Parsa Wildlife Reserve is located in the south-central lowland Terai of Nepal. The 499 km2 of the pristine sub-tropical jungle makes Parsa Nepal's largest wildlife reserve. Once this area served as a vacation site for the Rana Rulers of the country. In 1984, it was gazetted as a wildlife reserve to preserve the habitat for wild Asian elephants, and a variety of other fauna- It is contiguous with Chitwan National Park in the west.
The soil is primarily composed of gravel and conglomerates, making it susceptible to erosion. The hills present a very rugged face with numerous gullies and dry streambeds. As the foothills are very porous, water flows underground and surfaces at a distance of about 15 km. from the base of the hill. The Churia hill range from 750m to 950m running east to west.
Winter (October-December) provides pleasant temperatures with clear skies. Nighttime temperatures can drop to 0°C. During spring (January-March) temperatures rise and water becomes scarce. During summer (April-June) the days become hot and humid with temperatures rising up to -40°C. Monsoon (July-September) brings cooling rains.
Flora and Fauna:
The forests are mainly composed of tropical and subtropical species. Sal forests compose about 90 percent of the reserve's vegetation. Along the banks of the rivers, riverine forests are found containing species like Khair and Silk cotton trees. In the northeastern part of the reserve, at higher altitudes, Sal and Pine forests are occurring. On the southern slope of the Siwalik hills, the forests are dominated by pine. Sabai grass is a commercially important species and grows well on the southern face of the Churia hills.
The reserve supports good populations of various endangered species including the wild Asian elephant, Royal Bengal tiger, Sloth bear, and Leopard. Blue bull, Sambar, Chital, Hog deer, Barding deer, Langur, Rhesus macaques, striped hyenas, Jungle cats, and Palm civets are also found in the reserve.
The reserve also provides habitat for more than 500 species of birds. For example, White-breasted Kingfisher, Paradise flycatcher, large racquet-tailed drongo, Golden-backed woodpecker, etc are some of the common sights. Giant hornbill, one of the endangered bird species is found in some forest patches. The reserve is also famous for reptiles and different kinds of snakes including the common Cobra, Common and banded karate, Python, and King cobra.
There is a small guesthouse with four rooms at the headquarters. There is also a teahouse that can provide tea, snacks, and Nepali food. Hetauda and Birgunj are about an hour's bus. Make sure to bring a first-aid kit containing medicines for intestinal problems.
Near the headquarters, there is a machan (view tower) that provides excellent opportunities to catch glimpses of many birds, deer, and leopards. Wild elephants could be also sighted from the machans. Kailas Bhata is atop a hill and is of religious importance. It houses two small temples (Dugdeswor Mahadev) paying homage to the Hindu gods of Shiva and Parvati. Also, one can look over the lush forests of the Terai from here. An elephant camp is located near the Amlekhgunj in the Bara district. Jungle rides can be arranged from the reserve headquarters, which is the best way to get a close view of the wildlife.
How to get there?
Parsa Wildlife Reserve is easily accessible. The Kathmandu - Hetauda - Birgunj highway passes by the entrance gate. The bus can be taken from Kathmandu. It takes six to seven hours to get there. A flight to Simara takes about 20 minutes. There is a 15-minute bus, ride to the reserve headquarter.