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Exploring Rajaji National Park

Exploring Rajaji National Park

Peacock

Topashish Bhattacharjee was travelling with his father to Haridwar for the last ritual of his departed mother, he visited Rajaji National Park with a hope to see the tiger. Read this story to find out if he could sight the tiger.

Photographs by Topashish Bhattacharjee

Being a wanderlust, I travel across the country. My special interest is Wildlife Sanctuaries for quite some time. Every time I Visit Rishikesh from Haridwar I see the Signboard ‘Rajaji National Park’ which picks my attention. I have visited Jim Corbett many times but never had the privilege to visitRajaji. It was always in my mind to visit the sanctuary someday.

It was the 23rd of December 2017. I was travelling to Hardiwar along with my Father to perform the last ritual after my Mother passed away in 2016. We boarded the train from Old Delhi to Haridwar. We reached early morning on 24th December 2017. The rituals were over by 10 O’clock. Our return was scheduled only in the evening so I suggested my Father for a visit to Rajaji National Park and spend our day there. We had our breakfast and spent some time in our Hotel Room, later hired a Cab and went to Rajaji (Cab Fare INR 1200 for round trip to Haridwar).

Rajaji National Park has two gates Chilla Range and Motichur Range. We reached Motichur Range and after reaching there we found we reached very early as the evening safari starts at 1400 Hrs.  As we reached early we had to wait for an hour. As I love to visit the Wildlife Sanctuaries I thought of getting some information from the Forest Rangers about Flora and Fauna, the best time to Visit Rajaji and gather as much information I could  so that I can plan my next trip with my Wildlife Photographer Team. I asked one of the Ranger is there any shop so that I can buy a bottle of water, he replied just across the road near the railway crossing you will find a Chaiwala (Tea Stall).

Rajaji National park

I went there to buy a bottle of water unfortunately he was not selling any water however he offered me a glass of water. I started my conversation with him like what is your name and all. He looked like a Nepali so I asked him if he is from Nepal. He answered yes but he was born and bought up here in Uttarakhand and never been to Nepal. Later I asked him about the animals found in the Park. He said “Sir we have Tigers, Spotted Dears, Wild Boar, Leopards, Elephants and Birds.” When he said Tigers I got excited as it was my first trip with Father in a Sanctuary so I would be very happy if he can spot a Tiger. The Nepali Fellow told me that we have only two Tigresses in Motichur Range and it is very tough to spot them. However, he further informed me that I should Visit Chilla Range as Tiger Sighting is possible there because of the numbers. I have seen Tigers in other National Park many a times so even if a tiger is not sighted it would be fine with me, but I wanted my father to see one.  He also told me that just an hour back there was herd of Elephants near the Railway Crossing, but the Forest Rangers chased them away deep inside the forest because of their safety. I was thrilled to hear about it at least we can see some Wild Elephants.

Deer

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It was almost 1400 Hrs I went to the main gate to get the tickets. The safari was for two hours, I told my Father to take the front sit and keep his eyes open. As we started we saw some herds of Spotted Deer gazing around. Few Birds like Peafowl (Peacock), Indian Roller, Black Drongo and Rose Ringed Parakeet. As we headed deep inside the Forest the driver suddenly stopped and whispered to us “Sir there is a Tusker blocking the road”. The Tusker was standing approximately 300 meters away from us, so I told the driver please don’t stay here for long. I took some pictures and slowly we turned back. I asked the driver what about the Leopard Population in this park he said around 200 Leopards are here. Though Leopards are very shy and it is tough to spot them. We were inside the Park for more than an hour and half still no Tiger Sighting or Pug Marks. As we were heading out we saw some Wild Bours.

So my First trip with my Father ends here with bit of excitement and disappointment. Never the less I had a great time learning and knowing about Rajaji National Park. In my next visit to Rajaji I will go to the Chilla Range and see some Tigers there.

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