Royal Chitwan National Park (‘Chitwan’ means "in the heart of the jungle’) covers 932 sq. km. in the flat lowland region of southern Nepal.
It is one of the most important sub-tropical parks on the Indian subcontinent with populations of the endangered Royal Bengal Tiger, Greater One-horned rhinoceros, Gangetic dolphin (Platanista gangetica), Wild Asian elephant, Gaur, Golden Monitor lizard, Gharial crocodile and many more.
The Chitwan region has had a long history of conservation.
For many years it was the Royal hunting grounds for the Kings and dignitaries of Nepal and therefore was not hunted by the general public.
It did however become a favorite spot for big game safari hunters in the late nineteenth and early to mid-twentieth centuries.
This was coupled with a surge in local human populations following the development of anti-malaria medicines in the mid-twentieth century.
The long-term effect was a drastic decrease in jungle habitat and animal populations in the Chitwan valley as jungles were converted to farmland and big game were hunted and poached to dangerously low numbers.
The falling rhino (less than 200) and tiger (less than 30) populations in the present park region, focused attention on the Chitwan region and in 1963 the southern two-thirds of the park were declared rhino sanctuary.
Royal Chitwan National ParkWith sanctuary status came the relocation of 22,000 people from the Chitwan valley and a moratorium on hunting.
Since 1963 wildlife populations and ecosystems have been rebounding. In 1973 Chitwan became Nepal’s first National Park.
The relatively pristine state of the modern park and its unique ecosystems prompted UNESCO to declare the park a World Heritage site in 1984.
The most comfortable time to visit Chitwan is from October to March.