Rara Lake also known as “The Queens of Lake” is the largest freshwater lake in the Nepalese Himalayas.
This beautiful lake is located in Mugu district of the Karnali region of Nepal. It is a popular spot for trekkers and nature enthusiasts, who come to experience its natural beauty and peaceful atmosphere. It lies at an altitude of 2,990 m (9,810 ft) and extended up to 10.8 (4.2 sq mi) square kilometers with an oval shape. The Rara Lake, enriched with different aquatic species, is 167 meters (548 ft) deep, 5.1 km (3.2 miles) long, and 2.7 km (1.7 miles) wide.
In September 2007, it was declared a Ramsar site, covering 1,583 ha (6.11 sq mi) including the surrounding wetland. A Ramsar site is a wetland that is chosen as international importance under Ramsar Convention. The park headquarters is about 32 km north of Jumla.
Rara National Park is the smallest national park in Nepal, yet it has the biggest lake. Rara National Park is protected with the assistance of the Nepal army and managed by the Department of National Park and Wildlife Conservation. Established in 1976, the main objective of this park is to conserve the beauty of Lake Rara, and to maintain its unique landscapes.
It is not only a destination for foreigners, but also a favorite place for internal tourists. There is no settlement inside the Rara National Park except the army camp.
Rara National Park is unique due to its rustic location and the flora and fauna of the region. The Rara National Park surrounds Rara Lake with a huge forest which is the habitat for various flora and fauna. There are 1074 species of flora, of which 16 are endemic to Nepal, including 51 species of mammals and 214 species of birds. The endangered species of wildlife found in the park are a red panda, leopard cat, musk deer, grey wolf, black bear, etc.
According to the study, Rara National Park is a prime habitat for the endangered red panda. In 1979, three endemic snow trout species were collected in Rara Lake and described as new; the Nepalese snow trout (Schizothorax nepalensis), the Rara snow trout (Schizothoraz raraensis) and Schizothorax macrophthalmus.
Hills and mountains surrounded Rara Lake. The Chuchemara hill is the best place to have a view of stunning Rara Lake, the lush forest surrounding it and the peak of the snow-capped mountain soaring up to the skyline.
Jumla and Mugu districts are in remote areas and have less population compared to other districts. Thakur group is a dominant group in the community. You will find a temple called Thakur’s Baba Temple in the southeast corner of the lake. The local people believe that Thakur God shot an arrow to open the passage of the lake to reduce the damage caused by the flood.
The main occupation in this place is agriculture. And they also sell goats and medicinal herbs for a living.
How to reach Rara Lake
Rara Lake is one of the most famous tourist destinations with the hidden treasure route of Nepal. The plane is the only mode of transportation to visit Rara lake. The road distance from Kathmandu to Jumla is 819 km.
You need to take the flight from Kathmandu to Nepalgunj to Jumla. Jumla is served by the Talcha Airport, which is 4 km east of the lake. Only Nepal Airlines and Tara Airlines operate the flight to Jumla.
The flight duration from Kathmandu to Nepalgunj takes 1 hour and from Nepalgunj to Jumla is a short flight of about 20 minutes. There is no other flight from Kathmandu to Jumla. Jumla is a gateway to Karnali Region.
Another way to reach there is to travel by jeep or bus on the Karnali Highway, which is the most dangerous road in Nepal. Drive from Kathmandu to Surkhet to Kalilkot to Ghamghadi takes approximately 20–22 hours from Kathmandu to Jumla. Also, you can travel by bike.
The trip to Rara Lake is too risky due to the improper way. After arriving Jumla, the walk is the only option to travel around the Jumla.
Rara Trekking Route
The most awesome way to enjoy the pristine Karnali is to walk through the amazing landscape blended with the unique and authentic culture of the west. Starting the trek from Jumla airport to Rara lake takes 2–3 hours to arrive there.
There are 2 to 3 routes to Rara Lake. After you arrive at Jumla, your trek starts from Jumla to Chere Chaur to Chalachaur. Then you will move towards Sinja Valley to Ghorosingha. While you hike through these places, you can see natural beauty, mountains, hills, and the traditional life of the local people.
Again the trail from Ghorosingha continues to explore Rara Lake surrounded by a scenic view finally. Heading back to Jumla has a different route. You will move from Rara Lake to Pina to Burma and Burma to Jumla. Then you will have to take a flight to Kathmandu.
The next way that you can travel is by bike from Kathmandu to Kolhapur(500 km) which is located in Banke district, then Kohalpur to Manma (250 km). The way continues through ups and downs in hills and narrow terrains.
While heading forward from Manma to Mugu (Talcha Airport, 150 km) after crossing an army check post in Bulbuley, you will encounter a new terrain, the icy one. Then you will move to Rara lake and return from Rara lake to Nagma (120 km) to Jumla to Surkhet (270 km) and from Surkhet to Kohalpur (220 km) to Butwal (230 km) and Butwal to Kathmandu.
The climate of Rara Lake
The weather of Rara Lake is quite pleasant during summer, but in winter, it’s too cold. The best time to visit the lake is in September or October and April to May. During the Monsoon season, June to August, the rainfall makes trekking difficult. In winter, the temperature decreases to the freezing level, which causes heavy snowfall and blocks the way.
Facts of Rara Lake
- One can explore the different species of flora and fauna, birds, mammals, and various fishes in the lake.
- Rara Lake is the best trekking destination in Nepal. The view of the deep blue clear lake, hillside forest, and snow-capped peak mountains around the lake is magnificent.
- Travelers can enjoy the scenario of boating in the clear water of the lake.
- The park is in a remote area of Midwest Nepal and people who love to see the various plants and birds can have fun with Jungle Safari and Campfire.