Chitwan is the oldest national park in Nepal and is one of the most famous wildlife sanctuaries in Asia. Located in the fertile Chitwan valley, in the Terai region of the southern part of the country, the national park derives its name from two words “Chit” and “Van” which translate to “heart of the jungle”. It covers an area of 932 square kilometers and is a UNESCO designated World Heritage Site.
The Narayani and Rapti rivers form the northern and western borders of the national park while the Reu river flows through it. The Parsa Wildlife Reserve shares Chitwan’s eastern border.
The park is endowed with a wide variety of flora and fauna that attract tourists from all over the world. The lush green vegetation with the scenic Himalayas in the backdrop provides a spectacular view to nature lovers. Sal trees abound in the region and cover around 70% of the park. Grasslands cover 20% of the area and comprise some of the tallest grasses in the world such as elephant grass.
Diverse Wildlife in Chitwan
Chitwan National Park is home to over 700 species of wildlife with around 68 species of mammals and over 500 species of birds. The one-horned rhinoceros, Bengal tiger, Asiatic elephant, four horned antelope, gharial, gaur, striped hyena, pangolin, mongoose, painted bat, chital, hog deer, porcupine, sloth bear, clouded leopard, toddy cat, palm civet, wild dog, langur and hispid hare are some of the wildlife that can be seen in the park. The birds on view include the Bengal florican, Egyptian vulture, giant hornbill, stork, peafowl, red jungle fowl, egrets, herons, kingfishers, flycatchers and woodpeckers. April-June and September-December are the best seasons for bird watching.
Chitwan Elephant Festival
Visitors to Chitwan can enjoy several activities including the popular elephant ride, elephant bath, canoeing, jeep safari and guided jungle walk.
To promote the tourism industry in Nepal and also celebrate the achievement of zero poaching for two consecutive years, the 13th Chitwan Elephant Festival was celebrated for five days in December 2016. Elephant walk, elephant calf football, elephant polo, elephant picnic, elephant beauty contest and elephant painting were showcased in the event with the participation of over 50 elephants.
Reach Chitwan National Park in Nepal
Chitwan is located at a distance of 55 km from the Kathmandu airport and just 10 km from the Bharatpur airport. A number of cabs and buses are available for transporting the visitors. Sauraha town in the east and Meghauli village in the west provide the two main entrances to the national park. Sauraha has hundreds of hotels, restaurants and other accommodation options while Meghauli offers an authentic jungle experience for tourists.
Chitwan National Park provides an ideal holiday opportunity and a not to be missed experience for all wildlife aficionados.