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Rajaji National Park

The home of the mighty elephants

A small state in northern India, Uttarakhand boasts of some of the country’s largest sanctuaries. And while the Corbett National Park is one of the most famous parks in the state, 200 odd kms from the same, is Rajaji National Park that is today home to not just elephants, but also tigers, panthers and colourful birds like the great pied hornbill. Spread over 820 square kilometres, fossils of 50 species of elephants (dating back to 10 million years) were also found inside the national park. Right now, unfortunately only one species of elephants survive in the country, and since this park has more than 500 of them, your chances of spotting these majestic beasts are literally the best.

Established in 1983, Rajaji National Park was initially dividied into three different sanctuaries, namely Rajaji sanctuary, Chilla sanctuary and Motichur sanctuary. While Rajaji sanctuary was started in 1948, Motichur was established in 1964 and Chill sanctuary was started in 1977. However in 1983, the government decided to bring all the above three mentioned sanctuaries under one roof and this is how Rajaji National Park came into existence. The new sanctuary was named after the first Govenor General of Independent India, Raj Gopalacharya who was also a freedom fighter. He was well known as Rajaji, and that is how the park became famous as Rajaji National Park. 

Located in the foothills of the Himalayas, this park is spread across three districts of Uttarakhand, including Haridwar, Pauri Garhwal and Dehradhun. Boasting of a wide variety of flora and fauna, that includes different types of plants/trees and animals including leopards, tigers and goats, this park is a perfect wildlife getaway, especially for those who live in North India.  


Visit The Temples And Religious Spots Of Rishikesh

Few cities can match the intensity and timelessness one can find in Rishikesh

In 1968, The Beatles comprising of Paul McCartney, John Lennon, Ringo Starr and George Harrison, came to Rishikesh to attend a meditation session. This trip changed not only their career path (they managed to write 20 songs during that period), they also successfully put this temple town on the global map. Since that day, tourists have flocked here, in search of spiritual awakening, a chance to be one nature, and of course some thrilling adventure activities. Here you can visit the various temples that are always bursting with devout followers, including the Triveni Ghat, Gita Bhawan and Lakshman Jhula.

Visit Har Ki Pauri in Haridwar

Temples, pilgrimages and landscapes await you here!

Another major local attraction in Haridwar is the Har Ki Pauri, which means Footsteps of the Lord. A sacred ghat located in the state, it is frequented by Hindu pilgrims from around the country.

According to Hindu mythology, a few drops of amrit or the elixir of immortality fell on the Brahmakund Ghar of Har Ki Pari, making it a major place for religious devotees. Further, among all the devotees who have meditated on the Ghat, Bharthari, who was the brother of King Vikramaditya was the most famous and prominent. Make sure you do not miss this one.



Explore Rajaji National Park

An antidote to the maladies of the urban jungle!

There is nothing like the vast expanse of the Rajaji National Park, where the pageantry and spectacle of wildlife, merge to create an experience that is truly unmatched. Plus, with the ease of spotting wildlife in a relatively easy manner, this park is an equal favourite among both wildlife lovers and bird watchers. In fact, as many as 315 bird species can be found at Rajaji, it is no wonder that this park has also emerged as a major bird watching spot.

The main gate of Rajaji National Park is at Chilla, and the park is open to guests from November to June. It remains closed during the monsoon season. While May and June are the best time to photograph the wild, temperatures can play spoilsport as they may soar to as high as 50 degree celsius. If you are not ready to combat the heat, head to the park between November and February, when temperatures are cool and there are many migratory birds who make this park their home.


Take A cycling Trip Around The Mountains

See these locales in a different light as you cycle through their landscapes.

A cycling tour is a truly unique and interesting way to discover any new place. Take for instance North India, which offers picturesque beauty, exquisite flora and fauna, and an incredible dose of culture. And if you believe in the same thing, we totally recommend you take a cycling trip from Rajaji National Park to Rishikesh. Why you ask? Because this trip will offer you a mix of environments -from bustling cities to winding paths that criss cross through hills. The entire journey can take anywhere between two hours and two and half hours, depending on how fast you drive and breaks you take. The best time to take this trip is between October to February as the temperatures are cooler during this period.

If you have a lot more stamina and determination, you can also take a cycling trip from Rajaji to Dehradun or even Mussoorie. Be warned however, this is only for hardcore enthusiasts, as you need to invest considerable time and effort for this trip.

Go Rafting In Rishikesh

Seeking out the thrill in the waters!

With so many rivers spread across the length and breadth of the country, you are never far from a white water adventure. And Rishikesh is the holy grail for those who want to immerse themselves in the thrill of whitewater rafting. If you need motivation, you only have to lay your eyes on the turquoise Ganga meandering between the mountains with silver sand beaches glittering by its sides. Trust us, one trip down the river and you will drenched in sweat, but filled with satisfaction.  

Rishikesh is not just about rafting.There are a number of other adventure activities like bungee jumping, zip lining, and canoeing for the adventure enthusiasts in this city and while there are many places around the world where you can do them, nestled in the mountains, by this river is truly unforgettable. It will make you wonder about your power, your own ability, your collective potential and also our collective insignificance in the larger scheme of life.

Head Out For A Birding Expedition

Ready to make some avian friends?

In Rajaji National Park, birding is a favourite activity for many visitors. This is because this park has more than 312 birds species which includes 151 are residents, 87 migrants and 49 are altitudinal migrants, 7 are local migrants and the rest 18 are unknown. Keep your eyes open for the Indian grey hornbill, woodpecker, black-necked stork, green bee-eater, Egyptian vulture, yellow billed blue magpies and snowy-browed flycatcher as well as the entertaining aerobatic displays of the Indian roller.

Since the number of birds here are pretty high, you can pick any of the three trails around the region, namely trails around the forest rest houses, the 26km forest drive at Chilla which brings together grasslands and mixed forests and finally the Phanduwala-Kansrao-Motichur trail. The 40 km trail goes through undisturbed stretches of dense forest, so make sure you do not forget your binoculars and camera.


Elephant Safari in Rajaji National Park

Perfect for the wildlife buffs!

If a jeep safari seems too boring for you, then don’t worry, Rajaji National Park has you sorted for an exciting adventure, in the form of an elephant safari. Not only is an elephant safari, extremely interesting and unique, this is also a great way to understand the flora and fauna of the park. That being said, a normal safari lasts for 60-90 minutes and can be done either in the morning (between 7-9AM) or in the evening (between 3-5PM). Also, keep in mind, elephant safari is available only at Chilla Gate and it is best to book your tickets beforehand, to avoid last minute hassles.

how to get there

  • By Air: Nearest airport is Dehradun Airport(35km)
  • By Rail: Nearest railway station is Rishikesh Railway Station(18km)
  • By Road: Delhi(230km)

when to visit

  • The main gate of Rajaji National Park is at Chilla, and can be accessed from Delhi by road along NH58 (223 km/6-7 hours).
  • The nearest airport is Jolly Grant in Dehradun (32km/1 hour) and you can take a taxi from the airport to the park gate.
  • The closest railway station is at Haridwar (9km/30mins), which is well connected by trains from around India, and is a short taxi trip to the Chilla Gate.

Local Shopping

Shopping in Rajaji National Park

Take home a few jungle souvenirs!

There is not much shopping that you can do in Rajaji National Park, exept for some pottery items and jungle souveniers.    If however you are looking to shop for some religious items, you can always head to either Rishikesh or Haridwar, where you can pick up various items like rudraksh, handlooms, brass and wooden decorative pieces & traditional wears.

Uttarakhand Cuisine

Delicious food that will make you coming back for more!

Simple, delicious and authentic, there is something about the cuisine of Uttarakhand that makes travellers keep coming back for more. A typical Kumaoni meal includes numerous items like rotis made from Madua flour, Bhat ki daal, Neembu saan chutney (which is made from ingredients like ground cannabis seeds, spices, yoghurt and lemon), Pahaadi raita with grated horseradish and mustard and aloo ke gutkey, which is dry potatoes tempered with hot chilli and spices. If you are a dessert lover, feel free to dig into Bal Mithai which is a local chocolate fudge made from khoya and coated with sugar valls as well as Singodi that is flavoured khoya wrapped in oak leaves.

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