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The Gorgeous Greens of Garhwal

Of course, it is not that easy being green but the mantra of the world today is to go green, to drape around the globe a mantle of lush verdure so that all those environmental vices could be relegated to the backseat and we have for ourselves a luxuriant earth in all her glory of greenness. There simply couldn’t be a better antidote to a stressful, tiresome week if it’s a weekend well spent experiencing the lucrative bounties of nature. If that is what’s on your mind, then Uttarakhand’s Rajaji National Park seems to fit the bill perfectly.Perched along the foothills of the Shiwalik Ranges, Rajaji National Park is home to a rich biodiversity that constitutes the largess of the Shiwalik eco-system. Its pristine scenic splendor and the magnificent variety of flora and fauna makes the park an ideal hub for nature lovers and wildlife enthusiasts. Sprawling over an area of 840 sq Km, Rajaji National is situated between Haridwar and Dehradun. The Dehradun Delhi state highway is the most accessible motorway to Rajaji National Park. Alternately the Haridwar railway station and Jolly Grant airport are at communicable distances.

In 1983, three sanctuaries namely Rajaji, Motichur and Chila were amalgamated into a national park and ever since it has been developed to entertain tourists from all corners of the globe. Nestled at the transition zone between the Himalayas and the Indo-Gangetic plains, Rajaji encompasses vegetation of several distinct zones ranging from Sal forests, Reverine forests, Board–leaved mixed forests, to scrub lands and grasslands. It houses as many as 23 species of mammals, 18 avian species and 315 birds species like 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 Tree creeper, Pale-footed Bush Warbler, Tytler’s Leaf Warbler, Green Avadavat and Reed Bunting.

The Rajaji National Park comprises a compact eco-system with diverse animal species traversing its precinct unhindered, without any human interference of any kind, captivating shades of green rendered by the numerous evergreen and deciduous trees flourishing all over the National Park and meandering ravines interspersing the topography of this heaven of green. The beautiful wilderness not only offers a breathtaking sight to the visitors, but also a plethora of activities aimed at making the Rajaji experience grand and unforgettable for its visitors. A guided tour circumscribing all the intriguing nooks and corners of the national park, elephant rides, a 40 Km Bird trail revering through undisturbed stretches of dense forest are among the many additional attractions that Rajaji National Park presents. Thus, it has become a favourite location for many filmmakers, so if you catch a glimpse of your favourite stars dancing around the woods of Rajaji, do not be surprised. Rajaji National Park is one of the most preferred shooting destinations for budding movie makers and lensmen.

The expenses of a complete tour of the park including all the activities can be concluded within an approximate estimate of 1500 per head and for the picturesque scenery and tranquil experience that it promises, it indeed is a small price to pay. The Garhwal Mandal Vikas Nigam provides comfortably furnished Tourist rest houses with AC, Deluxe, Executive rooms and Dormitory facilities along with 6 Gujjar Huts. There are also 10 Forest rest houses in the park, where visitors can enjoy a pleasant stay. Rajaji, simultaneously endeavours several eco-friendly projects to perpetrate the green scape and adorn Uttarakhand with a cleaner and greener outlook. Indeed it is a refreshing locale with abundant scopes of amusement and a chance to live in close proximity to nature. Thus, for a quality time away from the urban din, Rajaji National Parks offers a perfect retreat and a promise of gleeful tryst with greens.

Contributed by : Yashaswini Basu

An incorrigible wanderlust and a round the clock munchies for chocolate chip cookies, besides the quintessential bengali appetite for sweets are just few of the many quirks that define me. When not fantasizing about the next tour location or bugging my friends with glossy implausible plans of the same, you may find me in the english honours classrooms at Lady Shri Ram College, Delhi University. Hopefully these travelogues will do so good as to give a pleasurable moment or two to those who'd care to spare a read.