Chitwan District, is one of the seventy-five Districts of Nepal, a landlocked country of South Asia. The district is in the western part of Narayani Zone with Bharatpur, the seventh largest city of Nepal, as its district headquarters. It covers an area of 2,218 km2 (856 sq mi), and in 2001 had a population of 472,048 people. Bharatpur is a commercial and service centre of central south Nepal and merger destination for higher education, health care and transportation of the region.
Narayangarh, on the bank of Narayani River, is the main town with numerous shopping zones where people come from all over the district and neighbouring districts.
Now there are about 40 Village Development Committees (each of which has nine wards or villages) and one sub-Metropolitan city - Bharatpur and a municipality Ratnanagar each of which has more than nine wards or urban areas.
Chitwan is one of the few remaining undisturbed vestiges of the Terai region, which formerly extended over the foothills of Nepal.
The name Chitwan is a composite of the Sanskrit words चित्त, transliterated "citta" meaning heart and वन, transliterated "vana" meaning jungle or forest. Thus, the meaning of Chitwan is Heart of the Jungle.
Chitwan is famous in Nepal because of its dominant production of mustard from which mustard oil is produced. This popularity of the mustard plantation in Chitwan is attributed to the predominant soil type of the place. The soil in Chitwan is mostly of the type silt. The silty nature of the soil is in turn attributed to the flooding over the ages in the past from the rivers like Gandaki. Chitwan is also profusely spotted with lands with soil type clay which are very good for use as rice fields. Other popular cash crops in the region are maize and wheat. The soil there is also very good for growing various types of vegetables such as cabbage, cauliflower, radish, potato, broccoli, cucumbers, pumpkins, and carrot.
At present Chitwan's largest business area, Narayangarh, is less accessible due to the movement of the main bus terminal due to the previous king's son's anger with the politics of the citizens of the city. This bus terminal is however no longer in use following a successful people's movement in 2006. It is believed that Nepali leftist revolutionary leader Prachanda spent his childhood and youth in Chitwan. Chitwan is adapting the New Community Movement South Korean model of development.
Places of interest
Chitwan has a particularly rich flora and fauna. Nepal's first national park, the Chitwan National Park together with the adjacent Parsa Wildlife Reserve support a species diversity much higher than any other on the Indian subcontinent. Rare species include Bengal tiger, gharial and the world's second largest population of Asian Rhinoceros, but also leopards, Mugger crocodile, Indian rock python and several species of deer. The protected areas are guarded by a battalion of the Nepal Army and patrolled by seven anti-poaching units Das Dhunga is a famous place in Chitwan - the people's leader Madan Bhandari was killed there in an accident.