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May 21, 2019

Visitors Spellbound by Rara Lake

– HB Kham

Rara lake -an indispensable icon of Rara National Park, located in Mugu district of Nepal, around 23 kilometers far from Southern Chinese border, cradled in the lap of fresh and icy mountains, camouflaged by dense green foliage, thriving with live flora and fauna suddenly cast a magical spell upon a visitor, who arrives at this lake.

In short, the main attractions are:
• Blue colored Rara Lake with its natural scenic beauty
• Boating across the lake
• Horse riding to and from Rara till vehicle stoppage
• Local homestay with local foods, dance, and songs
• Few resorts and inns with tents available
• The icy mountains standing around the lake
• Village folks and indigenous cultures
• Talcha airport near the lake

Rara Lake Visitors jumping in high spirit
Rara Visitors jumping in high spirit

The dazzling and mesmerizing effect it has upon the fragile mind of a visitor is difficult to narrate as words are limited to translate the real feeling, emotions that one may experience by seeing it. The first impression one gets is as if a supernatural power’s mastermind is at work to create this divine lake on earth.

Naturally created at a height of above 2990 meters, the Rara lake extends to 5 kilometers in length and 3 kilometers in width with its depth at least 167 meters. The locals claim that no one has ever been drowned into this lake while boating.

The lake’s spherical shape can be observed while rowing a boat. It takes a full day to boat around the entire lake while it takes at least 45 minutes to go across the width of the lake. It is said that it is not safe to the boat after 12 PM in the afternoon because the lake water ripples and waves rise high and boats may be capsized. So, usually boating is done only before noon starts.

So enchanting and bewitching is the beauty of the lake that a single glimpse of it can make one feel as if a heavenly object has descended upon the earth to enable the human beings to forget their worries and pains with a blissful divine moment to watch it.

Main Attractions

Visitor enjoying horse ride

The first arrival at this lake at times may confuse an individual that there seems nothing around the lake, but as gradually one’s thoughts mingle with the wavelength of natural beauty, one can find that this is really a heaven on earth.

The cool breeze that blows in at late evening and early morning can chill your bone. So, one must carry woolen clothes to protect from coldness while visiting this place.

The horses are the main attractions for any visitor, as one can hire a horse to reach up to the edge of the lake and return from the place where vehicles are stopped and not allowed to proceed further. The horse rides costs in between Rs 600 to Rs. 800 but can depend on how you bargain for the price.
Then you may come across few hotels, inns, resorts and local homestays which are other attractions around the lake, while the security of the lake is overseen by Nepal army personnel for which one barrack is stationed along the bank of the lake. Since this lake area falls within the jurisdiction of Rara National Park, one must follow all the instructions given by the officials.

How to reach Rara lake?

Rara from Kathmandu is around 800 kilometers far away. To reach Rara lake one should take a schedule of a minimum of six days to reach and return from Rara.
However, for a tourist team, the schedule can be flexible beyond this. Anyway, one should have enough time to travel in this region as the roads are very narrow which runs across sleepy mountains at great heights.

Local Jumli children posing for picture

The small vehicle is suggested for tourists to board for their safety as two vehicles cannot pass simultaneously. From Kathmandu, you may take luxurious Scorpio or taxi to have a night halt at Surkhet late at night.

Then travel from Surkhet to Kalikot, then to Jumla and then to Mugu may be scheduled as per the time available. Most of the mountain roads pass along the Karnali river that roars with its white foamy waters below the roads which might be around 1000 meters above the meandering river.
The airport in this area known as “Talcha” is near Rara lake which can be used if you feel that you are not able to return by vehicle. You may fly to Surkhet or Nepalgunj airport from where you take flight for Kathmandu.

One should not be disgusted with the foul smell that comes from the black skinned people of Mugu and Jumla you meet on the way to Rara.

The locals say that the lake changes its color frequently. That is very interesting. The lake water is very transparent. One can see the fishes moving across the water underneath it, but no one is allowed to fish and swim here.

According to folk tale related to the emergence of Rara lake, once God Shiva visited the village around this place and looked for shelter in the night. There were 7 small villages here in those days. But no one gave shelter to God Shiva. At last one old lay sheltered fed the lord. After eating only one loaf of bread made out of wheat flour, lord Shiva washed his hands.

Rara Visitors taking lunch at a resort in the vicinity of Rara lake

While washing his hands he is said to have cursed the villagers by saying that all villagers should be submerged with water that oozed from his palms. And the same thing happened that night. A magestic lake was created overnight. Most of the villages were submerged along with their livestock and houses.

There is a small temple even today at the site where the lord Shiva took shelter at the old lady’s hut. The lord Shiva had blessed the old lady with her granary full of all grains and wealth and disappeared. Rara previously was known as Mahendratal named after late king Mahendra.

Such a magnificent heavenly lake if protected and promoted for future tourism prospective can be of optimum value as it can be good means of revenue. It is suggestive that further enhancement of infrastructure development leading to the lake can really boost up Nepal’s tourism sector.

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