Red Panda, turquise water and golden days in Rara Nationalpark

Posted By: FarwestNepal

During my vacations I visited one of my friends in the Bardia National Park – John, a zoologist from the UK, who launched Wild Trak Adventure (www.wildtrakadventure.com), a travel company focusing on wildlife expeditions and trekking tours in Nepal.

After checking several trekking options I decided to go to Rara National Park in the Western Terai of Nepal which is famous for a habitat of red pandas and the spectacular nature with the beautiful Rara Lake located at the altitude of about 3000m. Our backpacks were ready for a 10 day journey. Early morning we headed to Nepalgunj to catch the flight to Jumla. Having left the flatland after nearly 40 minutes we were landing in the mountainous town of “blue roofed” Jumla. The local market was full of the hustle and bustle coming along with preparations going for the famous Dashain Festival. A lot of people coming from surrounding villages were buying new clothes and special food for the festive days. Dashain is celebrated by Hindu dwellers worshiping the Goddess of Power Durga Devi, and is the biggest festival of Nepal. From Jumla we went to the place called Naurighat. In the morning we walked through the blue pine forest with its gentle smells and soft carpet of pine needles. After a couple of hours we reached an open plateau with gazing horses not disturbed by anyone around. A small rest was needed before reaching a pass with a stunning view over the mountains and circling vultures over the ancient shrine, where you could leave a stone for a good luck.

Dashain in Bulbule Village

The second day we stayed in Bulbule where we had a chance to celebrate Dashain with the local family. In the evening all family members gathered around the fire in the small room by sharing the festive dinner. Even a dog was allowed to stay inside and wait for its time to eat. The elder woman was “performing her magic” around the stove by cooking rice and mutton.  Our Dashain Day in the mountains with this family was granted with a warm atmosphere and hospitality.

Red Panda’s Habitat

Our third trekking day to the Rara Lake lead us via Red Panda’s habitat, the valley full of birches and rhododendrons. The excellent climber, Red Panda forages largely in trees. Red Panda is a rare mammal native to the Himalays. Its population is estimated at less than 10,000 mature individuals, and fresh foot prints could say that some of those to be found in this area.  Golden valleys, colored by Autumn, have hidden the red panda very well, but the yellow-throated marten has greeted us instead.

Rara Lake

Reaching the pass (4200m) we got a view over the biggest and deepest Lake in the Nepal Himalayas at the altitude of 2990m. The Rara Lake was there to impress with its turquoise color reflecting the mountain peaks and golden forests surrounding it. We stood in the blowing wind enjoying a view at the Rara Lake to the north of us and the peak Kanjirowa dominantly rising from the Dolpa site. The incredible nature took our breath, so that we spent the next day at Rara Lake enjoying the sunshine of golden October in the mountains. We want to thank lovely people we met on this trip, who made our Rara experiences golden, vivid and unforgettable. I have to mention:

Commander of the Nepali Army, who provided us with sleeping bags and tent as we found our hotel closed as well as his wife welcoming us for the lunch.

Always positive Sudarson, who helped with a lot of logistical arrangements in the last three days of the journey.

Our lovely co-traveler, Keith, with huge case of history knowledge and the magic plasters. I thank him for giving me a good life advice. I hope he had a good journey in Basari afterwards. He was raising some funds to help people affected by earthquake. I wish I could meet his wife Sally, who should stay back to England.

Thank John from Wild Trak Adventure for inspiring for this trek, and patiently encouraging me to climb the mountains.

Itinerary

1Day Bardia  – Nepalgunj – Jumla (40min flight)

2Day Jumla – Naurighat (10h hike)

3Day Naurghat – Bulbule (5h hike)

4Day Bulbule – Rara Lake (10h hike)

5Day Rara Lake

6Day Rara Lake – Ghamgadhi (3h hike)

7Day Ghangadhi – Bulbule (4 h by jeep)

8Day Bulbule – Jumla (6 h by jeep)

9Day Jumla – Khalikhot (7h by bus)

10Day Khalikhot – Nepalgunj (7h by bus)

 

Text by V.Tyumeneva (GIZ)

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