Rajaji National Park, spread in an area of about 820 Sq.Kms., is one of the latest additions to the list of national Parks in the country.
The Park was constituted combining three existing wildlife sancturies, Rajaji, Motichur, and Chilla. Nestled in the Shiwalik Hills & Lying between the Lower Himalayas and the Upper Gangetic Plains, it is the northwestern most habitat of the Asian Elephant.
In addition, the park is home to the Tiger, Leopard, Porcupine, Barking Deer, and Sambhar. The largest variety of Indian Python is also found in Rajaji.
Valley of Flower
While on an expedition to Mt. Kamet, Frank S. Smith, an English mountaineer explore and Botanist, discovered the valley of flowers. Bustling with beautiful, lively and vibrant colours, this park spread over an area of 87.5 kms. has the largest collection of wild flowers species. Hidden from the probing eyes of civilization, this valley had been known to the inhabitants as the Bhyundar valley. Legend associate this valley with area from where Hanumanji of Ramayana collected ' Sanjeevani' herb to revive Lakshman. As though created by nature itself, the beauty of the park is enchanced by the Pushpawati river flowing in the vicinity overlooked by the towering Rataban peak in the background. More than 300 species of wild flowers like the Himalayan blue poppy, daisy, dianthus, calendula, white and yellow anemones bloom & swing with life during the monsoons. Also inhabiting the place are the Himalayan black bears, musk deer, brown bears, snow leopards, thar, bharal, serow & an amazing variety of butterflies. A large number of natural lovers, environmentalists and tourists descend upon the valley every year. The valley can be visited only during the day and overnight stay is prohibited.
Mt. Everest might be the highest of peaks in the Himalayan range, but the peak of Nanda Devi undeniably is the most picturesque and fascinating. The area around the mountain with its deep valleys and gorges, steep peaks and cliffs and unique flora and fauna was declared a National Park in 1982 to save it from excessive human interference. Recently, it was also proclaimed a World Heritage Site.
First explored in 1883 by WW Garden, Nanda Devi came into the spotlight in the 1930s when Tilman and Shipton scaled it, thus encouraging other explorers to follow. Today, it is a peaceful abode for many endangered animals including the Snow Leopard, Himalayan Musk Deer and Bharal. Found also are the Brown Bear, Himalayan Black Bear, Himalayan Tahr, Common Langur and Chir Pheasants.
The Nanda Devi Sanctuary although open, entertains very few visitors who need a special permit to enter, in a deliberate attempt by officials to preserve the region. In keeping with this lack of outside influence, the villagers in the area are still traditional in habit and revere the landscape and nature that surrounds them as sacred.