Nestled between the stunning Shivalik range and the rich Indo-Gangetic plains, the Rajaji National Park is situated in the state of Uttarakhand. The park is spread across three districts of Uttarakhand, namely Pauri Garhwal, Haridwar and Dehradun. It's a merger of three sanctuaries, Rajaji, Chila and Motichur into one large protected area that spans over 820 square kilometres.
Established in the year 1983, the park is named after a famous freedom fighter, Late Sri C Rajgopalachari, famously known as 'Rajaji'. With its rich flora and fauna, the park is home to numerous rare and elusive birds, reptiles, animals, mammals and aquatic species. Every year, several nature lovers and wildlife enthusiasts visit the place to gain insight into the Himalayan ecosystem and its biodiversity.
PC: Harikrishnan S
With a diverse ecosystem, the park predominantly has thick green jungles of the broad-leaved Sal, Sheesham and Arjun trees, scrubland, lush grasslands, pine forests, etc. These forests are home to Asian Elephants, Bengal Tigers, Hyena, Sloth Bear, Himalayan Black Bear, Barking Deer, Wild Boars, King Cobra, Python, and a several species of resident and migratory birds.
The Shivalik trail is millions of years old and an ancient camping ground for the forest dwelling tribes. The Rajaji and Motichur sanctuaries are adjacent to each other and are separated from the Chila Sanctuary by the Chila river and the mighty Ganges that flows through the national park.
PC: Nilesh Keshri
By Road: Rajaji National Park can be best reached from Dehradun, 60 km away; Haridwar, 22 km away; and Rishikesh, 18 km away. All three places are well-connected to Delhi which is 245 km away.
By Air: The nearest airport is the Jolly Grant Airport in Dehradun at a distance of 35 km from the Rajaji National Park. Taxis are available at the airport to visit the national park.
By Rail: Nearest railway station is Haridwar Junction at 22 km from the national park. Alternatively, another major rail head is at Dehradun, which is 60 km away from the Rajaji National Park. Both the stations are well-connected with major cities in India.
Best Time To Visit
The Rajaji National Park is open for visitors from mid-November to mid-June. It remains closed during the rainy season. However, April to June is known to be the best time to spot animals. The cooler months are pleasant to visit the national park and ideal for bird watching.
Visitors can embark on delightful wildlife safaris in Chila and Motichur ranges. The park has guided Elephant and Jeep safaris. On one hand, the Elephant safaris are limited and need an advance permission, also the route for these safaris are short. On the other hand, the open jeep safaris cover a stretch of 34 km over a span of 2-3 hours. These safaris are preferred by most, as they can be arranged on the same day.
The Jeep safaris are offered for 3 hours in the morning and evening between 6-9 AM and 3-6 PM. An entry ticket of Rs. 150 per person is charged for the visitors. Apart from the entry ticket, the jeep cost is Rs. 1500 per trip. It is said that dusk is the best time to spot animals, so most visitors opt for the 3-6 PM slot.
Apart from the wildlife safari, visitors can engage in bird watching, white water rafting at the Ganges, short treks and nature walk outside the national park arranged by lodges and resorts, which are located at the edge of the park.
A Chandi Devi Temple perched on a hill called Neel Parvat can also be visited. You will come across the hill while travelling from Haridwar, before the park. A cable car ride will take you to the temple atop the hill.