Chitwan National Park[CNP], established in 1973 and granted the status of a World Heritage Site in 1984, is the first national park in Nepal covering an area of 932 sq. km (360 sq mi). CNP is located in the subtropical Inner Terai lowlands of south-central Nepal in the Chitwan and Nawalparasi districts.
With an altitude range from 100 m (330 ft) in the river valleys to 815 m (2,674 ft) in the Churia Hills, the park is the last surviving example of the natural ecosystems of the ‘Terai’ region. The Park consists of subtropical lowland deciduous forest (Sal forest 70%), Riverine (13%) and Grassland (17%) ecosystems.
Chitwan National Park is home to over 43 species of mammals. One of the last populations of single-horned Asiatic rhinoceros lives in the park, which is also one other last refuges of the Bengal Tiger.
The Park has recorded over 540 species of birds and is recognized as one of the worlds’ biodiversity hotspots as designated by Conservation International and falls amongst WWFs’ 200 Global Eco-regions.
The Narayani and Rapti river systems, tributaries and numerous oxbow lakes is habitat for 113 recorded species of fish and 2 species- Mugger and Gharial crocodiles and the Gangetic Dolphin.
Flora & 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 8 m 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. Bengal florican. Lesser florican, Giant hornbill, Black stork, While stork, etc.
Best time to visit Chitwan
Chitwan National Park – October to May
Bird Watching – December to March
Maximum temperature can reach up to 95 Fahrenheit (35 C) in April through September.
November through February are cooler months with average temperature around 67 Fahrenheit.