Our Rara experience
-   By : Kawish Shrestha
-   7 May, 2017
-   0 comments
Our moods suddenly changed at Surkhet when we were informed that the snow in the upper regions of Mugu had not melted. Some said it was impossible to go beyond Nagma and we may have to abandon our vehicle and walk for several days. Prediction of heavy snowfall in days ahead, further put a dent in our timeline. Our driver had a decent amount of experience driving offroad, but he had never driven in this part of Nepal and was the most nervous amongst the eight of us. We were about to navigate through one of the most treacherous roads in Nepal with a two wheel drive, where four wheel vehicles struggled. Despite of all the hitches, we decide to start our journey the next day.
Surkhet to Nagma
We decided to move before sunrise in order to reach Nagma. Foxes were roaming freely on the highway and we were lucky to spot a few in the twilight. En route to Nagma, we witnessed a mind blowing sunrise, wild foxes crossing the road and magnificent eagles flying alongside our vehicle. Some sections of the road could have killed us, not only with their precarious state, but also with their awesome beauty. The sound of the Karnali River was omnipresent. From here on mobile signal was rare and electricity a distant dream. Most houses along the way had installed solar panels and were the only source of power.
Nagma to Rara Lake
The journey from Nagma to Rara Lake was an experience in itself. Clear sky, snow laden hills, and tall pine trees. All was good until we reached Bhotejiula, where army officials there warned us about the road ahead. That section of the road is called Sat Ghumti (seven turns). Seven mind boggling snake like turns, covered with thick snow. We were both thrilled and nervous at the same time as the road was completely covered with snow. As the driver maneuvered the vehicle through the slippery turns, we could clearly see him sweating even in that temperature. Slowly and steadily we reached Pena where we had to park our vehicle and hike towards Rara.
We hiked for 45 minutes through a barren, but beautiful grassland followed by a thick forest that did not allow us even a glimpse of the lake. Just when our patience was running thin and we were tired, we got our first glimpse of the majestic Rara. The queen of all the lakes in Nepal graced us at 3000 m above sea level; surrounded by thick forest and tall mountains. Rara is spread over a total of 9.8 sq km which makes it the biggest lake in Nepal. The Lake having a length of 5 km and a width of 3 km has a maximum depth of 167 m.
Rara and the hike to Murma
Unlike the rave reviews and the outstanding pictures that we had seen in social media, our view of Rara compared to those pictures was gloomy. Maybe it was because of the time of the day, time of the year or maybe we were not at the right spot.
While we were taking some pictures and soaking in the view, we came across some school children who were also on a trip to Rara. Within minutes we were dancing and singing folk songs with the children and their teachers. It was a beautiful moment and the best welcome we could have ever imagined. We then bid them farewell and took a boat to cross the lake. The initial disappointment started to fade as we saw more of the lake from the boat. Slowly, we realised that the lake actually grows on you. The more we looked around, the more beautiful it kept turning out to be. The mountains also started to look more vibrant and we enjoyed a clear view of the entire range.
The next morning we hiked to the top of Murma. While we were hiking through the dense forest we were lucky to catch a glimse of a flock of Danphes (the national bird of Nepal) as they disappeared into the forest. We also saw various colourful and unique birds during the two hour hike. Rara National Park is home to 51 species of mammals, 272 species of birds, two species of reptiles and amphibians, and three species of fishes.
As we climbed higher we enjoyed different views of Rara from different angles, each time it looked more beautiful than the previous view. When we reached the top (3900 m), we could not help but feel emotional. We were witnessing the most beautiful view of nature in all her abundance and surrounded by mountains. We had come to view Rara from above, but were surprised at the fascinating view of the mountains. The whole place was like a painting. We could also see the peaks of Api, Panch Mukhe and Saipal.
Along with the unexpected and astonishing views, the thing that astonished me was the lack of publicityabout this beautiful place. We were not even aware about Murma and the hike to the top. But we would recommend you make his hike when you visit Rara. After spending almost an hour and a half spellbound by the beauty of the place, we realised that this place was even more beautiful than the lakeside itself.