Previously known as Royal Chitwan National Park, Chitwan National Park is the first national park established in Nepal. It was established in 1973 and it covers an area of 932 square km.
It is located in the southern part of Nepal. Nawalparasi, Parsa, Chitwan, and Makwanpur are the districts touched by it. The activities you could enjoy in Chitwan National Park are as follows.
1. Elephant Safari
Elephant safari is one of the most popular activities in Chitwan National Park. There are two types of elephant safari: privately owned and government owned. It is recommended to take private ones as formalities are much in government-owned safari.
For government elephant safari, first of all, visit the NTNC office and find out the availability of elephants. Then, select your preferred time and purchase your ticket. The safari takes approximately 1 hour. It costs around Rs 1000 for SAARC people, Rs 2500 for non-SAARC people and Rs 50 for Nepali.
Next, for the private elephant safari, you can manage from your hotel. The safari is for 1 or 1 and half hours. There is no exact price for a private safari. It comes around Rs 2000 and it is based upon the hotel with which you make a deal.
The elephant safari is done in two places in Chitwan. One is Sauraha and another one is Meghauli. You can choose between them or do both.
Elephant riding is one of the suitable media to enjoy wild nature closely. You could feel among the birds and animals in the dense forest of Sauraha. But yes, you might not find it too comfortable but it would be an exciting experience. The slogan entitled “Visit Chitwan, Ride Elephant” is popular.
The elephants found in Nepal and India are not as big as African elephants. Some live in wild and some are domesticated. There is special elephant breeding center established in 1985 in Sauraha itself. Its main purpose is captive breeding of domesticated elephant for domestication.
2. Jeep Safari
Another medium to observe Chitwan National Park is by Jeep Safari. You can have a seat on the back of an open jeep and view animals and plants. The jeep will slow down and even stop in some places. You will get opportunities to click pictures, shot movies and the guide will provide sufficient information.
In accordance with time, jeep safari is divided into two categories: short safari and full day safari.
Short safari consists of 4 hours and carries seven people. It is also known as sharing jeep safari. It will take you to the dense part of the jungle early in the morning and if you are fortunate you will able to see Royal Bengal Tiger, One horn Rhino, bear, leopard, etc.
Full day safari, as the name implies is done the whole day. This safari also starts in the morning and it goes into the denser part of the jungle. You are more likely to see the natural habitat of different animals even closely. It is also considered as reserved jeep safari.
3. Bathing with Elephant
Elephant bathing is entertaining and amazing activity in Sauraha and is gaining popularity. The elephant is taken to Rapti River. You will climb on the elephant’s back and it will spread water with its trunk over you. You can play with it. The elephant even throws the tourists into the water as per the command of the master.
Similar to elephant safari, you can buy tickets from hotels or agencies for this purpose. The ticket can cost up to Rs 500 per each individual.
It is also possible to get the opportunity at the evening time while the owners take them to clean in the river. With little money, you could enjoy the bath.
This activity takes place only in warm seasons but not in winter as the temperature is very low.
4. 20 Thousand Lake Tour (Bishazari Taal)
The word ‘bis’ means twenty, ‘hazar’ is thousand and ‘taal’ is lake in the Nepali language. However, there are not 20 thousand lakes. 20 Thousand Lake covers around 7,900 acres of land.
This lake is the home place of several endangered and valuable species such as different kinds of birds ducks and vultures. Along with it gharial, marsh crocodile and different types of flora and fauna are also in their natural state.
It is like a heaven for bird and animal lovers.
5. Jungle Walks
If you are planning for a jungle walk in Chitwan then you need not get worried. There is a specialist or a guide who would lead you. It is a possibility of a sudden encounter with wild animals. However, tourist and guides are not allowed to carry any sort of weapon.
It’s up to you to decide how much time you want to spend in the jungle. And you can go single or in a group. General distance for a walk is about 10 km and the price is pretty cheap.
This would give you an opportunity to watch nature from near. You will get to find animals and different kinds of birds. Animal include, monkey, Rhino and even Bengal tiger.
Guides are well known about the place and they will explain it to you which type of bird belongs where.
6. Observe Culture
Chitwan National Park is the residence of a tribal group of people known as Tharu. The Tharu people claim themselves to be a people of the forest. They lived in the forest by cultivating small pieces of land.
It is believed that the word Tharu might have been derived from sthavir which means the follower of Theravada Buddhism. They have their own distinct rich culture, language, beliefs, and social norms.
In Chitwan National Park, you get to taste Tharu cooking and dinner. One of the popular cultural practices is Tharu stick dancing. It is done in the evening before dinner. You will get to try it. Fishing, house decoration, Tharu henna tattooing, religious tour are something you can do if you want to.
7. Elephant’s Breeding Center
You may not believe but Nepal is one of the largest elephant breeding centers in the world. Sauraha Elephant Breeding Center is three km away from Sauraha.
The breeding center was built in 1989 and today there are more than twenty elephants in it. The motive of construction was to increase the reducing population of the Asian elephant.
These elephants get fed from the Chitwan National Park and a mature elephant needs approximately 80 kg of food and 200 liters of water daily.
Previously, elephants were used for hunting purpose. The Bengal Tigers and Rhinos were hunted using an elephant. But the present scenario is different. Now, the elephants are used for tourism, playing polo, patrolling jungle, and even domestic works.
Canoeing is another fun you can have in Chitwan National Park. The rivers such as Rapti and Narayani provide such opportunity.
There is a possibility of seeing water birds and crocodiles such as the Gharial and Marsh Muggers taking a sunbath. In those rivers, you can even get sight of dolphins. The tour could be 1 to 3 hours and at the same time, you could visit the above-mentioned elephant breeding center as well.
This is not the end. You can explore many more things over there which would be lifetime remembrance.