Chitwan is located in the subtropical lowlands of the Terai region. Chitwan National Park is a sanctuary for an astonishing array of flora and fauna. Chitwan National Park is a UNESCO World Heritage Site renowned for its conservation efforts and remarkable biodiversity.
One of the main attractions of Chitwan is its rich wildlife. The park is home to an impressive variety of species, including the iconic Bengal tiger, one-horned rhinoceros, elephant, and bear. Visitors can embark on thrilling jungle safaris to catch a glimpse of these magnificent creatures in their natural habitat. The sight of a majestic tiger prowling through the dense foliage or a graceful rhinoceros grazing by the riverbank is an experience like no other.
In addition to its charismatic megafauna, Chitwan boasts a vibrant avian population, making it a paradise for birdwatchers. The park offers endless opportunities for bird enthusiasts to observe and photograph these winged wonders.
For adventure seekers, Chitwan presents a plethora of outdoor activities. From canoe rides along the Rapti River to elephant safaris, nature walks, and jeep excursions, there’s no shortage of adrenaline-pumping experiences to be had. Each activity offers a unique perspective on the park’s diverse ecosystems and provides opportunities for close encounters with its inhabitants.
Beyond the boundaries of the national park, the surrounding area of Chitwan offers additional attractions. The nearby town of Sauraha serves as the gateway to the park and is a bustling hub of hotels, restaurants, and souvenir shops. Travelers can also visit the Gharial Breeding Center, where efforts are underway to conserve the endangered gharial crocodile, or explore the tranquil Narayani River on a scenic boat ride.
Exploring Chitwan is not just about wildlife – it’s also an immersion into the rich cultural tapestry of Nepal. The indigenous Tharu people, who have inhabited the region for centuries, offer insights into their traditional way of life through cultural performances, village tours, and homestay experiences. Visitors can partake in Tharu dance performances, taste authentic local cuisine, and learn about age-old traditions passed down through generations.
History of Chitwan
“Chitrawan”, meaning “picturesque wilderness”, is believed to be the root word of Chitwan. Its history is characterized by its religious divinity and its popularity as a prime hunting ground. Chitwan hosted the rulers of Nepal and their Royal guests including King George V (B.S. 1968) and Prince of Wales (B.S. 1978)
The Lichhavi Era:
From the first historical record of Nepal, the inscription at Changunarayan by Mandev(B.S 521); and the inscription of Samundra Gupta ar Ptayag, it is known that Nepal formed a part of the great Nepal which extended from Kamaroop (Assam, India) to Kartripoor (Kumaun, India). Great historian Baburam Acharya notes that from the time of King Amshuverma (BS 661-677), Chitwan fell en route the Nepal’s trade route with India.
During the Khas era:
During the climax of the Khas rule in the late 14th century BS, Chitwan seems to have come under the Khas kingdom started by Naagraj (mid-12th century BS). The Khas language spoken by the Brahmins of this era has evolved today as Nepal’s national language.
Mukunda Sen I and Devaghat:
British historian Hamilton (BS 1859) and Pundit Kashiram (BS 1771) stated that Mukunda Sen built a nice temple with Shivaji’s idol and Devghat saw great crowds during Shivaratri and Makar Sankranti. Mukunda Sen is believed to have spent his last days in Devghat as a sage (“muni”).
Under the state of Tanahu:
The great state of Palpali King Mukunda Sen I, which included Gulmi and Arghakhanchi in the west and extended up to Jhapa in the east disintegrated after his retirement from kingship (BS 1575 to 1610). This state included Devghat and Chitwan. His son, Bhringa Sen (off his 3rd queen Mahimawati) established the state of Tanahu.
The winter capital (Kartik to Chaitra) was in Devghat. Several letters addressed from various places in Devghat, Kabilasgadi, Someshworgadi, bandarjhoola etc. have been found. Some of these places have the remains of the forts constructed during that period.
Harkumardutta Sen, the brother of Kamaridutta Sen, was the last king of Chitwan, under the state of Tanahu.
Merging with Prithvi Narayan Shah’s Nepal:
BS 1834: Chitwan was deemed as a loophole in the security of Nepal Valley (Kathmandu) as the British could use it for a possible attack. As per the advice of Prince Bahadur Shah, exiled to Betiah, and the order of King Pratap Singh Shah, AbhimanSingh Basnyat, RamKrishna Kunwar and Parath Bhandari captured the Kabilaspuri Gadi on 3rd Shrawan 1834. Someshwor was won on the 26th Shrawan.
Ram krishna Kunwar was posted in Upar Dang Gadi, to look after the whole of Chitwan. But on Chaitra 3, 1835, the Tanahu state, inclusive of Chitwan, was recaptured by H harkumar Dutta Sen. Ramkrishna Kunwar escaped to Gorkha. Finally, it was on 12th Baishak of 1836 that it was annexed by Nepalese troops, under the plan of Bahadur Shah.
Rana Regime (1903-2007 B.S.)
The area of Sanjautkot started being called Tandi. The irrigation in Jutpani and Dhungrekhola was done during this Period. It became a prime hunting ground during this period, & the Ranas made roads, elephant shelters & Kasara Camp for this. It is said of Chandra Shumsher that he gathered 428 elephants during the visit of the Prince of Wales. Malaria had reached epidemic proportions in this area.
People charged with treasure used to be sent to the jungles here as a punishment. Bhou Singh, who played against Jung Bahadur Rana was one of the many who faced this. Jung Bahadur had excused the tax for 7 years to all those who farmed the jungles here & Chandra Shumsher had declared freedom to the slaves who could reside in the Chitwan jungles. But no one did so.
Attractions in Chitwan
Chitwan is a destination that captivates the imagination and leaves a lasting impression on all who visit. Whether you’re drawn to its mesmerizing wildlife, cultural heritage, or adventurous spirit, there’s something for everyone in this enchanting corner of Nepal. So pack your bags, embark on an unforgettable journey, and discover the untamed beauty of Chitwan – where nature reigns supreme.