The next major destination for tourists, “Rara Lake” is the biggest and the deepest freshwater lake in the Himalayas of Nepal. Located in the Jumla and Mugu Districts the Rara Lake is the main centrepiece of Rara National Park.
Rara Lake – 2020 All You Need to Know
Rara National Park
Covering 106 sq. km Rara National Park is Nepal’s smallest and most scenic national park. Established in 1976, most of the park remains at an altitude of about 3,000 meters. The park with the country’s biggest lake also protects and inhabitants’ the most beautiful alpine and subalpine ecosystem of the Himalaya. The park is managed by the Department of National Parks and Wildlife Conservation, established to protect the unique flora and fauna of Huma-Jumla region.
Rara Lake/Rara Tal Nepal
Rara Lake also known as ‘Mahendra Tal,’ lies at an altitude of 2,990 m above sea level and has a water surface of 10.8 square km, with a maximum depth of 167 meters. Oval in shape the Rara Lake is 5.1 km in length and 2.7 km in width. Chuchemara Peak (4,039 meters) on the southern side and on the northern side, the peaks of Ruma Kand (3,731 m.) and Malika Kand (3,444 m) frame the alpine freshwater Rara lake making it the biggest lake in Nepal.
Due to the altitude factor, the climate is much more pleasant during summers but becomes very cold during the winter. The Months of September / October and April to May are the best time to visit the lake. December to March is the cold, where the temperatures go down below freezing point, blocking ways due to heavy snowfall. The Monsoon season which falls from July to October is short, but the period between June to August is regarded as summer where the weather conditions get hot making the Rara National Park Trek difficult.
Flora and Fauna
Rara falls within the Karnali River zone, one of Nepal ‘s three major river systems. The habitat supports unique flora and fauna with rare and vulnerable species. As per the numbers and statistics, the park consists of 1074 species of flora among which 16 are common in Nepal, whereas the fauna includes 51 species of mammals and 214 species of birds. Rhododendron, fir, brown oak and birch species are mostly found in the sub-alpine region, whereas Blue Pine, Rhododendron, West Himalayan Spruce, Black Juniper and Himalayan Cypress are mostly found below 3200-meter altitude. 51 species of mammals including red panda, black bear, yellow-throated marten, ghoral, serow, snow leopard, wolf and musk deer have also been reported sightings. The lake magnetizes migrant birds like teals, pochards and mallards, other birds seen frequently include the Himalayan Snowcock, Chukar Partridge, Himalayan Monal, Kalij Pheasant and Blood Pheasant.
About Rara Lake Trekking
Starting from a beautiful town in western Nepal named Jumla, the trek trail proceeds following the north bank of the Tila Khola River crossing the Chaudhabise Khola passing and ascending up the Padmara valley. You trek through unrivalled natural beauty to reach Daphne Langa Pass at an altitude of 3,500 m (11,480 ft).
The path then continues climbing gently to Ghurchi Lagna pass 3450m/11316ft which is covered with round stone Buddhist monuments and prayer flags along with a range of majestic Himalayan peaks and the daunting terrain of Dolpo region with a complete day exploring the Rara lake before ending our adventure in Nepalgunj.
The trek, at times, can be strenuous and requires trekkers to camp in many parts. The sight of culture and landscape on the way is somewhat different from the rest of Nepal.
How do I get to Rara Lake?
Via Domestic Flight: The easiest way to get to Rara Lake is to take a flight to Nepaljung from Kathmandu & fly again to Tancha (Mugu) airport followed by a 3 hours trek to Rara Lake. There are frequent flights from Kathmandu to Nepaljung.
Alternatively, you can take an overland tour to Nepaljung & then trek to Rara lake.