Home to the Royal Bengal Tiger

Royal Chitwan National Park Chitwan, home to the famous Bengal tiger, rhinoceros, crocodile, deer, monkey, numerous birds, and a host of other animals, is not actually a rainforest. It is a sub-tropical jungle. It covers 932 sq meters - one of the largest forest regions of Asia. Chitwan was once the hunting ground of Nepalese royalty and Indian Rajahs. A couple of times per decade the Rana would organize hunting parties, inviting both native and foreign royalty. Hundreds of beaters would move through the forest, herding animals in front of the comfortably ensconced dignitaries, who would fire at will.   In 1911, King George V and his party which included his son, the prince, killed 39 tigers and 11 rhinos.   The last big Chitwan hunt was in 1939. A party that included Mountbatten killed 120 tigers, 38 rhinos, 27 leopards, and 15 sloth bears. More adult tigers were killed on this hunt than are currently are alive at Chitwan, now a precious 50 breeding pairs. And the current Asian rhino population of Chitwan is about 400, which is a quarter of the worlds' total.   It was an almost impenetrable jungle with broad grasslands and malaria infested swamps. The only people who could live in the Terai area around the jungle were the Tharus, who were supposedly immune to the malaria carrying mosquito's bite. When the Nepalese government attacked the malaria problem by drying out the swamps and turning them into farmland, many of the wild animals, including the wild elephant, left the area or died off. Since the area was turned into a national park, the number of animals residing there is increasing, as is the number of tourists. Temple Tiger Lodge, Chtiwan Located at the heart of the Chitwan National Park on Nepal’s southern borders with India, Temple Tiger is the great place for exploring this beautiful natural reserve. Built entirely from natural materials, the lodge is rustic with 33 traditional thatched cottages dotted around a clearing in the forest and a gazebo style dining area. Days are spent on elephant back safaris tracking rhino through acres of tall elephant grass, floating the rivers in search of the endangered Gangetic dolphin, and trekking in the jungle being sucked by leaches, hoping for that rare encounter with the elusive Royal Bengal tiger. Our typical day was to get up at 5.30 or 6am for an Elephant safari returning at 8.30 or 9am for breakfast. Then a walk or rest. Lunch was at 12.30 then a trek at 4 and dinner at 7pm