The district takes its name from the Chitwan Valley, one of Nepal’s Inner Terai valleys between the Mahabharat and Siwalik ranges, both considered foothills of the Himalayas.
Bharatpur is located on the banks of the Narayani River, and 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. The Ratnanagar, Khairahani and Chitrawan municipalities have 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.
There are several predication on the origin of the name Chitwan. Some of the most satisfactory predications on the origin of its name are:
- The name Chitwan is a composite of the Sanskrit words “citta” meaning heart and transliterated “vana” meaning jungle or forest. Thus, the meaning of Chitwan is Heart of the Jungle.
- Chitwan was a dense forest ruled by the Tharu God/King Chitrasen Baba. He used to worship in the deep forest and ruled over his state. People believe him as the incarnation of Lord Vishnu. Still today, Tharu people worship his idol during HariBodhini Ekadashi in Chitrasari (Headquarters of Chitrasen Baba), way to Sauraha. Since the forest locally called ban was ruled by Lord Chitrasen, it was called Chitra Ban, later transliterated to Chitwan.
- Chitwan, still known as Dense Forest was a land of leopard and Bengal tiger. Leopard is locally called according to Tharu language. Since the forestwas densely populated by leopard it was called the forest of leopard, namely (Chitri Ban), later transliterated to Chitwan.
- Chitwan is the home land of Tharu people, who are renowned for their art and drawing. Their houses are decorated by religious drawings denoting different phases of history, culture and environment along that time. Since their homes in the forest were decorated with their drawings, locally called the land was called (Chitra Ban), later transliterated to Chitwan.
Chitwan was originally a dense forest ruled by Chitrsen Baba, where different RishiMunis came to have their meditation during ancient time with numbers of wild animals like leopard and Bengal tiger.