Rajaji National Park
: Haridwar, Dehradun, Pauri (Uttranchal )
: 820 sq. kms.
: Mid-November to Mid-June
Rajaji National Park is known for its immaculate scenic beauty and rich biodiversity. A haven for nature lovers and wildlife enthusiasts, the wildlife of the park is blessed with elephants, tigers, leopards and deer as its best known life forms.
Three sanctuaries in the Dehradun Shivaliks - Rajaji, Motichur and Chilla were amalgamated into a large protected area and named Rajaji National Park in the year 1983 after the famous freedom fighter Late Sri C. Rajgopalachari, popularlyknown as Rajaji. The wildlife here includes elephant, tiger, panther, bear, chital, sambar, wild boar, kakar, python, monitor lizard and a large variety of avian fauna. You find many opportunities of viewing these animals in their natural habitat here.
In winters, a large variety of fascinating migratory birds play in the azure waters of the River Ganga, which flows through the park. Both the rivers of the area, Ganga and Song sheltered various species of fish like mahaseer, kalabanse, goonch, chilwa and trout.
The forest in the park is deciduous, with Sal (Shorea Robusta) as the principal constituent contributing to nearly 75% of the trees. Due to abundant rainfall, favourable conditions are created for diverse forest types like
Moist Shiwalik Sal,
Moist Bhabar Dun Sal
Western Gangetic Moist Mixed Deciduous
Low Alluvial Sevannah Woodland
Dry Shiwalik Sal
Northern Dry Mixed Deciduous
Khair Sissoo Forest, and
Lower Shiwalik Chir Pineforest.
The main species of plants in the park are the Sal (Shorea Robusta), Baki (Anogeissue latifolia), Sain (Terminalia Tomentosa), Haldu (Adina Cordifolia), Bachera (Terminalia Ballerica), Jhingan (Lannea Coromandelica), Kharpat (Garuga Pinnata), Phauri (Lagerstromia Parviflora), Bula (Kydia Calycina), Badal (Stereospermum chelonoides), Sofed Sirus (Albizzia Procera), Tun (Cadrela Tonna), Gutel (Trewia Nudiflora), Gular (Ficus Glomerata), etc.
The under-wood is light and often absent. It consists of Rohini (Liollotus philippinensis), Amaltas (Cassia Fistula), Sandan (Ougeinia Oojeinensis), Pipal (Bauhienia Lazan), Mahal (Pyrus Pashla), Chamaror, (Ehretia Laevis), Aonia (Emblica Officinalis), Kachnar (Bauhienia Variegata), Ber (Ziziphus Mauritiana), Chilla (Casearia tomentosa), Bel (Aegle Marmelos), etc.
The under-growth consists of Karaunda (Carissa Opaca), Gandhala (Murraya Koenigil), Marorphali (Helicteres Isora), etc. While the grasses include Gorla (Cyryspogon Fuivus), Kummeeria (Heteropogon Contortus), etc.
Faunal Wealth of The Park
The Rajaji National Park is rich in faunal wealth because of the varied types of ecological niches existing in the reserve. The main groups found in the park are mammals, birds, reptiles (snakes and lizards), amphibians (frogs & toads) butterflies and fishes, and chiefly the invertebrate groups are, the Scorpions, Centipedes, Odonata (dragon & damselflies), Hymenoptera (Wasps, Bees, etc.) Isoptera (termites) and Lepidoptera, which comprises more than 60 species. India's National Bird Peacock is found here in abundance.
Several important herbivores like Asian Elephants, Spotted Deer, Sambhar, Barking Deer, Goral, Blue Bull (Neel Gai), Hog Deer, Wild Boar, Rhesus Monkey and common Langur occur in the park. Among the important carnivores are Tiger and Leopard, the smaller carnivores as predators are Leopard Cat, Jungle Cat , Civet Cat and Yellow Throated Martin.
Besides, other mammals like Hyena, Jackal and Bengal Fox are not an uncommon sight and work as scavengers in the park. In all 49 species of mammals belonging to 42 genera, in 21 families and nine orders have been recorded. According to census done in 1999 there are 445 Elephants, 32 Tigers and 177 Leopards, besides thousands of other wild animals in the park.
315 species of birds are reported to occur in the park. Birds like Ducks, Teals, Cormorants, Egrets, Lapwing, Pond Herons, Pea Fowl, Jungle Fowl, various species of Partridges and Pheasants, Drongo, Crows, Owlets and Nightjars, Birds Of Prey, etc, are quite common.
Twenty eight species of snakes, 12 species of turtles & tortoises and 9 species of lizards among Reptilia are being recorded from the park. Ten species under six genera and four families belonging to order Anura (toads & frogs) with their developmental stages have been recorded from the Park. Uperodon Systoma, Polypedates maculatus and Rana crassa are recorded for the first time from the park.
The park becomes a home for migratory birds during winters, ie December to February. Apart from migratory birds, there are many residential birds here. The major avian species here are Pea fowl, Jungle fowl, Kaleej pheasant, Hornbil, Woodpecker, Thrushes, Kingfishers, Parakeets, Warbler, Barbet, Finch, Indian roller and Oriola. In winters, a large variety of fascinating migratory birds play in the azure waters of the river Ganga, which flows through the park. Both the rivers of the area, Ganga and Song shelters various species of fish like Mahaseer, Kalabanse, Goonch, Chilwa and Trout.
The Park Safari
Its important to take permissions from the forest department before entering the premises of park. The park can be best viewed on an Elephant safari. Alternatively one can also take Jeep safari to see the park.
Besides, an interesting phenomenon of breeding of Bufonids was observed, which showed that B. Stomaticus & B. Melanostictus breeds during July-August on the northern slope of Shiwalik, whereas the same species breeds up to November on the southern slope. Polypedates maculatus, which inhabits the live tree-holes, breeds only in July.
As many as 49 species of fish fauna have been recorded from the wetlands of the Park, including a small loach Nemacheilus Doonensis as new to the park, and another species Berilius Dimorphicus as new to science (ZSI, 1995). Hymenopterous insects mainly refer to the Scolid wasps of the Park and as many as 13 species have been recorded. Out of these, five species are not only new to the area, but to the whole of the U. P.
The butterfly fauna of the Park is very rich and represented by as many as 60 species under eight families, out of the known nine families of the Butterflies known from the adjoining areas chiefly Garhwal And Kumaon hills of the Himalayas.
How To Get There
Air : Jolly Grant, Dehradun is the nearest airport from the national park.
Rail : Nearest railhead is situated at Haridwar/Rishikesh.
Road : Bus services and overnight trains are available for Dehradun and Haridwar from Delhi and Lucknow.
Where to stay
A range of tourist accommodation is available at Rajaji's main campsite. There are Forest rest houses in the surrounding areas of the park. Accommodation is also available in private lodges and resorts outside the Park.