Rajaji National Park, Uttaranchal
208 kilometres from Delhi and 9 kilometres from Haridwar, Rajaji National Park lies in the Shivalik range of Himalayas in Uttaranchal.
Best Time To Visit
Rajaji is open from November to June, seven days a week. The weather is pleasant from December to March but for best sightings, go in the peak summers.
About Rajaji National Park
Though Rajaji has not been notified as a national park, yet it
enjoys all the privileges of one. It will soon be getting the status
of a national park. 820 sq. kms of beautiful green belt of Shivaliks
is occupied by Rajaji National Park. Spreading across the districts of
Haridwar, Pauri Garhwal and Dehradun, Rajaji is actually a joining of
three sanctuaries, i.e. Rajaji, Motichur and Chilla. In 1983, these
three sanctuaries were conglomerated under Rajaji National Park.
Though each of them are different yet together they make a great
Rajaji attracts large number of tourists every year. It is not just the wildlife, but also the natural beauty of the place, green Shivaliks, the rivers, the pleasant weather which plays an important role in attracting tourists.
Rajaji Park Attractions
Rajaji with its large areas of green belt and spreading over a diverse terrain is as diversified in its vegetation. The park comprises mainly of deciduous forest. You will spot extensive vegetation of Sal trees. Heavy rainfalls makes the place favourable for diverse varieties of Sal like the Shivalik Sal, Bhabar Dun Sal, Western Gangetic Moist Mixed Deciduous, Low Alluvial Savannah Woodland, Dry Shivalik Sal and so on. Forest types consists of riverine, broad-leaf mixed forests, chirpine forests, scrubland and grassy pasture lands.
There are some 23 species of mammals found in Rajaji. The most abundant and famous being Elephants. There are Tigers also but not very easy to spot. Then there are species of Wild Cats, Jackals, Sloth Bear, Leopards, Wild Boar, Himalayan yellow throated Marten, Sambar, Cheetal, Barking Deer, Langoor and Ghoral.
Rajaji National Park boasts of some 49 species of reptiles. Of these 28 are Snakes, Pythons and Cobras (King Cobra also). Then there are some 12 species of Turtles and 9 species of Lizards also. The park won't disappoint you for Toads and Frogs either.
With as many as 315 species of birds here, Rajaji National Park is a delight. Be prepared for some real close encounters, Vultures flying close by, Eagles fluttering their massive wings and other such rare sights. Apart from the large ones, small and delicate species such as the Woodpecker, Pea fowls, Pheasants, Kingfishers, Barbets are also found here. Of the common ones there are Teals, Cormorants, Egrets, Lapwing, Pond Herons and Jungle fowl. If you are a keen bird watcher then be here in winters as a lot of migratory birds are here at that time.
Things To Do
The best way to enjoy the pristine surroundings and pleasant weather is to take an elephant safari through the park. There are limited rides per day so one should get in touch with the authorities in advance.
A jeep safari will ensure that you cover larger areas in less time in the park since it is so large that it would be otherwise difficult to do so. Jeep safaris are allowed only with guides, this only helps you in getting to see as many animals as possible.
Chandi Devi Mandir
This temple will come in your way if you come from Haridwar side, it is 1 kilometre ahead of the entry gate. What's more delightful is the chair car journey to this temple which is on Neel Parvat. Views of Haridwar from the chair car are worth watching.
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