Written by Sabin Adhikari
Chitwan National Park established in 1973 was declared UNESCO Natural Heritage Site in 1984. The park that includes in its area a part of the shivalik hills is covered with deciduous forest overlooking the floodplains of Narayani, Rapti and Reu rivers and offering a wilderness of rich ecosystem that includes mammals, birds, reptiles and water animals of several kinds. There are around 600 plants species, 50 mammals, 526 birds and 49 amphibians reptiles found in the park. The highlighlights, of course, are the 500 Asian one-horned rhinoceros and some 100 nocturnal Royal Bengal tigers that live in the dense forest of the park. Sharing home in these is other animals like rhesus monkey, grey languor, deer, leopards, white stockinet gaur, wild boar, wild dogs and wild cats. Among reptiles are different kinds of snakes including the python, while the river areas breed amphibians like the endangered snouted gharial popularly known as Gangetic Crocodile and marsh Crocodiles. The forest is alive during summer with the arrival of migrant birds paradise flycatcher, Indian pitta and parakeets, while winter birds include waterfowl, Brahminy ducks, pintails, bar-headed geese, comorants and migratory birds from Siberia. Other bird varieties are woodpeckers, hornbills, peacock, peahens, floricans and redheaded trogons. A rare attraction of the park is the world’s fresh water dolphin variety something seen in River Narayani. Another factor adding a distinct touch to the Chitwan experience is the colorful Tharu culture. These are also sites of religious and historical importance’s at Devgat, Pandavnagar, Bhlmiki Ashram and Kabilaspur.
Activities: Jungle safari on elephant back, jungle walk, canoe ride, jeep drive, and observation of Tharu culture.
Accommodation: resort hotels and lodges.
Access: The park headquarters’ at Kasara is 21-km drive from Bharatpur, which is 20 minutes by air or 146 km by road from Kathmandu.
Beast Season: Oct-Feb (average temperature 25 degree Celsius): Mar-Jun (hot, up to 43 Degrees), July-Sept (rainy)
Park Headquarter: Kasara