaji National Park:
Haridwar: Located just 10 kilometres (6.2 miles) from Rajaji National Park, Haridwar is a holy city and one of the seven holiest places in Hinduism. It is situated on the banks of the River Ganga and is known for its religious significance. Visitors can explore the famous Har Ki Pauri ghat, participate in the evening Ganga Aarti ceremony, take a dip in the holy river, and visit ancient temples.
Rishikesh: Situated around 36 kilometres (22.4 miles) from Rajaji National Park, Rishikesh is a renowned spiritual destination and a hub for yoga and meditation. It is nestled in the foothills of the Himalayas on the banks of the Ganga River. Visitors can visit ashrams, experience yoga and meditation retreats, indulge in adventure activities like river rafting, and explore iconic landmarks like the Laxman Jhula and Ram Jhula suspension bridges.
Dehradun: The capital city of Uttarakhand, Dehradun, is approximately 60 kilometers (37.3 miles) away from Rajaji National Park. It offers a blend of natural beauty, colonial architecture, and educational institutions. Popular attractions in Dehradun include Robber's Cave, Forest Research Institute, Tapkeshwar Temple, and the scenic hill station of Mussoorie, which is a short drive away.
Mussoorie: Situated around 80 kilometres (49.7 miles) from Rajaji National Park, Mussoorie is a charming hill station often referred to as the "Queen of Hills." It offers panoramic views of the Himalayas, lush green hills, and pleasant weather. Visitors can explore attractions like Mall Road, Kempty Falls, Gun Hill, and enjoy activities like cable car rides and nature walks.
Chilla Range: The Chilla Range within Rajaji National Park itself is a popular tourist attraction. It is located on the banks of the River Ganga and offers opportunities for wildlife viewing, birdwatching, and jungle safaris. The Chilla Range is known for its rich biodiversity and is a great place to spot elephants, tigers, leopards, and various bird species.
Neelkanth Mahadev Temple: Situated approximately 25 kilometres (15.5 miles) from Rajaji National Park, Neelkanth Mahadev Temple is a revered Hindu temple dedicated to Lord Shiva. It is located amidst picturesque surroundings at an altitude of 1,330 meters (4,360 feet) and attracts devotees and tourists alike.
Activities to do in Rajaji National Park | Things to do in Rajaji National Park
Rajaji National Park offers a range of activities for visitors to enjoy its natural beauty and wildlife. Here are some activities to do while visiting Rajaji National Park:
Wildlife Safari: Embark on an exciting wildlife safari in the park to spot various animal species. Jeep safaris are available, allowing you to explore different parts of the park and increase your chances of encountering wildlife such as elephants, tigers, leopards, deer, and more. Experienced guides accompany the safaris to provide information about the flora and fauna.
Birdwatching in Rajaji National Park: Rajaji National Park is a haven for bird enthusiasts. Take a birdwatching tour to observe the diverse avian species that inhabit the park. With over 315 bird species, including migratory birds, you can spot colourful birds like the great hornbill, kingfishers, pheasants, woodpeckers, and more. A pair of binoculars and a field guidebook can enhance your birdwatching experience.
Nature Walks and Hiking: Explore the park's trails on foot through nature walks or longer hikes. Guided walks are available, allowing you to discover the park's flora, fauna, and natural features. You can experience the tranquillity of the forest, listen to the sounds of nature, and enjoy the scenic beauty. Remember to follow safety guidelines and stay on designated paths.
River Rafting: Experience the thrill of River Rafting on the Ganga River, which flows through Rajaji National Park. Rishikesh, located nearby, is a popular destination for river rafting enthusiasts. You can enjoy adrenaline-pumping rafting adventures with various difficulty levels, accompanied by experienced guides and safety measures.
Camping: Spend a night in the wilderness by camping in designated areas within the park. Enjoy the panoramic views of the surroundings, listen to the sounds of nature, and experience the starry night sky. Camping can provide a unique and immersive experience in the heart of the national park.
Visit Chilla Range: Explore the Chilla Range within Rajaji National Park, located on the banks of the Ganga River. This area offers opportunities for wildlife viewing, birdwatching, and nature photography. You can also take a riverside walk or indulge in picnicking along the riverbank.
Village Tourism: Immerse yourself in the local culture by visiting nearby villages. Interact with the locals, learn about their way of life, and gain insights into the rural traditions and customs. Some villages in Rajaji National Park Range may offer homestay options, providing a chance to experience local hospitality and cuisine.