Chitwan National Park, Nepal

Posted in Asia | April 1, 2011 | Comment Now

Regarded among the Nepal’s wealthiest as well as healthiest natural wonders, the Chitwan National Park engulfs over 930 sq. km. of the south central Nepal, the inner Terai’s subtropical lowlands to be specific. With the status of the World Heritage Site and the honor of being the first national park of the country, the site since long has remained the third best highlight after Kathmandu valley and trekking. Being so huge, the picture-perfect nature reserve is the home of water marshes, sal forest, and waving grassland.

To its north as well as west, the river network of Narayani-Rapti draws a perfect frontier for the human villages, while the east encompasses the Parsa Wildlife Reserve and the south is loaded with the Valmiki National Park (Tiger Reserve). The south of the Rapti River is now declared as the rhinoceros sanctuary. Some 750 sq. km. of the surroundings of the Chitwan National Park is designated as the buffer zone full of private terrains as well as forests.

The park is the hub of variety of ecosystems such as the ox-bow lakes, the Churia hills that tower gradually from 150 m to over 800 m in the east, Rapti’s flood plains, and rivers. However, relatively less lower, but still more rugged are the Someshwor hills that adorn the western region whose boundary separates the ‘Parsa Wildlife Reserve’ from the park. The tropical as well as the subtropical forests cover the Chitwan valley; while the Sal forests take over 75% of the park area. Now these Sal forests are very important for the locals here, as they used the leaves as religious offering. From the remaining 25%, grassland take over 20% with over 50 different species along with the elephant grass famous for its gigantic height of up to 8 meters. However, the grass species that are more useful are the shorter ones that aid one in making mats, roof thatching, and making paper.

Talking about the fauna, the Chitwan National Park provides shelter to over 500 birds, 50 mammal species, and 50 reptiles as well as amphibians including the extinct ones. For the tourists, the main appeal is the rare one-horned Indian rhino, extinct Gangetic dolphins, leopards, and tigers. Try spotting King Cobra, crocodiles, Bengal tigress, Bengal foxes, golden jackals, Indian civets, yellow-throated martens, white-necked kingfisher, male paradise flycatcher, hanuman langurs, flying squirrels, chital, sambar deer, goosanders, cuckoos, peafowl, Oriental darter near lakes, and gaurs in the hills.


In the Chitwan National Park, there are many sites to visit. Start your day from the ‘Visitor Centre at Sauraha’ where the displays of the conservation programs as well as the wildlife are really fascinating. There is also a souvenir shop run by the women who sell many local products, gifts, and handicrafts.

If there is a park, you cannot go back without an exciting elephant safari and this park is no exception to it. Take up this tour to spot the extinct one-horned rhinoceros as well as the Bengal tiger closely. The close by town of Sauraha is quite famous amongst the visitors for its lodges for all budgets and Elephant Breeding Centre at Khorshor where a lot is revealed on the elephants.

Next, do visit the museum at Kasara (HQ of the parks) and Bikram baba (Hindu religious site) nearby. From the HQ, a 1 km stroll leads one to the Gharial Breeding Centre housing turtles as well as Marsh Mugger.


The park itself offers seven resorts featuring rooms, amenities, food, and wildlife activities such as rafting, jungle walks, and elephant as well as jeep safaris. However, they are quite expensive. So, opt to choose in Sauraha nearby or near it at 6 km along the river bank on the Mahendra Highway where there are many restaurants, hotels, travel agents, moneychangers, shops, and Internet cafés.


You need more than 2 days to explore the park with full satisfaction.


The park experiences many climatic changes as per the seasons. October to February is a cooler time with 25°C; while March to June is hotter with roasting 43°C. June to September is the monsoon time with flooded rivers and amazing scenery.

It is good to come in late January for better spotting with the local villagers who cut grasses here. For those who want see the migratory birds, September to November as well as February and April are good choices. Coming in late winter here means marveling at the colorful flowers of the Palash tree (flame of the forest) as well as the slick cotton tree.

Best time to visit
  • October to May
  • December to March for bird watching
  • Maximum temperature from April to September: 95 Fahrenheit (35 C)
  • Cooler months: November to February with temperature around 67 Fahrenheit
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