Rajaji is yet another National park in the north-eastern state of Uttarakhand. Rajaji is not just a national park, it is also a tiger reserve, and there are not many of those in the country. Located at the foothills of the Uttarakhand Himalayas, the park encompasses the Shivaliks. The park is relatively compact, spread across 820sq km, and covers three districts in the state- Haridwar, Dehradun and Pauri Garhwal. The national park was formerly three different sanctuaries- Rajaji, motichur and chilla. C rajgopalchari was a famous freedom leader and the winner of Bharat Ratna award. The merged national park is named after the great man.
Nestling between the shivalik and the indo gangetic plains, Rajaji is a topographical diversity. Broadleaved deciduous forests, riverine vegetation, scrubland, grasslands and pine forests await the keen adventurer at the national park. A very vivacious wildlife calls the dense forests of Rajaji its home. This is attributed to the varied landscape. Dense green jungles are predominant in Rajaji national park, habitat for many animals. Although the park is also a tiger reserve, it is rich in elephant population. Goral, the mountain goat is also a resident in the park. The goral resides in the pine covered slopes.
Apart from these, sambar, barking deer, hog deer, nilgai, wild pigs and sloth bears are inhabitants whose mention is worthy and one might catch a glimpse while wandering in the park. In the name of carnivores the leopard cat, jungle cat, civet and yellow-throated marten are the permanent residents here. However the prime carnivores, the ones at the top of the food chain, are Tigers and leopards. As for birds, over 500 species, both migratory and resident, have been documented in the park itself, barring the nearby areas. Pea fowl, vultures, woodpeckers, pheasants, kingfishers and barbets are some of them. The flowing rivers make a habitable environment for fish such as trout and masheer.
All seasons except monsoon are a suitable time to visit rajaji national park, which is a shame, because the rains bloom the flowers and other vegetation to their peak glory and the landscape is amazingly beautiful. During the winters, generally October to February, the temperatures fall to about 8-15 degrees Celsius. This makes it possible for the birdwatchers to spot some migratory species such as White Capped, Plumbeous Redstarts and Himalayan and Pied Kingfisher. March to April marks the spring season in the region. Temperatures rise to a pleasant average of 20 degrees Celsius and the leaves are blooming. However, summer is the best time to spot wild animals, which have just come out of hibernation or long term shelter. The rivers are flowing and the animals are free about their movements.
The park has nominal entry fees of Rs150 for Indian citizens and Rs600 for foreigners. They charge extra for cameras and movie cameras. The park also offers the option to take a jungle safari in jeeps during November to June. The safari takes you through the most probable sighting spots for wild animals and the places which are fabled as beautiful in the landscape. Covering a total distance of 33 kms the jeeps pass through lush green forests.