Majestic Rara Lake
It’s been a wonderful month of May 2016 for me. 2nd week of the month, I went to Tilicho lake and just after returning from there, got an opportunity to go to Heaven on earth, Rara Lake.
Rara Lake is situated at the far west of Nepal. It 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. At the heart of the Mugu District, it’s a 2 hour walk from the Talcha Airport. Since roads are constructed, there are many options to reach this beautiful place now.
This was my first travel to western Nepal. I took a bus to Nepalgunj from Kalanki, it took 13 hour bus ride for me to reach Nepalgunj. From Nepalgunj there is a daily flight to Talcha Airport. From the airport to Rara lake, the trail is not that hard. There is no steep uphill or downhill. As we walk through the jungle of Pine trees, we see sheep herder and their cattle gazing around.
Since it is a National Park, we have to register at an Army Check post to go to Rara Lake. After walking 1 hour, we get the first glimpse of the lake and its color make you feel like you are at the shore of some beautiful sea beach. From this place to army barrack and Danphe hotel is almost 1 hour walk. This trail is full of mesmerizing scenery. You will get lost in its beauty. The army have banned swimming in this lake, but still we saw some people swimming and relaxing on the way. As we reached the army barrack, we are not allowed to take pictures around barrack due to security reasons.
After we register at army check point and cross the barrack area, we can take pictures, but we cannot take pictures of barrack area. After reaching the Danphe hotel we have 2 options. We can stay in the rooms or they will arrange a tent outside the hotel. Since I have never had experience of camping, I wanted to stay outside in the tent. After resting for some time, I went further to the hotel to explore the lake and surroundings. I was quite amazed to see that, there is no any major source of water like a river or waterfall to the lake. Even there was no major way out of water from the lake. At the west corner of the lake, there was a small stream from where water gets out only if the water in the lake overflow. The other thing that made me amazed was that there was no any leaves and waste floating. The water was clear. May be due to less tourist visit this place, its natural beauty is still preserved. I guess the army is also strict with do’s and Don’ts at the national park.
After the sun set, we were about to have our dinner and my sister-in-law called everyone out to see something that we have never experienced. It was the moon rising. I have seen the sunrise from different places in the past, but I have never seen moon rising. Since it was a full moon day, I don’t have words to describe that moment. One needs to witness that moment and keep it in their memory as a life time experience. Between the mountains in the darkness, you see an orange ball coming out. It’s totally opposite to sunrise. In the blink of an eye, the moon is out and the lake glows making the romantic environment. If you are with your partner, it’s just a precious time for you and if you are not with your partner, you will fell wish he or she was with you at that moment. I felt same since I did not take my wife with me this time.
Lost in paradise
I always want to take a night photography of the places I visit and Rara was not exceptional. Due to bad weather I could not take this time. Since I have already captured a galaxy from Annapurna Base camp and Manang, I felt bad that I could not do it this time. The other factor was that on full moon day we don’t see stars and galaxies.
Moon Rise as seen from Danphe Hotel
After getting up in the morning next day, I was in a hurry to get back to Kathmandu due to some personal reasons. I thought boating will be an exciting experience and faster than walking. But it took almost the same time for me to reach the opposite shore of the lake to go back to the teacher airport. While boating, one can see the panoramic view of the lake all around with small hill and mountains. It’s a place where you will enjoy whatever you do. While riding a boat, I had few army personal accompanying me. They told me that the national park has given permission for someone to build a 5 star hotel opposite side of the army barrack. One of the local who was with us said that before the government made it a national park, there was 2 village around the lake and later government shift the people to chisapani on the bank of the river Karnali in Terai.
Sun Rise seen from Rara Lake
As I reached the airport, I got the news that there were no any flight from Nepalgunj due to bad weather. I had to stay at talcha that night. Since it’s a small village and many people were there to fly back to Nepalgunj, I met a few people. Mr. Nabin Bibhas a freelance journalist, Mr. Rajendra Bahadur Singha works in Ngo and Mr. Hari Bilash. I had a brief introduction to them, we had talked about the condition of the people of this place. Later in the evening we walked around the airport, met some local to know about the place. We talked about life change after connection with the road and the interesting thing an old man said was that now he can get different kind of fruits, and his wife was happy to name that she got to eat grapes recently.
Glimpse of Rara Lake from plane
The people were friendly and was happy to talk with us. Even the government and NGO says that it is deprived area of Nepal, people were happy with what they have got. It was nice to see that the development is already on the way. For me road connection and a good education system will improve people’s life there. I wish to see that these places will have easy access of basic like good health and education system soon.
Next day, I took a flight back to Nepalgunj and then to Kathmandu. This trip was full of new experiences. It was a lesson for me, it taught me how life is in this place. It was totally different than travelling to Annapurna base camp or Manang valley. Here are some picture from my trip.
First glimpse of the Rara Lake
Who can recognize that steep hill in background ?
House near Talcha Airport
western Nepal’s ornaments always fascinates me
Happy Grandpa with his grand kids
old couple with whom we had a talk, he was happy to share his love story
They are not homeless or school drop out, amazed to see despite of so many NGO active in this region kids hygiene not changed
Water scarcity is there, kids carry water every day up and down the hill
Rara lake’s first glimpse
Tara air departs from Talcha Airport