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Nepal Tours >> Chitwan
|Situated in the South-Central Nepal along the international borders with India, the Royal Chitwan National Park is home to some of the most endangered wildlife species in the world. The park till recently was a playground of Nepal/’s elite who hunted freely, but things have changed enormously and today it is the most protected forest zone in the country. Chitwan derives its name from the local word Chituwa Ban or Leopard Forest, though there are many more exceptions to this theory. According to another theory, the park derives its name from Sita Ban (forest of Sita),
|after the heroine of great Hindu epic Ramayana. To substantiate the legend, there is Balmiki Ashram at Triveni where it is said that Sita resided while in exile. The park was officially established in 1973. In 1984, it became a World Heritage Site as notified by UNESCO. Drained by two major rivers Rapti and Narayani, the park covers subtropical forests housing a variety of wildlife including elephants, royal Bengal tigers, one-horned rhinoceros, leopard, sloth bear, and wild bison. Migration of wildlife across the borders to Valmiki National Park in India is a common phenomenon.
The Royal Chitwan National Park is the third most popular destination in Nepal after Kathmandu and Pokhara, and not without reasons. The range of flora and fauna found in the Park is amazing and administration of this place is a role model for other protected areas in the country. Though the park is well protected, you can still experience the feel of a real-life jungle. Sub-tropical jungles, elephant grasslands, hilly areas, and flood plains are all an integral part of park landscape. An elephant ride through the park gives you the opportunity to sight the denizens from close quarters, while a boat ride on the river through the jungles can be an exciting affair and a good option to move deep inside.
There are several exciting options for daylong and weekend trips from Chitwan National Park. The Gharial Breeding Centre is an important step towards the conservation and research on Gharial, one of the most endangered species. Lamital and Devital are two lakes flocked by migratory birds during winters. Bikram Baba is a Hindu religious site while Sauraha is the major commercial hub in the park region. The Elephant Breeding Centre is a response from the park authorities to increase the number of pachyderms who felicitate visitor transportation inside the park.
CHITWAN NATIONAL PARK
Sal (Shorea robusta) is the dominant floral species in the park covering almost 70% of the area. There are also grasslands and riverine forests that combine to make a changing mosaic of landscape. Khair, sissoo, and simal are some of the major species of riverine forests while the grasslands present a complex community of over 50 species.
Renowned for its population of one-horned rhinoceros, tigers, crocodiles, and many more species of common wild animals, Chitwan is a paradise for wildlife enthusiasts. Sighting of rhinoceros is almost guaranteed in any safari inside the park. There are more than 43 species of mammals in the park including endangered species like gaur, wild elephant, four-horned antelope, striped hyena, pangolin, Gangetic dolphin, monitor lizard, and python. Some of the other animals found in the park are common leopard, barking deer, sambhar, chital, hog deer, sloth deer, palm civet, wild dog, langur and rhesus monkeys.
With a population of more than 450 species of birds, the Chitwan park is a gifted place for the birdwatchers too. Some of these species have been categorised as endangered like the Bengal florican, giant hornbill, lesser florican, black stork, and white stork. The park is also a favourite transit territory for the migratory birds because of the numerous ponds and lakes here. Siberian cranes and ducks make these water bodies their home in the winter months. March and December are the best time for bird watching.
The park also has more than 45 species of amphibians and reptiles like marsh mugger crocodile, green pit viper, cobra, and many species of frogs and tortoises.
Elephant riding is a major activity in the park. It gives you the opportunity to sight an animal from a close distance.
A boat ride on the lakes, ponds, and rivers of Chitwan gives you an opportunity to discover the varied wildlife of the place. Floating down the river on a canoe for around an hour followed by walking back to the camp is popular among tourists. Pedalling down the fast-flowing Karnali and Geruwa Rivers is another exciting option.
• Area 932 sq. km
• Altitude 150-815 metres above sea level
• Languages Nepali, Tharu, English
• Best Time to Visit October to May
• STD Code 056