Chitwan National Park is situated in south central Nepal, covering 932 km2 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 km2 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 RCNP a World Heritage Site in 1984.
In 1996 an area of 750 km2 surrounding the Park was declared a Buffer Zone, which consists of forests and private lands including cultivated 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 provision of ploughing back 30-50 percent of the park revenue for community development and natural resource management in the buffer zone.
Chitwan National Park has a range of climatic seasons each offering a unique experience. October through February with average temperatures of 25oc offer an enjoyable climate From March to June temperatures can reach as high as 43oC. The hot humid days give way to the monsoon season that typically lasts from late June until September, rivers become flooded and roads are impossible.
In late January, local villagers are allowed to cut thatch grasses to meet their needs, which offer a better viewing of wildlife for visitors. Also, between September and November and February and April, migratory birds join the residential birds and create spectacular bird watching opportunities. While the monsoon rains bring lush vegetation, most trees flower in late winter. The palash tree, known as the “flame of the forest’ and silk cotton tree have spectacular crimson flowers that can be seen from a distance.