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Rara National Park (hereafter RNP) is located in the  Karnali Province of North-West Nepal, between 29º 26′ – 29º 34′ North and 82º 00′ – 82º10′ East. The park, smallest national park in Nepal,  was gazetted in 1976. It covers an area of 106 km2. Out of the total area, 10.8 km2 is occupied by Rara Lake, which is considered as the largest lake of Nepal. The Buffer Zone of RNP was declared on September 25, 2006  covering 198 km2  surrounding the park . Similarly, the park was listed as a Ramsar Site under high altitude wetlands on September 23, 2007 . There are 156 User Groups organized under 10 Users Committees and there are 19 Buffer Zone Community Forests . There are 13,876 population within  one Municipality and two Rural municipalities of Mugu and one Rural Municipality of Jumla district. A larger part of  RNP lies in Mugu district while a southern tip of the Park lies in Jumla district.

Accessibility of RaRa National Park

Rara National Park is accessable through both by air and land. It is located in 55 minutes flying distance  from Kathmandu to Nepalgunj and around 35 minutes from Nepalgunj to Talcha airport, Mugu. It takes about three hours walk from Talcha airport that leads to headquarters of RNP. Another option to reach to RNP Headquarters is to fly from Nepalgunj to Julma airport and to trek for 2 to 3 days. There are more options to reach the RNP by road. Two days travel by bus from Surkhet to Salleri, Jhyari of Mugu on  Karnali Highway and  one  and half hour trek  lead to park haedquaters. Travelers may prefer trekking of seven hours through Bhulbhule, Jumla to Chuchemara (highest altitude mountain of RNP) to Milichaur to park headquaters. Private buses also operate from Kathmandu to Surkhet and Nepalgunj. Bus or other small vehicle services from Surkhet lead to Gamgadhi, headquarters of Mugu district and little more than three hours walk from Gamgadhi to Rara.

Statement of Significance

RNP, even being the smallest national park of Nepal by area is the home of biggest lake of the country situated at the elevation of 2990 m. This pristine lake hosts several migrant birds, endemic fish species (mention the spcies) and also renowned as a glory of Karnali region. Along with rich in biodiversity, the lake has also huge potential to become a major tourist destination. Breathtaking trekking routes, unique Mugali culture can play supplementary roles to attract tourist.

RNP also hosts endangered faunal species like Red Panda and Musk Deer including 54 mammal species and 296 species of birds with more than 49 spiecies of migratory birds.  The park is protecting higher altitude landscape as habitat of different flora and fauna. The majority of vegetation in the park is dominated by blue pine and different species of rhododendrons, Himalayan spruce, Himalayan cypress, Lauth salla etc. Natural beauty of the park is the main source of attraction for domestic and international visitors, which could be very supportive to uplift the rural as well as national economy.


Topography & Drainage

The park is located at an elevation range between 1,800 m (Karkibada) and 4,039 m (Chuchemara Lekh). Lake Rara is the main attraction of the Park which lies at an elevation of 2,990 m (9,810 ft). It is in oval shape stretching in east-west axis, with a maximum length of 5 km, width of 3 km, and  depth up to 167 m, which drains into Mugu Karnali River via Nijar Khola. The Chuchemara lekh is located at the southern side of the lake,  and two peaks Ruma Kand (3731 m) and Malika Kand (3444 m) are located in the northern part (DNPWC 2010).

Climate, Weather & Temperature

The climate of Rara is similar to the south of high Himalayas: dry winter and wet monsoonal summer. The winter is quite severe with ground frost begins in October and snow falling occurs from December to April. In the last 10 years, the average annual temperature in the park was little over 11°C. Monthly maximum and minimum mean temperature is 27°C and 4°C in June and December, respectively. From Decemeber to February, the temperature drops below to freezing point and occasional heavy snowfall accumulates upto 3-4 feet high. Pretty rainfall occurs in june  to August. April normally sees the start of the warmer season which steadily increases to a pleasant temperature until September.