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Butterfly Watching

Nepal offers fabulous destinations to see Great Orange Tips, Purple Sapphire Circles, Oakblues or common Brimstones.

Beautiful specimens of butterflies have for ages attracted butterfly experts to Nepal. These delightful creatures have been studied in Nepal for over 150 years. In the early days of the Raj, the British residents and their subordinates took considerable interest in butterflies and managed to collect quite a number of species which they meticulously studied and cataloged. But such activities have been banned in Nepal.

After 1950, it was the Japanese who took particular interest in collecting butterfly species through scientific expeditions. This later resulted in the establishment of the Natural History Museum at Swayambhu in 1974. 

According to official records, Nepal has 651 species of butterflies which is 3.72 percent of the world's butterflies. Favored by Kathmandu Valley’s mild day time temperatures which hovers around 18ºC in mid-winter, there are butterflies all year round. The best seasons for butterfly watching are late March/April, mid May/mid June and late August/September. 

The forested areas in the valley are still home to many species of butterflies, and they include open country near Chobar gorge and there is very little activity except for the very common Oriental species.

About 10 percent of the butterflies in Nepal are Palaearctic species found at above 3,000 m, and about 90 percent Oriental species are found around Swayambhu, the base of the hills and forest streams at Godavari, Nagarjun, Budhanilkantha and Sundarijal. 

The forested hilltops of Phulchowki, Jamachowk and Shivapuri, and the open scrubby bush areas of Nagarkot, Suryavinayak and Chandragiri are good areas for butterfly watching. 

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