- Sushant Lama
Located in the Terai belt of Far-Western Nepal, Suklaphanta National Park is one of the most beautiful protected areas of Nepal-very rich in biodiversity. It covers an area of 305 sq.km of forests, grasslands, river beds, and tropical wetlands. It is 772 km away from Kathmandu.
Initially known as Royal Sukla Phanta Wildlife Reserve, Suklaphanta National Park used to be the favorite hunting ground of Nepal’s ruling class and was declared the Royal hunting reserve in 1969. Later in 2017, its status was changed from protected areas to national park.
The name Suklaphanta comes from one of the grasslands found inside the national park called Sukla Phanta, the largest patch of continuous grassland in Nepal covering an area of 16 sq. km.
About the park, Arpit Chawla writes, “The path of sound credence is through thick forest. An amazing experience. It has Asia’s largest grassland with more than 1000 Deer was magical.”
It is believed that it was a site of ancient Tharu kingdom situated near a lake known as Rani Tal. In the reserve remnants of a brick girdle can be seen.
Suklaphanta National Park is very rich in Vegetation. About 700 species of plants can be found here including 553 vascular plants, 410 dicots, 125 monocots, and 18 pteridophytes. Various species of grasses like Imperata cylindrical, Heteropogon contortus, and Khagra reed covers most of the area of the national park. Sal, Khair, Sisoo are the main species of trees. Suklaphanta national park is also the natural reserve of different kinds of herbs.
Subiku ,who recently visited the park, explains the Suklaphanta national park as “A great national park in the southwestern part of Nepal.”
A wide range of animals and birds can be found in Suklaphanta National Park. It is home to 46 species of mammals, 28 fish species, 12 reptiles, and amphibian species.
Fishes like Mahseer and Rohu are dominant. Reptiles include Indian Rock Python, Mugger crocodile, Golden monitor lizard, Indian cobra, Common Krait and Oriental rat snake.
Mammals include Bengal tiger, sloth bear, elephant, Indian leopard, swamp deer, rusty-spotted cat, hispid hare and Great one-horned rhinoceros transferred from Chitwan National Park. Among 46 species of mammals, 18 species are protected under CITES. Among them, Bengal Tiger is the most famous one.
About 423 species of Birds can be found in Suklaphanta National Park. Dusky eagle owl, Rufous-bellied eagle, spot-bellied eagle owl, Oriental pied hornbill, slaty woodpecker, white-naped woodpecker, white-rumped hornbill, slender-billed vulture, Finn’s weaver, grey-headed fish eagle, Sarus crane, painted stork, racquet-tailed drongo, rusty-tailed flycatchers, Jerdon’s bush cats, rufous-rumped grassbird, chestnut-capped babbler, etc.
Things to do
Research of various flora, fauna, and birds can be conducted here with ease because of the higher degree of biodiversity.
Avika Sharma suggests, “An adventurous trip. You and your children will have quality time.”
Jungle safari is the main thing not to be missed if you visit Suklaphanta national park. You can enjoy the view of various deer, one-horned rhinoceros, and other animals, take an elephant ride and enjoy with nature. If you are lucky you may also spot a mesmerizing Bengal Tiger. Jeep driving around the park while sightseeing is definitely going to give you some pleasure.
Suklaphanta national park offers spectacular trekking experience if you want to trek along with nature. Bird watching is another thing you can do here. As it is the home to more than 400 species of birds, you can enjoy the view of many birds in various regions of the park.
Dhiraj explains the park as” A perfect place to see elephant, deer, tiger and so many other animals.”
Best time to visit
The best time to visit the park is between Novembers to February due to good weather as during monsoon makes the roads difficult for transportation.
How to get there?
You can reach Suklaphanta national park from Kathmandu by taking a vehicle up to Mahendranagar via Dhangadi. From Mahendranagar, park headquarter is just 8 km south.
You also can take a flight to Dhangadi from Kathmandu then travel towards Mahendranagar.
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