Chitwan National Park: Wildlife and Culture Journey

  • Barsha Thapa
  • Last Updated on Jun 12, 2024

Chitwan National Park is the first National park in Nepal, established in 1973, and is the second largest protected area in the country. It is renowned for the popularity of one-horned rhinos and is a popular destination for tourists seeking to experience Nepal's natural beauty.

The park is not only a haven for wildlife but also a cultural treasure. It shares its habitat with the Tharu community, allowing visitors to experience a unique blend of culture and nature. Chitwan National Park is the only park in Nepal where the beauty of wildlife and local culture can be explored together.

The park has played a crucial role in protecting and promoting the identity of the Tharu community to tourists. It has fostered a sense of unity between the wild animals and the local people, demonstrating a harmonious balance of nature, culture, and tradition.

Chitwan National Park has become a top choice for tourists interested in wildlife and cultural exploration. It continues to attract visitors from around the world, offering an unparalleled experience of Nepal's diverse heritage

Highlights of Chitwan National Park

  • Maintain the excellent relationship between wild animals and the local people.
  • Diversity of culture and wildlife.
  • It is one of the best tourist destinations for exploring nature closely.
  • Opportunity to learn about its own culture and traditions.
  • Promotes different traditional festivals, dances, and folk songs among tourists.
  • Helps sustain wildlife and protect endangered animals.
  • Source of income for local people.
Chitwan National Park
Elephent during the visit

History of Chitwan National Park

Chitwan National Park holds the distinction of being Nepal's first national park, a testament to its historical significance. Established in 1973 by King Mahendra, this environmental sanctuary nestles in the southern central Terai of Nepal, serving as the very heart of the region.

Encompassing a sprawling area of 93,200 hectares, Chitwan National Park stretches across four districts: Chitwan, Nawalparasi, Parsa, and Makwanpur. Its origins are deeply rooted in history; once designated as the "Royal Chitwan National Park," it served as the exclusive big game hunting ground for Rana rulers, royal families, and esteemed guests until 1951.

The park's narrative took a pivotal turn when hunting and harming wildlife for entertainment were outlawed. From that moment on, Chitwan National Park embarked on a journey of conservation, transforming into a sanctuary where flora and fauna thrived undisturbed.

The region is also home to a vibrant community—the Tharu indigenous people, who have inhabited these lands for centuries. Their rich culture and traditions infuse the park with a unique charm, enriching its tapestry with their customs and way of life.

In 1984, Chitwan National Park earned global recognition as a UNESCO World Heritage Site, celebrated for its remarkable biodiversity and enduring popularity. This acknowledgement solidifies its status as not just a sanctuary of nature but a beacon of conservation and cultural heritage in the heart of Nepal's Terai region.

The biodiversity of Chitwan National Park

Chitwan National Park is a treasure trove of biodiversity, home to a vast array of plant and animal species. The park is dedicated to the protection of many endangered species, making it an essential sanctuary for conservation. Its diverse flora and fauna offer visitors a chance to witness the natural beauty and importance of this remarkable habitat.


  • Around 70% of Chitwan National Park is covered by the Sal (Shorea Robusta) forest.
  • 20% of the land is covered by grassland, including elephant grass.
  • The rest of the land is covered by river forest.
  • On the northern slope, small trees such as rosewood, crocodile bark trees, and achar or chironji (with small berry-like fruits) are found.
  • Wild ginger, wild turmeric, and various herbal plants are found in this national park.


  • 68 species of mammals, including tigers, sloth bears, elephants, rhinos, and wild dogs, as well as small mammals (otters, porcupines, martens, and shrews).
  • 600 species of birds, including indigenous and migrants, such as the great Hornbill, painted storks, pied kingfishers, and red-headed trogon.
  • River species include marsh crocodiles (maggar) and iconic long-snouted (Gharial).

How do I get there?

There are two modes of transportation to reach Chitwan National Park. You can choose one way that you are comfortable with.

  • BY AIR: Take a flight to Bharatpur Airport from Kathmandu. Then, book a bus or a taxi to reach Sauraha.
  • By bus: You can catch a bus to Chitwan National Park from Kathmandu's Ratnapark bus station. The trip takes 5–6 hours.


Chitwan National Park, found in the southern Terai region of Nepal, is known for its intense heat during the summer months. This area consistently experiences high levels of humidity throughout the year. The park's climate is significantly influenced by two main factors: the winter-influenced monsoon and a dry winter season.

The monsoon season in Chitwan begins around late June and usually lasts until late September. During this period, the region receives heavy rainfall, which contributes to the lush vegetation and diverse wildlife found in the park. Following the monsoon, the weather becomes drier, leading into the winter months, where the climate is relatively dry compared to the rest of the year. Despite the cooler temperatures in winter, the overall humidity remains fairly high, maintaining a subtropical environment.

Entry gate of Chitwan National Park
Map of Chitwan National Park

Best Time to Visit

October through March is the ideal time of year to explore Chitwan National Park. During these months, the weather is more moderate and pleasant compared to the scorching summer heat and the heavy monsoon rains. Post-monsoon, the park becomes lush and green, creating a beautiful environment for exploring and wildlife viewing. The temperatures during this period range from cool to comfortably warm, making outdoor activities like jungle safaris, bird watching, and canoe rides more enjoyable.

In the cooler months from December to February, temperatures range from 7°C to 23°C (45°F to 73°F), providing a refreshing break from the typical heat of the region. This is also an excellent time for bird watching, as many migratory birds visit the park. The mornings and evenings can be chilly, so it's advisable to bring some warm clothing. The overall humidity remains high, maintaining the park's lush subtropical environment.

Visiting during these months increases your chances of spotting wildlife, as animals are more active and visible in the cooler weather. Species such as the Bengal tiger, one-horned rhinoceros, and various birds are more likely to be seen. The post-monsoon lushness of the park enhances its natural beauty, making every excursion a scenic delight.

Overall, from October to March, Chitwan National Park offers the perfect combination of favorable weather, stunning landscapes, and abundant wildlife, ensuring a memorable and enjoyable experience. To make the most of your visit, plan your activities early in the morning or late in the afternoon to avoid the midday heat, wear light, breathable clothing with some warmer layers for the cooler times, and bring insect repellent to stay comfortable amidst the park's rich flora.


  • Bis Hazari Lake
  • Sauraha Tharu Village
  • Religious Place, Balmiki Dham
  • Umbrella Street, Pathihani
  • Elephant breeding Center

Things to do in Chitwan National Park

  • Jungle Safari: You can explore the jungle of Chitwan on an elephant ride or a jeep safari.
  • Bird watching: There are 600 species of birds in Chitwan National Park.
  • Elephant Bath: You can dip in the Rapti River with elephants and play with them.
  • Nature walk and hike: You can hike or explore various flora and Fauna in the jungle.
  • Canoeing and Rafting: Exploring the crocodiles in Rapti River by rafting or canoeing.
  • Jungle Camping: There are camping facilities in a jungle that are entirely safe.
  • Cultural Show: The cultural and traditional music, dance, and stunts of the Tharu community's people will blow your mind.
  • Photography: You can capture many events or pictures of birds and animals for future memories.


Chitwan is the habitat of the indigenous Tharu people. They have lived there for centuries. They are also known as the "People of the Forest." Their unique and beautiful culture has amused the people who come to visit Chitwan.

Their traditional dances, such as the Lathi dance, fire dance, peacock dance, human dance, etc.) have fascinated everyone with their culture and tradition.

The Tharu people worship spirits, particularly in the forest. Their primary festivals are Maaghi, Jitiya, and Siruwa.

Tharu people live in a joint family. Their deity is located in the eastern part of the house, where a senior family member sleeps.

Tharu people are divided into two categories of ancestral deities. They are:

  • Goraiya offers pigs as their sacrifice.
  • Many offer goats as a sacrifice.

Even the cuisines of the Tharu people are unique compared to others. They include multiple freshwater dishes, such as crab, mussels, snails, fish, etc., in their cuisine. Some Tharu people even eat Rat pickles.

The Tharu community's men wear bheguwbeguna white dhoti, Daura Daurawaistca oat, and gamcha. Women wear a mix of lehenga choli and Jagran.

The main occupations of the Tharu people are agriculture and fishing, but they are also involved in other activities today.

The Tharu community's culture is different from birth to death. They focus on protecting and promoting their culture, tradition, and religion to the upcoming generation.

Entry Permits and Fees

When traveling to Chitwan National Park, a permit is required for entry, making it an essential part of your trip. Permits for Chitwan National Park can be obtained on-site, and below are the prices:

  • For foreigners: 2000 rupees
  • For SAARC = 1000 rupees
  • For Nepalis =150 rupees
  • Children below ten years old are free.


Chitwan National Park offers a range of accommodations with excellent facilities to suit diverse preferences. If you're eager to delve into the rich cultural tapestry of the Tharu community, there are charming inns designed to immerse you in their traditions and values.

Discover the essence of the Tharu culture at accommodations like Chitwan Gaida Lodge, Chital Lodge, Chitwan Safari Hotel and Lodge, Nature Safari Camp, and Chitwan Riverside Retro. Each of these establishments is thoughtfully crafted to provide an authentic experience while ensuring your comfort and convenience.

For those with an adventurous spirit, numerous hotels and lodges, such as Jungle Wildlife Camp and Jungle Sunset Camp, offer camping facilities within the heart of the jungle. If camping under the stars amidst the wilderness appeals to you, these options provide an unforgettable experience to share with your loved ones.

canoeing in Chitwan National Park
canoeing in Chitwan National Park

Tips to make your trip easier

  • Chitwan has a hot climate, so wearing light and natural clothes is better.
  • Carry at least two pairs of shoes.
  • Sun's cream to protect your body from tan.
  • Show hospitality to the local people.
  • Don't hunt and disturb wild animals.
  • Always follow the guidance of your guide.
  • If you are traveling alone, have proper information about the national park.
  • Do not litter inside the National Park.
  • If you are taking any medication, carry your medicines yourself.
  • Carry odomoss or any other medicine that will protect you from insect bites.


Where is Chitwan National Park located?

Chitwan National Park is located in the subtropical lowland of the Terai region in the southern part of Nepal.

What is the main attraction of Chitwan National Park?

The main attractions of Chitwan National Park are the Tharu community's unique culture and the national park's biodiversity.

What is the significance of Chitwan National Park?

Chitwan National Park is home to a wide range of flora and fauna, including a one-horned rhino and a Bengal tiger.

What is the best time to visit the National Park?

The best time to visit the National Park is from October to early March.

Is Chitwan National Park safe?

Yes, Chitwan National Park is safe for every age group.


Chitwan National Park lies at the heart of the Terai region, serving as a vital source of income for the local communities. It not only showcases the region's rich biodiversity but also preserves its cultural heritage and traditions.

Exploring Chitwan National Park offers a unique opportunity to witness nature from diverse cultural perspectives, providing a truly mind-blowing experience.

Now is the perfect time to embark on your journey to Chitwan National Park with our team of experienced guides. Contact us today for more information and to start planning your unforgettable trip.

Barsha Thapa

Barsha Thapa

Barsha Thapa is our competent team member, currently pursuing her studies at Public Youth Campus. Since 2022, she has been a dedicated part of Himalayan Recreation, where she contributes her skills and enthusiasm to promoting the wonders of Nepal.

Inspired by her colleague Jyoti, a travel enthusiast and expert content creator, Barsha has developed a deep passion for sharing the beauty and culture of the majestic Himalayas. Her role at Himalayan Recreation allows her to combine her academic pursuits with her love for travel and nature.

Committed to showcasing Nepal's unique experiences, Barsha assists in content creation and planning unforgettable journeys, ensuring that every traveler experiences the true essence of Nepal.

When she is not immersed in her studies or work, Barsha enjoys exploring new trails, discovering hidden gems, and immersing herself in the serene landscapes of Nepal. The mountains have become a significant part of her life, fueling her passion and drive to connect with nature and inspire others to do the same.

As a part of the Himalayan Recreation family, Barsha is always eager to share her knowledge and help fellow travelers create lasting memories. Feel free to contact her via WhatsApp or email; she is available online 24/7 for any inquiries or travel plans.

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