Tuesday, May 5, 2009

Chitwan Adventures

Chitwan was a really interesting place to visit! A smaller group including Manjeet, CJ, Erin, James, Jake, and Christi were transported by van to Chitwan soon after arriving to the Kathmandu Airport from Lukla for an overnight stay. The agenda included watching the sunset over the forested park and nearby river that marks the northern boundary, viewing a program that illustrated the historical culture of the local Tharu cast through song and dance, riding elephants through the Chitwan to visit one of the last populations of single-horned Asiatic rhinoceros, and finally swimming with the elephants in the river.

Chitwan is connected by a national two-lane highway through mountains and foothills with little to no shoulder between Kathmandu and Bharatpur. The highway was often lined with small shacks offering food along the way. The van ride was very interesting, especially in observing the traffic "guidelines". Trucks transporting goods made up most of the traffic, which was complicated by unpredictable stops or breaks by the truck drivers on the highway with little room available to pass. As we neared Chitwan, we had transitioned from monster foot hills to rolling hills and flatland.

The Chitwan region is populated by the Tharu cast of people which are generally known as farmers. This was evident as the region was more flat and accommodating to farming. Popular crops included rice, maze, potatoe, wheat/barley, and cabbage.

In the morning of the next day, we embarked on a tour through a portion of the Chitwan on elephants. These creatures could trail blaze through the heaviest of brush if needed, and were very quiet which afforded many good views of animals. Animals sighted include Peacocks, Sambar Deer, Chital Deer, Wild Boar (including a family of young boar), the Great One-horned Rhinoceros, and Rhesus Monkey.

At the conclusion of the safari, we accompanied the elephants to the shoreline of the river and swam with them. This was a popular event, and the elephant drivers had fun with it. As we rode the elephants, they took us right into the water. At a command, the elephants proceeded to splash us with the water using their trunks, then shaked us off until we all fell into the water. All part of the show. After several occasions of attempting to remain on the elephant for more then 8 seconds (re: bull riding), the elephants layed down in the water for a stone massage.

Chitwan was very different from the trekking experience, and it was a good conclusion to the trip.

1 comment:

  1. Tharu cultural dance is funny..overall A-one experience to Chitwan!