Mai Pokhari is a famous wetland located in Illam district of Eastern Nepal which was classified as a Ramsar site on 28th October, 2008. The emerald-colored lake within the wetland has a circumference of roughly 1 kilometer (0.62 mi), and boats are available to operate & use within the lake. The wetland is located in the Himalayan middle hill ranges at an elevation of around 2,100 meters (6,900 feet) and covers an area of 90 hectares (220 acres). It’s around 15 kilometers (9.3 miles) north of Illam.
Maipokhari Botanical Garden is present on the periphery of the lake which is of great botanical and ecological importance. This garden is home to beautiful rock garden, an orchid house, a green house and plants collected from various parts of Eastern Nepal. This place features nine corners, which is believed to be a tribute to nine distinct Gods.
This wetland was formed as a result of earth subsidence. The source of water in this wetland is from natural springs and precipitation. It is the community’s primary source of fresh water supply. Mai Pokhari houses various species of rare flora and fauna. Some of the important flora species found in this wetland includes Schema, Castanopsis, laurel oak (Quercus laurifolia) epiphytic orchids,water lily, cone trees, rhododendrons, and various herbal plants. The fauna species found here are white-rumped vulture, leopard cat (Prionailurusbengalensis), Eurasian otter (LutraLutra), and endemic Variegated Mountain lizard (Japaluravariegata). The wetland is also home to 300 different bird species. However, the invasion of gold fish (Carassius auratus) has had a negative impact on the local wildlife. The lentic ecosystem of bottom-fauna in the wetlands is in its natural state, with many Chironomids stratified.
The Mai Pokhari is known for the lush greenery surrounding which makes it an ideal place for boating & fishing. The serenity and greenery of this site is enough to leave any one spellbound. As with all of Nepal’s lakes, this location also offers a stunning view of the snow-capped mountains that surround it, which is guaranteed to captivate and mesmerize any visitors.
Article written by: Ujjwal Bhetwal for Land Nepal