Chitwan National Park is the first national park in Nepal which was established in 1973 and enlisted in the World Heritage Site in 1984 and covers the area of 952.63 km/sq. This National Park lies in the inner Terai lowlands of south-central Nepal which lies in Parsa, Chitwan Makwanpur and Nawalpur districts of Nepal.
Chitwan National Park is a wonderful place for viewing wildlife with a safari-type atmosphere. This place has a tropical monsoon climate, quite different than what you’d expect to find in Nepal. Chitwan National Park is also known as the Heart of the Jungle. This place used to be the best place for hunting since the end of the 19th century.
People used to stay for a couple of months in the forest and used to hunt different kinds of wild animals like tigers, rhinoceroses, leopards, and sloth bears. In 1950, Chitwan’s forest was the home for 800 rhinos; more than2600 km/sq area was covered by the forest. But the poor farmers from the mid-hills moved to the Chitwan Valley in search of arable land for agriculture.
By the end of the 1960s, thousands of people settled there and only 95 rhinos remained. After that, the government organized a patrol of 130 armed men and a network of guard posts all over the Chitwan for the protection of rhinos with the name of Gaida Gasti. To prevent the extinction of rhinos the Chitwan National Park was gazetted in December 1970 and established in 1973.
Before, this place was covered by Tharu Communities, when the first protected area was established in Chitwan. They were forced to leave their own traditional lands from there. They were denied any right to own land and thus forced into a situation of landlessness and poverty.
Nepal Army destroyed the village which was located inside the boundary of Chitwan National Park. They burned down the houses of people and beat them who tried to plough their field. Even some were threatened at gunpoint to leave.
Chitwan has a tropical monsoon climate with high humidity all through the year. The area lies in the central climatic zone of the Himalayas, where monsoon starts in mid June and eases off in late September. 70% land of this national park is covered with Sal trees. Sal leaves are used locally for plates in festivals and religious offerings. 20% of park is covered by the grassland.
There are around 50 types of different grasses, including the elephant grass (Saccharum spp) renowned for its immense height. There are more than 50 different species of mammals, 525 different species of birds, 55 different amphibians and reptiles.
One-horned rhinoceros, Royal Bengal tiger, Gaur, Giant hornbill, Wild elephant, Four-horned antelope, Python, Pangolin Golden monitor lizard, etc. Black stork, White stork, lesser florican, Bengal florican, etc are some of the endangered fauna found in this park.
Chitwan National Park is also one of the most famous and attractive tourist destinations in Nepal. There are two main entrances to this park; Sauraha in the east and Meghauli village in the west. The women’s user groups’ souvenir shop offers a variety of handicrafts and other local products for gifts and souvenirs.
People get the opportunity to get a closer view of one-horned rhinoceros from the elephant safari. You may also get a glimpse of the exclusive Bengal tiger. There are 7 resorts inside the park which are run by park concessionaires that provide lodging and access to wildlife activities. Also, there are many resorts outside of the park to provide the full facilities to the tourists.