Rajaji National Park, part of the same forest belt as Corbett Tiger Reserve, 180km east, spans around 830 square kilometres of the Himalayan foothills immediately east and west of Haridwar. Of the park’s eight entry points, the most useful are the main gates at Chilla, 9km east of Haridwar, and the gates at Kunnao, close to Rishikesh. Set beside the Ganges barrage and its massive electricity pylons, Chilla makes a relatively quiet base for explorations of the park. Meanwhile, Chilla Beach – occasionally used by large river turtles – lies within walking distance through the woods, 1km north along the Ganges.
Although largely surrounded by development and dotted with settlements of the Van Gujjars, a nomadic tribe whose summer homes have traditionally fallen within the park, for the time being Rajaji remains pristine and its wildlife resilient. Less developed than Corbett, it contains a similar range of fauna, most notably elephants, but also leopard and at least fourteen tigers at last count.