Nepal’s first and most famous national park is situated in the Chitwan Doon or the lowlands of the Inner Terai. Covering an area of 932 sq km. the park includes hilly areas of the Siwalik Range covered by deciduous sal forest. One fifth of the park is made up of the floodplains of the Narayani, Rapti, and the Reu Rivers and is covered by dense tall elephant grass interspersed with riverine forests of silk cotton (kapok), acacia and sisam trees. This ecologically diverse area is the last remaining home in Nepal for more than 300 of the endangered Asian one-horned rhinoceros and harbours one of the largest populations of the elusive and rare Royal Bengal tiger. Besides rhino and tiger, Chitwan also supports a great variety of flora and fauna.
There are four species of deer, including the spotted chittal, leopard, sloth bear, wild boar, rhesus monkey, grey langur monkey, wild dog, small wild cats, the white stockinged gaur (the world’s largest wild cattle) and many other smaller animals. The swampy areas and numerous oxbow lakes of Chitwan provide a home for marsh crocodiles. In a stretch of the Narayani river is found one of the few remaining populations of the rare and endangered fish-only eating gharial, or Gangetic crocodile. Here also is found one of the world’s four species of freshwater dolphins. For the ornithologist and the amateur bird-watcher the park offers excellent possibilities with more than 450 species recorded. Some of the resident specialities are several species of woodpeckers, hornbills, Bengal florican, and red-headed trogons. Winter birds such as waterfowl, Brahminy duck, pintails and bareheaded geese, amongst many other cold weather visitors are drawn by the sanctuary of the park’s rivers. In the summer the forest is alive with nesting migrants such as the fabulous paradise flycatcher, the Indian pitta and parakeets.
The Chitwan region has had a long history of conservation. For many years it was the Royal hunting grounds for the Kings and dignitaries of Nepal and therefore was not hunted by the general public. It did however become a favorite spot for big game safari hunters in the late nineteenth and early to mid-twentieth centuries. This was coupled with a surge in local human populations following the development of anti-malaria medicines in the mid-twentieth century. The long-term effect was a drastic decrease in jungle habitat and animal populations in the Chitwan valley as jungles were converted to farmland and big game were hunted and poached to dangerously low numbers. The falling rhino (less than 200) and tiger (less than 30) populations in the present park region, focused attention on the Chitwan region and in 1963 the southern two-thirds of the park were declared rhino sanctuary.
With sanctuary status came the relocation of 22,000 people from the Chitwan valley and a moratorium on hunting. Since 1963 wildlife populations and ecosystems have been rebounding. In 1973 Chitwan became Nepal’s first National Park. The relatively pristine state of the modern park and its unique ecosystems prompted UNESCO to declare the park a World Heritage site in 1984.
Entry Fee Per Person Per Day:
For Nepalese Nationals, Rs. 20/-
For SAARC Nationals, Rs. 200/-
For Other Foreign Nationals, Rs. 3000/-
Chitwan is easily accessible from Kathmandu, being well connected by a national highway to Bharatpur and to Sauraha. There are daily fights from October through May to Meghauli airstrip just outside the park boundary. Another exciting alternative is a two to three day raft trip down the Trishuli river to Narayanghat or directly into the western edge of the park.
Visitors can actively participate in exciting stalks through the forest looking for animals signs. One unique Chitwan experience is elephant back safaris in search of the one-horned rhinoceros, leopard, deer, bear, monkey and crocodile. Few visitors can ever forget the excitement of crashing through 20 feet high elephant grass and sightseeing wildlife. Apart from elephant safaris, the traveller will be happily occupied for several days with nature walks, canoe rides down the park rivers, and land-over drives through the forest.
How to Get
By Raft (scenic or white water):If we departure from Kathmandu by surface we should start at 7.00 A.M. by car/coach for Mugling (confluence of Marshynagdi and Trisuli river) from where exciting rafting begins and floats down to a picnic spot for lunch along the river side. Continue your destination where our vehicle will be waiting to transfer you to Chitwan.
By Surface: Departure from Kathmandu at 7.00 A.M by car/ coach for Chitwan National park on the Mugling-Narayanghat highway 175 kms for a scenic four hour drive.
By Air: By air service will be available from Kathmandu to Bharatpur as everyday. It takes about 20 min.(US$105.00 O/W)
Sauraha: Sauraha is one of the most visited tourist destination in Nepal . It is the gateway to Chitwan National Park which is listed in UNESCO world Heritage Site. It is a small charming village at the foot of the Himalayas on the northern bank of the Rapti River. A quickly growing but still small village that caters to the needs of the visitors to Chitwan National Park, the best known safari park in Nepal. It is located 160 kms by road from Kathmandu, 155 kms by road from Pokhara and 160 kms by road from the Indian border at Sunauli. It is a village which is inseparable from the Chitwan National Park . The Park is one of Nepal ‘s treasures of natural wonders and first national park.
Available Tour Packages For Chitwan Jungle Safari:
Note: Entrance fee not required for children under 10 years Park Entrance fees is regulated by Department of National Parks and Wildlife Conservation (Phone: 4220850). Entrance fees for mountain National Parks can be paid at ACAP counter (Phone: 4222406) at Sanchaykosh building in Thamel, Kathmandu, or at the Park gate. For other National Parks entrance fees are to be paid at the Park gate.