Chitwan National Park is a wildlife reserve covering an important region of Nepal’s rare lowlands. Just south of the foothills of the mighty Himalayas, this area boasts fauna common to Northern India as well as to the mountains. Located on the route to Kathmandu, this area was once a popular travel and hunting destination, and was heavily devastated before becoming a protected area. It is now the most popular nature destination in Nepal.
This area where India meets Nepal was for long a quiet part of the Subcontinent frontier. Well into the Colonial era it became an important transit point for those heading north to the Himalayan Mountains. Unfortunately, this drew large numbers of big game hunters, and the area’s large mammals were slaughtered in the thousands. The situation severely worsened in the 1960s, when the jungles were cleared with DDT and almost all of the surviving herds were wiped out. It was only in the 1970s that Chitwan became a national park and a major effort undertaken to undo the damage. The area has since recovered and is now an important stop for nature lovers on their way overland to Kathmandu.
Chitwan is a major big game park. With animal populations still recovering, it is still common to see many of the top species here: Elephant, Rhinoceros, Bear Sloth and Leopards are here, but these take a back seat to the magnificent population of Bengal Tigers. Chitwan is also an excellent destination for bird spotters, both domestic and migratory.
Chitwan National Park is located in almost the center of the country, just north of the border with India and fifty miles west of the capital of Kathmandu. Thanks to its location close to major roads into India, it is very accessible. The park is open year round. As of this writing no visitor information was available. Web: www.chitwannationalpark.gov.np (official website).