Rara Lake Trek
We (the students of travel and tourism) planned for a trip. Since the tour was long and was costly only few students registered their name. I along with my 15 college friends planned for a trek to Rara Lake & Khaptad National Park. We set out for the trek on 10th November. We had only planned to go there but were not going through any trekking agency nor we had hired any guide for the trip. We wanted to make it full adventurous and wanted to explore by our own. We had planned to complete the whole journey without itinerary and had decided to stay overnight where it would get dark. I have presented some description and our experience about the trek:
Day 01 Depart from Kathmandu
We began our journey from Kathmandu. We went to the Gongabu bus station there we hired a local bus. Then, we departed from Kathmandu at 5 pm in a night bus. It was a awesome feeling that we were heading to the place quoted as the "Nymph of Heaven". We all were pretty excited about it. It took us three hour to reach Kurintar. Then, we had our dinner at Kurintar. After dinner we were busy talking about our excitement and after some time everyone felt sleepy and had a sound sleepy. I don't want to remember my experience on the bus. After dinner everyone were dreaming but I couldn't sleep cause I am not habitual to travelling on the night bus. The whole night I was staring at others and feeling greedy how all could they sleep on the seat of the bus. I was really missing my bed. At that time, the bus driver and I was the only person to be awake on the bus.
Day 02 Kathmandu - Nepalgunj - Surkhet - Rakam Karnali
As we know, Highways of Nepal lack enough toilet facility. One had to wait almost two to three hours to reach the place with the toilet. At 4 am the driver stopped the bus for few minutes and the conductor cried out saying anyone interested to go toilet can go for few minutes. After having a short visit to nearby toilet at Dang bus station we had an early morning tea. After having a cup of black tea we again got on a bus. After 3 hours, at 7:15 am we reached a place named Chhapargaudi in Nepalgunj. Again we stopped there to have our breakfast. We all had egg, tea and biscuits. We then rode on our bus. Though we had hired a bus to Surkhet after few hours’ drive from Chhaprgaudi, we were transferred to the next bus with our luggage. The bus was of low quality than that we hired but we had no other option than getting on the bus driver prescribed us. After 4 hours drive we reached Surkhet at 11 am and had lunch there. We then had a long drive to Rakam Karnali. I guess it was around 7 pm when we reached there and stayed at hotel there after having some good dinner. After travelling on the bus for more than 12 hours we all were tired so had a sound sleep.
Day 03 Rakam Karnali - Nagma
After early morning breakfast we again had to make a drive. We then drove for 6 hours on a graveled road until we reach to the place named Manma. It was almost 2pm when we reached there so we were very hungry and were dying to have the lunch. And we had our lunch but it was so embarrassing that the lunch was the worst lunch I ever had. We were limited budget traveler and were hungry too so we had to eat that lunch. After taking rest for about 30 minutes we headed towards the next stop where we could stay overnight. After few hours’ drive after lunch we reached a place named Nagma. It was a really cold place. After we had our good dinner, immediately went to our bed.
Day 04 Nagma - Goti Chiula
In the morning it was so cold outside that we didn’t wanted to come out of the quilt. We then had a cup of herbal tea. The temperature at this place was below freezing point I guess below O°. We then hired a jeep from Nagma. Then, we drove on Jeep for more than 2 hours. The road was very rough that vehicles on the road needed to be repaired and maintained time and again. Our jeep also needed some maintenance and it took almost 2 hrs to get maintained. After 2 hours we again got on the jeep. During our jeep drive we had to get off from the jeep time and again on the risky and tough roads. After an hour drive our jeep got struck in the muddy road and we had to stop there for 2:30 hrs. We had to get on the mud to take our jeep out of it. Finally another jeep driver pulled out our jeep from the mud. Again only after half an hour of drive from that muddy place our jeep stopped working. The driver said it can’t be repaired on the middle of the road. He said that we must stay overnight there but we were running out of time. So we decided to move on and book any other available vehicle on the road. After such a long time we were very hungry but there were no villages or guest houses near the place where our jeep stopped working. We waited for the vehicle to come that would give us a lift. But as we were 16 in numbers small vehicle was not enough for us and big vehicles came after waiting for an hour. As it was very remote place of the country very few vehicles moved on that road. After an hour wait we got the Truck that gave us lift up to the place named Goti Chiula. It was the first experience travelling on the truck. We were travelling on the cargo truck that was carrying iron materials so it made us uncomfortable to sit but we had no other option. It had already turned dark and stars were shining on the sky. We had great view of twinkling stars above us. The road was very rough and dangerous too. Had the driver imbalanced the truck on those rough roads the truck would have fallen 150-200 m down. It was nearly 8 pm when we reached Goti Chiula. We paid Rs. 1500 for the truck. We enjoyed a barbeque of Potato and chicken at the guest house there and had our dinner. After such a tough day of drive on the dangerous road we were very tired. It is one of the unforgettable days of my life. After having dinner we had a sound sleep.
Day 05 Goti Chiula - Murma via Chuchemara Danda
On this day after an early morning tea, we started our trekking at 6 am in the morning. Wife of the owner of the guest house showed us the short cut way to Rara Lake and told us we would reach Rara Lake by 12 pm. We trekked on the trial the owner’s wife told us. We all were excited that we would reach Rara Lake for lunch on this day. The owner gave us the phone number of the Hotel at Rara Lake. The trek was very tough. We had to go through 2/3 steep hills. Chuchemara Danda at an altitude of meter was the toughest hill that we climbed. It took about 2 hours to climb this hill. The locals expected we would reach Rara Lake at 12 pm but it was already 6 pm when we reached the top of Chuchamare Danda 3785m and from the top of this hill we had an awesome view of Rara Lake and the Himalayan ranges on the north. From the top of this hill we also had an awesome view of the setting sun. After 12 hours of walk we all were tired. But after we saw Rara Lake we all forgot our tiredness and regained our energy. We were still pretty far from Rara Lake. There were very few villages on the way and very few water sources on the trial so we all were feeling dehydrated and exhausted when we reached Chuchamare Danda. We had entered Rara National park and it was getting darker and darker but we had just 2/3 torch lights with us. So it was getting difficult for us all to move ahead. But we had to. There was risk of wild animals of inside the national park. The torch lights were getting deem and the trails were not clearly visible so most of us were getting terrified and had the feeling that we are lost inside the jungle cause the jungle was leading us to the much denser forest. Then we decided to call the hotel owner in Rara (the hotel owner in Goti Chiula had provided the number of the owner of hotel in Rara). The network signals were very weak and it was very hard to understand the voice. We were not sure the hotel owner understood us so we called to the customer care center and requested the number of Rara National Park’s head office. Finally the call connected properly and we request them to send army personnel for our rescue and we gave them the information about the location where we were. Finally, about few hours wait at the jungle the army men and the hotel owners arrived to the place where we were lost. Finally everyone breathed the sigh of relief when we saw the army personnel and the villagers arrived. They rescued us from the forest in the middle of the night. It took us about half an hour to reach the nearby village from the place where we thought we were lost. Then the army personnel returned to the head office after handing us to the villagers. Then we had late night dinner on the nearby village at 11 pm in the evening and stayed there.
Day 06 At Rara
We woke up in the morning then had the breakfast. The village was very small and early in the morning all the villagers had came outside the house we all stayed and they started questioning us and were interested to know how we were lost. We described them each and every detail of our trek and finally after talking to the villagers we came to know that we had lost our way and taken the longer way instead of taking the shorter one. Then, they told us that we were staying in the village just few minutes away from the most awaited destination (Rara Lake). After the lunch in the village, we said goodbye to the villagers. We were feeling very happy to see the kind and friendly villagers who came to rescue us in the middle of the night. We were thankful to the friendly villagers. When we were about to leave we asked the owner of the house where we stayed (the owner was the chief of that village), how much was the cost for the rooms, lunch, dinner and breakfast? He replied “You are our guest and guests are like god. How I can take money with the god?” This made us much more emotional. The man also requested us to make a visit to his house again. Then after emotional goodbye we moved towards our destination. It took us 20 minutes from the village to reach Rara Lake. When we reached Rara Lake everyone’s mouth remained opened. Every one of us was excited to see the spectacular view of Rara Lake. The feeling after reaching Rara Lake was inexpressible. We all were pretty excited and enjoyed our whole day there. We moved around the lake and snapped some photos. The temperature in the evening was pretty cold so we all had some alcoholic party. It was the best night of our life. We all were drunk. We danced, sang the whole night. Some of our friends were unconscious after the party and had started vomiting. At that night none of us slept for a single minute. We enjoyed, enjoyed and enjoyed the whole night.
Day 07 Rara - Maubheri
Early in the morning, at around 7:30 am some of our friends went for boating and some of us were packing the bags because now we were heading to Khaptad National Park. After everyone packed their luggage we had so breakfast and headed to Khaptad National Park. Around 12 pm, we stopped for the lunch near the bridge separating two districts Mugu and Bajura. After our lunch we were about to face the toughest part of our trek. It was about 20-30 minutes way, but the way was adventurous and with full of thrill in it. It was a way through the hill, locally named as Range Vir. The hill was so slippery that we crawled like a baby on that way. Had we slipped from that hill we would have gone down to Karnali River about 200 meters down. After crossing this risky place we all walked for few hours and when the clock struck 5 pm we reached a village and everybody was tired so we made a plan to stay at that village. By the time we reached that village everybody gave up the trek to Khaptad and we planned to return Kathmandu. We then had our lunch. One of my friends requested the hotel owner to make the curry of Pumpkin and meat. Though it sounded surprising to me when I heard the new type of curry he ordered. When I tasted it I loved the taste. After the dinner we decided to stay 2 days at Bardia National Park that would come in our way to Kathmandu. Then we went to bed early because everyone was tired.
Day 08 Maubheri - Kolti
On this day after having tea we continued our trek. The trail was pretty easy this day we just had to go downhill along the river. At around 10:30 we had our lunch in the place named Ratapani. And then we moved ahead. This was also pretty long day of trek we reached a place named Kolti at the evening. At about 8 pm we reached this place, which had the facility of hotel. We made an overnight stay there after having a spicy dinner.
Day 09 Kolti - Pandusain
After having breakfast we continued our trek. Today we headed to Pandusain. We walked for 6 hours on a sunny day to reach the village named Pandusain. The village from where we could get a vehicle that would take us to Martadi, the nearest jeep station. After walking on a easy surface along some villages like Samal gaon and Pilsera we reached Pandusain, religiously important place for Hindu. There is a belief among the locals of this village that Pandusain is a place where 5 Pandavs stayed during their 12 years exile from the kingdom. This village has been stated in ‘Mahavarat’ the Hindu epic. We had our lunch here. After lunch we were ready for a drive to Martadi . But mother of bad luck sprang upon us, we had to stay overnight in Pandusain because a tractor struck on the muddy road which blocked the only way to Martadi. We then waited till the late afternoon praying the road to be cleared up. But no one could pull the tractor out until the evening so we thought better not to travel on such a risky road at the night. So we had to stay at Pandusain unwillingly. One cute little dog followed me for 6 hours from Kolti to Pandusain. I fed the dog well and kept it in the same hotel we stayed.
Day 10 & 11 Pandusain - Martadi - Bardia
This morning we took a ride on a tractor to Martadi, district headquarters of Bajura. The road was all dusty. We were all covered by the dust and were sleeping on the tractor until we reach Martadi. It took us 4 hours to reach Martadi. We had our lunch there at a restaurant and then headed to a bus station taking a drive on a jeep. We reached the bus station at 5 pm. luckily, this time we got a bus on the station. It was the only bus left that would head to our next destination Bardia National Park. We then hired a bus and left the station at 6 pm heading Bardia. We had our dinner on the way. Everyone slept on bus the whole night. Luckily this time I too had great sleep after the dinner. We were all driven to Nepalgunj by that bus from there we headed to the bus station to take a new bus to Bardia but yet another bad luck came on our way the bus staff of the very route were on strike. Luckily we got a bus that helped us to take to Bardia. We reached Bardia national park gate around 2 pm and our friends’ uncle, the staff of Bardia National Park, drove us to Thakur Dwara. It was already 3 pm when we reached the resort. So we had noodles as the lunch. Then after lunch we went to Elephant Breeding center which was nearby the resort. After returning from the breeding center we had our dinner. After dinner we listened to a lecture given by the resort owner about the Royal Bengal Tiger. Then decided the next day we all would go for a jungle walk in Bardia National park. Then we slept at the resort after few hours talk.
Day 12 Bardia
On this day we woke up early had some breakfast then we all got ready for the jungle walk. We all roamed around Bardia national park for nearly 4 hours (from 8’o clock in the morning to 12’o clock in the afternoon. We were hoping to see the Royal Bengal Tiger but unfortunately this time too we were unlucky. Though we walked in the national park for 3-4 hrs we were unable to see the tiger. But we saw rhino and many bird species. We then returned back to resort and had lunch at 1 pm and we were free for the day so after lunch we went to the nearby Tharu village seeking to get a chance to have the taste of Tharu local dish. We all mainly wanted to have the taste of Ghongi (local name for snail) and the pickle of mouse. But unfortunately we couldn’t. So being disappointed we returned to the resort. We had some wine and beer then had some dinner. After dinner we went for a sleep.
Day 13 Bardia - Kathmandu
It was the last day of our trip and we were heading Kathmandu. We all woke up early in the morning. The bus was ready near our resort. Then at 5 am in the morning we departed from the resort. We had our lunch on Doti at 11 am. Then again got into the bus had some light food at Malekhu and finally arrived Kathmandu at 8 pm.