Chitwan National Park

Description
Apart from sightseeing and adventure activities like trekking, mountaineering and rafting, jungle safari is another tourism product that Nepal has been offering to foreign visitors. Gazzetted in 1973, Chitwan National Park (CNP) is one of the most well preserved national parks in entire Asia and is home to endangered species like one-horned rhinoceros and Royal Bengal Tiger. Peior to this formation of CNP, a 175 sq.km stretch comprising Tikauli forest from the Mahabarat range was declared as Mriga Kunja (Deer Park) in 1959 and the area south of the Rapti River was demarcated as Rhino Sanctuary in 1963. Recognizing the conservation efforts of Nepal,

Chitwan National Park was designated as a World Heritage site by UNESCO in 1984. Spread over 932 sq.km Chitwan National Park is one of the best known national parks in Nepal after the Everest National Park famous for the mighty Everest. The park is home to a diversity of ecosystems includeing the Churia hills and the stretched flood plains of the Rapti, Reu and Narayani Rivers. The Churia hills rise slowly towards the east from 150 meters to more than 800 meters in altitude and the someshwor hill comprises the western portion of the park. The aprk shares its eastern boundary with Parsa Wildlife Reserve, another protected area of the country. The park is home to more than 50 mammal species, over 525 birds and 55 amphibians and reptiles. Though there are many entry points to enter the Chitwan National Park, Sauraha is the most popular of all. The density of hotels and other tourism service providers in Sauhara aptly proves ths fact.

Elephant Safari Sauraha is a small town in Bichauli VDC and lying in the buffer zone of the Chitwan National Park. The bustling tourist area, adjoining the Chitwan National Park and the Bagmara Community Forest, offers variety of attraction for both foreign and domestic visitors. Apart from jungle activities, Sauraha is famous for the unique culture, tradition and lifestyle of Tharus, the indigenous community of the region.

Needless to say, jungle safari is the most popular tourist activities in Sauraha. Visitors get opportunity to traverse luch green forests and enjoy rare wild species on their natural habitat. Though there are different ways of enjoying jungle safari, the one on elephant back is the most popular and adventurous. The experienced Mahouts take visitors to the dense forests providing them with an opportunity to observe rarewild species from the closest possible distance. These Mahouts are so experienced in jungle safari that they claim to identify footsteeps and excreta of certain wildlife species. Through jungle safari, visitors get opportunity to see one-horned rhinos, bear, rhesus monkey, grey langoor, deer, leopards, gaur, wild elephant, wild boar, wild dogs, wild cat and other rare species. If you are luck enough, you might be rewarded with the views of Royal Bengal tiger lurking in the jungle. Likewise, visitors can also spend nights on Machans (Special platforms in the jungle) observing the activities of wild animals. Through jungle safari, visitors also get opportunity to watch different species of birds both native and migratory ones.

Visitors can enjoy jungle safari aboard open jeeps as well. The jeeps enter the national park via Kasara. The visitors that do not want to ride the mighty tuskers can enjoy safari of Chitwan National Park aboard open jeeps. Through open jeeps, visitors can catch glimpses of rare wild species in their natual habitat. Jeep Safari, however, is not possible during rainy season, because of muddy roads. Another way to enjoy jungle safari is jungle walk. Trained guides lead a group of visitors across the Rapti River to the national park, jungle walk provides visitors with a different experience as visitors get opportunity to tread in dense forest. Canoeing is another way to enjoy safari at Chitwan National Park. A canoeing trip offers visitors with an opportunity to watch different bird species on the banks of the Rapti River. Likewise, they can also enjoy mugger and Gharial crocodiles basking laxily on the banks of the Rapti and Budhi Rapti Rivers.

A visit to the Elephant Breeding center across the budhi rapti river can be an experinece of life time for visitors to Sauraha. Visitors not always get opportunity to enjoy the activities of newly born baby elephant. The junior jumbos wrap their small trunks arround the visitors and trumpet at their loudest much to the amazement of visitors. The information about these might tuskers. There are only two elephant breeding centers in the whole world. one in Chitwan and the other in Sri Lanka.

Bird watching is another popular activity at Chitwan National Park. The national park is home to more than 500 species of birds. During the winter and early summer, the marshy area of the national park allure migratory birds from as far as Siberia. The migatory and residential birds create spectacular opportunities for bird wachers. Paradise flycatchers, Indian pitta and parakeers, water fowl, Brahminy ducks, pintails, cormorants, woodpeckers, hornbills, peafowls, floricans, storks are some of the avian species found in Chitwan Natinal Park. Expereinced and trained guides that are easily available in Sauraha guide you through dense forest and conduct bird watching trips. Apart from jungle activities, the unique culture, tradition and lifestyle of indigenous Tharu people can be another attraction of Sauraha. The Tharus are basically farmers at the lowlands of central Nepal. But with the changing scenario, Tharus are ivolved in different sectors these days. Tharus are cultually rich people and they have their own culture and tradition. Visitors can catch glimpses of day to day life of Tharu people while walking across Tharu villages in and around Sauraha. A visit to Tharu Cultural Museum at Sauraha can be very useful to know more about the Tharu community. Likewise, Tharu Cultural Programme is performed everyday at Sauraha. Cultural dances like stick dance, holi, Fire dance and other are performed every day by the Tharu people themselves.

Bird watching is another popular activity at Chitwan National Park. The national park is home to more than 500 species of birds. During the winter and early summer, the marshy area of the national park allure migratory birds from as far as Siberia. The migatory and residential birds create spectacular opportunities for bird wachers. Paradise flycatchers, Indian pitta and parakeers, water fowl, Brahminy ducks, pintails, cormorants, woodpeckers, hornbills, peafowls, floricans, storks are some of the avian species found in Chitwan Natinal Park. Expereinced and trained guides that are easily available in Sauraha guide you through dense forest and conduct bird watching trips. Apart from jungle activities, the unique culture, tradition and lifestyle of indigenous Tharu people can be another attraction of Sauraha. The Tharus are basically farmers at the lowlands of central Nepal. But with the changing scenario, Tharus are ivolved in different sectors these days. Tharus are cultually rich people and they have their own culture and tradition. Visitors can catch glimpses of day to day life of Tharu people while walking across Tharu villages in and around Sauraha. A visit to Tharu Cultural Museum at Sauraha can be very useful to know more about the Tharu community. Likewise, Tharu Cultural Programme is performed everyday at Sauraha. Cultural dances like stick dance, holi, Fire dance and other are performed every day by the Tharu people themselves.

WHERE TO GO - Chitwan: Located in south-central Nepal, the Chitwan National Park consists of forests and grasslands. Animals include the rhino, tiger, wild elephant, antelope and hyena. Crocodiles, dolphins, cobras, kraits and pythons are also found here. There are 525 species of birds. Bharatpur, the gateway to Chitwan, is 146 km from Kathmandu (20 minutes by air) or 131 km from Pokhara.

ACCOMMODATION - You will be staying in resort hotels or tented camps, inside or near the jungle. The hotel will take care of all the arrangements like transport, accommodation, meals and guided tours. The safari is conducted by naturalist guides who will explain everything to you. It is necessary to follow their instructions. You have to understand that you are in an actual jungle where wild animals roam free. Therefore, proper precautions need to be taken.

CLIMATE - The safari parks are located in the southern tropical plains known as the Terai . October through March is pleasant. In the summer, the maximum temperature is between 40-45 degrees Celsius. The rainy season lasts from July to September

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