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If you come to the Terai expecting snow-clad mountains and jaw-dropping vistas, you'll soon be disappointed. What you get instead is hot subtropical plains and some of the most fascinating attractions in Nepal. Foremost among them is the magnificent Royal Chitwan National Park, once the hunting ground of British and Nepalese aristocrats. Today, the animals - elephant, rhinoceros, tiger, leopard and deer - are protected, not shot. Probably the greatest thrill here is to scout for wildlife on the back of an elephant. If that's too uncomfortable, you can do the same thing in a jeep or canoe, or go jungle walking with experienced guides. Watch out for leeches, which operate with stealth-like efficiency during the monsoon.

Janakpur is an attractive city, bustling with tourists - Indian pilgrims that is, not Western backpackers. The city's religious significance is due to its role as the birthplace of Sita (Rama's wife in the Hindu epic Ramayana). During festivals, when vignettes from the Ramayana are re-enacted, it almost feels as if the ancient myth has come to life. If you can overcome its bewildering tangle of streets, Janakpur is packed with worthwhile sights including temples, pilgrim hostels and tiny sacred ponds. On the city's outskirts is the Janakpur Women's Development Centre, a must-see if you're interested in traditional painting and ceramics or the role of women in local society. Beautiful Devghat and Lumbini, now confirmed as the birthplace of Buddha, are also important devotional sites in the Terai.

Janakpur is over 135km (84mi) from Kathmandu, and a little less than that to the Chitwan National Park. A number of airlines fly to destinations within the Terai, but the most popular mode of transport is bus, more through economic necessity than choice. Usually they are overcrowded, stopping-all-stations affairs that leave you battered and bruised. If you've got a bit of extra cash, hiring a car is a comfortable way to see the region or, alternatively, a good mountain bike will get you there, back and around.

Sightseeing Places in Chitwan, Hotels in Chitwan, Jungle Safari

Chitwan National Park
Machan WildLife Resort



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