Officially gazette in 1973, this was the first area in Nepal to be declared a national park. Situated in the Rapti valley in the tropical lowlands of the inner Terai, it covers an area of 932 square kilometers. It has 6 premier jungle resorts scattered inside its boundaries. The rugged Churia hills, sal forests, grassland and riverine forests including swamps and lakes made by changing river courses, provide excellent habitats for an unusually rich wariety of large mammals. It is one of the last strongholds of the Roytal Bengal Tiger. In the south-east corner of the park, a small herd of elephants is occasionally seen. About thirty species of mammals, including the Gangetic dolphin are found in the park area. About 300 varieties of birds, including both migratory and residential waterfowl, can also be seen from here on clear days.
Royal Chitwan National Park (RCNP) has long been one of the country’s treasures of natural wonders. The park is situated in south central Nepal, covering 932 sq. km. in the subtropical lowlands of the inner Terai. The area comprising the Tikauli forest – from Rapti river to the foothills of the Mahabharat – extending over an area of 175 sq. km. was declared Mahendra Mriga Kunj (Mahendra Deer Park) by the late King Mahendra in 1959. In 1963, the area south of Rapti River was demarcated as a rhinoceros sanctuary. The area was gazetted as the country’s first national park in 1973. Recognizing its unique ecosystems of international significance, UNESCO declared. Situated in the south of central Nepal, the Royal Chitwan National Park is one of the countries natural treasures. The park covers an area of 932 sq. km and is home to a variety of animals and plants. The first section of the park was set aside for animals in 1959 by King Mahendra in 1959. Later, in 1963, more land was added for a rhinoceros sanctuary. The entire park was first recognized as a United national park in 1973 when it was gazetted as being Nepal’s first national park. It now covers the area of the Tikauli forest from the hills of Mhabharat, the Rapti River and quite a sizable area on the rivers southern bank.
The park has received much attention in more recent years as a result of it being declared a World Heritage site in 1984. The National Park is seen as preserving a unique eco system which is significantly valuable to the world. Much of the area is made up of subtropical lowlands, forest and hills. In order to preserve the area as best as possible, only a small portion of the park is used for tourism. 1996 also saw the establishment of a bugger zone around the park which consists of forest and private lands. The park and local communities join together in their efforts to manage natural resources in these zones. Birds and animals are very much undisturbed and it is felt that there are a large number of undiscovered animals inhabiting the region.
The Royal Chitwan National Park is a beautiful place with incredible diversity in both plant and animal species. It is well worth a visit if you are in the region. You may find yourself delighted by the beautiful creatures and plants that have made the park their home.
In 1996, an area of 750 sq. km surrounding the park was declared a buffer zone which consists of forests and private lands. The park and the local people jointly initiate community development activities and manage natural resources in the buffer zone. His Majesty’s Government has made a provision of plowing back 30-50 percent of the park revenue for community development in the buffer zone.