All posts by allgudthings

I am a traveler who loves capturing each moment which gives me happiness and reason to explore more.

All About Safari at Chitwan National Park

It was pitch dark when we checked into our hotel. Little did we know in which area of Jungle we were. Lights were dim in the resort but the sound of River Rapti in Nepal was quite inviting. Immediately, we rushed to sit near it and after a few minutes, we heard growling noises. Hotel staff came rushing with a huge white torch, shouting there is an animal and after spotting it, he showed us a huge mother-daughter duo – One-horned Rhinoceros drinking water from the River Rapti. In the white spotlight, they looked shiny white. We were completely amazed upon seeing them near the resort. Now the curiosity to see Rhinos for real in Chitwan National Park in Nepal had increased several folds.

Safari at Chitwan National Park

About Chitwan National Park

The Chitwan National Park is the first National Park of Nepal, established in the year 1973. It spreads over an area of 952 km2 and its altitude ranges from 330 feet in the river valleys to 2674 feet in the Shivalik hills. In 1984, Chitwan park was granted the status of a UNESCO world heritage site. Chitwan Park also contains a Ramsar site – Beeshazari Tal in its buffer zone. The Park extends into four districts Nawalpur, Parsa, Chitwan, and Makwanpur.

History of Chitwan Park

Until the end of the 19th century, Chitwan used to be the favorite hunting ground for the royals of Nepal.

  • In 1950, the Chitwan forest and grasslands expanded over 2600 km2 and were home to about 800 rhinos. After that when poor farmers from the upper hills moved to the Chitwan Valley in search of arable land, settlement happened and poaching of wildlife began.
  • By end of 1960, the jungle was cleared, malaria was eradicated and thousands of people settled there and only 95 rhinos were left.
  • The dramatic decline of Rhinoceros prompted the government to deploy guard posts and army patrolling all over Chitwan Park
  • To prevent further extinction, National Park & Wildlife Conservation act was enacted and Chitwan National Park was declared the first National park of Nepal in the year 1973 with an area of 544 km2. During this period, Tharu communities were forced to leave the land.
  • By the year 1977, the park was enlarged to its present area, 952km2.
  • In the year 1984, UNESCO declared the park a World Heritage Site
  • 1996, the buffer zone of 766 km2 was added
  • 2003, Bishajari and associated lakes were declared wetlands under Ramsar Convention
  • Now, in the year 2022, Park has more than 700 Rhinoceros.

Note: One-Horned Rhino is endemic to the Indian subcontinent. They have been listed on the IUCN red list of threatened species in the year 2018.

Just like Ranthambore National Park and Sariska National Park, Chitwan National Park is also divided into the main Jungle area and a buffer zone. There are 12 entry gates to the park.  It has a diversity of ecosystems – The Churia hills, Ox-bow lakes, and the flood plains of the Rapti, Reu, and Narayani Rivers. 

Chitwan National Park consists of tropical and subtropical forests. Sal forests cover 70% of the jungle land, whereas 20% is grasslands. There are more than 68 different types of grasses and the most common one can see during the jungle safari is Elephant grass, known for its immense heights, (which can grow up to a height of 8 meters).

Chitwan National Park (CNP), Nepal
Chitwan National Park (CNP), Nepal

The park is home to more than 700 species of wildlife, 68 species of mammal, over 546 birds, 55 species of amphibians and reptiles, and 120 species of fishes. Some of the endangered fauna found in the park are – One-horned rhinoceros, Gaur Bison, Royal Bengal tiger, Wild elephant, four-horned antelope, Pangolin, Golden monitor lizard, Python, Bengal florican, Lesser florican, Giant hornbill, Black stork, While stork, etc. Park also has the highest population density of sloth bears with an estimated 200 to 250 individuals.

The Narayani Rapti River is home to magars and gharials.  Every year gharial eggs are collected along the rivers to be hatched in the breeding center of the Gharial Conservation Project, located within the Chitwan National Park, where gharials are reared up to an age of 6–9 years. Then every year these young gharials are re-introduced into the Narayani-Rapti river system, of which sadly only very few survive.

Gharial Conservation Breeding Center at Chitwan National Park, Nepal
Gharial Conservation Breeding Center

Interesting Facts about Chitwan National Park

  • Word Chitwan means “Heart of the Jungle”
  • Chitwan Park is considered Asia’s Best National Park for viewing wildlife
  • Park has the second largest population of one-horned Rhinoceros in the world
  • Earlier the park was known as Royal Chitwan National Park. In 2006, the word Royal was removed

Safari at Chitwan National Park ….Continuing the Story

The night was long and the next morning was gloomy. It was pouring heavily. There was a doubt, about will we be able to go on Safari. If not the same day, then the coming day was no option, as we were traveling with our baby (1 year old) and the next day our parents had their Safari booked.

Tenzin, said mam, do not worry. It happens almost every day. Rain will stop surely, but we were scared. Till then, we enjoyed Elephants crossing River Rapti from the balcony of our room. Around 10 am, the rain stopped and he informed us to be ready by 12:00 pm (Nepal Time). However, our curiosity to see Rhinos was too high and we were ready by 11:00 am itself.

Elephants crossing River Rapti, Nepal

Around 12:00 pm, he sailed us in his Bolero crossing Sauraha, to the main entry point. There we could see boatmen making their canoes ready on the Rapti River. Within the next few minutes, Tenzin handed us tickets and asked us to walk down to the bank of Rapti River to cross River by Canoe.

Entry-Exit st Sauraha to Chitwan National Park
Entry-Exit st Sauraha to Chitwan National Park

Crossing River Rapti in Canoe

I asked Tenzin if we would cross-River in this. He said yes! It will be fun. Don’t worry it will not sink and we will cross this in the next 10 minutes. Tashi was first to enter and I followed him. He took out a small stool hanging on the side and sat on it. Then he was instructed by the guide to keep the next one for the next person and so on. Almost 10 people followed us in the canoe. The boat/ canoe was full and it started sailing. Almost half of the boat was inside the water. Fear of boat tilting was still on our minds.

River crossing by Canoeing at Chitwan National Park
River crossing by Canoeing at Chitwan National Park

There, the man in front with a blue hat shouted, look crocodile. We thought he was joking but actually, he was there, looking around with those popping beady eyes. We all got scared, seeing him that close but the guide was like -“No worries”. It comes close to the canoe but is not interested in humans, and the next minute he went down into the water.

Exactly after 10 minutes, we were on the other end, which means in the jungle area (River Rapti separates Chitwan town from Jungle. Animals do come around River to quench their thirst) and their Jeep driver was ready to take us inside the jungle.

Jeep Safari at Chitwan National Park
Jeep Safari at Chitwan National Park

Jeep Safari at Chitwan National Park

The Jeep started sailing. The jungle was lush, with thick green forest and elephant grass-covered tracks on both sides. Looking at the height of the elephant grass around, we were wondering, would we be able to see any animal here and there only the guide asked the driver to halt. It was time to give way to wild Elephants coming from the front.

Tracks were too rough and just ahead we saw spotted deer with big antelopes. First, he was trying to hide, but then came in the middle of the road and gave us a wonderful pose.

Spotted Deer at Chitwan National Park
Spotted Deer at Chitwan National Park

Every here and there, things looked moving in the jungle. After a few minutes, I shouted at the peak of my voice, something is moving there. The driver stopped his vehicle immediately and the guide with his binoculars showed us the huge sloth bear. Not one but two of them were running one after another.

Sloth Bear  at CNP, Chitwan National Park
Sloth Bear at CNP, Chitwan National Park

Further, the rough Zigzag trails lead us to Lotus Lake or Kamal Lake. As the name says, the Lake was decorated with lotus and there Rhinoceros was beating the heat in the lake. We waited patiently for him to come closer and show his face. However, he did not.

Kamal Lake / Lotus Lake at CNP
Kamal Lake / Lotus Lake at CNP
One Horned Rhinoceros in Kamal Lake..jpg
One Horned Rhinoceros in Kamal Lake

Ahead, we saw mother-daughter Rhino both standing in the opposite directions. Looking at the jeep arriving nearby, one-horned Mother Rhinoceros came in front of the vehicle to protect her child. Remember, Rhinos are peace-loving animals. They do not attack unless they feel threatened.

Mother Daughter One Horn Rhinos in CNP, Nepal
Mother Daughter One Horn Rhinoceros in CNP, Nepal

Advice as given by our guide, If you see a rhino – stay behind or on the side. Rhinos do not turn their heads. If you stand in front of them, they will surely attack you.

Single Horned Rhinoceros at Chitwan National Park
Single Horned Rhinoceros at Chitwan National Park

It was almost halftime. Time for a break as well as time to visit Gharial Conservation Breeding Centre.

Gharial Conservation Breeding Center

The Gharial Conservation breeding center was inaugurated in the year 1978, to enhance the population of Gharials. The entry fee is NPR 100 per person. Under this program, gharial eggs are collected from the riverbank. Then hatched, reared, and released in the main Rivers of Nepal to increase their population in the wild.

Gharial Conservation Breeding Centre
Gharial at Gharial Conservation Breeding Center
Alligator with Half Jaw at CNP Breeding Centre
Alligator with Half Jaw at CNP Breeding Centre

After a break of 15-20 minutes, it was time to head to another zone of Chitwan National Park. Fingers were still crossed as we wanted to see more animals. However, there too, we could only see – Rhinoceros bathing, Sambhar, monkeys, Langurs, and Peahen.  By now, it was almost 5:10 and we were at the exit gate. Along with all this, we too spotted a variety of birds and Kingfishers.

Sambhar in National Park, Nepal
Sambhar in National Park, Nepal

From there again we took a canoe boat ride to cross the Rapti River. The river was glowing during sunset. Just there, we saw an alligator on the River bank. He opened his big jaws and grabbed a fish, in a single shot. Wow! That was too quick.

River Rapti at Sunset
River Rapti at Sunset

That was the end of Jeep Safari. From there we climbed uphill and the hotel boy was waiting to drive us back.

Types of Safari in Chitwan National Park

There are 4 types of Safari options in Chitwan National Park and the park is divided into 4 different areas too.

  1. Jeep Safari – Private or Shared (There will be 8-10 people in a shared jeep)
  2. Elephant Safari – Up to 4 people can sit
  3. Safari on Foot / Jungle Walk
  4. Boat Safari / Canoeing

Areas in the Park

  • Amaltari – The Western sector is one of the preferred entrances by the tourists to the Chitwan Park as it is closer to the Mahendra Highway. This region has the Rapti, Narayani, and Reu rivers and is considered the right spot to see animals. Jeep safari and other safaris cover this region.
  • Kasara The Mid sector holds the museum and the park headquarters. You can find a famous religious site, Bikram Baba here. A little away from the headquarters, is the Gharial breeding center, where crocodiles, turtles, and muggers are bred. This region is covered on foot, usually.
  • Madi-Bagai – The Southern sector is the deep forest region. Tourists usually are not taken to this part of the jungle.
  • Sauraha – The Eastern sector is another important entrance to the park. This region covers the Churia hill regions. We stayed in this area of the park.

Safari Timings at Chitwan National Park

  • Shared Jeep Safari Timing – 12:30 pm to 5:30 pm (Rest timing changes with season and availability of vehicle)
  • Private Jeep Safari Timings – 6:00 am – 6:00 pm
  • Elephant Safari – Happens in the morning, mid-morning, and evening and is for 1.30 hours
  • Canoeing – 7:30 am – 9:30 am
  •  Elephant Breeding Centre Visit Timings – 6:00 am -6:00 pm

Safari Cost at Chitwan National Park

Park Permit Fee

  • Cost of Entry for Foreigners 2000 NPR
  • Price for Locals – 150 NPR
  • Entry For SAARC Citizens (Indians)– 1000 NPR
  • Children Below The Age Of 10 – Free

Jeep Safari Fee

  • Cost of Shared Jeep Safari – 2500 NPR per person
  • Cost of Full Day Safari – 4000 NPR per person

Elephant Safari Cost

  • Elephant Safari For Foreigners– 2500 NPR Per Elephant (2 People)
  • For Locals – 200 NPR
  • Cost for SAARC – 1000 NPR

Elephant Breeding Center (Timing – 6 Am To 6 Pm)

  • Entry Cost For Foreigner – 100 NPR
  • For Locals – 25 NPR
  • For SAARC – 50 NPR
  • Cost For Bathing Elephant – 200 NPR

Canoe Ride

  • Half-Day Canoe Ride – 1400 NPR
  • Full-Day Canoe Ride – 1800 NPR

Documentary Filming Fee / Drone Fee

  • For Foreigners – USD 1500
  • SAARC Nationals – 50,000 NPR
  • Locals – 10,000 NPR

How to Book Safari at Chitwan National Park

There are several safari tour operators in Chitwan as well as Sauraha. We suggest you do some research before booking safaris to make sure, to get a good deal and experienced guides.

We had a limited no of days (3 days) and had no know-how about the best tour operator. Online research too did not provide us with much detail on how to book a safari at Chitwan Park, except for the various tour packages. So, without wasting much time, we opted to go with the deal our resort (WAR – Wildlife Adventure Resort) offered. They charged us NPR 2500 (Jeep Safari) + NPR 1000 (Permit cost) + NPR 100 (Crocodile Breeding Ground) = 3600 NPR per person per safari.

Wildlife Adventure Resort, Chitwan
Wildlife Adventure Resort, Chitwan

The best part of the deal was hotel people ensured dropping and picking us up at the Safari entry-exit point. In addition, he made sure we had an experienced guide with us.

Where is Chitwan National Park?

Chitwan National Park lies in south-central Nepal. It lies at a distance of 170 Km from Kathmandu, 150 Km from Pokhara, and 1019 Km from Delhi by road.

How to reach Chitwan National Park?

We, AllGudThings did a road trip by car to Nepal from Delhi, covering the golden triangle of Nepal i.e. Kathmandu, Pokhara & Chitwan.

Our itinerary was Delhi – Pokhara – Kathmandu – Chitwan National Park. Chitwan lies equidistance from Kathmandu, Pokhara, or Bandipur and we opted to go after Kathmandu. However, it is directly reachable too from Delhi by car, air, or local transport.

India Nepal Border at Sanauli
India Nepal Border at Sanauli

From Kathmandu / Pokhara

By Air (Duration – 20 minutes)

There is a direct 20 minutes flight from Kathmandu as well Pokhara to Bharatpur. Afterward, one can hire a cab, and reach the Sauraha or Baruli side of the National Park, which is approx. 20 km and can be reached in approx. 40-45 minutes.

By Local Transport / Private or Shared Cab (Duration – 6-7 hours)

The other option is to take a daily tourist bus or private/shared cab from Kathmandu / Pokhara and it will take approx. 6-7 hours to reach.

Note: For going from other parts of Nepal too, one will require to go through Pokhara or Kathmandu by taking a private transfer, or riding local buses.

How to Reach Chitwan National Park, Nepal from Delhi

Chitwan National park lies 1019 km from Delhi and can be reached via air, train, bus, and shared or private vehicle.

By Air

From India, there are direct flights to Kathmandu and Pokhara and further from, there is a connecting flight to Bharatpur (the nearest airport to Chitwan National Park).

By Train

The nearest railway station to Nepal, in India, is Gorakhpur or Raxaul. From Gorakhpur, one can travel to the Border area Sunauli via road taking the bus or shared or private cars. The travel time is approximately 3 hours. From Sunauli you can cross the border on foot and can further continue the journey from the other side of the border in Bhairahawa in private or shared cabs or by bus to reach Chitwan.

By Road

There is a direct bus service from Delhi to Kathmandu. The air-conditioned Volvo buses commence the journey via Agra and Lucknow to the Sunauli border. While Sunauli is the most popular entry point, the other border crossing is at Banbasa in Uttarakhand.

We did a road trip to Nepal from Delhi NCR via Gorakhpur in our own private vehicle and our route ahead in Nepal to Chitwan National Park was from Kathmandu.

Route: Kathmandu – Prithvi Highway – Mugling – Bharatpur – Ratnanagar – Suaraha – Chitwan

Road Conditions – The Chitwan National Park lies 169 kilometers from Kathmandu and it took us about 6-7 hours to reach. There are road works going along the Prithvi Highway, leading to slow down of traffic movement and sometimes traffic jams happen for many hours.  Otherwise, the roads ahead are good and it is a scenic trip, through the Trisuli Valley with steep forest-covered hills and farming villages. The road turns south at Mugling and heads towards the Terai.

Way to Chitwan National Park
Way to Chitwan National Park

Best Season to Visit Chitwan

The best season to visit Chitwan National Park is from September to March when it is pleasant and the temperature is around 25 degrees Celsius.

April & May are the hottest, with the temperatures going around 40 degrees Celsius but the chances of wildlife too are higher as wildlife gathers more at waterbodies to quench their thirst and beat the heat. We visited in mid-may when days were hot but it too use to rain every day.

June to September is the monsoon time and safari becomes inaccessible if flooding happens. During this time, one can still visit the buffer zone.

November, December, and January are the coldest month. The weather is clear and offers good clear views of the Himalayas.

Other Activities to Enjoy at Chitwan National Park

1. The Elephant Safari, Jungle Walk, or Canoe Ride at Chitwan National Park.

Elephant Safari / Elephant Jungle Tour (Timing – 1 – 1.30 hours)

The Elephant jungle tours usually happen in the early morning, mid-morning and late afternoon. They cost around 2500 rupees (NPR) for Foreigners and 1000 NPR for Indians and SAARC. People who either own or have hired out Elephants, usually run these tours.

Four people can do a safari together on an Elephant. It is a good option but we were not comfortable doing it.

Jungle Walk

Walking Safari / Jungle Walk, seemed quite risky to us. Therefore, we did not opt for it too, although we saw some people doing it with two guides. Half-day jungle walk is for 3 hours and it costs around 2800 – 3000 NPR.

Jungle Walk at Chitwan National Park
Jungle Walk at Chitwan National Park

On returning, we enquired about it and the hotel staff shared some interesting tips for Jungle Walk at Chitwan.

  • Never stand face to face with a rhino or elephant. If you feel they are coming towards you, run zig-zag into the jungle and not in a wide-open space.
  • For a sloth bear act like becoming big, shout loudly, be intimidating and if possible hit on their nose
  • After all this, I asked him for a tiger. He laughed and said run. Rest will be your luck.

Canoeing at River Rapti / Canoe Ride (Timing – Half day / Full day)

While canoeing on the Rapt River, you get to see the popular Marsha Mugger and Gharial Crocodiles in their natural habitat. Also, you can spot rare species of birds, reptiles, and more in the wetland.

2. Enjoy Tharu Cultural Show

Tharu people are recognized Nationals and indigenous to the Himalayas. The Tharu Cultural show takes place in the evening between 6:00 pm – 8:00 pm.  It is a wonderful show to learn about the Tharu culture and traditions. The show includes various types of songs, dances, and Peacock dances.

3. Visit Elephant Breeding Center / Hattisar

The Elephant breeding center is located in Saurha and is open from 6:00 am – to 6:00 pm. It was established in 1985 for the captive breeding of domesticated elephant trapping for domestication. The Entrance ticket is 100 NPR for a foreigner, NPR 50 for SAARC, and NPR 25 for Nepalese.

4. Bishazari Tal / Beeshazar Taal / 20,000 Lakes

Bishazari Tal, a Ramasar site is an oxbow lake system in the buffer zone of the Chitwan National Park. This wetland covers an area of 7,900 acres at an altitude of 286 m (938 ft) and is situated in the Siwalik range to the south. The Lake is a wildlife corridor and does not need any special park permit for visiting. Bishazari lake can be visited on its own or with the help of a nature guide and it is open throughout the year. While driving to the Lake, you get to see some exciting landscapes as well you can spot animals, wonderful birds, butterflies, and mammals.

Bishazari Tal in Chitwan National Park
Bishazari Tal in Chitwan National Park

Way to Bishazari Lake

On the main East-West Highway heading toward Bharatpur, there is big signage. Further, there is a sign for Twenty Thousand Lake Farm Resort off to the right, just follow the canal. Just after their sign next to the canal, stop and buy a ticket. You need to show this ticket to the Army stations at two points along the canal.

What all to carry for Safari at Chitwan National Park

At Chitwan National Park, mornings and evenings are pleasant in summer but days are hot and winters are cold. So, dress and carry stuff accordingly.

Clothes – For a safari in the summers, do wear fully covered cotton clothes. For Safari in winters, wear clothes in layers (inners/ sweaters), so it is easy to remove one if required. Please avoid dark/bright colors for Safari. Neutral colors are best for Safari.

Sun Protection – Do carry sunglasses, cap, hat or visors, and sunscreen of high SPF value.

Toiletries & Medicines – Keep the prescribed medicine as well as an emergency kit. Mosquito repellants are a must.

Eateries Also, carry some eateries in your bag. You can eat them during halftime, around Gharial Breeding center, when they stop jeep for around 20 -25 minutes. To stay hydrated carry a water bottle too.

Note: Please don’t litter in the jungle and bring back your bottles and wrappers.

Overall Safari Experience at Chitwan Park

The Chitwan national park is completely different from the national parks we have visited (till date) in India. Chitwan Park is huge, lush green, and has plenty of flora and fauna. Trails are narrow here and on both sides, you will find elephant grass reaching almost 7-8 meters. Chances of seeing wildlife are plenty but do not go with the expectation to see tigers only. Tigers here can be spotted occasionally only.

Injured Rhino at Chitwan National Park
Injured Rhino at Chitwan National Park

The park is to protect endangered one-horned Rhinoceros, and you will spot a few of them in different ecosystems. We saw around eight rhinos. Apart from that, we saw multiple crocodiles, bears, sambhar, deer, wild boar, etc. Safari lasted for 5 hours, so do carry water and eateries along.

Accommodation at Chitwan

Chitwan has plenty of hotels, resorts, guesthouses, and homestays. We stayed in Sauraha at Wildlife Adventure Resort (WAR).

Wildlife Adventure Resort lies on the Rapti River Bank. It is a lush green resort surrounded by rice fields, Tharu Village and Rapti River. The resort has around 14 rooms and each room has two balconies. From these balconies, you can easily spot animals coming to the river.

Open Restaurant at Wildlife Adventure Resort Sauraha
Open Restaurant at Wildlife Adventure Resort Sauraha

All rooms are absolutely neat, clean, and spacious but the washrooms are just average. The staff is helpful and courteous. The restaurant by the Riverside is a plus and the basic food is good.

Double Bed Cottage at WAR, Sauraha
Double Bed Cottage at WAR, Sauraha

Food at Chitwan

Sauraha has plenty of great restaurants in the market. Do try local Nepal food here. Apart from this checks out the Greasy Food Restaurant. They serve local as well all other cuisines at quite a reasonable price. Do try their Nachos salad, pizzas, and biryani. They were yummy and good quantity-wise.

Greasy Food Restaurant at Sauraha
Greasy Food Restaurant at Sauraha

Some Important Pointers

  • The Indian currency is widely accepted in Nepal. For small shops, keep some amount of Nepal currency.
  • There are few ATMs in Chitwan.
  • Wear full-sleeved clothes while doing Safari at Chitwan, to protect yourself from getting scratched in the jungle
  • Washroom facility is available at Gharial Breeding Conservation Centre
  • Respect local traditions and culture
  • Don’t litter anywhere
  • Animals do not attack unless they feel threatened
  • Spend at least 2-3 days in Chitwan to enjoy wildlife
All about Safari at Chitwan National Park


  1. Why Chitwan National Park is famous?

The Chitwan National Park is considered the best national park in Asia for viewing wildlife. Here you can spot endangered one-horned Rhinoceros, Royal Bengal Tiger, Spotted Deer, bears, Monkeys, Wild Boar, and a variety of birds and mammals.

2. Is Chitwan National Park worth visiting?

Chitwan National Park is worth visiting as you can see endangered One-horned Rhinoceros, Royal Bengal Tiger, Spotted Deer, bears, Monkeys, Wild Boar, and a variety of birds and mammals in their natural habitat. The Safari experience here is completely different from the other safaris.

3. What is the most famous thing about Chitwan?

Chitwan is famous for Chitwan National Park Safari. Here you get to see plenty of animals, birds, mammals, reptiles, etc in the jungle. Apart from this, a canoe ride in the Rapti River of Nepal is also highlighted here.

4. Which is the best time to visit Chitwan?

The best time to visit Chitwan National Park is from September to March when it is pleasant and the temperature is around 25 degrees Celsius. April & May are dry and hot months but chances of spotting wildlife too are higher this time. December to February are the coldest months.

5. What we can do in Chitwan?

At Chitwan, you can go on Jeep Safari, Jungle Walk, Canoeing at River Rapti, and visit Elephant Breeding Center and Tharu Cultural Village.

6. How many days do I need in Chitwan?

At least 2-3 days you should spend in Chitwan National Park. The more time you spend here, the higher the chances of spotting wildlife.

7. How long is the drive from Kathmandu to Chitwan?

The Chitwan National Park lies 169 kilometers from Kathmandu and it approx. took us about 6-7 hours to reach. There are road works going along the Prithvi Highway, leading to slow down of traffic movement and sometimes traffic jams happen by many hours.  Otherwise, the roads ahead are good and it is a scenic trip, through the Trisuli Valley with steep forest-covered hills and farming villages. The road turns south at Mugling and heads towards the Terai.

8. What is the climate of Chitwan?

Chitwan has a tropical monsoon climate with high humidity all through the year. Here monsoon starts in mid-June and eases off in late September. From October to February Temperature lies around 25 degrees Celsius whereas in summers i.e. from April -to June it can go as high as 40 degrees Celsius. From July to October, it lies between 30 -35 degrees Celsius.

9. Are there tigers in Chitwan National Park?

There are almost 93 tigers in Chitwan National Park but the chances of spotting them are very rare.

10. How many Lakes are there in Chitwan National Park?

There are around 56 Lakes in the Chitwan National Park. The most famous one is Bishazari lake / Beeshazari or 20,000 lake which lies in the buffer zone of the park. Anyone can visit this lake on their own and, does not need a special park permit for visiting.

Maldives Travel Tips You Must Know

Maldives, the epitome of natural beauty is a paradise for Honeymooners & hub for water sports lovers. In this Travel guide, we will be discussing in detail Maldives travel tips.

2022, is the year when most people are looking to travel again. So, how about Maldives this year. Has that name aroused your travel lust? Surely, it has. The Maldives is 99% water and 1% land. It has 1190 islands (200 inhabited), turquoise blue clearest water, beautiful beaches with the whitest sand, live coral reefs, overwater dreamy resorts which take luxury to a new level, spectacular wildlife, and palm tree forests making this island country a dreamland.

Earlier Maldives used to be a destination for elites and honeymooners only. In 2019, the Maldivian government allowed staying up on islands and opening guesthouses and homestays. Therefore, the game changed and now it is a perfect travel destination for every traveler, be it families, solo travelers, divers, etc. The Maldives offers a plethora of activities and accommodation options for all tourists. They have hotels from luxurious stays to mid-range hotels to homestays.  

So, before planning and traveling to the Maldives, check out this Maldives travel tips & guide.

Note: Trip to Maldives can be clubbed while travelling to Middle East (UAE) or Srilanka too.

Maldives Travel Tips

Maldives travel is exciting but you need to keep in mind these Maldives travel tips for a safe, comfortable, and happy vacation in this beautiful island nation. Proper planning will give you a stunning experience, a complete work break from daily mundane life.

Maldives Travel Tips

1. Plan your trip according to the weather

November to April is the peak season in the Maldives, so all activities and accommodation will be available at skyrocketed prices. For the budget trip, best is to plan during shoulder season (the time between peak season & off-season) i.e. from April to September. During this period, you will get exciting discounts and great services too.

Note: Rain is common during the off-season, but it does not rain all day.

2. Prepare an itinerary month beforehand

After choosing the travel month, prepare an itinerary according to what the Maldives has to offer and what you would enjoy doing most. Start making bookings based on that. Remember to space out the adventure sports so that you are not too exhausted to enjoy the rest of your trip. Leave a buffer day in your itinerary.

3. Make an advance booking for flights & hotels

The golden rule of travel is – “Flight tickets & hotels are cheaper when you book them in advance”. The closer you are to the travel date higher goes the cost. So, overall travel is cheaper when you book it months in advance.

In addition, check, whether you wish to go via a travel agent or want to make bookings for yourself. In either case, many companies offer discounts and great deals on packages. You can look out for flash sales that can cut down your cost of travel. Many companies also offer deals around slack times.      

4. Choose Airplane rides wisely

A round trip seaplane ride in Maldives is an unforgettable experience but quite expensive too. The best affordable option is to book a flight to Male and then a speedboat for transportation between Maldives islands to reach the specific islands. Another option is the Maldivian domestic flight for the transfer but the flights can get delayed and there is also no scheduled time for seaplane transfer between the dawn-to-dusk window. So try to plan for the flight that land in the first half of the day to get transferred to the island before sunset, otherwise you might have to spend the night at Male and take the earliest transfer the following day.

Seaplanes at Maldives
Seaplanes at Maldives

5. Maldives visa

Any foreigner traveling to the Maldives, doesn’t require a pre-approved visa. The tourist visa is granted for all nationalities on arrival to the Maldives. However, the person must satisfy the basic entry requirements to get immigration clearance upon arrival.

An Indian passport holder too does not need to apply for a Maldives visa, as there is a facility for a visa on arrival for Indians in the Maldives. But, make sure to carry, all valid travel documents, and your passport should be valid for 6 months from the date of arrival.

Note: For the Maldives visa on arrival for Indians, you need to have accommodation and return details to get a visa.

6. Get an international travel insurance

Travel mishaps are common and can happen to anyone anytime. So, it’s better to be prepared and have travel insurance.

Imagine, after landing in the Maldives you get to know your baggage has gone missing. In that case, you may be able to fend for yourself with the money you have, but travel insurance can pay for the missing bag. At the same time, if any medical emergency arises in the Maldives, you can look to your travel insurance to cover the cost. If you are unwell or there is an injury, that renders you immobile; your travel policy will also cover you for emergency medical evacuation. If your trip gets canceled, your insurance will cover the costs as well. Getting travel insurance for Maldives is the perfect way to ensure your trip is not disrupted due to any financial setbacks.

7. Pack & Tavel light

Less is more. So, packing light is always better. In Maldives, the climate is hot and humid, so pack clothes made of cotton only. Avoid synthetic materials such as silk as they will make you feel uncomfortable and requires a lot of care and maintenance too.  Do carry comfortable shoes with an excellent grip to help you navigate on the beaches as well as keep your toes comfortable while walking. Also, carry swimsuits, sunscreen, toiletries, surf wax, personal care products, and a medical emergency kit.

If you want to experience marine life, do carry your fins, snorkeling, surfing, or diving gear to cut down on renting costs. Most important, do carry a water-resistant or underwater camera with a polarizer to shoot all the action on land and underwater.

Note: Bikinis, are not allowed on all Island. Practice modesty and wear bikinis or skin-tight clothing only when at the resort islands. On the local islands, there are some “bikini beaches”, which are specially meant for tourists to visit.

Maldives Travel Tips

8. Prepare a list of experiences to indulge in

There are many things to experience in the Maldives such as going on a cruise for a romantic meal on board. If you are an explorer, you can take a private boat to an isolated island to enjoy the spoils of nature in peace. For an adrenaline rush, you can go for the water sports in the Maldives. Snorkeling, scuba diving, and underwater sea walking are some of the other exciting activities in the Maldives.

9. Check & Compare prices for water activities

The Maldives offers a plethora of water sports i.e. Sea kayaking, jet skiing, parasailing, stand-up paddleboarding, wakeboarding, boating, and the whale, dolphin, or Manta watching trips. Almost all resorts and private organizers offer these activities. Do, compare the prices before choosing one.

Water Activities in Maldives

10. Look at Taxes & Hidden Costs

Look out for the extra cost on the imported food and drinks at resorts along with their 10% service cost and 8% service tax. Do not miss the public price on menus, taxes on equipment rentals, spa sessions, and more.

Note: Tipping is not common in the Maldives therefore; it is not an obligation to tip. However, if you feel that the service provided was commendable and you should praise them, then you can provide a tip.

11. Learn Basic Terms in Local Language

Whether traveling to any country, it is always better to learn the basic words in the official language for a smooth experience. But, it is not necessary for Maldives as the country has a strong tourism game and most people speak English, especially at resorts and restaurants. You can also include a translation book in your Maldives tour plan.

12. Buy a local sim card at the airport

Resorts in the Maldives do offer Wi-Fi service but they are completely unreliable. So, to stay connected to your family and friends, and not to be struck, it is advisable to buy a sim card at the airport itself.  

13. Drone Photography

In 2022, drone photography has picked up and everyone wants to capture the pristine white beaches with bungalows in between the turquoise water in the Maldives. But, note in Maldives some resorts have a complete No Drone Photography policy for the protection of their guests. So, do check before flying one.

Sunset in Maldives

14. Keep USD for easy transactions

Maldivian Rufiyaa is the national currency used in the Maldives, but USD is widely accepted everywhere. Apart from the local islands, most of the shops have things labeled in USD. Credit cards are used widely including the resorts, but keep cash too for purchasing the miscellaneous items. Also, it is difficult to find an ATM near Maldivian islands.

15. Don’t carry Alcohol

The Maldives is a Muslim-dominated country. The only place where someone can enjoy a drink without any worries is at the private resorts. Also, do not carry alcohol while entering the country. If you are carrying, you might be fined by the customs.


Traveling to the Maldives and experiencing what the place offers is a once-in-a-lifetime opportunity and do enjoy it to its fullest. Use these Maldives travel tips to get the best out of this trip and make the memories of a lifetime.

Best Places for StarGazing in India

Have you ever slept under an open sky? In my childhood days, we used to sleep on the terrace & I would keep my eyes open for a long time counting the zillions of twinkling stars in the pitch dark sky. When tired, I would stop counting marking the hypothetical spot, thinking to restart back from the same point tomorrow. In between sometimes could spot a shooting star which in the morning we would claim ourselves lucky to see “Tutta Tara” (breaking star). The innocent thought was that one day I will be able to count all of these stars. Crazy! Right! I am still crazy about stargazing. Indeed, now we both are. We love the vastness and grandeur of night sky & have multiple apps like Night Sky lite in our phones for stargazing in India! But why we city dwellers are crazy & can’t see them every day just like before? Where have those days gone now?

The pollution, light spill, clouds, city noise have changed the nature of the skies in cities. Now to have that insignificant feeling of standing or lying under the starry shimmery night i.e. for stargazing in India, we need to get away from our dreary life, we need to travel to the remote places where there are no concrete jungles, where nature is still protected, where there is no pollution, where dark spaces still exist and where the materialism is still far away.

Stars Sites in India

 Gyalwang Drukpa once said “Each of us is connected through the heart to the entire universe – and so if you get into the mind, you will see the universe”.

In this post, we have clubbed some of the best stargazing sites of India as suggested by some of India’s top Travel Bloggers & Photographers.

Best StarGazing sites in India

Starry Nights at Meghalaya


By – Agni & Amrita from Tale of 2 Backpackers

Kongthong in Meghalaya is located about 60km from Shillong in the pristine east Khasi Hills. It is a small village consisting of merely 700 people. The place is extremely peaceful and pleasing to the eyes and is all about nature and gorgeous vistas. Interestingly, the village is also known as the whistling village as each people have a tune to call them apart from their names.

The day ends early for the villagers and they dwell inside their homes, leaving the place dark against the lush landscapes.  The skies are just like a canvas here as it opens up to the vistas of shining stars and constellations at their best.

Kongthong Meghalaya - Star Gazing in India
Kongthong Meghalaya – Star Gazing in India

How to reach: From Shillong, hire sumo to Kongthong. But remember only one sumo runs during the day and it is better to book it in advance. Otherwise, you can hire a car from Shillong or Cherrapunjee to reach Kongthong.

Best Time to visit: From October to April

Places to stay: The only place to stay at Kongthong as of now is Kongthong Travellers Nest.

Galaxy at Karnataka

Stargazing at Kabini

– By Abhishek & Neha from A Revolving Compass.

Kabini, a small village is located by the banks of the River Kabini, just 60 km from Mysore, Karnataka. The place is a forest reserve area and is abundantly rich in wildlife, flora & fauna. It is famous among tourists and travelers not only for wildlife sighting and relaxing holiday but for stargazing too. When the lights are turned off you can see absolutely sky filled with millions of stars, twinkling and smiling at you.

Stargazing in India - Kabini, Karnataka
Stargazing in India – Kabini, Karnataka

How to reach: Kabini can be best reached through self-drive cars or hired taxis from Bangalore, Mysore and other nearby towns.

Best Time to visit: Kabini can be visited throughout the year. For stargazing, summer and winter months are idle, as the sky is clear. For wildlife, observation summer is considered as the best time as due to the low level of waters, animals tend to flock to the river bank for satisfying their thirst.

Places to stay: There are several eco-lodges and resorts around the river bank to stay. We recommend staying with the Peepal Tree Boutique Homestay, which too is located by the banks of the river backwaters. Its vast farmlands are the best places to observe, the beautiful night sky filled with stars.

Shooting Stars at Maharashtra

Lonar Crater Lake

By Tanushree and Yaswanth from UnboundOutbond

Lonar Crater Lake, a National Geo Heritage Monument, is located in the Buldhana district of Maharashtra. Around 52,000 years ago, a hyper-velocity meteor struck the land here, creating a 150 meters deep and nearly 2 kilometers wide crater. And over centuries, a lake (both saline and alkaline) too, is formed here which by itself is a mystery. The dense forest surrounds the crater and is dotted with temples that have a mention in the Ramayana too.

The place has left both the scientists of NASA and Geographical Survey of India intrigued. Also, the Earth’s Magnetic Field seems to be nonfunctional here. Such is the mystery of the Lonar Crater. Lonar Lake sits on a white facade of land. During the day Lake is filled with geologists who wish to study the surface of Mars and at night the stars, the reflection of the moon in the lake is pure bliss and leaves the stargazers completely amazed.

Stargazing at Lonar Crater Lake, Maharashtra
Stargazing at Lonar Crater Lake, Maharashtra

How to reach: Lonar Lake can be reached by private cars and hired taxis or by buses from Aurangabad (4 hours’ drive) via Jalna. Aurangabad is also the nearest airport and has daily flights flying from Delhi and Mumbai. Overnight buses also ply from Mumbai and Pune to Aurangabad. Another option is via rail with plenty of trains plying to Aurangabad from different parts of Maharashtra.

Best Time to visit: Lonar is extremely hot from March to May, which is the summer season in Maharashtra. Rains begin from June on and last till September, which would not be the best time for stargazing as the skies are likely to be filled with clouds. We’d recommend sometime between October to February when the weather is pleasant and the skies are clear.

Places to stay: The MTDC (Maharashtra Tourism Development Corporation) Holiday Resort is the best choice for stay as it is budget-friendly, is located near to the crater serves decent meals, and has pleasant service.

Stargazing at Thar Desert Rajasthan


By Tanayesh form Shoestringtravel & Soujanya Rai from TheSpicyJourney

Jaisalmer, popularly known as the “Golden City” of Rajasthan, is crowned by the ancient Jaisalmer Fort, also known as Sonar Quila. The town is a heart of Thar desert and is the most accessible spot for desert camping, jeep safari, camel safari, and stargazing.

Just imagine, lying down on the mattress in the world’s 17 largest deserts, with eyes pointing towards the sky and suddenly spotting multiple shooting stars. Wow!  Interestingly, the vast alluring sand dunes around Jaisalmer, are an ideal spot for Astrophotography and gives the ultimate pictures too.

Star Trails in Jodhpur
Star Trails in Jodhpur

How to reach: The place is well connected by rail, road, and air. There are trains directly from Delhi and other prime places in India. Bus and car facility is also available from Jaipur, Bikaner, Jodhpur directly. However, there is no direct flight to Jaisalmer so the nearest airport is Jodhpur.

Best Time to visit: Ideal time for stargazing is during winters i.e. from October to March, when the temperature lies between 7-8 degrees. We recommending spending at least 2 days in Jaisalmer.

Places to stay: Jaisalmer has beautiful economic hostels, hotels & homestays. My recommendation is Zostel Jaisalmer, located just a kilometer walk from the Jaisalmer Railway station which has a relaxed rooftop café showing the panoramic city view. Another one is Moustache Jaisalmer, a wonderful hostel with all modern facilities available. The Hotel Tokyo Palace Jaisalmer is quite famous for its rooftop restaurant as you get the views of the fort too.

Astrophotography at Jodhpur

-By Mainak Biswas from Places in Pixel

Jodhpur, too set in the stark landscapes of Thar desert is known as the Blue City of India because of the blue-painted houses around Mehrangarh. The city is a cultural treat and has unending charms. It is one of the best places to savor the colors & flavors of Rajasthan and experience camel’s safari .

The nights at Jodhpur are no less than those in Jaisalmer. When you look up, you can see a silver-white sky and if you are lucky you too can capture a star trail with the Mehrangarh Fort as a background.

Star Trails in Jodhpur, India
Stargazing in Jodhpur, India

How to Reach: Jodhpur is well connected by road and rail to all the major cities of India. The city has its own railway station & domestic airport with flights from Delhi, Mumbai, and a few other cities. 

Best Time to visit: The best time to visit Jodhpur is from October to March when the state enjoys pleasant weather and also you get a clear sky for stargazing and astrophotography. In fact, you should plan your Rajasthan trip in a way that you can get the best of the state while keeping the heat aside -the winters.


By Kunjal from Unpluggedmoments

Sariska or Sariska Tiger Reserve being a restricted area too falls in the category of best-stargazing sites. Indeed, the reserve zone has India’s first astronomy and adventure camp – Astoport Sariska. This astronomy & camping site is surrounded by Aravalli hills and welcomes stargazers for an incredible experience.

Astroport Sariska is situated barely 5km from Sariska National Park is one of the darkest regions of India far from the bustling city lights. Every night the trained educators along with their telescopes, sky charts, and other special equipment help you navigate the gazillion stars. Sessions on astrophotography are also part of the experience. The place is popular amongst astronomy lovers especially kids as there are other adventure activities like trekking, cycling, sun gazing too available in the day time.

How to Reach: Sarika lies 11o Kilometres from Jaipur city & 220 km from Delhi. It can be reached via train, bus, flight till Jaipur, and from there hire a vehicle to reach Sariska. 

Best Time to visit: The best time to visit is Winter months i.e. September to March)as the sky is clear and the weather is cold/pleasant. 

Stargazing in Ladakh

Ladakh is considered as the most incredible place for stargazing due to its high altitude & pollution-free skies, especially when all the mindless, loud music playing tourists goes off to sleep.


By Divyakshi Gupta from Quirkywanderer

Hanle, a tiny village at 4500-meter altitude in the Changthang region of Ladakh, close to the Indo-China border is well known for an Indian Astronomical Observatory. It is the world’s highest observatory & is operated by the Indian Institute of Astrophysics, Bengaluru. The observatory has an installed telescope of about 2.01 meters (6.5 feet) diameter. 

After what seemed like an endless drive from Pangong Lake, we reached Hanle. We were surprised to see how tiny the village was. A few of my friends even wondered if it was worth spending the night here after that bumpy ride. But the homestay owner told us how epic Hanle is for stargazing and I was all ready to stay up at night. It was freezing cold when we climbed up a ladder to go up to the terrace and then, in the silence of the night, all of us were left spellbound. There were shooting stars every five minutes in the sky and we could see the Milky way from our eyes, without any equipment.

How to reach: Hanle can be reached from Leh as well as Pangong in almost 9 hours by shared cabs or personal vehicle

Best Time to visit: May to September

Places to stay: Multiple Homestays but my recommendation is Padma Homestay

Stok Kangri

-By Umang Trivedi from Travelmax

Stok Kangri, located near the village of Stok can be reached only by trekking. The trek is extremely beautiful, challenging making one really appreciate the beauty of the region. The expedition to the Stok Kangri peak takes you to a height of 20,000 feet if the peak is scaled successfully.

At night, while camping in the open, the sky becomes clear sailcloth with the twinkling stars and enchanting galaxies. Of course, not as clear as the camera can capture! I wish our eyes also had flexible settings of exposure and shutter speed to see this just like a shot.

Star show on Stok Kangri Trek, India
Stargazing on Stok Kangri Trek, India

How to reach: The Stok Kangri trek starts from village Stok. Trek is for 5-7 days depending on how well the trekkers are acclimatizing. In our case, it went on for 6 days. The entire trek is not really around permanent establishments and during winters, nobody treks this route.

Best Time to visit: The best time to go is around June-August. Due to the altitude, the snow accumulates throughout winters and takes a couple of more months to melt. So, by May mid the trek opens up for trekkers to embark on an enthralling journey to Stok Kangri peak.

Places to stay: Throughout the trek, one needs to stay in tents at various campsites.

Shooting Stars at Zanskar Valley

– By Shubham from travelshoebum

Zanskar, a little kingdom in Ladakh lies at an altitude above 3500 meters. It is an extremely remote valley, where the road leading to it is closed for more than 7 months in a year.  Along with the natural beauty, dark nights and minimal pollution makes the place ideal for stargazing.

Shooting stars in Zanskar Valley, India
Shooting stars in Zanskar Valley, India

How to reach: Padum is the district headquarters of Zanskar and can be reached by shared taxis or personal vehicles. The alternate way is via trekking through Lahaul or Ladakh.

Best Time to visit: July to October is considered as the best time to go, when Pensi La road is open and one can travel via Srinagar to Kargil to Padum.

Places to stay: Homestays are available in almost every village in Zanskar. Padum has few guesthouses and hotels too.

Starry Nights in West Bengal

Mousuni Island

-By Ruma Dey from Theholidaystory

Mousuni is a small island near Bakkhali and GangaSagar Island in West Bengal. The beauty of the place lies in the confluence of the Bay of Bengal with the River Bhagirathi and its white beach. The golden sunshine on the sands makes it glisten extremely during the day and on full moon night.

Electricity has not reached the Island yet. So, one can enjoy a stay in the tents just beside the sea beach, laze and do stargazing in the pitch dark sky for hours.

Mousuni Island, West Bengal - Star Gazing site in India
Mousuni Island, West Bengal – Star Gazing site in India

How to reach: For Mousuni island you have to first reach Namkhana railway station from Sealdah. It is 3 hours of a local train journey. After getting down to the Sashmol bus stop only 7 km from Namkhana station. From there cross the Chinai river and take a Toto car to reach Mousuni island. The bus service is available from Dharmatala / Espnalade Kolkata area.

Best Time to visit:  October to March is the best time to visit Mousuni island.

Places to stay: There are multiple Eco tourism camps and mud houses on the Island


By Trijit Mallick from BudgetTravelBuff

Buxa Jayanti is located in the eastern part of Dooars in West Bengal. Buxa is famous for the Buxa Tiger Reserve where Jayanti is a forest village inside the reserve, blessed with a lush green tea garden, beautiful hills, and mountain rivers. It is located along the Jayanti River, forming a natural border with the Bhutan hills. So, being a completely reserved area, it is pollution-free and makes up for an ideal destination for stargazing in India.

How to reach: Alipurduar Junction railway station is the closest station to Jayanti. Kanchankanya Express is the best option to reach Alipurduar if you come from Kolkata, else you have to board on a train that goes to New Jalpaiguri (NJP). NJP is well connected with Jayanti by road.

Best Time to visit:  November to March is the best time to visit Buxa-Jayanti. Especially in December month, this place is perfect for wildlife photography and jungle safari. The average temperature remains between 10 to 22 degrees centigrade during this time.

Places to stay: There are several private and government-run lodges in the area. I will recommend you to stay in Jayanti River View Homestay which is situated just beside the Jayanti river. It is quite reasonable (INR 1100/-) & also offers stunning views of the Jayanti river bed with Jayanti hills in the background.

Shooting Stars & Meteor Show in Himachal


By Sundeep Bedabrata from Delhifundos

Chail, an offbeat spot in Himachal Pradesh is known for its salubrious beauty and virgin Pine Deodar forests. It is an ideal place to relax, engulf in nature, take long walks, and enjoy slow travel.

At night, the sky here can leave one spellbound. It just looks like a dark blue sequined fabric in which one could identify a couple of popular constellations. The place is perfect for night walks, camping & stargazing in India. Along with it one can also witness, thousands of fireflies in the night when all the lights are turned off.

Night at Chail, Himachal India
Stargazing in India – at Chail, Himachal

How to reach: Chail lies 106 Kilometers from Chandigarh and 336 Kilometres from Delhi. It can be reached via public bus, shared cabs or personal cars from Chandigarh.

Best Time to visit:  Chail can be visited throughout the year but for best stargazing experience visit it during summers or winters, when the sky is clear.

Places to stay: The HPTDC hotel is the most sought after accommodation here but because one needs prior booking. Another option is Sunrise Homestay which too is quite cozy and affordable. Apart from all this, for a wonderful stargazing experience in India, one can opt for camping too.

Stargazing at Spiti Valley

-By Samantha from Intentionaldetours

Just like Ladakh, Spiti Valley too is known as one of the best places for stargazing in India.  The high-altitude, desert-scape of Spiti, Himachal Pradesh has very little pollution and plenty of elevation, making its skies light up with stars on clear nights. Though stars are visible in all of Spiti, the villages of Dhankar, Nako, Tabo, Langza, Hikkim, Chicham Khas, Komic, Tashi Gang tend to offer exceptional views.

How to reach: To get to the Valley, one can take a self-drive Spiti valley road trip (beware of narrow scary mountain roads!) or take public transport, the latter of which gets crowded during peak season. Though the valley can be entered from either the Manali side or the Reckong Peo side, it’s easier to acclimate to the altitude if you enter from Reckong Peo. Buses are very easy to catch from either New Delhi or Chandigarh

Best Time to visit: If you want to be somewhat comfortable, plan your Spiti Valley itinerary in either May-June or  September. July and August tend to see more rain and the rest of the year is way too cold to even enjoy what you’re seeing!

Places to stay: In Dhankar, the Bendurya Hotel is a super comfy yet affordable stay with an epic view of both the sky and the village. Dhankar is also home to a beautiful lake with a great camping spot- perfect for stargazing. For Langza & Tashigang, you can stay at homestays in the villages itself or in Kaza.

Stargazing at Andamans and Nicobar Island

Neil Island

-By Debjani Lahiri from thevagabong

Many of us like to count on the famous mountainous regions of Ladakh, Spiti, or somewhere isolated regions of Uttarakhand for stargazing because of high altitude & the idea of pollution-free clearer skies. But, the idea of stargazing by a peaceful beach beside the vast ocean could be one of the most exhilarating experiences too. And, for it there is no other place better than Neil Island in Andamans and Nicobar regions.

Andaman and Nicobar are blessed with pristine beaches, azure blue waters, and unadulterated clear skies, which gives a brilliant opportunity to stargaze at night. Neil Island is one of the famous and the most popular ones and has got three beaches mainly Bharatpur Beach, Sitapur Beach, and Lakshmanpur Beach. Out of which, Lakshmanpur beach is the most secluded one and has a long secluded shoreline. Hence, on a clear night, imagine a scene of countless stars shimmering in the sky with dozens of hermit crabs crawling underneath with sounds of waves crashing on the shores. The view and the feeling both are beyond mystical.

Stargazing in India – Andaman Nicobar

How to Reach: Port Blair (capital of Andaman and Nicobar Island) is well connected with major airports of India. From Port Blair, daily private and government ferries run between the islands. Just one has to check the exact timings.

Best Time to visit: Between Nov-Feb (Winter season have clearer sky)

Places to stay: There are a couple of luxury and as well as budget stay options in the Neil Islands. Sea Shell Samsara (Luxury) hotel, Coconhuts Beach Resort (Budget category)

Starry Nights at Gujarat

Rann of Kutch

-By Bhushavali from TravelBhushavali

Dholavira, located on the Tropic of Cancer in Kutch District of Gujarat is locally known as Kotada Timba. The site contains the ruins of an ancient Indus Valley Civilization. It is one of the five largest Harappan sites and most prominent archaeological sites in India belonging to the Indus Valley Civilization. Just 40km from Dholavira, on the other side of the Rann of Kutch is Pakistan.

While the whole of Rann of Kutch itself is an amazing place to stargaze but Dholavira is just the perfect destination. The night sky is just excellent here. It is the sky, I saw years back when I was a little kid, along with my grandfather; when The Hindu, newspaper had the monthly Night Sky section which we would cut out and figure-out the constellations using it! We could see the gazillion stars of the night sky

Galaxy in Kutch , India
Stargazing in India – At Kutch

How to reach: Dholavira is well connected to the rest of India by roadways. Regular bus services ply to and fro the city of Dholavira. From Radhanpur the distance to Dholavira is about 200km, which goes across the incredible white sands of the Rann of Kutch. There is no direct flight or rail connectivity to Dholavira. Nearest airport and railway station at Bhuj.

Best Time to Visit: Winter season is the ideal season i.e. from October – March. Monsoon is not an ideal time for stargazing.  Summers are hot and are the least advisable time for a visit.

Places to stay: The best place to stay in Dholavira is the Govt guesthouses of either the tourism department or the forest department. In either case it is in the middle of nowhere, with absolutely no light or air or sound pollution which makes the sky crystal clear. In fact, Dholavira is a tiny island surrounded by the Rann of Kutch.

Shooting Stars in Uttarakhand


Binsar, a small scenic valley, sits on the top of Jhandi Dhar Hills, at an altitude 2412 meters in the Kumaon region of the Himalayas. In 1988 Binsar became a Binsar wildlife sanctuary, to conserve and preserve the shrinking broad oak leaf forests of the Himalayan region. Today, it is spread over 46km2 and is highly rich in flora and fauna. From here, the complete 300 km stretch of famous peaks like Kedarnath, Chaukhamba, Trishul, Nanda Devi, Nanda Kot, and Panchchuli are visible on clear days and nights are dark, clear and make up an ideal destination for stargazing.

Being a reserved area, lights are turned off by 9:00 pm and the pitch dark sky is just illuminated with the shimmering stars. After adjusting your eyes, you get to witness some of the shooting stars and constellations too. The sky amidst the tall conifer and oak trees is a sight to admire for.

Stars in Uttarakhand, India

How to reach: Binsar lies 23 Kilometers from Almora, 88 kilometers from Nainital in Uttarakhand. It is well connected by road, rail or by air. The nearest airport to Binsar is at Pantnagar (140 km from Binsar) whereas the nearest railway station is at Kathgodam (105 km from Binsar). The further journey from both Pantnagar and Kathgodam stations can be covered by bus or cabs.

Best Time to visit: Summer & winter is an ideal time to enjoy stargazing. In monsoons it’s mostly cloudy.

Places to stay: There are plenty of resorts, hotels, and guest houses in Almora, Kasar Devi, and outside the Binsar wildlife sanctuary. But within the sanctuary, there are limited options, which varies from heritage luxury homestays to resorts to Government guest house i.e. KMVN (Kumaon Mandal Vikas Nigam). Our recommendation is KMVN, which has a huge terrace and is a perfect spot for stargazing in India.

Story of Stray Dog Bite & Rabies Vaccine ordeal in Goa

Dogs are cuddliest & innocent. They are man’s best friend, & don’t bite until teased. They just need love. It’s okay to feed them. Have you heard these lines from a dog lover? We have heard these conversations endless time. And even seen tourists or travelers adoring or feeding the stray dogs with bread/ biscuits/ fruits on the streets, in India. But are you aware these feral dogs can sink their incisors anytime into your body and can put your life to risk? Yes, we are talking about a dog bite by a stray dog.

Stray Dog Bite & Rabies Vaccine Ordeal in India

India is a country where National Rabies Control Program is functional but still, 18 million cases of dog bites happen annually and 20,000 -30,000 people die of rabies (a viral zoonotic disease spread via a bite, scratch or a lick from an infected animal like dogs, monkey, cat, etc.) every year.  Here, a person is bitten by a dog every 2 seconds and someone dies from rabies every 30 minutes. 

According to the study published by the WHO (World Health Organization), 36% of rabies deaths occur only in India. While all mammals can transmit rabies but of the above stats, 99% of human rabies is through dog bite only. Aren’t these numbers scary?

Anyways, here is my story on a dog bite by a stray dog in Goa and then the hustle for Rabies vaccine.

My story of Dog Bite in Goa India

In August 2019, we were in Goa to celebrate our anniversary & it was pouring heavily. We were stuck in our Resort (Keys Select Ronil) since morning. By afternoon our patience to be at the same place ran out & we left for a ride in the rain, on our hired bike towards the Candolim – Aguada Fort area.

Goa in Monsoons

Monsoons make Goa extremely beautiful. The whole environment was lit up, looked clean, and lush green. After a while, heavy rain turned to drizzle. While riding the bike, the cold breeze and the scotch mist was soothing to our skin. The Nerul River flowing in full swing parallel to the road was like the musical rhythms, while the humming sound of insects was a supplement to it. We were completely happy, lost in the tunes of nature.

Aguada Fort Road
Aguada Fort Road

Also Read: 5 Offbeat Monsoon Weekend Getaways from Delhi

In India, canines are on every corner of the streets and similarly, they were rambling on the Aguada Fort road too. We drove past them, without looking, teasing, or paying them any attention, just happily clicking some shots of the boats parked around the river. Suddenly the dogs started chasing our bike and a few seconds later I (Suruchi) felt a sharp pain in my foot. The white dog from the herd had sunk his long incisors on my small toe and the other “monster” was jumping to grasp my other foot. I shouted and Tashi saw from the rearview mirror that my foot was in it’s mouth. Scared, he increased the bike speed to drove away from them.

Also Read: 5 Places not to miss for monsoon road trip

A quick race from there, and we stopped at some distance to see, how bad the wound is? Two bloody puncture marks with the skin laceration and the cherry on top – Monsoon season. So, chances of a high risk of infection & the panic gurgled into our throat. From there started an ordeal to find the nearest dispensary/ hospital/ clinic on our anniversary trip.

Note: In 2019, from Jan to May, Goa alone reported 10,340 dogs bite cases i.e. 68 dog bite cases every day and this number doesn’t include the private clinic’s data.

From the locals, we found that the nearest dispensary is just a kilometer away. Immediately we rushed to the nearest chemist shop cum clinic & in seconds was shunned from there to the hospital since they did not have the vaccine. The thought of finding no vaccine or rushing from one place to another was stressfully striking in our head. So, we decided to rush directly to a government dispensary, where the chances of finding medications were relatively higher.

Note: No matter how small the bite is, make sure to see a doctor immediately or within 8 hours after a dog bite. Waiting for longer increases your infection chances. And if someone is diabetic or anyway immunocompromised, the risk of infection is much higher.

..and then started..

The Ordeal of Rabies Vaccine & Treatment

Driving from the chemist shop towards Candolim, we saw a Primary Healthcare center. We rushed inside instantly, but there was a long queue with a single on-duty doctor in the evening. Seeing us speeding towards the doctor cabin directly without standing in the registration queue, patients started howling on us thinking we were breaking the queue. But our tensed faces made a paramedic staff understand – it was an emergency case.

Primary Health Center Candolim Goa
Primary Health Center Candolim Goa

They saw my wound and promptly asked us to buy a Dettol soap from the nearby chemist shop and wash the wound with soap and running water for almost 10- 20 minutes. We did the same in the smelly dingy washroom and by now there was no bleeding but the sharp pricking pain was hurting. Our heart was pounding & we were distressed. By now, patients outside the doctor’s cabin had found that I had been bitten by a dog.  Their continuous stare silently questioned that how and where it happened while their faces showed sympathy as well.

After an hour of waiting (as it seemed like it was not an emergency case for the hospital), we got a call from the physician’s cabin. First, a big chuckle from him and then instantly to cool the tensed environment, he explained that it is just a Category 2 wound. So, I need to go for a Tetanus injection & the complete course of the anti-rabies vaccine. Also, we need to watch the other symptoms which can arise in a few days – and the fever can be the first one to come.

Waiting Area inside Primary Healthcare Center Candolim
Waiting Area inside Primary Healthcare Center Candolim

OMG! Anti-Rabies Vaccine course. It is going to be a big cry from the dozens of abdominal shot to fight against the virus and develop immunity was what we thought. But in the injection room, the nurse explained that gone are those days. Now, the post-exposure vaccination course is a simple but prolonged one. It is just an Intramuscular (IM) or Intradermal (ID) injection course over the 0, 3, 7, 14 & 21 days.

In the injection room, the single on-duty nurse filled the form and register and asked me to lie sideways. Still strained I laid on the white soiled bedsheet and she injected a Tetanus injection on the side of my thigh and other two shots of anti-rabies vaccine Intradermal on my both arms. And that was done for Day 0.

Rabies Post Exposure Treatment Card.
Rabies Post Exposure Treatment Card.

I felt lethargic after the shot and was literally quite for some time, thinking about what will happen next. In meanwhile, the nurse announced, that we don’t have more anti-rabies vaccines in the stock and probably there are very low chances of getting it from the chemist too. So, for the third-day dosage (2nd shot) you need to visit the Panaji Primary Health center at 10:00 am. The Panaji Health center was almost 18 Kilometers from our hotel and we had our return flight the same day to Delhi at 1:00 pm. So, another tension gripped there.

Anyways for the day, we left the hospital relieved that Suruchi has got the first dosage of the vaccine.

Day Before Day 3 Anti Rabies Vaccine Dosage

There was continuous stress of finding the anti-rabies vaccine and then the deterioration of wound and rabies further. By now, there was a formation of nodules and swelling on my both arms.

Tensed but keeping these thoughts behind, we left to find the vaccine with the nearby chemists. One after another no one had it in the Calangute area and then thought to find it in the Candolim area near the Primary Healthcare center itself. Luckily one small chemist had the last vial. So, we asked him to keep it for us and will buy it from him next morning before visiting the hospital.

Note: Anti rabies vaccine needs to be stored at 2 – 8-degree Celcius and protected from the sunlight

Day 3- Second Dose for Dog Bite in Goa

Sharp at 8:00 am we left to purchase the anti-rabies vaccine vial & there the chemist shop was closed. “Will we get it or Not? Will, we catch our flight or Not?” – were the questions pondering in our heads. Finally, he was there at 9:00 am. He pulled the shop shutter up & handed us the vial for INR 350/-. From there we reached the Candolim Primary Healthcare center by 9:20 am but – no STAFF! They will only come after 10:00 am – told the sweeper.

Morning View - Outside Candolim Health center
Morning View – Outside Candolim Health center

Surely we will miss our flight – I said.

By 10:15 the nurse came and I got my second dosage. Immediately, we left to catch our flight for Delhi- which anyways we missed in the end and had to book another one.

Day 7, 21 & 28 – Third, Fourth & Fifth Anti Rabies Vaccine Dosage in Noida

In Noida, we planned to continue the rest of the treatment in the government hospital itself. So, the first visit (7th-day dosage) to Govt hospital, and we were told there is no vaccine, but being aware that the anti-rabies vaccine dosage has to be taken on the prescribed day itself, we rushed to a private hospital. They recommended us to purchase the vial and take a shot in the emergency department. A single shot cost us almost double i.e. Rs. 600/- per visit here, instead of Rs. 350/-.

That was not the end…

There were still lumps and redness on both arms from the first and second injection. On seeing it the hospital staff went into a panic state thinking it to be the adverse reaction, wrong injection site, or some symptoms of rabies. Again we were dreaded. To be on the safe side, we went to the other hospital doctor, and there too came different assumptions but no appropriate answer. It clearly showed that staff didn’t have enough experience in the animal bite management cases.

At home, we continued our research online at various medical sites. In one study we found that in some patients the redness and swelling on the rabies injection site take months to go. Now, the thought was probably I am that one case, and the reaction will subside away on its own, and actually it did, after months.

Now, its almost 9 months to this incident. I have no symptoms but the trauma of dogs & being bitten by them still haunts me. I have planned to take my booster shots to maintain the immunity for future travels.

Rabies Exposure Categories as Defined by WHO (World Health Organization)

According to WHO, rabies exposure categories are defined as

Category 1 (No Exposure)

While touching or feeding animal licks on intact skin

Category 2 (Exposure)

Nibbling of uncovered skin or Scratches or abrasions without bleeding

Category 3 (Severe Exposure)

  • Single or multiple transdermal bites or scratches
  • Contamination of mucous membrane with saliva from licks
  • Licks on broken skin
  • Exposures due to direct contact with bats

Treatment Steps to follow after Dog Bite

  1. Wash your wound with soap and water for almost 15 minutes
  2. Gently press the cloth on the wound to stop bleeding, if it’s there
  3. Try to keep the injured area elevated
  4. Leave the wound open
  5. Visit a doctor immediately and take tetanus injection, along with an anti-rabies vaccine
  6. The severe exposure category 3, need the administration of rabies immunoglobulins too
  7. The dosage has to be taken on Day 0, 3, 7, 21 & 28 and don’t miss it
  8. Keep noting your temperature and the other symptoms and signs of infection in between the dosage days

Why Dogs Bite?

Experts say dogs bite is basically a reaction to an action. So, they bite when they are scared or are ill, when you provoke them, when they find themselves in a stressful condition, or to protect their territory.

Road along Nerul River, Goa where Dog Bite Happened
Road along Nerul River, Goa where Dog Bite Happened

In our case, we never provoked or scared them. So, either he was irritated, ill or he was trying to be territorial.

The Dog Menace in Goa

In Goa, you will find dogs outside every cafe, shacks, beaches, & on streets. Acc. to the research, in 2019 from Jan to May, Goa reported 10, 340 dog bite cases i.e. 68 dog bite cases every day. The above numbers are only of the government hospitals. So, overall the stats will be far higher when clubbed with the stats of private hospitals.

Stray Dog at Morjim Beach Goa
Stray Dog at Morjim Beach Goa

The topmost reason cited by officials for this Dog menace in Goa is the increased no of free roving dogs due to the free availability of garbage.

The Mission Rabies scientific manager Dr. Gowri Yale has said –

“The free availability of food provided by the scraps in the garbage not only increases fertility in dogs, but scavenging makes dogs more likely to attack humans. Dogs that get free food from garbage left behind by bakeries, slaughterhouses don’t see humans as providers of food and are more likely to attack them”

Stray Dog Bite & Rabies Vaccine Ordeal in India

Advice for Travelers

In case of an animal bite, wherever you might be, wash your wound immediately and consult a doctor for additional treatment. Take post-exposure anti-rabies vaccine to fight against the virus and build immunity.

For international travelers, as advised by CDC (Center for disease control & prevention) and WHO – speak to your doctor about your travel plans and take pre-exposure vaccination, especially when traveling to countries at risk like Asia & Africa, even if the duration of travel is short and if you are going to the rural areas or off the beaten backpacker tracks.

Important is not to fall into the unnecessary advice and traps like – Man eats dog heart to prevent rabies after bite.

In the end, I leave it to you or ask that Dog is considered as man’s best friend but what about the people who have been bitten by them and still are under the trauma.