Western Tarai, Nepal
Nepal is just twice the size of Scotland but contains enormous physical diversity ranging from riverine plains and swamps to the highest peaks in the world.
Today, much of the Tarai region is agricultural and vital to Nepal’s economy, producing crops such as rice, wheat and tobacco for domestic use and export.
The Tarai was once covered in a thick, impenetrable jungle known as the Twelve Kilometre Forest which was a barrier between Nepal and India.
Bardia National Park is the largest area of undisturbed wilderness in Western Nepal’s Tarai, protecting animals such as the Royal Bengal tiger and great one-horned Indian rhino.
The Tharu people were the original inhabitants of the western Tarai, and developed a resistance to the malaria which kept all others away from the region.
In the 1950s, the jungles of the Tarai were cleared and turned into agricultural land so that people from the overcrowded Hill region could settle here.