Jungle March

Bardia National Park Tour Package (4 days, 3 nights)

Bardia, which is the Tharu word for ‘herdsman,’ is one of the last remaining wildernesses of Nepal. But it is peerless in that it’s a place where wildlife is the most talked about topic. Guides talking to each other ask more about tigers and rhinos than about their families. It is a unique fact but not totally surprising given that Bardia boasts of an impressive 37 mammals, most of them too beautiful or too elusive to remain out of your mind even when they are not in sight. These include the big three: Royal Bengal Tiger, Asian elephant, and One-horned rhinoceros. Deer species are well represented by chital (spotted deer), hog deer, and the barking deer. Another resident is the four-horned antelope and Nilgai, or blue bull, the largest antelope species in the sub-continent. 
 
The Bardia National Park covers a whopping 968 sq km, making it the largest national park in Nepal’s lowlands. But what makes it special is the omnipresence of the wild world. As you drive into Thakurdwara, the village where most resorts in Bardia are located, you see machans (wooden towers) rising high above the abode houses and green fields. They are like huge wordless signboards proclaiming the proximity of the place to the jungle. Farmers keep vigils on these lofty perches to ward off wild elephants that come out of the jungle to feast on their crops. You never run of stories of encounters with wild animals. You are never out of earshot of the sounds of the jungle. The fact that a primeval world lies just beyond the gate of your resort never escapes your mind. To go to Bardia is to surrender to the wilderness.
Bardia, which is the Tharu word for ‘herdsman,’ is one of the last remaining wildernesses of Nepal. But it is peerless in that it’s a place where wildlife is the most talked about topic. Guides talking to each other ask more about tigers and rhinos than about their families. It is a unique fact but not totally surprising given that Bardia boasts of an impressive 37 mammals, most of them too beautiful or too elusive to remain out of your mind even when they are not in sight. These include the big three: Royal Bengal Tiger, Asian elephant, and One-horned rhinoceros. Deer species are well represented by chital (spotted deer), hog deer, and the barking deer. Another resident is the four-horned antelope and Nilgai, or blue bull, the largest antelope species in the sub-continent. 
 
The Bardia National Park covers a whopping 968 sq km, making it the largest national park in Nepal’s lowlands. But what makes it special is the omnipresence of the wild world. As you drive into Thakurdwara, the village where most resorts in Bardia are located, you see machans (wooden towers) rising high above the abode houses and green fields. They are like huge wordless signboards proclaiming the proximity of the place to the jungle. Farmers keep vigils on these lofty perches to ward off wild elephants that come out of the jungle to feast on their crops. You never run of stories of encounters with wild animals. You are never out of earshot of the sounds of the jungle. The fact that a primeval world lies just beyond the gate of your resort never escapes your mind. To go to Bardia is to surrender to the wilderness.

     

    Day 01 Arrival in Kathmandu

    Assistance at the airport upon arrival and transfer to hotel. Half-day sight-seeing of Kathmandu city and Swayambhunath.
     
    Kathmandu City
    The name ‘Kathmandu’ comes from the Kasthamandap Temple—a fitting source for a city that has an estimated 3,000 temples. But how can a visitor possibly enjoy this abundance of religious buildings? The answer is the Basantapur Durbar Square. In this one square are the wonders, eccentricities, and diversity of Nepali temples. You are moving along centuries-old temples when you look up and see the biggest reason for blushes, grins and giggles in the square: the erotic carvings on the temples.
     
    Although the Hanuman Dhoka Durbar (Palace) became the center of power and royal residence under the Malla Dynasty (1200–1769 A.D.), its origin goes back further, to the Licchavi Period (450 – 740 A.D.). A must-see in the square is the horizontally laid slab of stone on the western wall of the Hanuman Dhoka Palace. On it are etched a jumble of alphabets and numerals in 15 languages. King Pratap Malla, who ruled over Kathmandu from 1641 to 1674 A.D., installed the tablet on the wall to prove his mastery over those languages. Investing in foreign language courses seems wise when you consider that concealed somewhere in that gibberish is a clue to finding a treasure cache hidden somewhere in the palace.
     
    Swayambhunath
    Swayambhunath offers a beautiful view of the Kathmandu Valley. It is a view of the present, but, looking out on to the Valley floor, it isn’t hard to visualize the story of Swayambhunath’s origin. For it was here, according to mythology, that a lotus flower sprang up on the surface of the primeval lake that was once the Valley. Swayambhu, or the Self-Born, is the oldest religious structure in Kathmandu. Calmness can transfer from the Buddha’s all-seeing eyes to yours if you look at them. But not for too long if you have something to eat or drink in your hands, unless you want to see a monkey open a Coke bottle and gulp it down.

    The premises of Swayambhunath also contain an example of the unique religious blend that has sprouted and flourishes in the Valley. Tucked behind the stupa, in the western corner, is a temple of Hariti (Ajima), the Hindu goddess of smallpox. Although a Hindu temple, it is worshipped and revered equally by Buddhists, in the same way as Hindus venerate the Swayambhunath stupa.
     
    Dinner at hotel

    Day 02 Half day sight-seeing of Bhaktapur City and Patan City. Fly to Nepalgunj from Kathmandu. Drive to Thakurdwara, Bardia.

    Breakfast at hotel. Assistance at the airport upon arrival and transfer to resort in Thakurdwara, Bardia.
     
    Bhaktapur
    Bhaktapur, which means ‘City of Devotees,’ is devoted to living up to its name. The city’s foundations were laid out in the 11th century, during the reign of King Ananda Malla. To its architectural marvels, however, Bhaktapur owes most to Yaksha Malla (1428-82 A.D.). The city underwent another intense phase of temple-building during the rule of Bhupatindra Malla in the 18th century, turning the then kingdom into a mosaic of 172 temples and monasteries. Bhaktapur’s charm is that several of those structures remain today In Bhaktapur, use the pagoda style rooftops and the rows of clay pots drying in the sun as landmarks. Following the tallest rooftop in Bhaktapur will get you to the five-storied Nyatapola Temple in Taumadhi Tole. Walk west from there and you will arrive in the great outdoor museum-like Bhaktapur Durbar Square. Look up at the masterful 55 windows on a single wing of the palace. A few meters from it is the Golden Gate, arguably the best example of repousse metalwork in the world.     
     
    Patan
    If Bhaktapur is the city of devotees, Patan is the city of artists. Its narrow alleys are filled with the music of the hammer meeting anvil. You walk flanked by gilded statues of serene Buddhas and wrathful deities. Often, you will pass by a low doorway framing a chaitya, a small stupa-like structure. These are the famous bahals, or courtyards, of Patan. Nothing is more onerous than poring over maps in Patan; nothing is more rewarding that chucking it aside and loitering.
    The vihars, or monasteries, of Patan are small treasures troves, often containing in them sculptures whose beauty warrants several visits. Like Kathmandu and Bhaktapur, Patan’s major attraction is the Durbar Square. The imposing 17th-century Bhimsen Temple marks the northern entry to the square. Opposite it is the sunken water spout of Manga Hiti, the major source of water in the neighborhood and, formerly, a social hub. Almost synonymous with Patan is the Krishna Mandir located in the square’s center. King Siddhinarsingh Malla built the temple in 1637, opting for a structure of stone rather than the conventional brick and wood structures. At the Mahabouddha Temple and the Golden Temple you can witness ageless rituals, in the latter performed by a boy of seven or eight.
     
    Dinner at hotel

    Day 03 Tharu Museum visit, Elephant Ride, Crocodile Breeding Center visit. Lunch at resort. Jungle walk or jungle jeep safari.

    Breakfast at hotel. Visit the Tharu Museum. Elephant ride into the jungle followed by visit to the nearby Crocodile Breeding Center. Return to resort for lunch. Guided jungle walk or jungle jeep safari or rafting.
     
    Tharu Museum
    At the entrance of the Tharu Museum is a vehicle that symbolizes the Tharu philosophy of using green energy: a wooden bullock-drawn cart. The museum is like a wonderfully preserved interior of a traditional Tharu home, with paintings hanging on the walls and baskets woven out of elephant grass hanging from the ceilings. The Tharus were originally animists, and their deities, like the many animals they revere, do not like to be confined. On a typical family altar there are several figurines, tied down with strings to get them to stay and protect the house.    
     
    Elephant Rides
    Elephant rides in Bardia are the equivalent of African safaris on the savannah—albeit without the sound of engine. There is a feel of being one with a gargantuan body as you adjust your body to lurch-and-relax motion of the mighty beast. Wading across rivers, moving through the tall grasses to which they give their name, they provide safety and comfort.
     
    Crocodile Breeding Center
    If you ever want to count the teeth on a gharial (Gavialis gangeticus), the Crocodile Breeding Center is the place for you. The name gharial comes from ‘ghara’ (pot)—an allusion to the pot-like protuberance on its nose. The breeding center also has another crocodilian in residence, which has even more intimidating set of teeth: the mugger crocodile (Crocodilus palustris). It is usually basking in the sun, displaying its (as Lewis Carroll described them) ‘gently smiling jaws.’
      
    Jungle Walks
    Jungle walks are walks of adventure. You never know which of Bardia’s 37 mammals might pop up. There is a great tension on jungle walks: you want to see animals, to get close, but not too close. That is the thrill of jungle walks, wishing to get the best of the wild world while aware all the time of the fact that the jungle doesn’t play by your rules.  It is this tension and suspense and fear (no denying it) that makes every snapping twig, every glimpse of a body gliding into the bush, and the view blurred by the mist rising from the river chilling and thrilling at the same time. Waiting at the usual stakeouts on the river banks is a great way to try your luck and patience. Your ears are cocked as you hear a low growl that seems to coming from very near you. Then you realize it is coming from you, a voice of dissent by yours hungrily, your deprived stomach.
     
    Jeep Safari
    One of the smoothest roads in Nepal is the fire lines that also double as the roads in the Terai national parks. Cruising along on this road in a hoodless 4WD, ancient Sal trees flanking it like the pillars of a cloistered driveway, is luxury in a place it is least expected. You need to maintain a good hold on something for sudden, though not screeching, stops are to be expected. A jackal may be feeding on leftovers, or a Barasingha (swamp deer) stag may be standing beside the road, neck turned back, its magnificent 12-branched antlers like a crown on its head. Better still, a Royal Bengal Tiger saunters across the road, lazily looking at you once before the black stripes and yellow of its body disappears into the Sal sanctuary.
     
    Rafting
    A raft on the rivers that flow through Bardia is the best seat in the house. Going with the flow was never lovelier. On a rafting trip the river becomes the guide, taking you through the heart of the jungle. No sputtering engine, no grumpy elephant, no need to walk or wait—just silence, an occasional musical lapping of the oar, and the happy abandon of handing control over to the river. And the river doesn’t disappoint. You can catch glimpses of colorful kingfishers and meditative figures of eagles scouring for prey and count crocodiles and gharials on the banks.  If you are lucky, you will see the shiny coat of the Smooth-coated Otter, or better still, that of a Ganges river dolphin.
     
    Overnight at resort

    Day 04 Bird watching or visit to a Tharu village. Fly to Kathmandu

    Early morning bird watching tour or a visit to a Tharu village. Breakfast at resort and transfer to Nepalgunj airport for departure to Kathmandu.
     
    Bird watching
    Bird species that have struggled elsewhere flourish in Bardia’s pristine jungles. A total of 426 species of birds have been recorded in the Bardia National Park, a list that includes 11 species whose existence is globally-threatened. Bardia is one of the last staging grounds for several species: over half of Nepal’s near-threatened birds are found here. One such bird is the rare and elusive Bengal Florican, a grassland-dwelling species. Sarus cranes, the world’s tallest birds that can fly, also visit Bardia. You couldn’t be faulted for thinking you had entered the Jurassic Era when you hear the whirring of huge wings and see the Great hornbill perched on a tree, its casqued beak giving it the appearance of a relic from the dinosaur age.
     
    Tharu village
    Housekeeping in a place that is in a way leased to them by Nature has made the Tharus masters of the art of living in harmony with Nature. Every single item in their homes is an exercise in frugality. They make water pitchers from hollowed-out gourds, everything from mats to baskets from elephant grass, and the huge cupboard-sized containers that they store their grains in are made of mud and husk. Spotlessly clean and spartan in décor, a Tharu home is almost an installation art mocking the wastefulness of modern homes. The sense of community is apparent in the combined baby-sitting and weaving sessions, with adolescents and grey-haired grandpas and grandmas all pitching in.

    Contact Us Book Now Download PDF Bardia National Park Tour Package (4 days, 3 nights)

    The best time to visit?

    From late October to March.

    Attire

    Mornings and evenings start getting chilly November onwards and get really cold from December right up to February. Warm clothes needed for visits in the November to February period. Note that jungle safaris are extra cold due to the wind chill factor; wear a good windcheater. March and October have mild, warm weather. 

    Visa

    The minimum duration of a tourist visa to Nepal is fifteen days and costs $25.

    Is it possible to go to Bardia by road?

    It is, but traveling by road has numerous disadvantages. The bus ride to Bardia from Kathmandu takes 12-14 hours. The monsoons often leave stretches of the highway riddled with holes. Other obstacles include strikes that sometimes last weeks, halting all forms of transportation. Getting stuck in these bandhs, as the strikes are called, can be a torturous experience, especially if there are no facilities such as hotels and restaurants around.

    Are Jungle Walks Safe?

    Yes, provided you follow the safety measures.  Explain to your guide that you would be happy to spot animals, but do not want to flout safety rules to do so. It’s good to carry a strong stick for protection against animals.

    Is swimming in the rivers permitted? Is it safe?

    Yes to both. For safety reasons and for maintaining silence (an important etiquette when in the jungle), however, your rafting guides will decide the places where you can.

    Necessary Items

    Sunscreen, insect repellent, hats and sunglasses, binoculars, Swiss army knife, book on Nepal’s birds. Pack medicines for stomach illnesses. Water purifiers are also recommended, although all resorts have mineral water. Waterproof bag if you plan to go rafting.

    Contact Us Book Now Download PDF Bardia National Park Tour Package (4 days, 3 nights)

    Package Includes

    • Transport, pick-up, and drop
    • Sight-seeing and activities in Bardia
    • Hotel accommodation (Hotel with Full Board Basis)
    • Airport tax (domestic)
    • Entrance fee for: Bardia National Park, Crocodile Breeding Center, Tharu Museum

    Package Excludes

    • Airport tax for international flight during departure
    • Visa fee at the International Airport
    • Laundry
    • Personal expenses
    Contact Us Book Now Download PDF Bardia National Park Tour Package (4 days, 3 nights)

    Adult (12yrs+) Child (02-11yrs) Infant (below 2yrs)**

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    ** Infant tickets will be issued at the check-in counter before your flight at 10% of adult fare rate

    Download PDF Bardia National Park Tour Package (4 days, 3 nights)