The Rara Lake is the largest and deepest lake in the Nepal Himalayas which is situated at the far west of Nepal. Rara Lake is one of the deprived areas of Nepal with beautiful landscape. Under Karnali zone, there are many beautiful places to explore and Rara Lake is one of them. Rara Lake is five kilometers long and two kilometers wide and is the biggest and profound fresh water lake in Nepal. The Lake lies within the Rara National Park, which is the smallest national park of Nepal. Rara Lake, being surrounded by the Rara National Park with dense coniferous forest which is habitat to various flora and fauna. The park was established in 1976 to conserve the beauty of the lake from sedimentation and adverse human activities. The National park is one of the best places in Nepal to see wild life like musk deer, leopards, ghorals, Himalayan black bear, and the rare red panda are all native. The Rara National park is home to some 214 of birds and 29 species of mammal. The national park, especially the Rara Lake area receive number of migratory birds like water flows, coots, common teal, merganser and gulls etc. The resident birds are Kalij, blood pheasant, Impeyan and many others. Rara Lake is also renowned as “Mahendra Taal” which has an altitude of 2990m, it lies between the coniferous forests, mirroring the snowcapped Himalayas is ringed with blue juniper forest and cypress Lake Rara is a popular serenity pilgrimage for Nepalese. It extended up to 10.8 square kilometers with an oval shape. The lake is recorded to be 167m in depth, enrich with different rare aquatic species. In summer, rainfall is low, and ideal for trekking. In winter, there is often snow on the ridge surrounding the lake and in the autumn season, it is the best period for trekkers are welcome with an abundance of alpine flowers. The park is also a bird watcher’s delight, especially during November and April when many species of birds visit during their seasonal migration. The best visiting period to the lake is September/October and April to May.
Rara Lake is also known as “Queen of Lakes” proudly addressed by Nepalese people. Rara Lake is surrounded by hills and mountains. The “Chuchmara” hill (4,087m) is the best place to see the stunning view of oval shape turquoise blue lake with green forest and snow peak around it. The area is immaculate as well no people resided there, except army camp nearby. However visitors can enjoy tea houses and boatman while surfing around the lake side. Agriculture is the major occupation of the people who is resided around the area of the lake. People also rear goats and extract medicinal herbs and sell them for their surviving. Local people believe that the god Thakur shot an arrow to open the passage of the lake reducing the damage. Rara Lake has been a renowned with a rough route in Western Nepal for trekkers. The glances of culture and scenery on the way is quite different from the rest of Nepal which is situated in high altitude. Rara Lake trek is one of the incredibly fascinating trek and trekking provides the best chance to explore Jumla and Mugu districts of Nepal. Trekkers can observe the spectacular mountain views, amazing wild life like wild cat, wild yak, wolf, spotted deer and many more beautiful forests of pine and bamboos with enchanting rhododendron flowers, and unique Buddhist culture of Rara region people with their own different traditions, rituals, norms and values. The domestic and international tourist has been travelled in Rara Lake. However, the airways from Kathmandu to Mugu have assisted lots of visitors to enjoy short trip to Rara Lake. . Rara Lake is one hour walk from the Talcha airport of Mugu district. But for travelers interested in real adventure of trekking into the deep forest rich of natural ectasy, Jumla to Rara trek is the best. The trek trail moves from the Rara national park which starts from 1400m altitude, from between the pass of Karnali gorge, into dense forest to reach the Rara Lake. There are multicultural ethnic communities and harmonized blend of Buddhism and Hinduism can be experienced. Mugu district lies in rain shadow of Dhaulagiri and Annapurna range due to which the place is extremely dry. The attraction of Mugu has been the Rara Lake which attracts number of visitors every year to this remote land. The domestic as well as international visitors are attracted towards Rara Lake day by day but various types of visitors have visited. So some tourist might visit for short days and some might for longs day like more than a week. So, there are available of number of agencies who conduct trek package to Rara Lake.
Beginning the trek from the mountain airstrip at Jumla the trail moves through green countryside, providing glimpses of culture and scenery quite different from that found elsewhere in Nepal. This Rara Lake trek through the remote wilderness of western Nepal to visit Rara Lake, Nepal’s largest at 16 square kilometers, offers a superb experience of nature. The entire route is ‘off the beaten track’, it involves the crossing of Danphya Langa Pass at 3,720m on the way to Rara Lake and two ridges at about 3,500m when hiking back. This Rara Lake Trek can be done staying in tea-houses, but this is not a tourist place and the accommodation facilities are basic, a camping trek is recommended. It is the description of day to day itinerary from Kathmandu to Rara Lake and Rara Lake to Kathmandu.
Day to Day Itinerary:-
- Kathmandu to Nepalgunj:-
This is the first section or first day, fly to Nepalgunj. Overnight at local hotel.
- Nepalgunj – Jumla-Padmar
This is the second day, fly to Jumla town (2340m) and there paddy is cultivated (making Jumla the highest place on earth where it is grown). From Jumla trekkers begin walking towards Padmara. There are two tracks leading north to Gumgarhi and Rara. One is a trail leading directly from the north of the town. The other is more popular trek route that turns east of the town towards Dansanhu (2347m) at the confluence of Tila Nadi with Chaudbise Khola. Trekker diagonal northeast along the right side of the Chaudbise Khola through pine forests. Two hours further is Urthu (2520m) at the confluence of Chaudbise Khola and Ghurseni Khola. The bridge leads east to Chaudbise area. The trek now ascends steeply through the narrow gorge of the Ghurseni Khola, keeping all the time to its right slope. Padmara (3017m), a Chhetri village at the head of the valley is one hour beyond the canyon head. Overnight at camp.
- Padmara to Bumra
The third day journey, Padmara continues rising along the north side of Ghurseni stream. Trekkers leave the last fields at 3048 meters and climb to the first pass, Khali Langa (3545m), four kilometers from Padmara which follow down the right bank of stream to a foot-bridge at 3353 meter and cross it to the west side. Trekkers continue descending north for one hour through dense forest to reach a log bridge at 2743 meters over Sinja Khola, here called Lah Gad and cross the bridge to the north side, turn west and climb to Bumra (2830m) about two kilometers further. Overnight at camp.
- Bumra to Pine
The track beyond Bumra keeps high above the river and skirts two small spurs to reach Bhargaon (2890m) in 1.5 hours. After one kilometer at the end of the fields, the track turns north into the tributary stream of Ghautha Khola. Trekkers cross the stream by a log bridge to the west side and climb to Chautha (3100m) in a forest clearing. After an hour the valley opens out into a pleasant meadow. We keep to the left stream until a western tributary joins it. Before reaching Ghurchi Langna (3457m) we climb up the narrow gully on the north east slope and skirt north across a series of spurs to reach pine(2430m). Overnight at camp.
- Pine to Rara Lake
Rara Lake is only eight kilometers west of Pine. It is a short, pleasant trek with fine views to the north. From Pine, trekkers take a trail turning west that horizontal a steep north-facing slope. After crossing a stretch of fields, trekkers climb a small spur and descend to the stream and cross the bridge, climb up to the hamlet of Jhari from Pina (2500m). It will take just over two hours to reach Jhari form Pina. From Jhari, trekkers ascend west along a ridge for about 700 meters to reach a low saddle in two hours. The large lake is visible directly north of this saddle. From here, it is pleasant descent to the meadows on the south side of the lake. The village site of Rara (3040m) on the north side is a pleasant two hours walk along the western bank of the lake. Overnight at camp.
- Rest day at Rara Lake
After long journey trekkers are able to reach Rara Lake with the full of enthusiastic, trekkers have two days to explore this stunningly beautiful area. With no (domesticated) grazing animals allowed in the park the woods have reverted to their natural state and are alive with birds and rhesus and langur monkeys. Trekkers might also spot red panda, red bear, musk deer, Himalayan tahr, serow, goral and wild boar. Lake itself is an important site for migratory water flow. One day includes making an obligatory circumvention of the lake, a path (13km) has conveniently been built. Explore the now deserted villages of Rara and Chapra with their overgrown temples.
- Rara lake to Ghorasain
Trekkers walk the lake outlet (2980m) and follow the downstream of Khatyar Gad for an hour. There is a log bridge over the stream below Murma (3139m). Cross the bridge to the south side and clime steadily over the 400 meters to reach an open clearing at 3277 meters. The trail continues climbing south through dense forest until the tree line is reached at 3658m. The ridge continues to south for another 200 meters but it is pleasant trail with distant view of the mountains. There is no pass on this high ridge and the trail turns south-east at an altitude of 3749m and descends by the east side of Chuchemara Danda. It is a fairly steep descent to Ghorasain (3271m).
Overnight at camp.
- Ghorasain to Sinja
From Ghorasain, there is trail down the valley to Botan (2895m). A more interesting trail with better scenic prospect is to climb Diyabala, Danda due south of Ghorasain. The climb begins immediately west of Ghorasain and takes about an hour through forest to top the crest at 5352 meters. The trail then skirts south- east above the high fields of Lumsa. There are good views to the south along the Sinja Valley. The trail descends to Okharpati Village (310m) on a high shelf above Mindrabali Gad. The descent from Okharpati to Sinja takes less than two hours. Overnight at camp.
- Sinja to Chere Chaur
Trekkers cross the log over Sinja Khola to the east and follow the south bank of Jaljale Gad beyond Kotgaon near Lamathada. Trekkers follow the stream for another five kilometers due east. Then, trekkers ascend the ridge (2865m) briefly to descend to the same stream again. The trail clings to the south side of the stream all the way for another nine kilometers. The trail twists and turns along the stream but it is a pleasant trail amidst forest wilderness.
- Chere Chaur to Jumla
It is a delightful alpine pasture where flowers are in profusion during later summer. It provides good views of the Jumla town, Tila valley and Chyakhure Lekh beyond. The return to the town camp is pleasant descent in slow stages.
- Jumla via Nepalgunj to Kathmandu
It is the final day of journey so, trekkers fly back via Nepalgunj to Kathmandu.