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In a land of snow peaks and sherpas, yaks and yetis, monasteries and mantras, Chitwan National Park in Nepal is a real jewel. Ancient temples, shrines, palaces and monuments offer a glimpse into the past.
What Is It?
High in the Himalayan mountains lies the small Kingdom that offer lofty mountains, deep valleys, lush jungles, exotic wildlife and diverse people. Nepal has a variety of attractions to keep tourists coming back for more and Chitwan National Park is one of them.
It is a dramatic landscape of dense Sal groves, thick grasslands, meandering water bodies & intriguing wildlife. And probably the best way to experiencing this Park is to stay in one of the luxury lodges located on the edge of the park. Meghauli Serai is Taj Safari’s first jungle lodge outside of India.
About Meghauli Serai
Located on the banks of River Rapti, Meghauli Serai sits between two river valleys at the base of the Siwalik range. Boasting traditional Nepalese architecture, the hotel offers elevated views over the Chitwan National Park’s jungle-scape from its 30 well-appointed rooms.
The rooms have balconies that boast outstanding views of the Himalayas and Terai grasslands. Whereas the sixteen independent villas each with their own private plunge pools overlook the park and the river. The lodge takes local traditions to a luxurious setting. Meghauli Serai has incorporated local hues into its design and operations for truly sustainable touches.
We spend three nights at this lovely destination and here’s our pick of the best experiences not to be missed.
1. Local meets luxury at Meghauli Serai
The lodge takes local traditions to a luxurious setting incorporating local hues into its design and operations. From its Newari and Tharu-inspired front doors, the use of local materials like thatched grass roofs, reed or patua mats, elephant grass carpets and the use of natural earthy tones that reflect the landscape, to the locally-sourced ingredients that foreground Tharu tastes in inventive cuisine, there is a seamless blend of local and luxury.
2. Jeep and Walking Jungle Safaris
Chitwan National Park is home to the Great Hornbill, Ruddy Shelduck and Pied Kingfisher, and approximately 68 species of mammals. Get on a 4X4 vehicle driven by a trained naturalists and be prepared to see elephants, one horned rhinoceros, spotted and hog deer and many other exotic animals. These jeep and walking safaris provide the most exquisite jungle experiences as they wade you through the heart of the jungle. The majestic Royal Bengal tiger, leopards, wild dogs and sloth bears are said to be in abundance here.
3. Elephant Trekking In The Jungle
This one needs a special mention. The best way to go on a jungle safari here is sitting on an elephant and saying hello to Chitwan National Park’s local celebrity, Greater One-horned Rhinoceros.
4. Village Walks
Not just the jungles, you can also walk through the local Tharu village showcasing the traditional village life. Get a glimpse into the local life as you mingle with the locals and learn the tricks of moonshining for traditional brews or get a taste of fresh homemade Nepalese pickle.
5. Canoeing Through the Rapti river
Catch a Canoe right outside the Meghauli Serai Hotel and sail in one of the gorgeous rivers nature has blessed us with. Just listening to the sound of the oars in the water as we make our way to the Gola Ghat is probably the best way to spend an evening.
Being a part of the jungle, we were that told the river is infested with fresh water crocodiles. But looking at the locals bathing and passing through the river effortlessly, we wonder how true is that. Canoeing through the river raapti is a must do when in Chitwan. The citylife stress was left far behind as I reach the intersection of the two rivers at Gola Ghat.
6. Sundowner At The Riverside, Gola Ghat
An experience to relish is the sundowner on a floodplain at the confluence of the Narayani and Rapti rivers.
Taj Safari’s special arrangements of wine & cheese on white sand makes the one hour long journey feel rather short. Watching the sun calling it a day is a visual treat. The white sand at Gola ghat is a perfect place to bid adieu to the day at Chitwan.
Also read: The 10 Happiest Places To Live On Earth
7. Candle Night Dinner At Machan
The Lodge takes great pride in setting up one exclusive table at the Machan overlooking the river Rapti. The only sound you hear is of the gentle waves of Rapti as it meanders by. That’s one special dinner worth every penny.
8. Relax At The Jiva Spa & Luxe Villa
Also when it’s time to relax, enjoy a massage in the privacy of your villa or hit the infinity pool. Better still is your own plunge pool in the villa.
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