I was interested in bird watching. I question Dev – Best place for bird watching in Rishikesh?
Chilla – He said.
Google Search was done. One of the result suggested Neelkanth valley.
Again I inquire Dev about Neelkanth valley. He said – Laxman Jhula till Neelkanth follow the road i.e., known as Neelkanth valley.
Evening hours at Rishikesh I met an old man. I inquire again. Chilla was the suggestion.
Next day early morning Dev and I were riding motorbike. We cross Laxman Jhula and left turn towards Neelkanth but then at a band nearby I decided not to ride towards Neelkanth. Right turn from the band and we are at Neelkanth – Barrage road also known as Neelkanth – Chilla road.
Pitch road with almost nil traffic having dense jungle on both sides. After driving for few km far on top of a tree branch I saw Malabar Pied Hornbill sitting comfortably having his morning food and further few meters I saw Indian Grey Hornbill – Male. Within bushes I saw pair of Black Crested Bulbul and then Himalayan Bulbul, Purple Sunbird, Crimson Sunbird, Parrots, Peacock, Junglefowl, Indian Roller, Scarlet Minivet, White Wagtail, Vulture and many more..
10 – 12 km of fantastic drive till we reach Barrage we saw numerous colorful birds. We decided to drive further to reach Rajaji National Park. Barrage till Rajaji National Park is approx. 17 – 18 km of fantastic drive close-by Ganga canal. If one is visiting Rishikesh should visit these areas (Chilla) but should always remember these areas are full of elephants. Be careful as you drive within Neelkanth – Barrage road or nearby Chilla area. We saw elephant dung on road at many places. Better not to visit alone.
We reach at the entrance of Rajaji National Park and inquire about bird watching. A guide was present at Arundhati Nature Shop. Upon query he said – This location and few kms towards Haridwar is good for early morning bird watching or one should visit Rajaji National Park.
Final conclusion: As per my experience morning hours Neelkanth – Barrage road is one of the best place for bird watching in Rishikesh. Other than this location Neelkanth trek, Tapovan, Neer Gaddu waterfalls are few more locations where one can watch birds such as Coppersmith Barbet, Black Drongo, Brahminy Starling, Purple Sunbird, Blue Whistling Thrush, Crimson Sunbird – Male, Brown-headed Barbet,Â Himalayan Bulbul, Bar-winged Flycatcher-shrike-Female,Â HoopoeÂ and many moreÂ during day time or visit Rajaji National Park.