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Rara Lake is the biggest and deepest freshwater lake in Nepal. In September 2007, it was declared a Ramsar site, covering 1,583 heaters including the surrounding wetland. This lake is located at an altitude of 2990m in Jumal and Mugu district.The lake has a maximum depth of 167 m and is 5.1km long and 2.7km wide. The lake drains into the Mugu Karnali River via the Nijar River. This lake is located in the smallest national park in Nepal i.e. Rara National Park. The Unique feature of this lake is that it changes colour many times a day to attract the toursit.It changes colour four or five times a day, depending on the weather. The shadow of the Shinje and Kanjirowa mountains also get mixed along with the changing colour of this lake. The lake is becoming a popular destination with a very rough route in Western Nepal for trekkers. Surrounded by beautiful mountains and green forests, Lake is the largest and most famous lake in Mugu district of the Karnali region of Nepal.Rara Lake also known as Mahendra Lake is the largest freshwater lake in the Nepalese Himalayas.It is also said that King Mahendra named this lake as ‘Apsara’ after being captured by its beauty.
Natural Beauty Of Rara Lake
Located in the Mugu district, Rara is Nepal’s largest freshwater lake. It is one of Nepal’s remaining unspoiled and uncrowded hiking sites. Rara Lake’s immaculate beauty exudes good energy that may soothe any wandering spirit. The lake is not only Nepal’s biggest but also a wonderful place to visit. The distant off-the-beaten-path walking track leads to the quiet and tranquil Rara Lake, which is nestled in the forest. The scenic charm of the lake is enhanced by the mountain range that surrounds it. And, most importantly, it is Nepal’s deepest lake.
The Lake is located between the beautiful forest of the Rara National Park and the Mugu and Jumla districts of Nepal. Rara National Park is a Nepalese gem, home to a diverse range of flora and animals, including a few threatened and rare species. Some of the unique animals present in the park are musk deer, Himalayan black bear, leopard, Himalayan goral, Red Panda, and Pheasant. Moreover, the lake and its surrounding area, Rara National Park, are stated to feature 51 species of animals, 174 kinds of flora, and 214 species of birds. This data may also be used to anticipate the area’s natural richness.
Trekking And Adventure Experience in Rara Lake
- Bird Exploration
Rara Lake is full of migratory birds.The birds from different places of Europe, Siberia and Tibet migrate to Nepal. The reason behind birds being attracted toward Rara is that the water in the lake remains warm even in the cold winter, according to conservationists. Altogether 49 species of birds come to Rara every year. According to Lal Bahadur Bhandari, a conservation officer at the Rara National Park, 20 species among the 49 have already arrived here.
- Rara National Park
Rara Lake is located within Rara National Park, and its beauty is enhanced by the diverse plant and animal life in the park. The park is home to various types of animals, such as the Himalayan Black Bear, Thar, Habre, Ghoral, Ratuwa deer, and Musk Deer. It also boasts a wide variety of bird species, including scare crows, monals, coots, mallards, pheasants, and common teal. Many of these birds are local residents, while others migrate to the area. The lake and the surrounding forest provide a suitable habitat for these birds. Additionally, Rara Lake is home to three species of native Asala fish.
The hill known as “Murma Top,” which is 3726 metres above sea level, provides the best view of Rara. Rara Lake, which has the appearance of a bowl, can best be seen from Murmatap.More than half a dozen districts in the far western and mid-western zones can be visited from Murmatap, which has attracted a large number of internal and external tourists.
- Natural Beauty
Rara Lake, which changes its form throughout the day, looks like a fairy of heaven decorated with various flowers from the month of Jestha to the month of Ashwin. Another special feature of Rara Lake is that it contains Asala (Himalayan) fish which is not found anywhere else in the world. After a three-hour walk from Raratal, you can reach Murmatap on the west side. From here one can get a panoramic view of the Saipal Mountain as well as the breathtaking views of Rara Lake. The lake offers panoramic views of the Sisne Mountains and the Kanjirova Mountains, as well as the ‘Asala’ species of fish, which is found nowhere else.
Cultural Significance Of Rara Lake
King Mahendra. It is said that he visited this lake by walking all the way from Jumla in 2020 B.S. He then explores all the sightseeing of this region. After being captivated by the charm of this lake, he also wrote many poems by dedicating Rara Lake. So, only after his visit, this lake started to get popular worldwide. Then in the year 2032, this area was declared a wetland area by establishing a park (Rara National Park). Similarly, the two villages named Chapra and Rara on the banks of Rara Lake were resettled in Nepalganj at that time.
About three years after the formation of the park, Durga Bhanjan Gulma of the Nepal Army started to take care of the national park. Since this lake is known through King Mahendra, people also know it by the name of Mahendra Lake. It is also said that King Mahendra named this lake as ‘Apsara’ after being captured by its beauty.
How to Get In Rara Lake
Rara Lake can be reached via both air and land routes. If you prefer a scenic overland journey in your own private vehicle, your drive will conclude upon reaching Sallaghari, which is close to the lake. It is observed that numerous individuals enjoy exploring the lake’s beauty on motorcycles.In general, air travel from Nepalgunj to Talcha (Mugu) is the most popular and convenient route to reach Rara, as it saves time and offers comfort. Recently, an increasing number of people have been opting for local buses to reach Rara. Nowadays, various private travel companies also offer affordable and well-organised Rara tour packages. Regardless of the chosen method of travel, a 2-3 hour walk is required since driving within the park is prohibited. This prohibition adds a unique and enjoyable aspect to the experience.
Accommodation In Rara Lake
Accommodations are also readily available and varied.In this region food is quite basic, but enough to satisfy a trekkers appetite. You can expect to find vegetable dal bhat and cooked noodles almost everywhere. In Nepalgunj, the gateway town to the Rara region, there are many restaurants ranging from low budget to high end. Once you leave Nepalgunj the choices are less, and it is a good idea to stock up on some canned foods for the trip.Once you reach Rara Lake you will find the only two guest houses there. The food is fine, the rooms are well maintained, and the setting is beautiful at the Lake’s edge.
Best Time To Visit Rara Lake
Summer is pleasant. However, winter is quite cold. The best time to visit the park is from September to November and March to June. The average annual temperature in the last 10 years is a little over 11°C. The monthly Maximum and minimum mean temperature is 27°C and 4°C in June and December respectively. From December to February, the temperature drops down below to freezing point, and occasional heavy snowfall accumulates up to 3-4 feet high. Pretty rainfall occurs from June to August and the park looks more beautiful in this season due to flowering plants. April normally sees the start of the warmer season which steadily increases to a pleasant temperature until September.
Overview Of Rara Lake
Rara Lake Trekking has been a popular destination point for trekking in the west. The trail is very much “off the beaten path” and affords glimpses of culture and scenery very different from those in the rest of the country. The centrepiece of the park is the biggest lake of Nepal. Along mountain paths and a series of picturesque villages, one reaches the magnificent banks of Rara lake. The park includes Trans- Himalayan valley with high ridges covered with forest and alpine pastures. Rara Lake being surrounded by Rara National Park has unique floral and faunal importance with rare and vulnerable species. The park was established in 1976 to preserve the beauty of the lake and protect it from sedimentation and adverse human activities. The Park flora consists of 1074 species, of which 16 are endemic to Nepal; the fauna 51 species of mammals and 214 species of birds. Rara National Park, considered one of the finest parks in the world, abounds in coniferous forest and is the ideal habitat for the musk deer, Himalayan black bear and other fauna. The Danfe (Impeyan Pheasant) , the national bird of Nepal flies above while a variety of fish, the snow trout, inhabit the Rara lake.