These days the number of domestic tourists has increased a lot. In case of Western part of the Country; most of them make a movement to visit Rara lake in Mugu of Karnali province and Bardiya for wild life observation and witness the Tharu culture. Had the Government made serious investment in the sector along with concrete policies; the west would have become the most attractive destination for all. After Mansarovar the pilgrims visit Bageshwori because it is believed that the tongue of the Goddess Parvati had fallen here in this holy land of Nepalgunj. But the condition of Bageshwori temple itself has not been developed much. The ‘Junge Mahadev’-the one with mustache has been attracting thousands of tourists from the neighboring India. Since it is a shrine of the Goddess, many devotees throng the temple during the Dashain festival. But the encroachment of the temple area has left little space for the holy premises. Some twenty years back, it had a big area. But now the crowded market place has reduced its land. This very reason hampers the development of the temple. People generally choose Bardiya for the following reasons.
-Jungle Walk: Jungle walk is mostly popular among the foreign tourists. They love to watch the wild life walking along the muddy roads and green bushes. They are eager to see the wild fauna and flora found in that area, which is completely new to them. Some young Nepalese have also begun to follow the jungle walking in a group.
-Elephant Safari-This is mostly done by domestic tourists. Generally old people people prefer such safari. Earlier the local resorts and hotels owned these elephants. But now of them are taken care by the Bardiya National Park. More then four people should not climb the elephant. Its body itself is much heavy and many people mounting the innocent animal is ridiculous. There are plans to limit the number of riders on its back.
-Bird Watching: The forest houses a big number of wild birds.There are over 400 species in the forest which includes White-bellied Drongo, Oriental Magpie Robin, Rufous Treepie, Crested Serpent Eagle, Chestnut-shouldered Petronia, White-browed Wagtail, Puff-throated Babbler, Himalayan Flameback, Grey-crowned prinia, Jungle prinia, Pale-footed bush warbler, Aberrant bush warbler, Striated grassbird and the Golden-headed cisticola etc. The park also has animals but it is the birds that attract tourists from the world over to this forest. They come with their binoculars and cameras to the place. Now a days Nepalese students also visit the place for field trip and research purpose.
-Jungle Drive: People prefer jeep safari to watch the tigers in the wild. It is also believed to be safe. But the noise of the vehicle disturbs the animals in their natural habitat. Some years in 2010 back the Titanic hero Caprio had visited Bardiya National Park for tigers. It was great event for us.Though I am an entrepreneur tiger watching, I feel a certain area should be demarcated to halt the vehicle. Six people enjoy the drive at one time.
-Wild Rafting: Karnali river is one of the best for the rafting adventure. Around eighteen people can enjoy the water sports at a time. Now a days a new route has begun from Karnali to Tikapur. But motor is not allowed and has to be done manually.
-Blackbuck Sanctuary: Bardiya is also a destination for people searching for blackbucks.These animals from deer family live around less forest areas with plenty of water. Many of them died last year. Domestic tourists are in large number to watch these animals.
-Fishing: The Babai river attracts many people who love fishing. Last year a Korean tourist had fished a large fish which weighed ten kg. He then left it in the waters, as is the custom. The fishes are left into the water. A special kind of technique is used which doesn’t hurt them and are safe back into their habitat. Its along the buffer zone and the tourists need to take the permission of the army recruited for the security of the region. Japanese and Koreans are seen in big number participating in the act.
-Village tour: Tharu culture is also one of the unique and rich among others. There are beautiful thatch top houses of clay and bamboo, one can see in the villages.
-Culture dance: Tharu dance and culture is artistically displayed in different Culture Centres, hotel and restaurant halls. So you have the real feeling of being with the Tharu community.
-Crocodile breeding Centre: It is located inside the national park. Here the babies of the crocodiles are reared safely.
Thus the west is still in it’s natural state and eager to welcome you all. So do visit us during the holidays and free time ! (The writer is also the MD of Aline Tour and Travels Cargo Service in Banke)