INTRODUCTIONThe Rajaji National Park sprawls over an area of 820.42 sq. km along the foothills of Shivalik ranges. The Rajaji National Park was established in the year 1983 by amalgamating three wildlife sanctuaries namely Rajaji, Motichur and Chilla.
The park is named after the famous freedom fighter and the first and the last Governor General of Independent India, Sri C. Rajgopalachariya popularly referred as "Rajaji".This park is one of the place in the Shivalik range representing the Shivalik eco-system. The number of visitors visiting the Rajaji National Park is numerous for it is spread in three districts Dehradun, Haridwar & Pauri Garhwal of Uttaranchal State, India.
Apart from the number of streams and brooks flowing in this area, the park is also nourished and flourished by the majestic Ganges which flows through the park for a distance of at least 24kms.The Rajaji National Park is rich in fossils which include both its flora and fauna thus giving a lot of opportunities to wildlife and nature lovers.
LOCATIONRajaji National Park is situated in the Western Himalayan state of Uttaranchal. The park extends from latitudes 29°2'-30°15' N to longitude 77°55'-78°19' E.
BEST TIME TO VISITThe ideal time to visit the Rajaji National Park is between the months of October to March. The climate of the region is tropical with hot summers and cold winters.
FLORARajaji Wildlife Sanctuary is noted for its distinctive vegetation for it is situated between the Shivalik ranges and the Indo-Gangetic plains. Because of its geographical location the park is featured with several distinct zones and forest types which is extremely rich in floral species consisting of vegetation of plants, under-wood, and undergrowth species. The main species of plants in the park are the sal (Shorea robusta), baki (Anogeissue latifolia), sain (Terminalia tomentosa), haldu (Adina cordifolia), bachera (Terminalia ballerica), jhingan (Lannea coromandelica), kharpat (Garuga pinnata), phauri (Lagerstroemia parviflora), bula (Kydia calycina), badal (Stereospermum chelonoides), tun (Cadrela tonna),gutel (Trewia nudiflora), gular (Ficus glomerata),etc.
The under-wood is light and often absent. It consists of rohini (Liollotus philippinensis), amaltas (Cassia fistula), sandan (Ougeinia oojeinensis), pipal (Bauhienia lazan), mahal (Pyrus pashla), chamaror (Ehretia laevis), aonia (Emblica officinalis), kachnar (Bauhienia variegata), ber (Ziziphus mauritiana), chilla (Casearia tomentosa), bel (Aegle marmelos), etc.The undergrowth consists of karaunda (Carissa opaca), gandhala (Murraya koenigil), marorphali (Helicteres isora), etc. While the grasses include gorla (Cyryspogon fuivus), kummeeria (Heteropogon contortus), etc.
FAUNAThe Rajaji National Park is rich in its fauna and includes several important herbivores like Asian elephants, spotted deer, sambhar, barking Deer, goral, blue bull (Neel Gai), hog deer, wild boar, Rhesus monkey and common langur occur in the park.
The other carnivores include the Tiger and Leopard, the smaller carnivores as copredators are Leopard cat, Jungle cat, Civet cat and Yellow Throated Martin. Apart from the above animals the other common sight of mammals includes hyaena, jackal and Bengal fox. According to census report 1999 there are 445 elephants, 32 tigers and 177 leopards, besides thousands of other wild animals in the park. 315 species of birds are reported to occur in the park.
AVIANThere are about 315 species of birds that inhibit this park. India's National bird, Peacock is found here in abundance. Rusty cheaked Scimitar, Babbler, Golden-spected Warbler, Chestnut-tailed Starling, Brown Hawk-Owl, Drongo Cuckoo, and Great Hornbill are only a few names of birds that are found here. The park is also rich in the butterfly fauna representing at least 60 species under eight families.
REPTILES AND FISHThe Reptile population of the park is made of Monitor Lizard, King Cobra, Python and a number of other snakes. The Ganga river flowing through the park is also rich in wide variety of fish, like Goonch, Trout, Kalabanse, Mahaseer and Chilwa.
OTHER ATTRACTIONSThe forest authority of the Rajaji National Park permits for Jeep Safaris and Elephant Rides through the hilly terrain, lush green valleys, riverbeds and dense forests covering a total area of 34 Kms.During these safaris we can get to see the wildlife in nature.
RISHIKESHRishikesh has been the centre of spiritual and religious activities since ancient times. This place is situated on the right bank of the river Ganga, surrounded on all sides by beautiful river.
HARIDWARSituated in the foothills of the Himalaya, this is a beautiful spot for tourists and pilgrims. It is one of those four religious places where the festival of Kumbh takes place in every twelve years.
DEHRADUNThe picturesque valley of Dehradun, the capital of Uttranchal nestle in the Himalayan range.Dehradun is a very old city. In the Vedic times, Garhwal Mandal, of which Dehradun is a part, was known as Kedar Khand.For tourists and pilgrims heading for Rishikesh and Haridwar, as well as those going to Yamunotri-Gangotri, Kedranath-Badrinath and valley of Flowers-Hemkund Sahib, Dehradun are a gateway.
MUSSOORIEThe queen of hill stations is about 89 kms from Haridwar and the salubrious climate and deep woods makes it an ideal hill station.Mussoorie at a height of around 7000 ft above the sea level straddles a ridge in the Garhwal Himalayas, developing into a major tourist destination.
GETTING THEREBY AIR
Jolly Grant, Dehradun is the nearest airport from the national park.
Nearest railhead is situated at Haridwar/Rishikesh.
Rajaji National Park is accessible from many directions by road, rail and air. Bus services and overnight trains are available for Dehradun and Haridwar from Delhi and Lucknow.