Rara Lake - A Place Where Serenity Meets Adventure

  • Karan
  • May 30, 2023

Table of Contents

In the Mugu area of western Nepal, there is a breathtakingly gorgeous lake named Rara. With a surface size of over 10.8 square kilometers, it is the largest freshwater lake in all of Nepal. Since the lake is encircled by the Himalayas and is 2,990 meters above sea level, it is a setting that draws in a lot of hikers and environment lovers.

Several little streams feed Rara Lake, which is renowned for its pristine waters. The lake is bordered by a thick forest of pine, spruce, and juniper trees and is home to a diversity of aquatic life, including trout fish. Many wildlife species, including Himalayan black bears, musk deer, and snow leopards, call the nearby hills and mountains home.

The lake, as well as the surrounding hills and forests, are all included in the 106 square kilometer Rara National Park, which was founded in 1976. With over 240 species of birds identified in the vicinity, the park is a favorite spot for birdwatchers and is home to a variety of flora and animals.

Moreover, Rara Lake has cultural significance to the nearby Thakuri and Malla populations, who see it as a holy place. The Rara Lake festival, which takes place in September and includes traditional music, dance, and religious ceremonies, is a significant cultural occasion in the area.

Rara Lake, which offers spectacular beauty, a variety of species, and cultural value, is a stunning natural wonder of Nepal. It is a must-visit destination for anyone traveling to Nepal.

Location of Rara Lake

Tucked in Nepal's Mugu district, in a remote and mountainous area, is where you'll find this heavenly Rara Lake. The lake has a surface area of roughly 10.8 square kilometers (4.2 square miles). and is located at a height of 2,990 meters (9,810 feet) above the sea level 

Climate and weather patterns

The Rara Lake area has a subtropical highland climate, which is marked by cool temperatures and consistent, moderate rainfall. The best months to visit the area are March through May and September through November when the weather is dry and clear and provides stunning views of the mountains and landscapes in the vicinity. The region experiences severe snowfall and frigid temperatures from December to February, making it challenging to reach the lake.

Terrain and landscapes

Rara Lake is surrounded by a rough, rocky environment with steep slopes and valleys covered in dense stands of fir, spruce, and pine trees. The lake itself is surrounded by hills and mountains, with the highest peak in the area being Ruma Kand (3,731 meters or 12,240 feet). A significant source of water for the nearby settlements, the region is also home to a number of streams and waterfalls that feed into the lake.

Rara Lake is surrounded by stunning natural scenery, including pristine alpine forests, snow-capped mountains, and crystal-clear water. The region is a significant ecological hotspot in Nepal due to the abundance of flora and animals that it is home to. Trekking and hiking in the area offer visitors the chance to explore this stunning landscape and witness its natural beauty up close.

History and Culture

The Nepalese region of Rara Lake has a long history and rich culture, and it has strong ties to the neighborhood. The following are some significant facets of the Rara Lakes' history and culture:

Historical significance

The Malla dynasty dominated the Rara Lakes' region in the fourteenth century, beginning a long and colorful history for the lakes. After the region was included into the Kingdom of Nepal in the 18th century, the lakes started to play a significant role as a source of water for the nearby communities.

Cultural significance

For the local Thakuri and Malla people, the Rara Lakes are extremely important. Since they are revered, the lakes serve as a significant location for religious festivals and ceremonies. The locals also take great pride in the environment and work hard to preserve the fragile habitat around the lakes.

Myths and Legends

The Rara Lakes are covered with stories and legends, which add to their attraction and mysticism. According to a well-known myth, a demon lived in the lake and would emerge at night to scare the nearby residents. The demon was eventually vanquished, though, and the region was made peaceful by a valiant warrior.

In accordance with a different narrative, a little girl perished in the lake while looking for her lost sheep. The lake is rumored to still be haunted by her spirit, and the locals swear they can feel her presence on moonlit nights when the lake is shrouded in mist.

All in all, the Rara Lake region has a profound link to the local population and a rich history and culture. The lakes have been significant in the history of the area because they have provided water for the nearby villages and have been used as a location for religious rituals and celebrations. The region's attraction and mysticism are enhanced by the fact that it is rich in tales and stories. The Rara Lakes provide visitors the chance to explore the region's interesting history and culture in addition to taking in its breathtaking natural beauty.

Fauna and Flora

The Rara Lake area is a significant ecological hotspot in Nepal since it is home to a wide range of flora and wildlife. Here are a few of the unusual plant and animal species, local conservation activities, and threats to biodiversity you can find near the Rara Lakes:

Flora: Many unusual species of plants, such as rhododendron, spruce, fir, juniper, and pine trees, can be found in the vicinity of Rara Lake. Many medicinal plants, like Yarsagumba (Cordyceps sinensis) and Kutki (Picrorhiza kurroa), which are utilized in conventional medicine, may also be found in the park.

Fauna: The Himalayan black bear, musk deer, leopard cat, and snow leopard are just a few of the unique and endangered animals that may be found in the Rara National Park. With over 240 kinds of birds documented in the vicinity, including the endangered cheer pheasant and the vulnerable Himalayan monal, the park is also a birdwatcher's paradise.

Conservation efforts: To preserve the region's distinctive ecology, the Rara National Park was founded in 1976. As a Ramsar site, the park is recognized for its value as a wetland of worldwide significance and is managed by the Department of National Parks and Wildlife Conservation. The park has a number of conservation initiatives in place, such as habitat restoration projects and anti-poaching initiatives.

Risks to biodiversity: Illegal hunting and poaching, habitat destruction brought on by logging and agriculture, and climate change are just a few of the problems facing the Rara Lake region. The region's expanding tourism industry has recently put strain on the ecosystem, raising worries about waste and wildlife disturbance.

In conclusion, the Rara Lake area is a distinctive ecological hotspot in Nepal and is home to a number of rare and endangered plant and animal species. In order to save this crucial area from dangers like poaching, habitat damage, and climate change, the park administration and conservation organizations are working together. Visitors must, however, exercise caution and respect the fragile habitat that surrounds Rara Lake.

Activities and Attractions

Rara Lake is a paradise for outdoor enthusiasts and nature lovers due to the abundance of attractions and activities in the area. Some of the top things to do and see are listed below:

Trekking and hiking

With breathtaking views of the surrounding mountains and hills, the region around Rara Lake has some great trekking and hiking paths. The Rara Lake Trek, which takes about 10 to 12 days to complete and travels through traditional villages, lush forests, and alpine meadows, is one of the most well-known treks.

Fishing and boating

Tourists can rent a boat and cruise the calm waters of Rara Lake while taking in the breathtaking view from different spots. The lake is a well-liked location for anglers because it also has trout fish.

Camping and lodging

There are a variety of camping and lodging alternatives near Rara Lake, from budget campgrounds to opulent resorts. Guests can stay in one of the lodges and enjoy the comfort and convenience of modern amenities, or they can choose to camp around the lake and take advantage of the serene surroundings.

Wildlife Viewing

A variety of animals, such as Himalayan black bears, musk deer, and snow leopards, can be seen at the Rara National Park. On a wildlife tour, guests can see these wonderful animals in their natural surroundings.

Tours of Cultural Interest

The Thakuri and Malla people that inhabit the area around Rara Lake have a rich cultural history. Tourists can take a cultural tour to learn about the customs and traditions of the area, participate in customary celebrations, and sample local cuisine.

Best Time to Visit Rara Lake

The weather and seasonal fluctuations, among other things, influence the ideal time of year to visit Rara Lake. So we need to understand how the overall feel of the place is in each season. 

Rara Lake is best visited in the months of September through November and March through May. Generally speaking, these months have sunny skies, pleasant daytime temperatures, and chilly evening temperatures. The views of the nearby hills and mountains are breathtaking, and the skies are typically clear. The woodlands and meadows surrounding the lake are also in full bloom at this time of year, creating stunning vistas.

Rara Lake experiences monsoon season from June to August, which can bring torrential rain and sporadic landslides. The lake may turn foggy and less attractive, and the pathways may become slick and muddy. The hills and woodlands surrounding the lake, however, are lush and green at this time of year, making it an excellent time to visit if you're curious about the local flora and animals.

Before leaving, it is advised that you check the weather forecast if you are thinking about visiting Rara Lake. The right apparel and equipment for the season should also be packed because the weather in the mountains can change suddenly and drastically. Additionally, it is advisable to book accommodation and transportation in advance, as facilities in the region are limited.

Ways to Travel to Rara Lake

Due to its distant position, reaching Rara Lake can be a little difficult, but there are a number of transportation choices available to tourists.

Travel Options: The most popular method of getting to Rara Lake is via flying to Talcha, then hiking or taking a car there. The Talcha Airport, which is about 5 kilometers from Rara Lake, is the closest airport to the lake. From Nepalgunj and Surkhet, there are flights to Talcha Airport; the flight lasts about an hour.

Travelers have two options from Talcha: they can either trek to the lake, which takes about 2-3 days, or they can hire a jeep or motorcycle to take them there. The drive takes around 5-6 hours and can be quite bumpy and challenging due to the rugged terrain and narrow roads.

The village of Jumla is the starting point for a 3- to 4-day trip that will get you to Rara Lake. The trip from Jumla is admired by hikers and provides breathtaking views of the nearby hills and mountains.

Distance and Travel Time: Depending on the mode of transportation selected and the departure location, the distance and travel time to Rara Lake may differ. Here are some rough distances and travel times to Rara Lake from neighboring cities:

  • Nepalgunj to Talcha: 261 km (by road) or 1 hour (by flight)

  • Surkhet to Talcha: 197 km (by road) or 45 minutes (by flight)

  • Kathmandu to Talcha: 720 km (by road) or 1 hour 30 minutes (by flight) plus 5-6 hours by jeep or motorcycle

  • Jumla to Rara Lake: 20 km (by foot) or 3-4 days (trekking)

Travel preparation advice: If you're thinking of visiting Rara Lake, there are a few things you should bear in mind. Here are some suggestions to aid with your travel preparation:

Due to the region's lack of infrastructure, it is important to plan ahead and reserve your flights and lodging. Because the weather in the mountains can change fast and unpredictably, you should pack the appropriate clothing and equipment for the season.

As there are few ATMs and credit card facilities in the area, bring enough cash with you. If you are inexperienced with the area, hire a guide or go on a group hike because the terrain can be difficult and there aren't many facilities for passengers.

Conclusion

In conclusion, if you want to experience Nepal's natural beauty in terms of its beautiful lakes, Rar will hold a special charm. The journey to this lake is worthwhile because it is a distinctive and gorgeous location. The stunning scenery and peaceful environs of Rara Lake are likely to make an impression on anybody visiting, whether they are a seasoned hiker or a first-time visitor. So prepare for a once-in-a-lifetime experience and pack your bags!

Karan

Karan

Travel Writer and adventurer