Internal tourists throng Sauraha

SAURAHA: With the beginning of the tourist season, internal tourists have started thronging Sauraha of Chitwan district.

The open national park in Chitwan is the main attraction for them. Chitwan is the third tourist destination after Kathmandu and Pokhara in the country. These days, most tourists come for enjoying jungle safari, pony rides and sightseeing. The greenery of Sauraha, Kasara and Bagmara community forests has added more zest, tourists said.

Sauraha’s scenic beauty lured visitors Kanhaiyalal Keshari and Pawan Tiwari of Birgunj. They said they were planning to visit this area after Chhath with their family members and added, “Sauraha is more attractive than we had heard.”

After the rise in tourist’s arrival during the festive seasons, entrepreneurs have

demanded to develop it as a ‘Pay

Holiday’ site. Over 90 per cent of the tourists arrived in Sauraha want to go sightseeing on horseback and elephants. National park assistant warden Lal Bihari Yadav said with the limited number of

elephants in the park they cannot provide services to all visitors. He said, “Our

first priority is to conserve the forest and then cater to the visitors.”

Despite the high demand for elephants, the national park has provided only four elephants for sightseeing inside the park. Warden Rameshwor Chaudhary said that the park used to earn millions of rupees revenue from elephant rides in the past but now it has decreased drastically. He said the main cause behind this is the dwindling number of available elephants.

Over 800 domestic tourists come to this area each day, said Garden Guest House proprietor Arpan Shrestha. Some 150 small and big hotels are providing services to tourists in Sauraha. Because of the high booking rates, guests have a hard time getting rooms.