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Royal Chitwan National Park

Situated on the banks of the Rapti, the 544 sq. km ( 210 sq miles) of forest, flowers, butterflies, birds, monkeys and wildlife are over looked by the snowcapped peaks of Annapurna, Ganesh Himal and Himal Chuli. This is Chitwan, one of the most exciting wildlife reserves in the world. The world for the great Indian One -Horned Rhinoceros is Gaida’, and at Sauraha, in the northwest corner of the park, are gathered many of Nepal’s 300 strong population of the species. From the lofty perch of the howdah, atop an elephant used for safaris, can be seen four species of deer, a multitude of monkeys, wild boar, leopard, hyenas bears and many others, including, if one is lucky, the reticent Bengal tiger the king of the jungle. One of the most famous valleys of Nepal, renowned in Asia for its wildlife, the Chitwan valley was, till just over three decades ago, covered with tall elephant grass and dense forest, and there were only a few scattered settlements of Tharu aboriginal in an area of nearly 2,565 sq kilometer (1,000 sq miles).

The settlements had been literally carved, out of the jungle. The Rana Prime Ministers still held away and used the Chitwan as their special hunting preserve where great hunts were organized for the viceroy and visiting royalty from Europe. It was not till 1962, after the visit of Her Majesty Queen Elizabeth of England and Prince Philip (who is President of the wildlife preservation society), that all hunting was banned and the portion of the valley south of the Rapti river was set aside as a sanctuary. An armed force called the ” Rhino Patrol ” was created to guard against poaching and agriculture encroachment. Later the sanctuary was declared the Royal Chitwan National Park and full co-operation was extended by the United Nations Development Project and the World Wildlife Fund.

Besides the Royal Bengal Tiger and the Great Indian One-horned Rhinoceros, the park is also famous for the Gaur and the Leopard. Every afternoon, buffalo valves are staked out at three regular spots, overloaded by a blind or hide out about 60 yards from the bait. Guests and visitors are taken to the palace to try and watch the tiger in the kill.

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