Chitwan National Park
Chitwan National Park (CNP), is probably the oldest and also distinctive National Park in the world. It provides home to some profound Flora as well as, it is a God’s gift to wild animals . It occupies an area of 360 square miles, containing sub-tropical wildlife of both plants and animals, sal forests and backwoods on the rivers. It is positioned facing the mighty Himalayan mountain range. This park houses remarkable number of plant and animal species, which included some endangered ones. Within the park, you could find trees towering towards the sky, dense grasslands, rhinos, wild elephants, crocodiles, more than 500 species of birds, butterflies and the great Royal Bengal Tiger. Undoubtedly this National Park is effectively well maintained and protected.
Chitwan National Park is surrounded by water ways in three sides – Rapti river on the north, Rue in the south and Narayani in the west. It shares neighborhood with another national park, known as Parsa Wildlife reserve on the east.
In 1950’s, because of deforestation and also poaching, there has been a tremendous loss of wild animals. So a rhino sanctuary has been proposed between the region of Tikauli and the Mahabharat Range. This was later expanded to a bigger national park which is now known as Chitwan National Park. CNP is UNESCO’s world heritage site since 1984.
Best season to visit
The best time to visit this national park is during the warm summers. But during winters the villagers are allowed to cut the grasslands which gives a better opportunity to spot wildlife. For bord watchers, the best time are the periods between Septemeber-November and February-April when migratory birds make CNP as its home.
Getting to Chitwan National Park
- By Air : The nearest airport is Bharatapur, which is only 25 minutes air ride from Kathmandu. Bharatpur is only 30 minutes drive from CNP.
- By Land : Tourist buses leave daily from Pokhara and Kathmandu at 7 am and takes about 6-7 hours to reach CNP. In case you miss a tourist bus, take a mini van to Bandhara from Kalanki near Kathmandu and get down at the Sauraha Chowk. From Sauraha Chowk its only 7 km to the national park, you to take a public bus or a horse cart to reach CNP.
Accommodation near Chitwan National Park
The nearest town is Sauraha and most of the accommodation is based here. It is just a short walk to CNP from Sauraha.
Fees and Activities
The entrance fees is NPR 1500 for the foreign tourists and NPR 750 for the SAARC nationals. Activities such as jeep safari, elephant ride, jungle walk, bird watching etc can be booked at the official tourist office or through any of the lodges.
Rough population of animals
Fishes – 120 species
Birds – 546 species
One-Horned Rhino – 503
Royal Bengal Tiger – 125
Gaur Bison – 321
Gharial Crocodile – 72
Statistics provided by Department fo National Parks and Wildlife Conservation, Nepal.
In and around CNP
Visiting the Tharu museum and the Tharu cultural house would be worth , if you want to know about village life.
A travel insurance is recommended before you travel to Chitwan National Park as increasing number of tourists are getting hurt by wild animals during jungle walks and the medical facilities there are minimal.