Wildlife in Uttarakhand
Enter the world of tigers and rich flora and fauna. Rajaji National Park is a tiger reserve and a very popular national park in Uttarakhand. It is located near the foothills of the majestic Himalayas. As you visit the national park, you would notice that two rivers flow through the lush green forests – Song and Ganga.
The dense lush green jungle and the view of the Shivalik ranges will enthrall the traveler. It is also known as Rajaji Tiger Reserve. Travelers visit the park to witness the beauty of the green forests and be up close and personal with different animal species.
History and Importance
The national park was established in the year 1983. It was named after a Freedom struggle leader ‘C. Rajagopalachari’. He was also one of the first receivers of the Bharat Ratna award. There were two wildlife sanctuaries before the year 1983, Chilla and Motichur. These were merged and that’s how Rajaji National Park came into existence.
The inhabits called him ‘Rajaji’ and he was the first and last Governor-General of our nation. Rajaji National Park is spread across three districts of Uttarakhand. These are Dehradun, Pauri Garhwal, and Haridwar.
Tigers are getting extinct, and that’s precisely why these reserves hold great importance. The national parks are the home for rare tigers and exotic birds. Let’s not forget that it houses animals like leopards, hare, jungle cat, hyena, elephant, langur, porcupine, cobra, deer, sambhar, goral, and the Himalayan bear. Additionally, there are 315 species of birds to witness.
Places to visit in Rajaji National Park
When in Rajaji National Park, you must visit Rishikesh and Haridwar. The former destination is known for adventure activities, good food, and beautiful sights. You can do river rafting, body surfing, cliff jumping, bungee jumping, and flying fox in Rishikesh. Lakshman Jhula in Rishikesh is the lookout point and the bridge moves!
Haridwar is a holy destination where people take the remnants of the deceased and immerse these in the Ganga river. Ganga is one of the holy rivers of India and the devotees believe that bathing in this river could purify your body and soul. Don’t forget to witness the evening aarti!
Things to do in Rajaji National Park
Jeep safari is the most exciting activity in Rajaji National Park. However, you must get an Indian/Foreign permit to enter the park.
The permit costs INR 150 for Indians and foreigners need to pay INR 600. The cost of hiring a gypsy for the safari is INR 2000. It is best to take a guide along with you. An expert guide would charge INR 1000-1500 to explain everything inside the national park.
If you are going without a guide, it will be difficult to know the exact species of birds and the abundance of flora that is accessible inside the park.
The entry gate is open twice a day. Head to the park in the morning between 6 AM to 9 AM or choose the 3 PM to 6 PM slot. The reserve is the dwelling of the animals and you must respect their privacy and not litter/scream.
Elephant safaris are banned for now. Earlier, it used to be a popular activity but the animal activists protested against the cruelty towards the gigantic animal. Elephant safaris are no longer a popular thing to do!
The Best Time to Visit
The best time to visit Rajaji National Park is between 15th November to 31st December. Avoid going to the national park in the monsoon season. This is when animals like to rest and come out to drink water. The gates open on 15th November and close on 15th June. During monsoon season, you can enjoy other activities around the region.
During monsoon season, the park gets flooded and becomes inaccessible for travelers. Even the forest rest house is closed during the flooded season. It is best to plan your travel around the colder months.
How to Reach
The nearest airport to Rajaji National Park is Jolly Grant. This is located in Dehradun and is 35 kilometers away from the park. Travelers can take a direct flight from Delhi! It takes 55 minutes to travel by air (from Delhi).
Haridwar Railway Station is 24 kilometers away from Rajaji National Park. You can also take a train till Dehradun (56 km) or Rishikesh (18 km).
You can take the Hindon Elevated Road and reach Rajaji National Park in just 4.5-5 hours. Delhi is 220 kilometers away from the park and the road condition is excellent. It is ideal to take a cab or your personal car to the national park. The drive is pleasant and you will notice the mango trees on the way!
Travelers can also take a bus to reach Dehradun, Rishikesh, and Haridwar. Take a local cab or bus to reach Rajaji National Park.