Rajaji National Park
Nature in its gay abandon - Rajaji National Park is an unspoilt wildlife sanctuary in the foothills of the Himalayas. Offering wonderful sightlines and covering a forested area of 820 sq kms, Rajaji is home to elephants, deer, sambhar (largest species of deer in Asia), bears, tigers, leopards, panthers. The ecosystem makes it perfect for some exotic birds like Snowy-browed Flycatcher, Black-necked Stork, Black-bellied Tern, Yellow-billed Blue Magpie, Great Hornbill, Scaly Thrush, Pallas's Fish Eagle, White-naped Woodpecker, and Northern Goshawk to call it home. In total, more than 30 animal and 400 bird species are found in Rajaji National Park.
The park is best enjoyed on a jeep safari. Tickets are available outside the park area. Jeep safaris take the park tour twice daily and visitors can book a seat in advance. The park is generally open from 0600 – 1100 hours in the morning and 1430 to 1730 hours in the noon. Visitors who book the safari for the entire day can stay at the forest guesthouse and enjoy bird watching from 1100 to 1330 hours. Entry inside the park at dawn and after dusk is strictly prohibited.
The park comprises of three wildlife sanctuaries namely, Chilla, Motichur and Rajaji sanctuaries. The jungle safari – covering approximately 34 kms - crosses valleys, riverbeds, sprawling vegetation and dense forest area. Visitors can easily spot herds of elephants strolling along or deer hopping in the camouflage of the trees. Lucky few can also spot the majestic cats – tigers and panthers, which come to the streams in the park to drink water. Special bird watching trails have been made in the deep of the jungle to give avian-lovers an opportunity to get up close with these beautiful creatures.
The park is open from mid-November to mid-June. The best time to visit the park is in winters, when the temperatures are warm and comfortable. Many migratory birds also come to the park during winters.
Lodging is easily available in and around the park. If you want to stay as close to nature as safely possible then the government guesthouses within the park boundary should be your choice. However, these guesthouses only have basic lodging facilities and don’t offer food. If you have comfort on your mind then you can choose from a number of private hotels that dot the outskirts of the park.
Rajaji is ‘a must’ visit place for adventure and wildlife lovers. Many tour package that include river rafting and jeep safari at Rajaji are available with travel and sightseeing planners.
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