Monday, April 8, 2024

Rajaji National Park

Rajaji National Park UPSC

Rajaji National Park is a renowned national park located in the Indian state of Uttarakhand. It is situated at the foothills of the Shivalik range of the Himalayas. 

Established in 1983, the park was named after C. Rajagopalachari (popularly known as Rajaji), who was a prominent leader during the Indian independence movement.

Rajaji National Park is known for its rich biodiversity and serves as a vital corridor for the movement of wildlife between the Himalayan foothills and the Indo-Gangetic plains. 

Table of Contents

  • Rajaji National Park Location
  • Rajaji National Park History
  • Rajaji National Park Area
  • Rajaji National Park Hills
    • Chilla Range
    • Motichur Range
    • Rajaji Range
    • Shyampur Range
  • Rajaji National Park River
    • Ganges River
    • Song River
    • Suswa River
  • Rajaji National Park Lake
    • Jhilmil Jheel
    • Chilla Barrage
  • Rajaji National Park Tribe
    • Van Gujjars
  • Rajaji National Park Flora
    • Broadleaved Deciduous Forests
    • Riverine Vegetation
    • Scrubland
    • Grasslands
    • Pine Forests
  • Rajaji National Park Fauna
    • Mammals
    • Birds
    • Reptiles
  • Rajaji National Park UPSC Questions

Rajaji National Park Location

Rajaji National Park is located in the Indian state of Uttarakhand. The park is spread over three districts of Uttarakhand: Haridwar, Dehradun and Pauri Garhwal.

The park is nestled between the Shivalik ranges and the Indo-Gangetic plains.

Rajaji National Park Nearest Airport:

The nearest airport to the park is the Jolly Grant Airport in Dehradun, which is approximately 35 kilometers (22 miles) away.

Rajaji National Park Nearest Railway Station:

The park is well connected by road networks, and several routes lead to different parts of the park. Nearest railhead is at Haridwar (8km), Dehradun (24km) and Rishikesh.

Rajaji National Park History

Rajaji National Park has a significant history that encompasses both natural conservation efforts and the preservation of cultural heritage. 

Here are some key highlights of the Rajaji National Park's history:

1. Protected Forest Reserve: Prior to being declared a national park, the region was a protected forest reserve known as the Rajaji Wildlife Sanctuary. It was established in 1948 to protect the diverse flora and fauna.

2. National Park Status: In 1983, three wildlife sanctuaries namely, Rajaji Wildlife Sanctuary, Chilla Wildlife Sanctuary and Motichur Wildlife Sanctuary were merged into one and upgraded to a national park and renamed Rajaji National Park. 

3. C. Rajgopalachari: The park was named after Chakravarti Rajagopalachari, popularly known as Rajaji, who was a prominent leader during the Indian independence movement and also served as the 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).

4. Tiger Reserve Status: In 2015, Rajaji National Park was declared as a tiger reserve and is the second tiger reserve in the Uttarakhand (1st is Jim Corbett) and 48th Tiger Reserve of India.

Rajaji National Park Area

Rajaji National Park covers an expansive area of approximately 820 square kilometers (316 square miles). The park spans across three wildlife sanctuaries namely, Rajaji Wildlife Sanctuary, Chilla Wildlife Sanctuary and Motichur Wildlife Sanctuary.

  • Rajaji Wildlife Sanctuary Area- 246.5329 km2
  • Chilla Wildlife Sanctuary Area- 248.9480 km2
  • Motichur Wildlife Sanctuary Area- 89.5540 km2
  • Other Reserved Forests Area- 234.3870 km2
  • Total Area- 820.4219 km2

The park's vast expanse encompasses diverse ecosystems, including forests, grasslands, and riverine habitats. It is situated at the foothills of the Shivalik range of the Himalayas, making it a transition zone between the Himalayan region and the Indo-Gangetic plains.

Rajaji National Park Hills

Rajaji National Park is situated at the foothills of the Shivalik range of the Himalayas, and as such, it features several hills and rugged terrains within its boundaries. While the park primarily encompasses the lower foothills, the terrain gradually becomes more undulating and hilly as you move deeper into the park.

The Rajaji National Park comprises several ranges, including:

  • Chilla Range
  • Motichur Range
  • Rajaji Range
  • Shyampur Range

The hills within Rajaji National Park provide diverse habitats for various wildlife species. The hills are covered with dense forests, including mixed deciduous forests, bamboo thickets, and scrublands. These habitats support a rich biodiversity, including a range of mammals, birds, reptiles, and plant species.

The hills in Rajaji National Park also serve as important corridors for wildlife movement, connecting the Himalayan region with the plains. Elephants, tigers, leopards, and other wildlife species can often be found traversing these hills.

Rajaji National Park River

Rajaji National Park is traversed by several rivers, which contribute to the diverse ecosystems and provide water sources for the wildlife within the park. 

Here are the main rivers that flow through or alongside Rajaji National Park:

(1) Ganges River:

The Ganges River, one of the most sacred rivers in India, forms the western boundary of Rajaji National Park. It flows along the Chilla Range, creating a picturesque landscape. The river plays a vital role in providing water and supporting the diverse flora and fauna of the park. It also attracts migratory birds during certain seasons.

(2) Song River:

The Song River is an important river that flows through the park. It is tributary of Sooswa river, which in turn is a tributary of the Ganges. The river and its associated riverine habitats provide a crucial water source and habitat for various wildlife species.

  • It originates in the southern slopes of the Radi Top of Mussoorie ridge of the Himalayan range.
  • Its tributaries includes, Kali Gad , Bindal River and Rispana River.

(3) Suswa River:

The Suswa (Sooswa) River is another significant river that flows through Rajaji National Park. It originates from the Shivalik range and runs through the Motichur Range of the park. It flows into river Ganga after merging with river Song. The river contributes to the rich biodiversity of the area and supports various aquatic and terrestrial species.

Rajaji National Park Lake

There are several rivers, streams, and reservoirs that are present in and around the Rajaji National Park.

(1) Jhilmil Jheel:

Jhilmil Jheel located within Rajaji National Park. Jhilmil Jheel, also known as Jhilmil Reservoir, is a man-made lake located in the Chilla Range of the park.

Jhilmil Jheel is formed by the Jhilmil River, which is a tributary of the Ganges. The reservoir was created by the construction of a dam across the Jhilmil River. It serves as a water storage facility and helps regulate the flow of water in the region.

The lake offers a serene and picturesque setting within the park. It attracts a variety of migratory and resident bird species, making it a popular spot for birdwatching. Visitors can witness a diverse range of avian life, including ducks, herons, cormorants, and kingfishers.

(2) Chilla Barrage / Pashulok Barrage:

Pashulok Barrage, also known as the Rishikesh Barrage or Chilla Barrage. It is a structure built across the Ganges River near the town of Rishikesh, which is in close proximity to Rajaji National Park.

The Pashulok Barrage serves multiple purposes, including controlling the flow of water, facilitating irrigation, and generating hydroelectric power. It diverts water from the Ganges River to various canals and channels for agricultural purposes. The barrage also helps in maintaining the water levels of the Ganges and ensures a steady supply downstream.

While the Pashulok Barrage is not directly within the boundaries of Rajaji National Park, its proximity makes it a notable landmark in the region. Visitors to Rajaji National Park can also explore the Pashulok Barrage area as part of their itinerary to experience the natural and cultural attractions of the region.

Rajaji National Park Tribe

The region surrounding the park has a rich cultural heritage, with various tribes residing in the area for generations. Some of the prominent tribes associated with Rajaji National Park and the surrounding regions include:

Van Gujjars:

The Van Gujjars is a pastoral community that can be found in various parts of northern India, including Uttarakhand. They have a traditional lifestyle centered around livestock herding and have historically relied on forest resources. While not exclusive to Rajaji National Park, they have a presence in the surrounding areas.

Van Gujjars is one of the few forest-dwelling nomadic communities in India. The Van Gujjars pursue seasonal migration from the Terai-Bhabar and Siwalik region of Uttarakhand to the higher bugyals in the Western Himalayas in summer and vice versa in winter. 

Usually, they migrate to the Bugyals (Himalayan alpine meadows) located in the upper Himalayas with their buffaloes and return only at the end of monsoons to their makeshift huts, Deras, in the foothills. They inhabit the foothills of Himalayan states like Himachal Pradesh, Uttrakhand.

They traditionally practice buffalo husbandry. They rely on buffaloes for milk, which gets them a good price in Uttarakhand and Uttar Pradesh markets.

Rajaji National Park Flora

Rajaji National Park is known for its rich and diverse flora, encompassing various types of vegetation and forest types. The park's location at the foothills of the Shivalik range and its proximity to the Himalayas contribute to the presence of unique plant species. 

Rajaji National Park indeed exhibits a range of flora, including broadleaved deciduous forests, riverine vegetation, scrubland, grasslands, and pine forests. Here is a further breakdown of these distinct types of vegetation found in the park:

(1) Broadleaved Deciduous Forests:

The Rajaji National Park is primarily characterized by broadleaved deciduous forests, consisting of trees that shed their leaves during a particular season. These forests include species like Sal (Shorea robusta), Shisham (Dalbergia sissoo), Khair (Acacia catechu), Semal (Bombax ceiba), Rohini (Mallotus philippensis), and many more. These forests are an important component of the park's ecosystem, supporting a wide range of wildlife.

(2) Riverine Vegetation:

The park's proximity to rivers and streams allows for the growth of riverine vegetation along their banks. These areas feature plants such as Khagra (Saccharum bengalense), Pharwa (Phragmites karka), Typha angustifolia, and other wetland plants. Riverine vegetation provides habitats for aquatic and semi-aquatic species and contributes to the overall biodiversity of the park.

(3) Scrubland:

Rajaji National Park also features scrubland, which consists of shrubby vegetation adapted to dry and arid conditions. Scrubland plants include species like Lantana camara, Dodonaea viscosa, Acacia nilotica, and Ziziphus mauritiana. Scrubland habitats are important for various small mammals, birds, and reptiles.

(4) Grasslands:

The Rajaji National Park has open grasslands and meadows that provide grazing grounds for herbivores such as deer and elephants. Grass species like Imperata cylindrica, Themeda arundinacea, Saccharum ravennae, and Cymbopogon spp. can be found in these areas. Grasslands also support a diverse range of insect and bird species.

(5) Pine Forests:

In addition to the broadleaved deciduous forests, there are areas within Rajaji National Park that consist of pine forests. These forests are dominated by coniferous trees such as Chir Pine (Pinus roxburghii) and provide habitat for birds, squirrels, and other wildlife.

Rajaji National Park Fauna (Rajaji National Park Animals)

Rajaji National Park is renowned for its diverse and abundant wildlife. The park provides a habitat for a wide range of animal species, including mammals, birds, reptiles, and amphibians. 

Here are some of the notable fauna found in Rajaji National Park:


  • Bengal Tiger
  • Asian elephant
  • Indian Leopard
  • Dhole
  • Jungle Cat
  • Goral (Mountain Goat)
  • Indian Hare
  • Sloth Bear
  • Himalayan Black Bear
  • Golden Jackal
  • Barking Deer
  • Sambar Deer
  • Wild Boar
  • Rhesus Macaque
  • Indian Langur
  • Indian Crested Porcupine
  • Jackal
  • Hyena
  • Wild Boar
  • Neel Gai
  • Black Napped Hare


  • Great Pied Hornbill
  • Himalayan Pied Kingfisher
  • Fire Tailed Sunbird.
  • Pea Fowl
  • Jungle Fowl


  • King Cobra
  • Monitor Lizard
  • Python

Rajaji National Park UPSC Questions

Q. Rajaji National Park is located in which state?/Where is Rajaji National Park located?/Rajaji National Park is located in which district?

A. Rajaji National Park is located in the Haridwar, Dehradun and Pauri Garhwal district of Uttarakhand. 

Q. Rajaji National Park famous for which animal?

A. Rajaji National Park is famous for Tigers.

Q. Why is Rajaji National Park famous for?

A. Rajaji National Park is famous for Tiger population.

Q. What are the interesting facts about Rajaji National Park?

A. Rajaji National Park know for its Tiger population.

Q. What is the old name of Rajaji National Park?

A. Motichur Wildlife Sanctuary s the old name of Rajaji National Park.

Q. Who is Rajaji National Park dedicated to?

A. Rajaji National Park is dedicated to C. Rajgopalachari, a prominent leader during the Indian independence movement and also served as the the second and last Governor-General of independent India.

Rajaji National Park

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