Rajaji National Park
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|Rajaji National Park|
|Nearest city||Haridwar and Dehra Dun|
|Area||202,630 acres (820 km²)|
|Governing body||Principal Chief Conservator of Forests, Uttarakhand|
Rajaji National Park is an Indian national park & Tiger Reserve that encompasses the Shivaliks, near the foothills of the Himalayas. It is spread over 820 km²., and three districts of Uttarakhand: Haridwar, Dehradun and Pauri Garhwal. In 1983, three wildlife sanctuaries in the area namely, Chilla, Motichur and Rajaji sanctuaries were merged into one.
Rajaji National Park has been named after C. Rajagopalachari (Rajaji), a prominent leader of the Freedom Struggle, the second and last Governor-General of independent India and one of the first recipients of India's highest civilian award Bharat Ratna (in 1954).
Tiger Reserve Status
The Union government has given the nod to a proposal to grant the Rajaji National Park in Uttarakhand the status of a tiger reserve. It will be the second tiger reserve in the State after the Corbett Tiger Reserve. As per directions of the Tiger Conservative Authority of India, the Rajaji National Park will be core area of the Rajaji Tiger Reserve, while about 300 km2. of Shyampur range of the Haridwar forest division and parts of Kotdwar and Laldhang forest division, which function as a buffer zone, will also be included in the Tiger Project, augmented area to 1150 km2.
The in-principle approval has been accorded by the National Tiger Conservation Authority for creation of two new tiger reserves, and the sites are: Ratapani (Madhya Pradesh) and Sunabeda (Odisha). Final approval has been accorded to Kudremukh (Karnataka) and Rajaji (Uttarakhand) for declaring as a tiger reserve. The State Governments have been advised to send proposals for declaring the following areas as tiger reserves: (i) Suhelwa Wildlife Sanctuary (Uttar Pradesh), (ii) Guru Ghasidas National Park (Chhattisgarh), (iii) Mhadei Wildlife Sanctuary (Goa), (iv) Srivilliputhur Grizzled Giant Squirrel / Megamalai Wildlife Sanctuaries / Varushanadu Valley (Tamil Nadu) and (v) Dibang Wildlife Sanctuary (Arunachal Pradesh). Rajaji became the second tiger reserve in Uttarakhand. 
Rajaji National Park of India is 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 national park is also responsible for vivid animal life inhibited here. The under-wood is light and often absent, 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.
Rajaji National Park is predominantly formed from dense green jungles, and this environment forms a habitat for a number of animals. The Park is at the northwestern limit of distribution for both elephants and tigers in India, and has the largest population of elephants in Uttarakhand. Other wild animal species found in the Park include:
- Asian elephant
- Bengal tiger
- Jungle cat
- Striped hyena
- Indian hare
- Sloth bear
- Himalayan black bear
- King cobra
- Barking deer
- Wild boar
- Rhesus macaque
- Indian langur
- Indian porcupine
- Monitor lizard
Over 315 species of birds are found in the Park, whereas the wider region has over 500 species of birds, including both residents and migrants. The most prominent avian species include pea fowl, woodpeckers, pheasants, kingfishers and barbets, supplemented by a number of migratory species during the winter months. The Park is also home to the great pied hornbill, Himalayan pied kingfisher and the fire tailed sunbird. This area is the first staging ground after the migratory birds cross over the Himalayas into the Indian subcontinent.
The Park has several gates, and is accessible from Dehradun, Kotdwar, Haridwar and Rishikesh. Saharanpur, which is linked by train to other parts of India, is another popular point to reach the Mohand area of the Park in nearly an hour by road.
- Rajaji Official website of Haridwar.
- Article, NDTV.com, April 10, 2010