Chitwan National Park
Chitwan National Park is the first national park in Nepal. It was established in 1973 and granted the status of a World Heritage Site in 1984. It covers an area of 932 sq. km and is located in the subtropical Inner Terai lowlands of south-central Nepal in the districts of Nawalpur, Parsa, Chitwan, and Makwanpur. In altitude, it ranges from about 100 m (330 ft) in the river valleys to 815 m (2,674 ft) in the Churia Hills.
The Park consists of a diversity of ecosystems-including the Churia hills, Ox-bow lakes, and the flood plains of the Rapti, Reu, and Narayani Rivers. The Churia hills rise slowly towards the East from 150 m. to more than 800 m. The western portion of the Park is comprised of the lower but more rugged, Someshwor hill. The Park shares its eastern boundary with the Parsa Wildlife Reserve.
Flora and fauna
The Chitwan valley consists of tropical and subtropical forests. Sal forests cover 70 percent of the park. Sal leaves are used locally for plates in festivals and religious offerings.
Grasslands cover 20 percent of the Park. There are more than 50 different types of grasses, including the elephant grass (Saccharum spp), renowned for its immense height. It can grow up to 8m in height. The park is home to more than 50 mammal species, over 525 birds, and 55 amphibians and reptiles. The endangered fauna found in the Park are: One-horned rhinoceros, Gaur, Royal Bengal tiger, Wild elephant, Four-horned antelope, Pangolin, Golden monitor lizard, Python, etc. Birds found there are Bengal florican, Lesser florican, Giant hornbill, Black stork, White stork, etc.
The Park offers interesting sites and activities. The display at the visitor center at Sauraha provides fascinating information on wildlife and conservation program. The women’s user groups’ souvenir shop offers a variety of handicrafts and other local products for gifts and souvenirs.
Elephant safari provides the opportunity to obtain a closer view of the endangered one-horned rhinoceros. One may also get a glimpse of the elusive Bengal tiger. The Elephant Breeding Center at Khorsor, Sauraha gives information on the captive elephant and the calves born there.
The museum at Kasara, the Park headquarters, has informative displays- near the HQ visitors can see Bikram Baba, a Hindu religious site of archival value. A short walk (1km) from the Park HQ will take to the Gharial Breeding Center, which is also home to the Marsh mugger, gharial crocodiles, and other turtles.
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