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The Rajaji National Park is the second national park in Uttarkhand after the Jim Corbett National Park. Situated in the foothills of the Himalayas in the Siwalik region, the Park is surrounded by ethereal beauty and appeal. Spread over an area of 820 sq km the Park is named after the freedom fighter and leader, C. Rajagopalachari.
The Rajaji National Park was established in 1983 after merging three sanctuaries of Chilla, Motichur and Rajaji. It attained the status of a tiger reserve only as recently as 2015. The Park has been embroiled in turmoil, starting from the movement of the Gujjar tribes to the forest employees unrest for late wages. However, the Rajaji National Park holds its own in terms of the encompassing landscapes, lush forests and thriving wildlife. One of the striking features of this Park is the very enthralling elephant rides.
How to Reach
The Park is well connected to the almost all the major cities of north India by road. Rail – Sahranpur is the closest railway station and is well connected to Amritsar, Delhi, Kolkata and Lucknow. Haridwar railway station is also merely 20 km away. Air – The Jolly Grant Airport (25km) is the nearest airport base to reach the Park. A flight to Delhi from here takes about an hour only Road- The Park is well connected by state highways passing through the cities of Delhi (230km), Haridwar (20km), Rishikesh (20km) and Dehradun. Buses, taxis or private cars can be availed from the destination to reach the Park quite easily.
What to see
The Rajaji National Park is a tiger reserve, and hence the sighting and conservation of tigers are an integral part of the safari. However, the Asian elephants are usually the favorites here and are seen stomping in their natural habitat quite often. The leopard, striped hyena, sloth bear, barking deer, jackal, Himalayan black bear, Indian porcupine, langur, sambhar and rhesus macaque are also spotted in this area. The Park also gives shelter to about 315 different species of birds. The Park acts as a staging ground for migratory birds which travel from the Himalayas into the mainland of the Indian subcontinent. The birds found here are the vultures, peafowl, pied kingfisher, barbets, pheasants, woodpeckers and the Great pied hornbill. The wetlands and rivers also attract the animals and avian species, and serve as home for masheer and trout. Reptiles such as the monitor lizard, King cobra and the python are also found here. The vegetation and tree cover is quite varied, ranging from pine forests, scrublands, grasslands, floodplain vegetation to broadleaved deciduous type. Sal, rohini, palash and amaltas are some of the trees found in this area.
Things to do
It is best to visit the Park anytime between December to March. The wildlife safari is the obvious attraction, however, unlike the other tiger reserves the elephant rides walk away with the honors in the Rajaji National Park. The ride lasts for around 2 hours and is a different experience when compared to a jeep safari.
Places to visit nearby
The Rajaji National Park is at close distance to Haridwar, Rishikesh and you could very well visit them to visit the various temples and waterfalls in the vicinity.
Day 1 – Arrive at the Park by noon and check into the resort. Have a filling lunch and meet with the group to plan the events of the following days. Spend the evening in the resort and enjoy a great dinner. The Rajaji National Park is situated at the threshold of the Himalayas, thus making it a park surrounded by astounding beauty and peace. The Park has a lively wildlife to offer on display and spending quiet time in your resort is a great way to soak in the freshness and air of the mountains, plains and the crisscrossing Ganga.
Day 2- We begin the day early and start with the safari. Have a fun and fulfilling tour of the forest and return for lunch. The afternoon safari starts post lunch and we continue our quest into the different areas of the Park. After a long hard day, retire for the night.
Day 3- We again start early, and this time venture for the elephant ride. Arrive at the resort for lunch and check out to proceed towards your destination.
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