Chitwan at a glance
The Chitwan District is one of 77 districts of Nepal, and is located in the south-western part of Narayani Zone with Bharatpur, the fifth largest city of Nepal, as its district headquarters. It covers an area of 2,238.39 km2 (864.25 sq mi), and in 2011 had a population of 579,984 (279,087 male and 300,897 female) people. Bharatpur is a commercial and service centre of central south Nepal and merger destination for higher education, health care and transportation of the region. Chitwan is easily accessible from major cities like Kathmandu, Pokhara, Butwal , Hetauda & Birgunj within 150 km diameter.
The district takes its name from the Chitwan Valley, one of Nepal’s Inner Terai valleys between the Mahabharat and Siwalik ranges, both considered foothills of the Himalayas. Narayangarh is located on the bank of the Narayani River, Narayangarh is the main town with numerous shopping zones where people come from all over the district and neighboring districts. There are 7 local government, i.e. Bharatpur Metropolitan City, Ratnanagar Municipality, Khairahanai Municipality, Rapti Municipality, Kalika Municipality, Madi Municipality and Ichhyakamana Gaunpalika. Chitwan is one of the few remaining undisturbed vestiges of the Terai region, which formerly extended over the foothills of Nepal.
There are several predication on the origin of the name Chitwan. Some of the most satisfactory predications on the origin of its name are: The name Chitwan is a composite of the Sanskrit words चित्त, transliterated “citta” meaning heart and वन, transliterated “vana” meaning jungle or forest. Thus, the meaning of Chitwan is Heart of the Jungle. Chitwan was a dense forest ruled by the Tharu God/King Chitrasen Baba. He used to worship in the deep forest and ruled over his state. People believe him as the incarnation of Lord Vishnu. Still today, Tharu people worship his idol during HariBodhini Ekadashi in Chitrasari (Headquarters of Chitrasen Baba), way to Sauraha. Since the forest locally called ban (वन) was ruled by Lord Chitrasen, it was called Chitra Ban, later transliterated to Chitwan. Chitwan, still known as Dense Forest was a land of leopard and Bengal tiger. Leopard is locally called चित्रि according to Tharu language. Since the forest (वन) was densely populated by leopard or चित्रि, it was called the forest of leopard, namely चित्रि वन (Chitri Ban), later transliterated to Chitwan. Chitwan is the home land of Tharu people, who are renowned for their art and drawing. Their houses are decorated by religious drawings denoting different phases of history, culture and environment along that time. Since their homes in the forest were decorated with their drawings, locally called चित्र, the land was called चित्र वन (Chitra Ban), later transliterated to Chitwan. Chitwan was originally a dense forest ruled by Chitrsen Baba, where different RishiMunis came to have their meditation during ancient time with numbers of wild animals like leopard and Bengal tiger.
Agriculture and industry
The people inhabiting the Chitwan District are predominantly peasant farmers cultivating mainly food and cash crops such as rice, maize, wheat, beans, lentils, mustard and vegetables. The district is the major maize producing area in Nepal, with an area under maize cultivation of 27,170 ha (104.9 sq mi) in the year 2003–04. Maize is cultivated on irrigated /seasonal irrigated land in winter and spring, and on rain fed land in summer. Due to an easy road access, maize produced can be easily distributed to other parts of the country. The poultry industry in the district constitutes a significant proportion of the country’s poultry industry. Chitwan is proudly known as egg basket of the Nepal. Apart from poultry, fishery dairy farming and goat farming are also the iconic sectors that Chitwan is famous for. Chitwan is famous in Nepal for mustard growing and production of mustard oil. This popularity of the mustard in Chitwan is attributed to the predominant soil type silt, resulting from the flooding of the Narayani River and tributaries. Chitwan is also profusely spotted with clay lands, which are very good for growing rice, wheat and vegetables such as cabbage, cauliflower, radish, potato, broccoli, cucumbers, pumpkins, and carrot. Chitwan is also famous for floriculture, mushroom cultivation and bee keeping. Cuisine Chitwan is very popular for tasty Taas a spicy fried goat-meat lunch dish served with Bhuja or Cheura available in many restaurants. Momo, Sukuti Khaja Set and other Newari Cuisine also available. Dal bhat is the staple food of the area, meat and dairy products are also widely consumed. Depending on altitudinal variation, finger millet, wheat, buckwheat, barley, vegetable, potato, and soybeans are grown.
Places of Interest
Chitwan has a particularly rich flora and fauna. Nepal’s first national park, the Chitwan National Park together with the adjacent Parsa Wildlife Reserve support a species diversity much higher than any other on the Indian subcontinent. Rare species include Bengal tiger, gharial, rhino, leopards, mugger crocodile, Indian rock python and several species of deer. The Rapti River flows east to south west in the south of Bharatpur and forms the northern border of the Chitwan National Park. The Narayani River flows north to south in the west of Bharatpur. It is the deepest and also one of the biggest rivers of Nepal. The Narayani Bridge over the river connects Chitwan District with Nawalparasi District of Nepal. Small islands, like Nagarban in Narayani River are popular picnic spots. Beeshazar (20 Thousand) Lake is close by Chitwan National Park, about 5 km (3.1 mi) south of Bharatpur. The lake serves as an important bird watching centre and is attractive for bird lovers. It also harbours crocodiles. Uppardanggadhi, the old headquarter of Chitwan district is another cenere of attraction as it comprises the 400 years old historical fort build during the Unification of Nepal. Siraichuli, the highest peak of Chitwan district is the point to view majestic sunrise and Himalayan range. Narayangarh is the main shopping area of Central Nepal, and the main transit point for all the vehicles traveling via the east-west Highway, also for the people traveling from Kathmandu, Gorkha, and Pokhara through Mugling. It is also the center for hospitality industry which includes hotels, lodges, restaurants and transportation hub for the district.
Transportation and communication
Bharatpur Airport in the central part of the city offered four domestic airlines with seven to 11 flights daily to Kathmandu. East West Highway connects the city to various parts of the country, and another highway connects Bharatpur with Kathmandu to the north east and with Birgunj on the border of India to the south. Bus, micro bus and other land transportation are available to go out of the city, for internal transportation taxi, rickshaw and car/jeep hiring is available. Hakim Chowk and Chaubiskothi, Shaheed Chok, Pul Chowk, Bel Chowk and Lila Chowk are major centers at intersections of major roads. Synergy FM, Hamro FM, Radio Triveni, Radio Madi, Radio Chitwan, Radio Kotagiri, Chitwan Online FM, Dreams FM, Radio Sampada, Kalika Music FM, Kalika FM and Narayani FM are radio broadcasters in Chitwan. The city also has Beso Channel, “Aviyan Channel”, Unique Television and Avass Television. Land line telephone services and mobile telephone services are available to the majority of areas. There are multiple private Internet service providers.