Saturday, January 25, 2014

Rajaji national park - unspoiled

If you are planning a last minute jungle safari in one of the national parks in India, I would recommend Rajaji National Park near Haridwar.

I visited the Chilla range last winter. On the first morning we started early and were one of the first vehicles to enter the park. We were hoping to get in before the animals retreated  deeper into the jungle. It was a foggy December morning and visibility was only upto about fifty meters. We were suddenly face to face with an adult elephant who had clearly not seen our 4x4 vehicle approaching and was as startled as we were. With one defeaning trumpet it vanished into the mist. This hapenned so fast that although I had my camera ready, I had time to take only one blurry shot.

As the sun rose, the day got warmer and the fog cleared. Since most of the track is on a dried up river bed, visibility was excellent for hundreds of meters, truly a wildlife photographer's paradise. One could appreciate the beauty of nature on a gigantic scale as a number of different species went about their daily business.

I asked the driver to stop the vehicle and switch off the engine. The animals started ignoring us after sometime and we began to spot a large number of smaller birds and animals for the first time. There were tiny fish in the water and I watched a kingfisher dive for fish and a woodpecker tap on a tree trunk.

We spotted another solitary elephant later in the afternoon . We tried to take a good position near a stream where we hoped it would stop for a drink. But it stopped at the edge of the forest when it saw us. We waited for quite some time but it was clearly more patient than we were and soon we had to leave as the park was about to close for the day.

Rajaji is famous for wild elephants while tigers are the main draw for tourists in the other more famous national parks such as Jim Corbett National Park or Bandhavgarh National Park. Consequently, this place is still relatively unspoiled and if you can enjoy a wildlife safari without being obsessed by the tiger, Rajaji is definitely the place for you.

#rajaji #nationalpark #elephant #wildlife #safari #4x4 #indranilgoswami

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