Rara National Park
September 13, 2019
Rara National Park is one of the protected areas in the Himalayas of Nepal. It is located at an elevation from 2800 m to 4039 m. and was established in 1976. It has an area of 106 sq km and is extended in Mugu and Jumla districts. This is the smallest national park in Nepal but it has the biggest lake in Nepal, known as Rara lake. It is the highlight of the National Park and was declared as Ramsar Site in 2007.
The lake is in the heart of the park is located at an altitude of 2900 m. The lake is 10.8 sq km wide and 167 m deep with an oval shape. The water in the lake flows from the peaks like Chuchemara (4039 m) Ruma Kand (3731 m) and Malika Kand (3444 m). Whereas, the lake water drains into the Mugu Karnali River via Nijar Khola.
The climate of Rara National Park is pleasant and warm during the summer (April to June). Followed by monsoon season (June to August) making it difficult and challenging to access. During winters (December to March), the temperatures drop below freezing and many high passes remain blocked by snow. The best months to visit the park are November, September, October, April, and May.
To get to Rara National Park from Kathmandu visitors must fly/drive to Nepalgunj, followed by a flight to Talcha airport. In just a couple of hours of walking, you can reach the Rara NP. Another option is to fly to Jumla or Kolti from Nepalgunj and trek for three days to Rara NP. Or Nepalgunj to Surkhet followed by a three-day trek to the park.
Wildlife and settlement in Rara National Park
The Rara National Park features subalpine and tempestuous vegetation. Plants like pine, birch, rhododendron, hemlock, oak, juniper, and spruce are commonly available here. The park is also home to 51 different species of mammals including Musk deer, Himalayan Black Bear, Leopard, Jackal, Himalayan Tahr, yellow-throated marten, otter, wild dog, common langur, rhesus macaque, and red panda. There are 272 species of birds which include coots, snow cock, and different species of pheasants, grebes, mallard, common teal, red-crested pochard, and gulls. During winter, many migratory birds join the residential birds.
There are no settlements within the boundaries of Rara National Park, as the two villages once inside the area, Rara and Chhapru, were resettled in the Banke District when the protected area was established. Agriculture is the basis for the local economy in the surrounding areas.
Things to do in Rara National Park
- Nature Hikes
- Village walks
- Wildlife & bird watching
- Cultural programs
- Botanic excursions, etc.