Rara National Park is situated about 370km northwest of Kathmandu; Rara is Nepal’s smallest and most scenic national park. Much of the park is at an altitude of about 3,000 meters forested by conifers. Tha park was established in 1976 and protects some of the most beautiful alpine and sub-alpine ecosystems of the Himalaya.
The centerpiece is the pristine Lake Rara, also known as Mahendra Tal, the biggest hills. Chuchemara Danda at 4,087 meters is the best vantage point to get stunning views of the lake and the thickly forested hillsides and the snow-capped peaks around it. Other summits in the park area are Runda Kand (3731m) and Malika Kand(3,444m), situated to the north of the lake.
Rara comes within the catchment area of the Karnali River, one of the three main river systems of Nepal. The habitat supports animals like the red panda, black bear, yellow-throated martin, ghoral, serow, and musk deer. There have also been reported sightings of leopard and wolf.
The lake attracts migrant wildfowl like teals, pochards, and mallards, Resident birds include the impeyan, kalij and blood pheasant as well as others like the chukkor partridge. Such id the profusion of birdlife in Rara but a thorough ornithological study of the area has yet to be conducted.
The easiest way to get to Rara is by flying to Jumla from Kathmandu or Nepalgunj, followed by a three-day hike to the park office at Hutu. The alternative route is to take a bus from Nepalgunj to Surket, from where it is a week’s hike to the park. Visitors should travel with camping gear and guides who will offer them the flexibility to explore Rara where basic accommodation is available at only fre places. The best time to visit the region is from February to April and in October and November. It is also possible to combine trek to Rara with a v isit to Royal Bardia National Park and a river trip down the Bheri or Karnali rivers.
The best services are provided by Hidden Adventures for all or any travels or trekking needs.
Pic credit: Manoj Khatri