Chitwan or “Heart of the Jungle” is famous as one of the best wildlifeviewing national parks in Asia and was declared a UNESCO World Heritage site in 1984. Located in the Terrain Lowlands of Nepal, it is a mere 20-minute flight from the Kathmandu International Airport. The park is famous for its success in conservation of the rare and endangered one horned Rhinoceros. From about 3000 animals of the species remaining in the wild, 605 are in Chitwan alone affording excellent photographic opportunities to visitors. Meet this magnificent animal and a host of other creatures namely tigers, leopards, sloth bears and the unusual looking Ghartal (crocodile) which is endemic to the Indian subcontinent.
A Tale of Extraordinary Adventure Comes to the Heart of the Jungle
And an elephant back safari will reveal the beautiful Hog deer hidden away among the Elephant grass; one of the tallest grass in the world standing at 4 meters. The excitement continues with a bird count of 543 making Chitwan National Park a nature lovers’ delight. Overlooking the core of this magnificent national park, is Taj Meghauli Serai, standing on the banks of the River Rapti. Immersing you in an extraordinary world of wildlife and pristine jungle, and offering undisturbed views of nature’s bounty.
Staying at Taj Meghauli
This picturesque, nature blessed hotel is a small and intimate property with just 30 keys in all – 1 luxurious Presidential Suite, 16 independent villas with private plunge pools, and 13 contemporary rooms. The architecture smoothly blends fine touches of contemporary designs with natural surroundings
The Presidential Suite – Rapti Mahal, affords you a spectacular view of the Rapti river and comes with a private viewing deck and plunge pool.
The 16 Rapti Villas, drenched in pastel hues, create a calming sanctuary in the heart of the jungle.
Each luxury villa features spacious living areas with great views of the Rapti and the National Park There are private plunge pools in every suite, and luxurious 5 fixture bathrooms adorned with traditional Nepalese stone spouts The 13 Meghauli Rooms feature contemporary décor and amenities and open up to balconies overlooking the Himalayas and the Teral grasslands below.
Leisure and dining
The main lounge at the Taj Meghauli, quaintly named Baithak, offers a central fire place and makes for a delightful place to warm oneself of a chilly evening, swapping jungle tales. Rapti Kinara with its river view decks, doubles as a superb venue for a private barbecue or an evening get together. Bada Ghar is the all day dining restaurant and there is the Bar and Lounge when you are in the mood for good cheer. For some authentic folk Nepalese fare there is Tharu, which offers village themed dining of Newari and local Tharu cuisine.
If the beauty of the forest has captured your mood, enjoy a romantic private dinner under the shimul tree that is adorned with lanterns and bright red flowers. Small groups can watch the setting sun and enjoy sundowners at the Machan (Watchtower) specially built on an island. For some added excitement, start your day by savouring a bonnet breakfast inside the park. Of course, you can always opt for inroom dining or ask for a private table to be set up for you by the the infinity pool.
Exploring the Jungle
Jeep Safaris are organized twice daily in specially designed 4 by 4 vehicles driven by trained naturalists. You can opt to spend the entire day in the park. On an elephant back safari, you may get a chance to see the rhinos and gavials up close as your elephant strides through the tall elephant grass. Alternatively you can trek through the jungle on foot, accompanied by our expert naturalists, and enjoy the thrill of sighting one horned rhinos, birds and other animals from very close quarters.
Float down the picturesque Rapti River on canoe enjoying beautiful views of the Himalayan foothills and spot innumerable rhinoceroses, gavials and birdlife. Get a chance to spot Chitwan’s rich diversity of wild life including one horned rhinos, wild boar, spotted and hog deer. Other activities include elephant bathing and feeding, visiting a local Tharu village and signature spa treatments in the privacy of your room.
Wild Kids at the Taj
Children are welcomed with a customized survival kit. The program offers interesting activities that tie in with nature, like learning survival skills from Naturalists, making a fire, pitching a tent or baking cookies.
Chitwan is the last surviving example of the natural ecosystems of the ‘Teal’ region and covers subtropical lowland, wedged between two east west river valleys at the base of the Siwalik range of the outer Himalayas. The core area lies between the Narayani and Rapti rivers to the north and the Rue River and Charka hills in the southern border. The spectacular landscape, covered with lush vegetation and the Himalayas as the backdrop makes the park an area of exceptional natural beauty. The forested hills and changing river landscapes serve to make Chitwan one of the most stunning and one of the most stunning and attractive part of Nepal’s lowlands.
More than half of the parks vegetation comprises the stately Sal trees (Shorea robusta). These dense thickets are interspersed with grass lands with the gigantic elephant grass and marshy ox bow lakes where both the marsh mugger crocodile and the long slender snouted fish eater, the ghavial may be spotted. Stunning savannahs with more than 50 types of grasses, including 20 feet tail elephant grass.
Chitwan is best known for sightings of the enormous One Herned Rhino. The rhino Conservation is hailed as a success story, the population being brought back from the brink by timely and effective action. This park is home to 68 recorded species of mammals ranging from the gigantic in the form of the Asian Elephant to the smaller species of rodents, otters and martens. The majestic royal Bengal tiger, leopards wild dogs and sloth bear may also be spotted here.
Chitwan is a bird watcher’s paradise. Due to its closeness to the Himalayas, the park also shelters winter and summer migrants along with more than 600 native bird species. indigenous and migrant species like great hornbill, ruddy shelduck, pied kingfisher and red headed trogon can also be found, dense forests, large grasslands and rivers mean that various species of birds from different habitats can make this region their home
Meghauli is easily accessed from Kathmandu, both by road (176 kms) or by flight
By Road: The drive from Kathmandu to Meghauli (approximately 4.55 hours/176 kms) takes you through the middle hills of Nepal and along the Trishuli River.
By Air: A short 20-minute flight from Kathmandu to the Bharatpur Airport, followed by a 1 hour/ 30 kms drive to the property. An alternative is to take a private charter from the Tribhuvan International airport in Kathmandu to the Meghauli airstrip, which is a short 15 minute drive from the hotel. Helicopter charters are also available from Kathmandu to the hotel directly.
Skilled drivers in air conditioned sedans or luxury minivans will transfer guests from the closest airports. All road transfers can be booked on request with Taj Safaris or through your preferred Nepalese ground handler.
Important things you need to know when planning your trip
Weather: Winter is from November to March. Summer is from April to June.
Monsoon is from July to October
Temperature: Summers are hot and humid with a maximum temperature of 40 C and a minimum of 25 C. Winters are pleasant with an average maximum and minimum temperature of 20 C and 10 C.
Best time to travel: November to March when game viewing is at its best. April – June is warmer, however wildlife sightings are good. July to October is sultry albeit with good sightings.
Visa: Almost all nationalities have a Visa on arrival facility.
Currency: Nepalese Rupee, though INR is easily accepted throughout Nepal
Park Closure: The core zone of the park remains open throughout the year. However Jeep Safaris are not conducted during monsoons (July to Oct). All other activities are conducted in the community forests during this time. The hotel remains open throughout the year.