The state of Uttarakhand, also known as 'The Devbhumi' (Land of Gods) has rapidly emerged as one of the most popular tourist destinations in the country. The state's hilly landscapes and famous Hindu pilgrimage sites have been the top choice for the tourists, looking for a break from their busy schedules.
Thousands of people frequent the Rishikesh-Haridwar region on the weekends or as soon as they get a holiday of two to three days. The proximity and superior road connectivity from Delhi-NCR ensures this region is never short of tourists all around the year, except for the monsoon season.
These are the top tourist destinations for the people from surrounding areas and bordering states of Uttar Pradesh, Delhi, Haryana, and Rajasthan who are seeking respite from the hustle and bustle of the big cities and some fresh air to breath.
Apart from the spiritual importance of these regions, the advent of adventure sports such as river rafting, nature camping, bungee jumping, flying fox, etc. have made these areas the first-choice for the youth.
Those who feel the Rishikesh-Haridwar region is all about strolling down the Ganga ghats, getting involved in adventure sports, this region also is home to a popular wildlife sanctuary i.e. Rajaji National Park.
The Jungle Safari and nature camps here offer a break from the regular experience one gets at the camping sites, present in the vicinity of Rishikesh. At Rajaji National Park, people get a chance to get a closer look at the wild animals living freely in their natural habitats and enjoy the peaceful wilderness of the hills.
Why Should You Visit Rajaji National Park
Rajaji National Park is a tiger reserve that encompasses the Shivaliks, near the foothills of the Himalayas. The park is spread over 820 square km, across the three districts of Uttarakhand: Saharanpur, Dehradun and Pauri Garhwal. The Chilla reserve of the Rajaji National Park is 21.7 km from Haridwar and offers the nature enthusiasts and wildlife lovers a chance to witness the rich biodiversity.
Rajaji National Park boasts of over 500 elephants, at least 12 tigers, 250 panthers and a natural habitat for preys like spotted deer, sambar, wild boar, barking deer, bears, and over 400 bird species.
How To Reach Rajaji National Park
By Road: The Rajaji National Park is 225 km away from Delhi and it roughly takes 5-6 hr drive to reach this beautiful destination, situated in the picturesque Shivalik ranges of the Himalayas. It is 22 km from Haridwar and 18 km away from Rishikesh.
By Train: Haridwar Railway Station is the nearest railhead from the Rajaji National Park which is 24 km away from the station.
By Air: Dehradun Airport is the nearest airport from here. Rajaji National Park is located approximately 35 km away from the Dehradun Airport.
Best Time To Visit Rajaji National Park
The Rajaji National Park opens for the wildlife safari from 15th November to 15th June as the park is closed in the other months. It is generally hot between April to June as the temperatures soar high in these months. However, this could also be a better period to spot animals as they come out more often to drink water.
Where To Stay
While the tourists can visit the national park by staying at the hotels in Haridwar and Rishikesh but there are quite a few exotic resorts near the wildlife sanctuary.
A jungle-lodge resort named 'The Forrest - Rajaji National Park' - owned by Leisure Hotels - is one of the best places to stay here. This resort is located in the foothills of the Shivalik, located some 7 km away from the tiger reserve.
Unlike the camping sites in Rishikesh, the USP of this resort is that these areas are calmer and peaceful. The resort management also takes care of the client's bookings for the Gypsy Safari in the tiger reserve.
As per DS Jeena, Resort Manager of the Forrest - Rajaji National Park, they offer guests canter drives around the camps where they can spot the wildlife around the resort. The hotel also provides river-rafting facilities in the Ganga river in Rishikesh. If people can't go on jungle safaris, they can visit the plethora of flora and fauna around the camps, go trekking up the hills during sunrise and sunsets.
How Are These Camps Different From Those At Rishikesh
The camps in Rishikesh are mostly overcrowded and several tourists complain that they wish to enjoy the silence of nature instead of loud DJ parties that are mostly played in the camps there. People visit these regions to get immersed in the wilderness, away from the noise to detoxify their mind and bodies. The resorts near Rajaji National Park offer just that experience.
"We do not offer deafening DJ parties here as our aim is to give our guests an experience of nature. If our guests demand we could arrange for some local folk dance and music performances which do not destroy the peacefulness of the night. We at, the Forrest, provide our guests with the bonfire and serve delicious food, prepared by our chefs in our kitchen. Our guests relish quality moments chatting with their families and friends, listening to the sound of the wilderness. We plan to serve local cuisine, prepared from the plants grown organically in our gardens," said DS Jeena, Resort Manager of the Forrest - Rajaji National Park.
Elephant Gym - A Unique Experience For The Tourists
The Forest Department of the Rajaji National Park has set up a unique gym for their young elephant calves. The specially designed gym is prepared for the recreation of young elephants where the young ones of these gigantic mammals can play and enjoy each others' company. All sorts of arrangements are being made at this unique gym where these wild mammals keep themselves engaged in some sort of physical activities.