Located in the north western district of Mugu, Karnali Province, Nepal, Rara National Park, with the total area of 106 square kilometers , was established in 1976 primarily, then, to conserve the magnificent beauties of the Rara Lake, alluring visitors from the elevation of 2990 meters, the biggest one in the majestic western mountain region in Nepal, along with the splendid flora fauna available in that part of the world. The population of the two small villages called Rara and Chhapru was managed to be settled in the vicinity of the region in bordering Banke district at the time when the park was to be established there.
Rara Lake, also known as Mahendra Lake, which is the main attraction of the park, is oval-shaped with east-west axis, five kilometers long, three kilometers wide and one hundred and sixty seven meters deep, 10.8 square kilometers, the biggest one in Nepal. There are pretty confer forests surrounding the park and the lake, where there are snow trout fish whose taste when cooked remains an unforgettable memory for the eaters. Besides, people who love bird watching find the park a heavenly spot, especially in the winter. The Chuchemara Peak, 4039 meters, the highest one in the Rara National Park allows visitors the sights of memorable landscape of the mountains there and the black and white clouds hovering in the sky as if to give an appearance of the palace of the god Indra as described in the Hindu myths. Other equally enchanting summits the park contains include Ruma Kand, 3731 meters; and Malika Kand, 3444 meters. There lies Mugu-karnali valley formed by the river Karnali, the longest one in Nepal, into which flows the water of the Lake Rara. The blue pine trees dominate the entire vegetation of the park with rhododendrons, marshlands, varieties of plants that supply raw materials for medicinal herbs, and eye catching grasslands.
Unlike in the Terai plains, the summer season in the park is joyously comfortable, but the winter is biting with cold. So the best time to visit the park are September, October, April and May. December, January, February and March are the time when the temperature is freezing allowing great avalanches of snow fall.
The plant species available in the park include fir, pine birch, rhododendron, hemlock, oak juniper and spruce. The animals living in the park include red panda, langur, jackal, wild dog,leopard, black bear, thar, otter, musk deer, yellow-throated marten, rhesus and macaque. There are 214 species of birds among whom the major ones are gulls, common teals, pheasants, coots, grebes and mallards.
Rara National park is nearly a three-day trek from Jumla. If you wish to go via Surkhet, you will have to undertake a ten-day trek. It is considered best to carry common medicines and first-aid kits while on way to the park in case you fall sick because you will hardly see any health clinic on the way. The best thing you may do while undertaking a journey to Rara National Park is to consult a trekking agency.
-Article written by: Bedu Khatiwoda for Land Nepal