Spread over 820 sq km, Rajaji National Park is a part of three districts of Uttarakhand: Dehradun, Saharanpur and Pauri Garhwal. Three sanctuaries — Rajaji, Chila and Motichur — were merged into one in 1983 to form Rajaji National Park. Named after Sri Rajagopalachari, the first Indian Governor-General who was popularly known as Rajaji, the national park is only 9 km from Haridwar and 6 km from Rishikesh.
Situated along the Shivalik ranges in Himalayan foothills, Rajaji National Park forms a major part of the Shivalik eco-system. Ganga, Chila and Song rivers flow through the park which is home to over 315 species of birds and 23 species of mammals. The national park is the north western limit of Asiatic elephants.
Apart from being home to the largest population of elephants in the state, the park also houses tiger, sloth bears, hyena, king cobra, Himalayan kingfisher and the great piped hornbill. During November- March, the park is also home to large number of migratory birds. The best way to explore the park is on a jeep or elephant safari. Since Song and Ganga also flow through the park, it is home to a large number of fish that include trout and mahaseer among others.
BEST PLACES TO STAY IN RAJAJI NATIONAL PARK
Cottages and tents are available within the park near Gohari range. The tourist rest house run by Garhwal Mandal Vikas Nigam is a good option; it has AC, deluxe, executive rooms besides dormitory facilities. GMVN also runs six Gujjar huts.The forest department also operates 10 rest houses in the park.
Most tourist make a day trip to Rajaji National Park and prefer to stay at Haridwar, Rishikesh, Dehradun or Mussoorie. Budget, mid-range and luxury hotels are available in both Rishikesh and Haridwar.
BEST PLACES TO EAT IN RAJAJI NATIONAL PARK
Eating options inside Rajaji National Park are limited. There are a few small outlets just outside the park but tourists mostly prefer going to Haridwar where several street stalls and restaurants serve vegetarian food. Chotiwala is one of the most popular restaurants in Haridwar. Multi-cuisine restaurants attached to hotels in Haridwar and Rishikesh serve Indian, Chinese, Italian and Continental food.
Photograph courtesy: Sneha1327/Wikimedia Commons
The average minimum and maximum temperature of Rajaji National Park is as given below. The best time to visit Rajaji National Park is also specified.