Photo-feature

Gateway to wildlife sanctuary

- Sanjaya Lama, Kathmandu

Dec 22, 2017-In spite of Nepal’s reputation as a Himalayan country, there are many places in the country’s southern plains that make the country proud. I realized this fact after my recent trip to Chitwan for a gateway from monotonous routine life. 

I found Chitwan National Park as a great place to enjoy soothing and tranquil surroundings.

Chitwan National Park is the first national park of Nepal. It was established in 1973 and got the status of a World Heritage Site in 1984. It covers the pristine area of 932 sq km and is located in the district of Nawalparasi, Parsa, Chitwan and Makwanpur.

The Park is a home to over 265 species of birds, 64 species of mammals and over 100 species of amphibians. 

Popular for its wildlife sanctuary, the park is endowed with diverse flora and fauna. Not only it is renowned for one-horned rhinoceros—only found in Nepal—but it is also home to wild boars and Bengal tigers. 

Elephant safari, jeep safari, boat-ride, jungle walk, and bird watching are among other things we can do in Chitwan to enhance our mood. 

Elephant Safari

Elephant safari is one of the best ways to spot wildlife from close proximity and experience the beauty of park. Up to four persons can ride on an elephant on the wooden seats on its back. By paying Rs 1,200, one can enjoy the jungle ride for one hour to one-and-half-hour. During the ride, one will get an opportunity to experience the jungle life and feel the importance of nature. 

Jeep safari

Jeep safari is yet another way to see the animals from close and embrace the nature. Whenever animals are spotted, the driver stops the vehicle to gaze at the animals and take some photos.

During the ride, the guide will hang at the back of the vehicle and describe about the places, vegetation, animals and birds among others. We can acquire more information from the guide then we read in the books. We will have two options for jeep safari.

The first option is half day (short safari). This will take around four hours and the maximum 12 persons can sit in the jeep. This safari will start at around 1 pm and finishes at around 5 pm. 

The second option is full day safari. The full safari is not different than half safari. In the full day safari we will go deeper in the jungle. During this trip, we have to pack our lunch and eat it in the jungle. The ride will start in the morning and ends in the evening.

We have to cross Rapti River on a boat for both the safaris. 

Visitors are advised not the wear bright coloured clothes. It is said that bright colours scare the animals and they spot us quickly before we do.

Apparently, you need a bit of lady luck to spot bears and tigers in the park as they hide in tall bushes.

Boating

Boating in tranquil Rapti River in the Chitwan National Park is certainly the best way and one of the exhilarating hydraulic activities to take a close view of crocodiles and gharial. We can see crocodiles and gharials taking sunbath on the river banks. The crocodiles, however, do not disturb or attack the visitors. You can feel the freedom while sailing in the mystic river.

Jungle walk

Jungle walk is one of the highlights of Chitwan National Park. It is adventurous and can spot the wild animals from close. It, is however, quite dangerous. The walk is led by two local guides. 

Tharu dance

Tharu dance is another highlight during Chitwan National Park visit. Tharu people, indigenous group of Nepal, have a culture unlike other groups in Nepal. Stick dance and peacock dance are the major attractions. They perform the dance at a community hall. 

Meanwhile, walking on the bank of Rapti River and watching the enthralling view of sunset will be an extraordinary experience.

Endlessly, anyone will fall in love once they visit the Chitwan National Park as it is the polished crown jewel of Nepal. 

If anyone gets stuck in a rut with hectic schedule or wants to escape from the hustle and bustle of the city life, the Park will be the best place to goof with friends or family.

Photos: Achitra Thieng

Published: 22-12-2017 19:44

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