Come, Explore ‘The Heart of the Jungle’- Chitwan National Park

Chitwan National Park (CNP) is home to over 700 species of wildlife with around 68 species of mammals and over 500 species of birds.
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Come, Explore ‘The Heart of the Jungle’- Chitwan National Park

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”.

Surrounded by Serene Environment

The Chitwan National Park (CNP) 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 grass in the world such as elephant grass.

A Refreshing Diverse Wildlife

Chitwan National Park (CNP) 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 animals in Chitwan National Park.

Nepal Chitwan National Park Animals

The birds on view include the Bengal florican, Egyptian vulture, giant hornbill, stork, peafowl, red jungle fowl, egrets, herons, kingfishers, flycatchers and woodpeckers. Additionally, CNP has 17 species of snakes including King Cobra & Rock Python, starred tortoise and monitor lizard.

Nepal Chitwan National Park Birds

The Narayani-Rapti river system and its tributaries that run through the park are home to 113 species of fish and mugger crocodiles.

CNP is also home to an indefinite variety of butterflies, moths and insect species.

Chitwan National Park Timings

Chitwan National Park enjoys a tropical monsoon climate combined with high humidity throughout the year. Located in the central climatic zone of the Himalayas, CNP receives rainfall between mid-June – late September. During this period, the park experiences rainfall at a density of 2,500 mm.

After October, rain subsides, humidity drops and the temperature ranges anywhere between +/-18 degrees to +/-36 degrees. Nights remain as cool as 5 degrees.

The most suitable time to visit Chitwan is between October-March. During that time, the skies are clear and the temperature is pleasant, making for an ideal Chitwan National Park tours. The best time to get a glimpse of CNP’s rich fauna is between January-March as villagers cut the tall Phanta grass. June-September is unfavorable for jeep safari as the tracks are slick or submerged with water.

April-June and September-December are the best seasons for enjoying CNP’s unique bird-watch experience.

Activities & Sightseeing at Chitwan National Park in Nepal

 
Activities & Sightseeing at Chitwan National Park

Following are some of the places to visit in Chitwan:

  • Visitor Center, Sauraha: The center displays & provides fascinating information on wildlife and CNP’s conservation programs
  • Chitwan Elephant Safari: Elephant safari offers visitors an exciting opportunity of getting a closer view of endangered one-horned rhinoceros and Bengal tigers
  • Elephant Breeding Centre: The center at Khorsor, Sauraha presents visitors with information on domesticated elephants and the baby elephants born there
  • Kasara Museum: Also CNP’s headquarters, the Kasara museum, has informative displays. Visitors can also get a glimpse of Bikram Baba, a religious Hindu site with archival value. A short 1-km walk from there will lead you to Gharial Breeding Centre.
  • Gharial Breeding Centre: This center is home to Marsh mugger or Marsh crocodiles and many turtles
  • Women’s User Group Souvenir Shop: The shop presents a wide range of handicrafts and other local products for take-home gifts and souvenirs

Chitwan National Park in News:

Here are some important updates about significant developments in the Chitwan National Park:

  • 18 Water Resources: Standing up for environmental safety, CNP is gearing up to build more ponds in its vicinity as water sources have started drying up. Climate changes, soil erosion, flood and landslide had led to a water crisis in the park. “Eastern parts of the park will be given priority while building the ponds as many water sources had dried up there of late,” says Nurendra Aryal, Assistant Conservation Officer, Chitwan National Park. The park currently has 63 ponds. A budget of NPR 16.1 million has been invested for the upcoming project.
  • Increased Entrance Fees: As Nepal’s high-on-demand tourist destination, CNP has recently decided to increase entrance fee for visitors. According to a recent update from Aryal, the Chitwan National Park entry fee for Nepalis will be increased to NPR 150 from the previous fee of NPR 113. Similarly, the entrance for SAARC nationals has been increased from NPR 847.50 to NPR 1,000 and for other international tourists from NPR 1,695 to NPR 2,000. Additionally, there has been an increase in the fee for car safari and elephant safari activities along with the resumption of jeep safari.
  • Jeep Safari Back in CNP: With the end of the monsoon season, park authorities have resumed jeeps safari services in CNP on October 11, 2018 after complete repair of roads and bridges.
  • Infamous Rhinoceros Poacher Nabbed: In a recent breakthrough, CNP officials finally got hands-on ace Rhino poacher Ishwari Prasad Mahato after a 10-year search. This move was a major step in curbing poaching activity within CNP’s boundaries.
  • Double Tiger Population: Adding to Nepal’s list of merits, the Himalayan Nation made a record for itself in terms of tiger conservation. It became the first country to double its tiger population by 2022. Nepal announced that it now owns 235 tigers as part of its wildlife. The country is famous for its Bengal tigers.
  • Research on Carrying Capacity of Bengal Tigers: Following a decline in the wild cats population by 27 in the last five years, CNP recently began research on the carrying capacity of the rare Royal Bengal Tigers. According to Nepal Department of National Parks & Wildlife Conservation Ecologist Laxman Poudel, the study will be conducted by international experts including India’s wildlife expert Abhishek Narayanan, Zoological Society of London Dr Rajan Amin, Department’s Deputy Director General Gopal Prasad Bhattarai and Ecologist Poudel, among others.
  • Chitwan National Park Receives 200,000 Visitors: This year, Sauraha in Chitwan experienced an increase in visitors in view of Dashain. Adding about CNP that falls in the region, Regional Hotel Association of Sauraha Chairman Suman Ghimire said that 200,000 tourists visit CNP annually. Sauraha is famous as tourism center majorly because of Chitwan National Park. Around 90 percent of the tourists visiting the park also make a trip to Suaraha, 30 percent of which are Nepalis. This number further increases to 60 percent during Dashain.
  • Seven Rhino Deaths in Four Months: Sadly, CNP reported seven rhino deaths in the first three months of the current fiscal. However, CNP Chief Conservation Bed Kumar Dhakal informed that the rhinos died due to natural causes including old age, fighting, getting stuck in swamp areas and ill health conditions. None of them were victims of poaching activity. Despite 26 rhino deaths in the last fiscal year, the park continues to have over 600 rhinos.
  • CNP Draws 95,537 Tourists in 2017-18: According to CNP data records as of April 1, 2018, tourist arrivals in Nepal jumped by 7.5% in the first eight months of FY 2017-18 compared to the same period in FY 2017-18. 95,537 domestic and foreign tourists visited the park during that period. Following is the break-up of total tourists visiting the park in the given period:
    • Foreign tourists – 65, 084
    • Domestic tourists – 21,366
    • SAARC countries – 8,907
  • CNP Succeeds in Conservation Efforts: In January, 2018, CNP announced its success of conservation efforts throughout 2017. In its biggest initiative, it reduced poaching activity to a mere ‘zero’ with the help of advanced security technology. CNP Chief Conservation Officer Ram Chandra Kandel admitted that 2017 has been remarkable in terms of conservation activity. “Transfer of rhinos, wild buffaloes & musk deer to the park, rescue of tigers & rhinos, rehabilitation of a male gharial and management of grasslands in the national park were the greatest feats achieved in 2017,”Kandel added.
  • Asian Hispid Hare Rediscovered at CNP: In an exciting discovery made earlier this year, the Asian Hispid hare was found in the low grasslands of CNP. This rare hare was thought to have gone extinct in 1984, when it was last seen by scientists. However, CNP Conservation Officer Bed Khadka spotted the hare nesting in low grasslands, in March 2019. “The fact that the hispid hare was a baby indicates that there are also parents and both male and female,” Khadka said.


Chitwan National Park Facts:

  • Totally, there are 47 security posts in CNP, of which, 16 are park staff only and 13 are Nepal Army personnel
  • In the Gharial Conservation Project’s breeding center, animals are reared to an age of 6–9 years
  • Approximately two-thirds of the globally endangered bird species are found in Nepal’s Chitwan National Park
  • Chitwan National Park continues to record new species of butterflies, insects and moths
  • Visitors are advised to spend at least two days in the park to witness its full wildlife experience


Where is Chitwan National Park in Nepal

From the Kathmandu airport, Chitwan National Park is located at a distance of 55 km 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 Chitwan jungle safari experience for tourists.

Chitwan National Park provides an ideal holiday opportunity and a not to be missed experience for all wildlife aficionados.

October 30, 2018 |

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