Chitwan means “Heart Jungle”. It is the first national park of Nepal and is also one of the World Heritage Sites. Within its 932 sq. km area, it conserves at least 43 species of mammals, 543 species of birds (as recorded in 2006) and numerous reptile, amphibian, fish and insect species. Among many national parks, wildlife reserves and conservation areas of Nepal, Chitwan is the most diverse and popular with the tourists.
Thousands of national and international tourists flock to Chitwan every year for an exciting adventure in a jungle. What most of them want to see is the illusive Royal Bengal Tiger. It is very hard to spot them but you can see some One-Horned Rhinos, Gharials, Mugger Crocodile and other animals. But then, you may not. It is best to sign up with an experienced guide as they know where to look.
Chitwan National Park was established in 1973. It became a UNESCO World Heritage Site in 1984. Before, it used to be a favorite hunting ground of the then rulers. When farmers from mid- hills moved in too, it had an adverse effect on the animal population, especially that of tiger and rhino. Poaching came under control only after armed men were put to guard by the government. There are different breeding centers that is working on restoring the animals. The numbers are now slowly recovering. Yet, it is a far cry from the original scenario.
Things to do
There are many activities to try in the Chitwan National Park to experience the wilderness in the Jungle . Here are some of them. Most of the hotels in the Chitwan are located close to the Chitwan National Park which allows the travelers amazing experience of staying close to the wild. Apart from the stay Chitwan offers variety of fun activities, which are as follows:
Elephant Safari in Chitwan
Elephant Safari is ‘the’ thing to do in Chitwan National park. Explore the wild jungle as you ride on the back of this gentle but magnificent animal. Elephants are quite and the animals are used to their presence. Therefore, the chance of sighting an animal is more on the back of an elephant than on foot. For the one who do not wish to ride the elephant, there is a option of wonderful jeep safari available.
Jungle Walk and Bird Watching in Chitwan
Walking is another way to experience the forest. It gives you a better chance to see the smaller critters and birds. This is one of the best place in Asia for bird watching.
Canoe ride in Chitwan
Canoe ride and jungle walk are often a combined activity but you can just take a canoe ride too. The fun and maybe a bit scary thing to do is to spot the crocs in the water. Keep your camera ready if you want to take a picture.
Bathing an elephant is real fun. You climb on the back of this massive but gentle animal and head to the river where it will start playing in the water, spraying you in the process. It will also show some tricks on its trainer’s command. One of this is to dump you in the water as it lie on its side.
Tharus are the indigenous people of Chitwan. You can experience their unique culture here. You can watch Tharu culture dance in a community hall and observe their little homes made of mud.
Here are some things to know if you are planning on vacationing in Chitwan national Park.
- Wear long sleeves, full pants and boots to protect yourself from branches and bugs.
- Do not wear bright colors that can scare away animals. The chances of seeing animals in bright clothes are less. Wear soft nature colors like beige.
- Be quite. Making loud noise will scare away the animals.
- Do not wander around alone. Spotting Bengal Tiger is fun when in group.
- Always be wary of sloth bears. They are the most ferocious little creatures.
If you love nature, animals and a bit of adventure, an adventure in a jungles of Chitwan National Park, is for you.