About Rajaji National Park
A gorgeous National Park located in Uttarakhand, India, Rajaji National Park is one of the largest, most scenic and well-maintained tiger reserves in the country. It stretches across three districts- those of Haridwar, Pauri Garhwal and Dehradun.
It is fringed with the beautiful Shivalik mountain ranges on one side. The fact that it is located on the foothills of the Himalayas gives it a natural geographical advantage as well as an unparalleled natural environment for the animals who roam the National Park.
The park came into existence in 1983, and has been named after one of the most prominent freedom fighters the country has ever seen- C. Rajagopalachari. The park is constituted of three national parks that previously existed in the area, which makes the ecosystem of plants and animals varied, unique and remarkable.
Rajaji National Park is not only home to some of the most exotic plants and animals in the country but is also a paradise for bird-lovers and nature enthusiasts.
The mighty Ganga and Song Rivers also flow through the national park, adding to its natural beauty and serene ecosystem. Visitors can take part in various sight-seeing and adventure activities at the park as well.
Location: 5/1, Ansari Road, Mohand Range, Dehradun, Uttarakhand 248001
Timings: Monday to Sunday (6:00 am – 10:00 am and 2:30 pm – 6:30 pm)
Price: INR 750 for Indian nationals and INR 1,500 for foreigners and international citizens for entry. An additional INR 1,500 is charged for a jeep safari (INR 150 per person for a 10-person crew)
History of Rajaji National Park
The Rajaji National Park initially started as three separate national parks in Uttarakhand. The pre-existing natural abundance of the area, along with its thriving community of wildlife, flora and fauna and its idyllic weather served as the perfect premise for the establishment of these national parks.
In 1964, a stretch of the Dehradun Forest spanning 90 square kilometres was declared as the Motichur wildlife sanctuary. The Rajaji Wildlife sanctuary had existed since 1948 and the Chilla sanctuary since 1977 in Shivalik and Lansdowne respectively.
In 1983, these three parks were combined to form the Rajaji National Park as it stands today, which covers an area of over 820 square kilometres. In April 2015, Rajaji National Park received the status of a tiger reserve, making it the second reserve for tigers in Uttarakhand.
It remains one of the most picturesque and well-maintained national parks in the country. The government decided to name the park after one of the most renowned freedom fighters of the country- C. Rajagopalachari, who was known as Rajaji.
After playing a pivotal role in fighting for India’s independence, he was also the last Governor-General of post-independence India. He was awarded the Bharat Ratna for his services to the nation.
How to Reach Rajaji National Park
Rajaji National Park is accessible from several nearby and popular towns such as Haridwar, Dehradun and Garhwal. While Dehradun is located around 60 km away from the park, Haridwar is 43 km away. You can find buses and taxis in abundance from both these towns to take you to Rajaji National Park.
If you are travelling by flight or train, the closest station and airport is at Dehradun. Another convenient way you can travel to Rajaji National Park is directly from New Delhi.
From here you can hire a taxi that will take you to the park for approximately INR 3,000 through a distance of around 223 km.
Best Time to Visit Rajaji National Park
The park is only open from 15th November to 15th June. Even though the temperatures are a little high during April, it is the best time to visit the park because this is when you can spot most of the animals.
It is also advisable that you visit in the early hours of the morning because temperatures can soar in the afternoon. Winter is also a good time to visit, but the temperature drops very low so make sure you carry appropriate warm clothing.
Other Essential Information About Rajaji National Park
Flora and Fauna at Rajaji National Park
There is no doubt that Rajaji National Park is a treasure trove of natural assets like flowers, plants, trees, birds, animals, insects and exotic ecosystems that would not be able to thrive anywhere else in the country.
Flora: The Shivalik ranges are characterized by a unique ecosystem of Sal trees and bamboo forests that cover the entire area with subtropical and tropical plants and trees. Coniferous trees, deciduous forests, pine trees, grasslands and riverine vegetation can be found in the National Park.
The unique climatic conditions, as well as the presence of the mountains, rivers and plains, has allowed the flora in the area to thrive and multiply. Some of the more recognizable flowering trees include Acacia, Kydia, Bel, Pipal, Adina, Amaldas, Lantana, Chilla, Kachnar, Ber, Shorea, etc.
Being an official tiger reserve, it is home to many tigers that one can see when on a jeep safari. Apart from tigers, it is also home to the Asian Elephant, Striped hyena, langurs, barking deer, sloth bears, jungle cats, leopards, bears, porcupines, jackals and the yellow-throated marten.
It is also a popular place for bird-watching due to the abundance of birds such as woodpeckers, barbets, fire-tailed sunbird, pheasants, great-pied hornbills, starlings, cuckoos, partridges, vultures, barbets and much more.
Wildlife in Rajaji National Park
In fact, elephant safari is one of the most popular safaris in the park. In 2015, the park was officially declared a tiger reserve because of its impressive and increasingly growing tiger population. It is also known for gorals and mountain goats, which are found in abundance.
Apart from the elephants, tigers and mountain goats, several animals can be found in large numbers at the park such as:
Rajaji National Park is also known for its expansive bird population which makes it a much-frequented place by bird-watchers. There are over 315 species of bird with even more species migrating to the region from all parts of the world.
The most distinctive birds that you may be able to spot when you are here include the peafowl, pheasants, vultures, barbets, kingfishers, woodpeckers, great pied hornbills, fire tailed sunbird and a great many numbers of migratory birds who frequent the area during the winter season.
Restaurants and local food in Rajaji National Park
The best option is to carry your own supply of food from home or restaurants outside when you are planning to visit the National Park. That being said, there are several restaurants around the area where you can find a sufficient offering of local cuisine as well as comfort food to keep you satiated during your journey. Here are some of the most suitable dining options around the park.
Rules and regulations of the Rajaji National Park
2. No firearms or weapons are permitted within the park premises.
3. Mundal and Khara Chauki are the only two designated points in the park where visitors are allowed to get down from the vehicle.
4. Entry permits can be bought from the entry gates. However, if you are travelling for a night stop then you must speak to the director.
5. You are only allowed to dispose-off biodegradable litter inside the park in designated bins.
6. Playing loud music, feeding the animals, chasing and teasing the animals is strictly prohibited.
7. Visitors can park their vehicles in the designated parking spots.
8. The entry permits are valid for a single day’s use and are strictly non-transferable.
9. The director of the park reserves the right to entry for any individuals.