Chitwan : The name conjures up a kaleidoscope of image and extreme diversity,Chitwan is a holiday for soul and blow-you-away-beautiful. This lush land, whose sylvan beauty grows on with every languid kilometer you traverse, is the perfect setting for those who want to be able slow down. Season aside, there’s and array of perennial activities on offer. The place packs a wallop of wilderness and cultural wealth. Nepal spreads to the greatest Himalayas on the north, the (Terai) lowlands to the south at a very short distant. The lofty mountains, quaint villages with its colorful festivals of various ethnic tribes, raging rivers and dense forest with rare endangered wildlife make it a unique country with a difference, and a paradise for nature adventure lovers.
Before the 1960’s it was an old hunting reserve for the Royalties and the dignitaries, Chitwan was established in 1973 as the first National Park of Nepal, and in 1984 it was declared as the Natural Heritage site by UNESCO. The 1000 Sq Km areas covers the Siwalik range with deciduous forest overlooking the flood plains. This is the richest habitat in the land with tall grasslands interspersed with riverine and hardwood sal forest . Here one can see wildlife such as the swamp deer, musk deer, black buck, blue bull, the royal Bengal tiger, gharial and marsh mugger crocodile and the last of a breed of Asiatic wild buffalo. This area is also rich in birdlife with a variety of babbles and orioles, koels and drongos, peacocks and floricans, and a multitude of wintering wildfowl. Chitwan now offers protection to a wilderness of rich ecosystem that includes more then 50 spices of animals, such as the. one-horned rhinoceros, tiger, leopard, sloth bear and the gaur (wild bison), as well as over 500 spices of birdlife both resident and migratory.
The Chitwan valley is characterized by tropical to subtropical forest. 70% of park vegetation is predominantly Sal ( Shorea robusta ) forest, a moist deciduous climax vegetation type of the Terai region. The remaining vegetation types include grassland (20%), riverine forest (7%) and Sal with Chirpine ( Pinus roxburghii ) (3%), the latter occurring at the top of the Churia range. The riverine forests mainly consists of khair, sissoo and simal. The simal is with spiny bark when young and develops buttress at the bottom in older stage. The grasslands form a diverse and complex community with over 50 species. The Sacchrum species, often called elephant-grass can reach 8 m in height. The shorter grasses such as Imperata is useful for thatch roofs.
There are more than 43 species of mammals in the park. The park is specially renowned for the protection of the endangered one-horned rhinoceros, tiger, gharial crocodile along with many other common species of wild animals. The estimated population of endangered species of animals such as gaur, wild elephant, four horned antelope, striped hyena, pangolin, gangetic dolphin, monitor lizard and python, etc.
Some of the other animals found in the park are samber, chital, hog deer, barking deer, sloth bear, common leopard, ratel, palm civet, wild dog, langur, rhesus monkey, etc.
More than 45 species of amphibians and reptiles occur in the park and some of which are marsh mugger crocodile, cobra, green pit viper and various species of frogs and tortoises.
The park is under the tropical monsoon climate with relatively high humidity. The winter, spring and monsoon are the three main seasons. The cool winter season occurs from October to February. The spring begins in March and is soon followed by summer that ends in early June. The summer days are typically hot with 30 C on average day temperature. The monsoon usually begins at the end of June and continues until September. The mean annual rainfall is about 2150 mm and most of the rainfall happens during this time of the year.