Bardiya National Park

Bardiya National Park

The naturally regenerated vegetation and wildlife of Badiya national park is a prime attraction today and is getting popularity for jungle related activities as it is one of the most beautiful and biologically diverse protected areas of Nepal. 

Deepak Raj Bhatta
Author | Deepak Raj Bhatta Date Published:
Bardiya National Park

Situated in the western lowlands of Nepal, Bardiya National Park offers pristine wildlife and amazing natural beauty. It is also the largest national park in terai. It was established in 1976 as Karnali Wildlife Reserve, and its area is 968.00 square kilometres. Also, the buffer zone of Bardiya national park comprises 327 Sq. Km.

Bardiya is a perfect place for people who are keen to explore nature and wildlife. For travellers who like to experience the Nepali and Tharu culture, and adventurous people who like to explore the unspoiled nature of west Nepal, Bardiya has a lot of experiences to offer. Bardia is home to the endangered Bengal tiger, a famous one-horned rhino and many other mammals and reptiles. 

The unspoiled sal forest, grassland, alluvial washes cut by the many figures of the Karnali River are a wonderful sight to see. The naturally regenerated vegetation and wildlife of Badiya national park is a prime attraction today and is getting popularity for jungle related activities as it is one of the most beautiful and biologically diverse protected areas of Nepal. 

The natural boundaries to human settlements are formed in the west by the Geruwa, a branch of the Karnali River, and in the southeast by the Babai River. The Karnali river is also the most admired and longest river basin in the western lowlands of Nepal. It is incredibly beautiful and rafting in this river is popular as one of the most adventurous offbeat activities. 

Bardiya national park dwells away from human disruption activities unlike some other parts of Nepal. The buffer zone of the national park area helps to protect the wildlife and decreases the human-wildlife conflict. There is a boundary for human settlement near the park boundary. The southern border of Bardiya national park touches the Nepalgunj Surkhet highway.

Table Of Content

    Facts and Figures

    Area(sq.km) 968
    Established 1976
    Location  Bardia
    Highest elevation (above sea level) 1441 m. 
    Lowest elevation (above sea level) 152 m. 
    Flora 173 vascular plant, 14 dicots, 26 monocots, 6 ferns, 1 gymnosperm.
    Fauna 23 mammals, 287 birds, and 23 amphibians and reptiles.642 faunal species, 152 fish, 23 reptiles and amphibians.
    Major ethnicity Tharu, Brahmin, Chhetri, etc.
    Language spoken Nepali, Tharu, etc.
    Major activities Jungle safari, boating, fishing, bird watching, Tharu museum, crocodile breeding centre, elephant breeding centre, temples in Bardia, village walks, etc.

    History of Bardia National Park

    In 1815, Nepal lost its land in the Sugauli Treaty with the East India company. For 45 years, the four districts of Nepal, Banke, Bardiya, Kailali and Kanchanpur respectively were part of the then British colonized India. Later, India returned the Nepalese land in favour of helping the Indian Independence Movement in 1857. The annexed area is still called Naya Muluk which means a new country. Bardiya National Park, then, consequently merged into the Indian territory, however, got returned by India along with the other four districts.

    During the 1960s, the area of 368 sq. Km was designated for the Royal hunting purpose in Bardiya. And in 1982, the Royal Bardia National Park was officially formed and in 1988 it became a fully-fledged protected area. The main aim behind the establishment was initially hunting, however, later the site was put forth for the protection of decreasing species including the tiger and prey species.

    The decade of the 90s observed a massive revolution in the tourism sector of Nepal. Many national parks and protected areas including the Ministry of Tourism itself were established. During the mid-90s, the basic facilities were brought up and settled to facilitate the visitors in the National Park surrounding. Now, the Bardia National Park is one of the most admired protected areas for wildlife explorers in the lowlands of Nepal.

    Bardia National Park

    The northern limits of the covered area are demarcated by the top of the Siwalik Hills. The Nepalgunj-Surkhet highway partly forms the southern boundary, but seriously confuses the protected area. Natural boundaries to human arrangements are formed in the west by the Geruwa, a branch of the Karnali River, and in the southeast by the Babai River.

    The neighbouring Banke National Park, the joined protected area of 1,437 square kilometres represents the Tiger Conservation Unit (TCU). Bardiya-Banke extends over 2,231 square kilometres of alluvial grasslands and subtropical moist deciduous forests.

    Around 1500 people who used to live in this valley have been resettled elsewhere. As farming has stopped in the Babai Valley, the naturally restored vegetation presents the area as prime habitat for wildlife.

    Flora and Fauna

    Nearly 70% of the park is included with forests, with the balance a mix of grass and riverine forest. Moreover, the place has 839 classes of flora including 173 vascular plant classes covering 140 dicots, 26 monocots, 6 ferns, and 1 gymnosperm class. The wide area of vegetation types in forest and grassland presents different habitats for 642 faunal classes.

    The Karnali-Babai river way, its small tributaries and myriads of oxbow ponds is a habitat for 125 recorded classes of fish. A small group of Gharial inhabits the rivers. However, Apart from the mugger crocodiles, 23 reptiles and amphibian species have been recorded. 

    The protection area boasts some endangered species of animals such as Royal Bengal Tiger, Swamp Deer, Blackbuck, one-horned rhinoceros and Gharial-Crocodile, marsh mugger and Gangetic dolphin in its river basins.

    Things to do in Bardia National Park

    Some of the major activities to do around Bardiya National Park are mentioned here. However, there are so many activities that can be done in the forest land. From wildlife photography to the incredible range of jungle activities are popular in Bardiya. The national park area is also popular for its amazing natural scenery and offers a wide spectrum of natural resources. 

    1) Jungle Safari

    Jungle safari here is the most different jungle safari because of the tiger’s inhabitants. Bardiya National park is the most famous national park to search for tigers activities not only in Nepal but also all over the world. Bardiya is an important wildlife conservation area that suffers from rustling. On the other hand, Bardiya has achievements in growing animal populations naturally.

    A wide range of wildlife species can be observed during the jungle safari in Bardia National Park. Further, this protected area is an incredible source of wildlife research and education. The river system in its territory, especially the Karnali river is another major attraction to witness in this wild terrain. 

    2) Visiting Elephant Breeding Centre

    In the south of Bardiya National Park, there is a little elephant breeding centre. The different aged elephants are residing in the breeding centre. Some of them are used for anti-poaching patrols, others are here due to harm and for breeding. In Nepal, the elephant is becoming one of the endangered animals and the centre was established to increase its numbers. You will also have the opportunity to visit the breeding centre. Moreover, you can learn about the effort to increase the pachyderm population and get to see several cow elephants and their calves.

    The elephant breeding centre is also a wonderful place to know about how the elephants are managed and fed by a specific person Mahout and the various efforts put into conserving and increasing the number of this graceful animal. 

    3) Fishing

    Karnali river is the longest and one of the largest rivers in Nepal. It is also the perfect fishing ground for Golden Mahaseer and river Catfish. It certainly has the rich surroundings of the Karnali river include Bardiya national park. Karnali river is an amazing fishing adventure that combines adventure rafting and the unforgettable fishing adventure of Nepal. 

    4) Boating

    Getting to the rivers around Bardiya is a favourite day trip for many visitors. Also, you will get to see the jungle from a unique view. Exploring the jungle while surfing in the boat ride by the locals enables you to witness the incredible aquatic species and the peaceful atmosphere of Bardia itself. 

    5) Visiting Tharu Museum

    Just inside the main gate to the national park, there is a Tharu cultural museum. Inside the building, there are various Thrau cultural displays from agricultural equipment to everyday worship and kitchenware. Visiting the cultural museum is an impeccable possibility to understand evolving culture and traditions and the lifestyle of inhabitants. 

    6) Bird watching

    Bardiya national park is one of the best birdwatching destinations in Nepal. The bird watching activity here is very impressive as you can see the various species of migratory and resident birds. 

    Some of the most famous birds like crow, myna, dove, vulture, crane, kingfisher, sparrow, parrot, eagle, hummingbirds, kite, Cookoo, egrets, black ibis, warbler, duck, francolins, hornbills and many others can be witnessed in the protected area.

    7) Visit Crocodile breeding centre

    Crocodile breeding centre can be reached from both inside the park and outside near the elephant breeding centre. Crocodile breeding centre contains swamp huggers and Gharial crocodiles. It is a perfect time to explore the crocodiles and you can also see the efforts put to increase the species population and their breeding process. 

    8) Pilgrimage in Bardiya

    At Thakurdwara, there are several small temples and shrines. The Shiva temple has a history dating back to the origins of Bardiya. The Shiva temple is also colourful and unique in Nepal. Thaurdwara temple is one of the most popular temples of Nepal and is famous for its greatest religious importance. Many people from the surrounding districts and villages visit Thakurdwara during festival celebrations. 

    9) Biking

    Biking is the best adventure in this lush beauty. You can carry a map and a compass to know about the directions. For better accessibility, you can use your GPS system and access the map on your device. By biking, you can head south from Thakurdwara until you reach the bridge then follow the path out to several local villages. While doing a village tour by bicycle or bike, you can see the plain farmlands and the local cultural habitat of Bardia. 

    10) Tharu cultural dance

    The Tharu culture program plays a significant role to entertain the tourists visiting Bardiya National Park. It is also an opportunity to introduce the Tharu Culture and tradition to the tourists. People actively participate to perform the cultural dance and showcase their incredible moves. Also, the majority of the tourists arriving at Chitwan can also experience the Tharu cultural dance.

    Nearest Places to Visit

    Bardia National Park is an incredible place to explore authentic wildlife and very traditional villages. The modern touch is dominated by the pristine and rural atmosphere. So, you can explore the traditional lifestyle of Tharus and a wide range of wildlife and their habitat. 

    Some of the major places to visit around Bardiya National Park are Blackbuck sanctuary, Thakurbaba temple, Karnali bridge, traditional Tharu villages etc. From Bardia, if you want to explore the wetlands and the protection area of Shuklaphanta in the far west, it is just a few hours away. From Bardia, a four-hour drive can easily take you to Shuklaphanta National Park and is just 160 Km away. 

    Blackbuck Sanctuary

    The second attractive spot in Bardiya is the visit of a blackbuck sanctuary which is located in Khairapur. The sanctuary is located 40 km south-east of  Bardiya national park and Thakurdwara village. You can explore the blackbuck in the sanctuary and it is a perfect place for photographers and explorers. 

    Thakurbaba Temple

    Thakurbaba temple is in the heart of Thakurdwara village. 10 minutes walk from headquarters of Bardiya national park.  It is open every day. During the festive occasion, thousands of people come to visit Thakurbaba or we say God Bishnu. They start to take bath in cold water from 12 AM and stand in a line and fasting hoping to fulfil their wish.

    Karnali Bridge, Chisapani

    Karnali bridge connects the western and far-western region of Nepal. It is an asymmetric, cable-stayed, single tower bridge in the Karnali river of Nepal. The location and design of this unique bridge have made it a centre of attraction among domestic and international travellers. The view from the bridge looks perfect. The cool air current from the Karnali river and the beautiful panoramic views of the lush greenery in the surrounding are very wonderful. 

    Climate

    Bardia National Park is a year-round destination for travellers. The different seasons have distinct sorts of experiences to offer. The Spring season is very astonishing and perfect as the temperature is moderate and the weather is calm. Summer is also a good time, however, the humidity and hot climate can make the experience harsh. Also, during monsoon, the unpredictable climate can spoil the experience. The Autumn season is perfect for wildlife explorers. Winter is also good but in extreme cold, you may not be able to explore the wildlife as most of the species prefer hibernation in extreme climates. 

    From October to early April, the weather is dry, making it the perfect time to visit. Also, the days are hot and the nights are fresh and attractive. From April to June the temperatures slowly rise up with a peak temperature up to 40-degree centigrade. The hot sticky days give way to the monsoon rains in July that last until September.

    Getting to Bardia National Park and Entry Fees

    By Road: Bardiya National Park can be reached immediately by private vehicle/tourist bus departing in the morning from Kathmandu. The public bus can take up to 12 hours to reach Bardia. However, you can reach within 10 hours in your private drive. You can then take the transport into the park between around 3 am to 6 am.

    By Flight: Travel by flight is the best option for people who are on a short vacation and want to utilize their time more efficiently. Instead of spending 12 hours on a bus, the one hour flight to Nepalgunj by plane saves time to travel and shields you from a 12 hours ride to Nepalgunj. And From Nepalgunj, Bardiya National Park is nearby and can be reached within an hour. 

    Entry Fees

    Nationality Cost (Per Person)
    Nepali NPR 100
    SAARC  NPR 750 
    Foreigners NPR 1500
    Children below age 10 Not Applicable

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    Best Time to Visit Bardiya National Park

    Bardiya is favourable to visit all year round. The best season for Bardia National Park Tour is during autumn, winter and early summer. Days will be warm during this season with cool nights. Peak summer days get warm and rainy seasons may see floods near the riverbanks. Bardiya still has its attractions to offer in all seasons. September to December and late February to May. There is a very high chance of seeing the Royal Bengal Tiger in Bardia National Park.

    What to Bring?

    Remember to carry a jacket or sweater in the months of November to February. Light clothing and sunglasses and a hat will be good enough from April to August. Pants should be worn during elephant rides. Avoid bright colour clothes such as red and white since those colours have been known to upset the rhinos. Comfortable walking shoes are required. Carry only the necessary items. During the warmer months, swimming suits are recommended, if you want to swim in the swimming pool available areas.

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