The thickly forested foothills of the great Himalayas are generally referred to as the 'Terai' but nowadays there is no thick and dense and ever-green forest there. As per the government's survey, the country has an estimated 2.5 billion trees of 443 species belonging to 239 genera and 99 families. The Nepali Terai is stretched from the east to west, from Mechi to Mahakali. The National Chitwan Park is situated in the Churia hills. This is a fascinating land of rhinos, tigers and other species of animals.
Varied Topography The varied topography gives Terai a rich diversity in habitats and natural beauty. Flat and fertile valleys interspersed with hilly ridges and the park's rolling grasslands are the most suitable dwelling place for the rhinos. Its swamps and grasslands with tall thickets of elephant grass and patches of evergreen forest, support the largest number of rhinos in the Indian sub-continent. Though poaching continues to be a major threat to the rhino-population, the numbers of this species are fairly healthy. Their number is expected to be about 400. This open sanctuary makes wildlife viewing fairly easy. Tall coarse grasses at times forming impenetrable thickets, swampy depressions and lakes characterise the wetlands of the park. These are also the habitat of large numbers of Barasinghe, the magnificent swamps deer, noted for their multi-tined antlers( Barah means 12 and Singh means horn). The grasslands are also an ideal dwelling place for the Royal Bengal tigers. Other inhabitants include the sloth bear, jackal, wild pig, the lesser cats- leopard cat, jungle cat wild elephant, and civet. Chitwan National Park is very charming in its natural surrounding. The flora and fauna are fantastically rich. There are 800 species of different kinds of birds available here. Birdwatching is becoming very popular for tourists these days. The park has a small population of white tigers. If you are lucky, you can see them. Rhinos are seen frequently in the forest. They are very domicile animal but sometimes they become very dangerous too. They can kill human beings in no time. Human beings also kill them for their horn and skin. Their blood is used as medicine. This park is the first national park in Nepal. It was established in 1973 and granted the status of a World Heritage Site in 1984. It covers an area of 932 km( 360 sq mi) and is located in the subtropical Inner Terai lowlands of south-central Nepal in the districts of Nawalparasi, Parsa, Chitwan and Makwanpur. The Indian Tiger Reserve Valmiki National Park is located in the south and the east is Parsa Nationa Park of Chitwan National Park. This southern zone has a tropical monsoon climate with high humidity all through the year. This area is located in the central climatic zone of the Himalayas. In this area, monsoon starts in mid-June and subsides in late September. This pretty park is home to 68 mammals species.Some animals are translocated annually from Chitwan National Park to the Bardia National Park and the Shukla Phanta Wildlife Reserve for their safety since 1986. Near about 160 migrating species arrive in Chitwan in every autumn to spend the winter season. Thus this park is one of Nepa's most popular tourist destinations. There are two main entrances to this park: Sauraha in the east and Meghauli Village in the west. Nepal has the most diverse topological set-up. There is the high Himalayas, which is religiously famous, the heavenly abode of gods and goddesses, whereas the southern lowland is known as the Terai. The Terai is covered with dense and evergreen forests teeming with diverse wildlife and exotic birds. There are some of the most exciting and interesting safari destinations in this part of Nepal which are suitable in summer as well as Asian winter season. But they are much more comfortable in winter rather than summer. They are warm and soothing in winter. All jungle resorts and lodges are used to be already booked in winter because tourists love to visit the park. The Terai is also contributing a lot in the promotion of tourism which is a golden hen for our country Nepal. The Terai is called the granary of Nepal. It feeds Nepal for the whole year because its soil is very alluvial. It produces paddy, wheat, maize and cash crops like sugar cane, mustard, sunflower, linseed etc. in large quality. So the Terai is called store-house of grains. Summer in Nepal, especially in the Terai, defies the usual brand of this season as a dry, dusty and boring period of the year. So it is not a suitable destination for the European and American tourists but it is a favourite destination of Asian and especially for SAARC countries tourists. The rainy season is somewhat suitable because rains are like a melody of music in the whole Terai- belt. Sometimes it rains cats and dogs and consequently, there is flood and it creates a lot of problem for visitors. The rainy season also creates a musical atmosphere because ladies transplant paddy in the fertile fields of Nepal Terai singing popular folk songs. It resounds the whole atmosphere with echoes of music.
Melodious Sound Melodious and musical sound is heard all over the Terai-belt. The monsoon appeals the most to the Terrain farmers. The rainy season is a blessing for them. They become very hopeful and they till, sow and transplant the new paddy crop. Long lines of lovely ladies can be seen bending over inserting the seedlings in the field, singing traditional folk songs. They also sing, dance and make merry on this auspicious annual occasion of paddy transplantation. So the rainy season has its charm and glamour in the Terai. But this summer was not so soothing and suitable for visiting tourists. They are suggested to visit now because there is no Corona Virus in this part of the world. Nowadays the Terai is not totally Corona free but still cosy and comfortable. There is a wrong conception still prevailing in the mind of some people that NEPAL has always tried to brand itself as a country of Himalayas. But there are so many other touristic destinations which have failed to attract visitors' attention. The Tourism Department is not interested to develop Terai as a touristic destination. The Provincial Tourism Ministry is equally responsible for this negligence. It has not developed any plan and programme to develop Terai as an attractive and all-round touristic destination though it is full of touristic potentiality. Now, this is the high time to frame plan and programme to develop Terai- Madhesh as a mesmerizing and memorable touristic destination which is the pressing demand for domestic tourism. From September to March is the ideal time for visiting and enjoying the beauty and luxury of Terai.
(The author writes on topics related to the Terai region)