With its lush forests and exotic fauna which include the rare one horned rhino, the Royal Bengal tiger, crocodiles, elephants, deer and over four-hundred species of birds, the Royal Chitwan National Park offers one of the finest wildlife experience in Asia. Lying in the Terai belt, encompassed by the Churia Hills and flanked by he Rapti, Reu and Narayani rivers, the park covers an area of 932 sq. km. It was established in 1973 and is the oldest National Park in Nepal. The park became a World Heritage Site in 1984.
During the late 19th century, Chitwan was the private hunting reserve of the Rana Prime Ministers. In 1911, King George V led a hunting party to Chitwan and is said to have shot thirty-seven tigers and eight rhinos. Between 1933 and 1940, the King and his guests, is said to have killed four hundred and thirty-three tigers and fifty-three rhinos. By the late 1960s the population of rhinos and tigers in Chitwan had dwindled drastically due to indiscriminate hunting and poaching. The declaration of Chitwan as a national park in1973 and the imposition of strict measures against poaching and unauthorized conversion of forest to farmland have helped in increasing the wildlife population. At present Chitwan National Park is regarded as one of the most developed and most frequently visited of Nepal’s national parks.