Rajaji Tiger Reserve (earlier known Rajaji National Park) is the 48th Tiger Reserve of India. Situated in Garhwal region of Uttarakhand State. The picturesque beauty and rich biodiversity of the Reserve serve as its major attractions for Nature lovers, Bird Watchers as well as Wildlife enthusiasts.The park has been created in 1983 by amalgamation of three sanctuaries- Rajaji sanctuary(estd. 1948) Motichur sanctuary (estd. 1964) and Chilla sanctuary(estd. 1977) after the name of renowned Statesman and Freedom fighter Sri C. Rajgopalachariya - The first and last Governor General of Independent India popularly known as "Rajaji". The park is spread over an area of 820.42 sq. km. in three Districts- Dehradun, Haridwar & Pauri Garhwal of Uttarakhand State, India.
The Park has got the largest area representing Shiwalik Eco-system. The Shivalik trail is 10 million year old and very rich in fossils. It's fossils faunal remains include about 50 species of elephant, one of them is present today.
The majestic Ganges flows through the National Park for a distance of 24km, besides the innumerable streams and brooks making it rich and diverse. It offers ample opportunities to nature lovers to enjoy the captivating landscape and wildlife.
Rajaji is thickly foliated predominantly by the Rajaji is thickly foliated predominantly by the Sal Forest and a number of other forest types which include the Western Gangetic Moist and Northern dry Deciduous and Khair-Sissoo forests. Low Alluvial Savannah Woodlands cover the drier southern margins of the park, in contrast to the Shiwalik Chir-Pine on the high reaches of the hills.
Nestled between the Shivalik ranges and the Indo-Gangetic plains. Broadleaved deciduous forests, riverine vegetation, scrubland, grasslands and pine forests form the range of flora at these parks. The dense jungles here are home to vivacious wildlife here. The varied topography of the Reserve is also responsible for vivid animal life inhibited here. The under-wood is light and often absent. The trees consisting of Rohini (Malollotus philippinensis), Amaltas (Cassia fistula),Shisham ( Dalbergia sissoo), Sal ( Shorea robusta) , Palash ( Butea monosperma ) ,Arjun ( Terminalia arjuna ) Khair ( Acacia catechu ) Baans ( Dendrocalamus strictus ), Semul ( Bombax ceiba ) Sandan (Ougeinia Oojeinensis), Chamaror, (Ehretia laevis), Aonla (Emblica officinalis), Kachnar (Bauhienia variegata), Ber (Ziziphus mauritiana), Chilla (Casearia tomentosa), Bel (Aegle Marmelos), etc.
The park is home to the Tiger, Leopard, Himalayan Bear, Cheetal, Swamp deer, barking deer, Sambar deer, Nilgai, Goral , wild boar, Jackal, white striped Hyena, Jungle Cat, Leopard Cat, Civets, Himalayan Yellow-Throated Marten, Sloth Bears, Pythons, King Cobra, Common Krait, Indian Cobra, Monitor Lizard and above all the Asian Elephant.
A total of 312 birds species has been recorded. Of these , 151 are residents, 87 migrants, and 49 are altitudinal migrants, 7 are local migrants, while the status of the remaining 18 is unknown. For some species, Rajaji forms the western edge of their range, e.g. Great Pied Hornbill (Buceros bicornis) and Golden - fronted Leafbird (Chloropsis aurifrons) (Pandey et al. 1995). The Common Green Magpie (Cissa chinensis), a denizen of Broadleaf Evergreen and Moist Deciduous forest, has been reported from the forest adjoining Rajaji NP, which links it with Corbett National Park.
Rajaji Tiger Reserve is extremely rich in forest birds. For example, it has 11 species of woodpeckers, 5 species of barbets and 3 species of hornbills including the near threatened Great Pied Hornbill. Under the Western Himalayas Endemic Bird Area, Stattersfield et al. (1998) have listed Brooks's Leaf - warbler (Phylloscopus subviridis) and Tytler's Leaf- warbler (Phylloscopus tytleri) as restricted range species. Both species are winter migrants to the Park (Pandey et al. 1995).
According to Birdlife International (undated) classification of biomes, Rajaji Tiger Reserve is located in Sino - Himalayan Subtropical Forest(Biome-8). However, it has more species of Biome - 7 (Sino-Himalayan Temperate Forest. A total of 112 species have been identified in Biome - 7, and Rajaji Tiger Reserve has 12 of them, all recorded in winter.
There is a Dam on the River Ganga near Haridwar city . The backwater of the reservoir, as well as a small stretch of the River Ganga, lie in the Rajaji Tiger Reserve. These water bodies attract a lot of resident and migratory waterbirds during winters. Thirteen species of birds have been identified at the reservoir, including Darter (Anhinga melanogaster), Painted Stork (Mycteria leucocephala), Black - Necked Stork (Ephippiorhynchus asiaticus). Frerruginous Pochard (Aythya nyroca) and Black - bellied Tern (Sterna acuticauda), birds considered as Near Threatened by BirdLife International (2001).
How to Reach :
The best way to enjoy Safaris in Rajaji Tiger Reserve is to arrive in Haridwar to make a base & then from there we have Chilla Range as the most popular Range for safaris, followed by Ranipur Range, Motichur Range all at a distance of 9 kms from Haridwar centre.
Air : Nearest airport is Jolly Grant, Dehradun, 33km. Jolly Grant Airport which is only a few kilometers away from the Northern Boundary of the Park has a daily around 9 flights from Delhi.
Rail : Nearest railhead is at Haridwar ( 8 Km.), Dehradun (56Km.) and Rishikesh (18 Km).
Road : The Rajaji Tiger Reserve is 220 kms. from Delhi & from Lucknow it is at a distance of 510km.Chilla is 8 Km. from Haridwar Railway Station which is well connected to major cities and 24 Km. from Rishikesh.
Rajaji Tiger Reserve is situated along the foothills of Shivalik ranges in the Himalayan foothills and represents the Shivalik eco-system. On the map it is located between Haridwar (Latitude 290 56’ 40”) and Dehradun (Latitude 300 20’ North) and 790 80’ E Longitude (Dehradun 780 01’ 15” E (Ramgarh), Chillawali- 770 54’ 30” East). Altitude: 300 meters to 1350 meters.
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