Rajaji National Park

Named after the beloved freedom fighter and statesman C. Rajagopalachari, Rajaji National Park, is spread over a whopping 820.25 sq km of forested tract. With three different sanctuaries within its boundaries, Chilla, Motichur and Rajaji, this National Park has an expansive stretch, spread over the districts of Dehradun, Haridwar & Pauri Garhwal of Uttaranchal. With the River Ganga making its course through the park, along with innumerable other streams and brooks Rajaji National Park is the biggest protected area that represents the Shivalik ecosystem. Being located in the middle of the millions of years old Shivalik trail, the land is very rich in fossil-fauna and is especially popular among nature enthusiasts for the diversity of plants and wild animals usually found in this region. Alush and bio-diverse Park with an exquisite variety of wildlife and scenic landscapes, Rajaji National Park is famed for attracting travellers from all over the world.

Rajaji and Motichur lie on the west bank of the Ganga, and Chilla to its east. Motichur is easily accessible from NH58, which also connects Haridwar to Rishikesh, but spotting wildlife is difficult here as the forests are dense.

Despite the lack of sightings, the drive around the park was nothing short of excitement. Bird class and roars of big cats could be heard from time to time. Many animals roam the forest besides the elephant. 

Travel Tips

Though there are limited places to eat at Rajaji National Park, you must try out the local food at the small local food-stalls just outside the Park area. If you feel like a change in scenery, head to Haridwar and eat at Chotiwala, an extremely popular food-joint, and right opposite the Tourist office. The food is spicy, delicious and safe and a reflection of true blue North Indian cuisine.

If you have a sweet tooth, don’t leave without tasting the delicacies – the pera, rabri and rasmalai at Brijwasi Mithaiwalla.

Winter is the best time of the year to visit the Park if your intention is to trek and camp, though summers are better for photography and animal sightings, so take your pick depending on your priorities. 

Check the rates before you visit, as they are subject to change. The ticket to the park is valid for that day at all entry points of the park.

When to visit

  • Jan
  • Feb
  • Mar
  • Apr
  • May
  • Jun
  • July
  • Aug
  • Sept
  • Oct
  • Nov
  • Dec
sprinkles Cold
  • 16.5° Max
  • 8.5° Min
  • 0.0 mm
  • Carry Heavy woollen.
Things to do

Elephant spotting is among the most popular activities at Rajaji National Park, known for its abundance of this mammal. On entering the Park, travel a kilometre and you will find a Machan or an erstwhile hunting spot. The Machan is usually crowded with tourists at all times since it lends a fantastic bird’s eye view of the forest and many animals can be sighted from high up there. Other notable animals residing within the Park include the mountain goat or the Goral. On a jungle trek, if you are lucky you are also likely to spot other wildlife attractions of the Park such as tigers, leopards, Himalayan bears, cheetals, hog deer, barking deer, sambar deer, wild boars, antelopes such as the Nilgai, jackals, hyenas, jungle cats, leopard cats, civets, Himalayan yellow-throated martens, sloth bears, pythons, king Cobra, common kraits, Indian cobra and the monitor lizards and above all the the Asian Elephant. There areas many as 34 K.M. Nature Safari Trails and driving through these undulating forest tracks, hilly terrain, lush green valleys, river beds, dense forests, sprawling grasslands and many other spectacular sights is a sheer delight in itself. The Park organizes both jeep as well as elephant safaris, though the elephant ride on the great Raja (king) as the elephant is usually referred to is highly recommended – a once in a lifetime experience according to many travellers themselves.

You will find some of the ethnic tribal Gujjar villages still intact within the forest confines. If you have the affinity for local cultures you must take an evening off to explore these small and remote villages – an experience unique in its own telling. The locals are tourist friendly and usually generous with their knowledge of the forest and its ways, their culture and traditions. They might even tell you local trivia about the best times and places for wildlife spotting.

If you have not been able to book of any of the Park safaris, contact the GMVN Office that organizes jungle safaris even when the Park is closed.  They also organize animal parade viewings in the natural settings especially for tourists. Bird watching is another popular activity. The Park, with its diverse eco-system has a humungous variety of birds, especially around the plentiful streams and rivulets and artificial lakes.

Along the edge of Rajaji National Park is the Chandi Devi Mandir located at the top of the Neel Parvat. The chair-car ride to the temple is a delightful experience - the green canopy of trees far below makes for anincredible view. Stunning views of the ghats of Haridwar and the temple of Mansa Devi, located on the Bilwa Parvat peak are an additional draw. The ropeway ride from one end of the sanctuary to another is another preferred activity among travellers.

Jeep Safaris exploring the national park is bes done hrough jeep safaris. Each vehicle entering the park, whether it's private or not has to be acompanied by a guide. The guide fee is not fixed, so check with the authorities.

A number of birds can be found in the park, such as chestnut - headed bee - eaters pied hornbills, and yellow and pied wagtails. Also their are rollers, kingfishers, flycatchers and storks.

Getting Around

Local transportation is easily available in the area, for travelling to and from the Park. Buses to Chilla take about an hour to reach, leave the GMOU bus stand in Haridwar, at an interval of ever one hour from 7am to 2pm. The last bus for the return trip leaves Chilla at 5.30pm. For a one way ride for the 13km journey one can take taxi, and though it is a tad bit more expensive than the buses man travellers opt for it, since it allows you to stop midway to take pictures etc.

Places to Stay

Rajaji offers basic but beautifully located forest rest houses within park, and some excellent resorts on the outskirts. The are 10 forest rest houses inside the park, some of which are about 100 years old. They are located n picturesque environs, so the hardcore wildlifer who doesn't mind roughing it will find these attractive and cheap. Paln on organising your own food though, as the resident chowkidars may not be able to do justice to your palate.

How to Reach

  • The nearest airport is Jolly Grant, Dehradun, 35km away from the Northern Boundary of the Park has a daily 55 minute flight connecting it to Delhi.
  • The nearest railhead is at Haridwar (24Km away), Dehradun (56Km away) and Rishikesh (18 Km away), with all three stations connected with the other major railheads in the country.
  • The National Park is well connected by road - 220 kms from Delhi and about 510 kms from Lucknow. Chilla is 8 Km. from Haridwar Railway Station which is well connected to major cities and about 24 Km. from Rishikesh. The Moradabad, Haridwar State Highway and the Delhi-Dehradun State Highway are other options. From Haridwar, buses leave everyday at 7 a.m. and 9 a.m. from Garwhal Motor Owners Union [GMOU] and return at 12 noon and 4 pm. Some people prefer innovative means of reaching the Park - you could cycle 13 km. to Chilla from Haridwar. The walk from Haridwar is across the Laltarao Bridge and then takes a left from the roundabout onto the Rishikesh road. Turn right just before the cable bridge over the Ganges canal and cross the dam you reach. A 100 m. further down, turn left toward the artificial lake from where the road leads to Chilla, at a distance of about 5kms.

Surrounding Attractions

Rajaji National Park is situated at a very convenient location for tourists - it is very close to Haridwar as well as Dehradun, two of the major tourist attractions in Northern India. Both cities have a variety of sights and locations that make for memorable trips.

Haridwar is famous as a religious town, with a rich heritage of its own. The Har Ki Pauri in Haridwar is a must-visit as it is known as one of the most sacred spots in the country and is of immense religious importance. Even if you are not much of a religious person, it is an unforgettable experience to see the pilgrims gather there in thousands praying to the gods.

Dehradun, on the other hand, is the capital city of Uttarakhand, and is barely about 21kms from the Park. This quaint city is filled with spectacular sceneries and vistas - a sheer delight for mountain lovers and a haven for adventure sports fanatics.

Mussoorie, about 66kms from the Park, is a beautiful old hilly town, that promises exquisite views of the Garhwal Himalayan ranges, and lives upto its reputation of being ‘The Queen of the Hills’!

Rishikesh, a holy town on the banks of the Ganga, rishikesh has something do offer to all kinds of tourists - Hindu pilgrims, new-age hippies seeking nirvana, adventure junkies and weekend trippers seeking refuge from urban chaos. Indulge in white water rafting on the Ganga, camp at one of the many river beaches, taurant or schedule a yoga and meditation sesson at an ashram.

Emergency No.

Wildlife or Forest Department Office, Director, Rajaji National Park 5/1 Ansari Marg

Dehradun Telefax- 0135-2621669 STD code 01382