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Tourist Places To Visit In Chitwan National Park
When people visit Nepal, one of the top choices they make is cover the Kathmandu-Pokhara-Chitwan triangle before moving on to other tourist destinations. A cluster of grasslands, marshlands and forests make up the Chitwan National Park, the oldest wildlife reserve in Nepal. Spread over an area of more than 930 sq. meters, it is a vast expanse of magical greens that houses the impressive Bengal Tiger and the regal one-horned rhinoceros, among hundreds of other amazing and exotic species.
Located in the southern areas of Nepal, Chitwan marks a striking contrast from the towering peaks of the northern regions, which will prove to be a pleasant change of sights and sounds that you would have found synonymous with Nepal up until now. Head down to this place that is the typical essence of Nepal, and read on to know some of the best places to visit in Chitwan National Park.
The closest town to Chitwan National Park is Sauraha and it forms the focal point of the park’s tourism. It is an eccentric small town packed with restaurants, shops and hotels to cater to the throngs of tourists that flock here all too often. The fact that it lies right at the border of the national park means the elephants and rhinos sometimes come strolling onto the streets, which gives an idiosyncratic element to the town’s essence. While the locals are used to such sights, the tourists find it to be one of the most fascinating aspects of the town.
It is a clean and fun place to check out, with the only apparent downside being its over-commercialization that sometimes doesn’t go down too well with certain travellers.
The Lamo Waterfall is located on the Narayan-Muglin highway junction, a 20 minute walk away from the Jalbire temple. It is a beautiful location with water falling from a height of around 60 m and green landscapes surrounding it at the bottom; a scene that looks right out of a movie.
Visitors to this waterfall enjoy swimming in it as well, along with finding a fantastic canyoning opportunity for the adventure seekers. It is an especially popular hotspot during summers with people looking to cool off in the natural spring. On your way to the waterfall, you will also encounter Gurung communities and their villages; for those looking to participate in a little mingling with the locals, try out the home-stays for a native experience.
Elephant Breeding Centre
Take an early morning trip to the Elephant Breeding Centre to observe cute baby elephants playing in the mud and with their mothers, and how adult elephants usually spend their day. This establishment was set up for the protection of the endangered elephants; over time, visiting this centre to learn about how elephants breed, eat and go about their daily routine, has become a fun aspect of touring in Chitwan.
Bish Hajari Tal (20 Thousand Lake)
While it’s true that this lake system is made up of an arrangement of numerous small lakes, its name is mostly a misnomer and has been derived from the fact that it is situated 20,000 ft from the nearest highway. It is located in the buffer zone of the Chitwan National Park and constitutes a protected area that witnesses the migration of bird populations from the colder regions of the Northern Hemisphere. Apart from being a fantastic bird watching location, you can also notice other wildlife in the area like deer, crocodiles and the occasional rhino.
Ghariyal Breeding Centre
Located a little distance away from the park headquarters in Kasara is the Ghariyal Breeding Project, a program aimed at preservation of the endangered ghariyal crocodile. While exploring through the centre, you will be able to observe crocodiles ranging from a newly hatched ghariyal baby to giant adults that are several years old. At this point, they are released back into the wild. While the ghariyals happen to be the centre of all focus here, you can check out a few marsh mugger crocodiles too, a relatively dangerous cousin to the docile fish-eating ghariyal.
The breeding program is better enjoyed as part of the jungle safari trip as it is located a considerable distance into the Chitwan National Park, but can be done separately as well.
Bikram Baba is a small temple located under a tree across the Rapti River, within the Chitwan National Park. The name can be translated to mean ‘Brave Guardian’ and is dedicated to a holy saint with the same name. It is mainly worshipped by the local Tharu, Darai and Kumal communities, who believe that worship to this saint can grant parenthood to childless couples.
In recent times, the area has started attracting even more ethnic groups who believe their wishes come true at this holy site. It opens up for a week or two each year and is also celebrated as a festival by the locals, witnessing thousands of devotees assembling in the region. During the time it does open up, it has also become a visiting spot for tourists in the area, and a sort of recreational setting by the youngsters.
Devghat is a popular religious site among Hindus who believe this to be one of Lord Shiva’s abode and is located on the junction of Kaligandaki and Setigandaki River. It is located about 20 km from Sauraha, which means some amount of travel is involved to get here.
Devghat is home to a number of caves and temples that have been dedicated to Hindu Gods, Goddesses and deities; the junction of the two rivers where it is situated is also considered holy and is frequently used by devotees as a dipping site as well. During the festival of Makar Sakranti in January, it becomes the location of large melas, where thousands gather in one place for meals and celebration.