Amidst tropical & sub-tropical deciduous forests near Haridwar in Uttarakhand lies a beautiful home of varied flora and fauna. A melodious confluence of trumpets of elephants, roars of tigers, and chirps of birds goes well to complement the gurgles of the streams of the River Ganges that flow through the grasslands that we are talking of. To these animal species, this place is home. But the world knows it by the name of Rajaji National Park.
Amid the lush green environs of the Shivalik Hills near Haridwar lies Rajaji National Park; a beautiful place that rightly boasts of its rich flora and fauna. The park was named after the famous freedom fighter and first governor general of free India, Sri C Rajagopalachari, who was popularly called Rajaji. Until 1983, the zone was known as the Rajaji Wildlife Sanctuary (estd. 1948). But it was later merged with Motichur (estd. 1964) & Chilla (estd. 1977) wildlife sanctuaries and Rajaji National Park came into existence.
The national park is home to diverse flora and fauna, including some endangered species of birds and animals. And so, it shouldn't come as a surprise that wildlife safaris and bird-watching tours are popular here. Furthermore, the several streams of the River Ganges provide opportunities for watersports; such as river rafting and canoeing. These activities, along with the jungle lodges inside, make it one of the best eco-tourism destinations in Uttarakhand.
Some of the adventure sports in Raja ji National park that you can enjoy.
Adventure Rajaji National Park Safari in Raja ji National park:
Wildlife safaris are very popular adventure sports in Raja ji National Park. Both jeep safaris and elephant safaris are available. The jeep safaris are conducted twice every day; from 6 am to 9 am and from 3 pm to 6 pm.
The elephant safaris were discontinued in 2007 after the death of the elephant 'Arundhati', who had served the reserve since 1981. However, they were resumed in November 2016 with three tuskers Raja, Rangeeli, and Radha. Unlike the 3-hour jeep safaris, elephant safaris are shorter and last for 45 minutes to 1 hour.
Adventure Rajaji Tiger Park in Raja ji National park:
There's also a tiger reserve in its precincts that is a home to over 50 different species of mammals; including Asian Elephant, tiger, leopard, Himalayan Black Bear, sloth bear, civet, jackal, and hyena. The Rajaji Tiger Reserve came into existence on 20th April 2015.
Adventure Rafting in Raja ji National park:
Rafting and canoeing are adventure sports in Raja ji National Park. 3-hour-long rafting tours on stretches exceeding 12 km on the streams of River Ganges are offered on request. The jungle lodges inside the national park provide this facility at INR 800 per person.
Adventure Bird-watching in Raja ji National park:
The open grasslands in the foothills between western Himalayas and central Himalayas enhance the diversity of the bird species and consequently enhance the viewing prospects for the bird-watchers. Greater Scaup, White-naped Woodpecker, Great Hornbill, Black-bellied Tern, Pallas’s Fish Eagle, Northern Goshawk, Black-necked Stork, Yellow-billed Blue Magpie, Scaly Thrush, Snowy-browed Flycatcher, Rusty-flanked Treecreeper, Pale-footed Bush Warbler, Tytler’s Leaf Warbler, Green Avadavat, and Reed Bunting are some of the avian species that can be spotted here.
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