Home to Indian Elephant in special, Rajaji National Park is flatly extended in 820.42 square kilometers area of three districts of Dev Bhoomi Uttarakhand- Haridwar, Dehradun and Pauri Garhwal. Originally, Rajaji National park covered a smaller area. In 1983 Chilla, Motichur and Rajaji Wildlife Sanctuaries were merged into one to make Rajaji National Park. Named after the freedom fighter C. Rajagopalachari, widely known as Rajaji, Rajaji National Park lies on the hills and foothills of Shivalik ranges.
Rajaji National Park nourishes varied flora- sal forests, reverine forests, board-leaved mixed forests, scrubland and grassy. Badal, baki, behra, bula, gular, gutel, haldu, jhingan, kharpat, phauri, sain, sofed sirus and tun are other prominent plant species. Grasses in Rajaji National Park are gorla, kummeeria and others. There are weeds covering half of the herb species and some of the fruits like amla, ber and fig in Rajaji National Park.
Major habitat of Indian (Asian) Elephant, Rajaji National Park houses mammals like tiger, leopard, sloth bear, hyena, jackal, wild boar, wild dog, stooped deer, muntjac and swamp deer. Goral, the mountain goat is abundantly found in the national park. Rock python, cobra, king cobra and Indian monitor lizard are the reptiles widely found in Rajaji National Park. Also, there are 315 species of avifauna. Blue tailed, chestnut-headed, blue and green bearded bee-eaters are attractions of the national park. There are five species of Kingfishers in Rajaji National Park namely Himalayan Pied, Lesser Pied, Small Blue, Stork billed and White throated. Each winter, 40 species of birds visit the river Ganga who passes through Rajaji National Park dividing Chilla in the east and Rajaji-Motichur in the west. Cormorants, crows, egrets, lapwings, nightjars, owlets, partridges, pheasants, pond herons and treepies are some of them. India’s national bird Peafowl is hugely found in this habitat.
With a large area and broad wildlife, Rajaji National Park is a major tourist attraction in Dev Bhoomi Uttarakhand but some of the hindrances are making it impossible to flourish as widely as it should have. A herdsmen community named Van Gujjars, who inhibited the area for over 200 years, is still inhibiting the place. More, their ever growing population and livestock grazing inside the national park area challenges the wildlife. But to tourist, research on Van Gujjars could itself be a good topic to explore. The chitchats with the community people and study on their livelihood can be a subject of documentary or any other special research. One should not forget to bring camera, capturing and sharing memories is one of the best parts of life. Van Gujjars live nomadic life migrating to Shivalik foothills-Rajaji National Parks in winter and to Himalayan pastures in the summer herding their animals.
You can travel to an old Machan, 1Km inside the park from the entrance gate, and observe the wildlife moving around. The machan was once used by hunters and now serves as a special view point for tourists.
Major threat, problem, pain or whatever you name, is created by the railway line passing through the national park which has coasted lives of many elephants over the years. Other hindrances are the ever busy highway 58 in close proximity to Rajaji National Park. Crowded tourists spots Haridwar and Rishikesh also threaten the wildlife.
Jungle Safari and Jeep Safari are the most popular activities in Rajaji National Park. You should have your own vehicle otherwise you will have problem dwelling through the National park as there is no official vehicle availability. You can’t enter the park after dusk, you can’t drive in the night and fishing is also prohibited.
Contact park director for booking and entry permit and while leaving the park, collect the clearance certificate.
Best time to visit Rajaji National Park
Rajaji National Park remains open from mid-November to mid-June. During summer, the park remains closed due to rainfall of average 750mm.The best time to visit is during winter, November to March when the temperature ranges between 20?C to 25?C.Ten forest rest houses are established by the forest department of Uttarakhand for the tourists. You can also reside at any private hotels and tourists complexes around Rajaji National Park and at Rishikesh Haridwar, Dehradun or Mussoorie.
Rajaji National Park | How to reach?
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.
You should first go to either Dehradun, Haridwar, Rishikesh or Kotdwara by train or bus. You can reach Dehradun through air too- Jolly Grant Airport. Then you can hire taxi or jeep to Rajaji National Park.
Route to Rajaji National Park
- Dehradun – Subash Nagar – Rajaji National Park
- Rishikesh – Bibiwala – Namberder Farm – Rajaji National Park
- Haridwar – Motichur – Rajaji National Park
Rajaji National Park | Places to See
- Artificial Lake: 5Km from Chilla towards Haridwar, the artificial lake is visited by various migratory birds like black stork, ducks, grey wagtail and other water birds. At dusk, wild elephants drink on the lake.
- Bindevasini Village: 14Km northeast of Chilla on Chilla-Rishikesh highway, one can reach Bindevasani village. If you climb up steep 15 minutes, you will reach a Durga temple from where you can enjoy spectacular views of the confluence of Bindedhara and Nildhara rivers.
- Neelkanth Mahadev Temple: 14Km north of Bindevasini, you will reach Neelkantha Mahadev Temple in Pauri Garhwal district of Dev Bhoomi Uttarakhand. A little further away, you will reach Laxman Jhoola, the suspension bridge across sacred Ganga river which is supposed to be built at the place from where Laxman, the younger brother of lord Ram of Hindu holy epic Ramayana crossed through Ganga on a jute rope.
- Rishikesh | Haridwar | Dehradun | Pauri Garhwal