Rara – a drop of happiness amid a lake of trouble

Aishworya Shrestha

July 23, 2022


Rara – a drop of happiness amid a lake of trouble

KATHMANDU: The beauty of the biggest freshwater lake in Nepal, Rara, drags tourists from across the globe to the hidden gem of Mugu.

As they say, the lake is magnificent, clean, and untouched with shades of blue brimming differently under different lights and corners. However, the roads leading to it are an entirely different story.

We reached Rara via the Jumla-Rara road, which was under construction at multiple points.

Most terrifying was the turning at Saatghumti where a JCB was digging out rocks from the roadside hill.

The huge rocks were then either loaded into a truck or were thrown into the national park conservation area from high above.

The private company in charge, which had apparently received the tender from the Nepal Government did not have any environmental engineer or a civil engineer, and was being constructed under the sole supervision of the overseers.

Consequently, you could see half of the roots of the trees dangling above the roadside ready to fall at any instant.

The haphazard removal of the trees, soil and rock intensifies the probability of landslides and falling rocks in the area, putting lives and biodiversity of the national park at grave risk.

Rara was a prime destination advertised in the Visit Nepal brochure 2020. Although a beautiful sight, it still has a long way to go to make people want to visit it again!

The road extension in progress in multiple areas made the road even more dangerous with accumulated elevations of rocks and slippery mud.

Our four-wheeler vehicle slipped and changed directions multiple times amidst such conditions, leaving us chanting the name of Gods.

The six-hour travel lacked public washrooms, there were no health posts or pharmacies or fuel stations or mechanics in sight, and there was no place we could buy food or water, on top of the turnings and rocky roads. Basically, you had to be prepared for any emergencies beforehand.

The beautiful scenes of the Khali Patan, Sano Patan, lush greenery and Silajit overflowing the hills, herds of sheep grazing, horses and cattle, however, somewhat make up for the lack of facilities available in the region.

Once you reach Rara, the beauty makes up for all the troubles you meet on your way. The lake is mesmerizing.

You get to travel the lake in a boat and witness the beauty from all sides. If you decide to stay overnight, lots and lots of houseflies and moths will welcome you during your stay!

Carry anti-allergens if needed. We then walked to Murmu village, a rural civilization, Murmu top, where you get a bird’s eye view of Rara, then walked around Rara sinking in its beauty.

There are 5 temples of Lord Shiva at the place, with Chavinaath at a height where the view is astounding.

While back, we also got to witness a rainbow on top of the lake!

After the night at Rara, we booked a flight from Talcha Airport to Nepalgunj the other day, rode on the local horses for three hours from our hotel to the airport, and waited the whole day outside the airport just to have the flight canceled.

There were mothers with babies waiting along with us. People usually traveled from the district headquarters, Gamgadi, taking a 45 minutes bike ride to the airport, and the locals usually walked.

Local transportation here is rare and expensive. The area outside the airport is infested with flies.

Thankfully, the area had a hotel where we stayed for three more nights with our flights being canceled every day.

We walked to the airport with our luggage every day, wait for the planes, and sometimes even have our luggage weighed and checked then returned back disappointed at the canceled flights.

Many chose to opt-out of air transport and went via road to Nepalgunj to then get a flight via the Nepalgunj airport.

With our hopes running out and hotel bills adding up every day, we decided to go via road to Nepalgunj.

After learning that the road was disastrous, we decided to avert to Jumla and then try our luck from the Jumla airport.

Vehicle on reserve from Talcha Airport to Jumla bazaar cost NPR 25,000 after a bargain.

We took the road we had taken earlier to go back to Jumla.

Rara was a prime destination advertised in the Visit Nepal brochure 2020. Although a beautiful sight, it still has a long way to go to make people want to visit it again!