Chilla Wildlife Sanctuary
Chilla Wildlife Sanctuary, located on the east bank of the River Ganges, sprawls over an area of 249 sq. km. Established in 1977, this sanctuary was however combined with the sanctuaries of Motichur and Rajaji in 1983 so as to create Rajaji National Park.
Situated at a distance of 10 km from Haridwar, the wildlife residing in this sanctuary includes elephants, tigers, bears and small cats. In addition, the entire area of this sanctuary is mostly inhabited with elephants, besides a variety of interesting birds. The best time to visit this sanctuary is between November and June. For tourists, wildlife safaris along with elephant rides are also available.
Chilla, which is the region open to tourists, is probably the best for game viewing. It is also very scenic as it affords views of the mighty Ganga, as well as the Himalayas to the North, together with a large reservoir for water birds. It is located close to the religious center of Haridwar and is just about 20 km away from Rishikesh. At Chilla proper, where the residential complex is located, in a large opening in thick Sal forests, there are two domesticated elephants, which can be used for game viewing rounds. These Elephant back safaris take one through bamboo thickets and elephant grass. There are watchtowers located over water holes and jeepable tracks taking one to areas around the park where wildlife can be spotted as one drives along. Herds of the Spotted Deer are fairly common to spot. The other animals that can be spotted in the Chilla wildlife sanctuary are the wild boar, Sambhar Deer, the Grey Langur, the Red Rhesus Macaque, the Barking Deer, the Peacock, Quails, Hornbills, Hawks, Falcons, Vultures and many other birds of prey. Lying in a 820 sq km swathe across the Shivaliks, at the foot of the Himalayas, the Rajaji National Park spreads across three districts of Uttaranchal- Haridwar, Dehradun and Pauri Garhwal. In 1983, the three wildlife sanctuaries of Rajaji, Motichur and Chilla were amalgamated into a single contiguous park consisting of several distinct vegetation zones. These include broadleaved deciduous forests, riverine vegetation, grasslands, and pine forests in the upper reaches.