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Chitwan's Patihani emerging as tourist hub

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CHITWAN: The inflow of tourists in Patihani, Chitwan has been on the rise in last few weeks. Situated near the main office of Chitwan National Park, Patihani offers a scenic view of different types of birds and endangered animals.

Patihani boasts vast natural beauty with an opportunity for the visitors to observe the culture and tradition of local indigenous communities. According to the locals of Patihani, the sacred Chitamai Temple of Tharu community and Kamal Pokhari have given the place a unique identity. Visitors can also observe rare and endangered animals like one-horned rhino and gharial around Patihani without having to make a dangerous or long travel.

The area has also witnessed a rise in the number of hotels and resorts along with the influx of visitors. “There were no hotels in this area a few years back except Narayani Safari Resort established in 1987. There were only eight hotels before 2011, but the number has tripled ever since,” says Saajan Mahat, president of Hotel Association of Patihani.

Currently, there are 22 hotels with the capacity of 10 to 80 beds in the area. Khem Bhatta, president of Patihani Tourism Development Board, said, “Tourism is flourishing in Patihani as the National Park is quite near from here and the local hotels offer various entertaining activities like elephant ride as well as jungle safari.” The elephants belonging to the hotels, however, are restricted from entering inside the National Park, he added.

Khem said local hoteliers were pressurizing the authorities concerned to change the restriction, and asking the government to have at least 10 government owned elephants in the Ghatagai post as an alternative.

As per Vishnu Mahato, ward chair of Patihani, ward number 22 authorities have been encouraging the local people to establish hotels in the area by reducing their tax. Tankanath Timalsina, president of Madhyawarti Community Forest, said they were planning to start jeep safari service from Patihani to Elephant Breeding Center.

Similarly, home stay facility has been booming in the area with the local residents’ involvement. Organic food, daily life of local people and homely environment are some of the special features of home stay service.

Meanwhile, local Tharu and Bote communities showcase their culture as well as traditional dance to the visitors. This unique experience provides tourists an opportunity to look into the local civilization. Patihani residents stated that the show of culture and nature will attract more tourists, and help in promoting the area.

Another attraction of Patihani is that the place has a Lotus Lake full of lotus flowers.

Similarly, a boat ride along the Rapti River just after 5 pm gives visitors a majestic view of one-horned rhinos crossing the river.

About two million tourists visit Chitwan National Park every year. Among them, 80 to 90 percent visit Sauraha. Only a few among these tourists make a trip to Patihani. The number of tourists can go higher if all prerequisites are made available, according to Dilip Mainali, president of Chitwan Tourism Development Committee. He added that proper facilities, good food and friendly environment are the main prerequisites for attracting tourists.

source: republica,6 july 2017