Nepali safari-goers pack Sauraha during DashainThe popularity of Sauraha, one of the most popular tourist destinations in the country, has increased among domestic sightseers. The number of Nepali sightseers visiting the jungle safari destination increased during the recently concluded Dashain festival.
The popularity of Sauraha, one of the most popular tourist destinations in the country, has increased among domestic sightseers. The number of Nepali sightseers visiting the jungle safari destination increased during the recently concluded Dashain festival.
A majority of the hotels in Sauraha were filled with domestic tourists during the festival, said Suman Ghimire, chairman of the Regional Hotel Association of Sauraha, Chitwan.
“This was not the case before,” said Ghimire. “Earlier, domestic tourists used to visit the destination only during the Nepali and Gregorian New Year festivities.” As most schools and colleges have long vacations during the festive season, the number of tourists visiting with family members goes up.
Around 200,000 tourists visit Chitwan National Park annually, according to park officials. Ghimire said 90 percent of the tourists visiting the national park also visit Sauraha, and 30 percent of them are Nepalis. The number doubles to 60 percent during Dashain.
The hotels in Sauraha can accommodate 5,500 people, according to the association. Sauraha is one of the main entrances to the national park. Although the place was popular among foreigners visiting Nepal initially, gradually it became more popular among Nepalis from different places. A majority of the domestic tourists are seen visiting Sauraha with their families.
Maya Gurung from Pokhara was visiting the place with her 13 relatives. Gurung told Post that she had started visiting different places in Nepal during the festival vacation. Similarly, Nil Kumari Maharjan of Lalitpur was in Sauraha for jungle safari on elephant back.
Nitesh Dhakal of Kathmandu, who was also visiting the place with his family, was very excited to go on safari. Many Nepalis visiting Sauraha with their family members were seen enjoying jungle safari on elephant back in Madhyabarti community forest of Baghmara, Sauraha and Chitrasen Madhyabarti community forest. The trend of staying at Sauraha and going on elephant safari and boating has been increasing, said Ghimire.
Sauraha is packed with domestic tourists for almost a week during Dashain. The number slowly decreases with the conclusion of the festival although tourist pressure is seen till mid-November. “Gradually, our place is becoming popular among domestic tourists while it was already popular among foreigners,” said Tika Ram Giri, hotel entrepreneur at Sauraha.
A two-night and three-day package for domestic tourists costs Rs6,000 which includes food, lodging and jungle safari. Visitors can also see Sauraha without buying a package tour. Accommodation costs Rs800 to Rs8,000 per night, and jungle activities cost extra.