JUMLA TO RARA LAKE

Raralake nestles like a sparkling jewel amongst verdant forested hills at the heart of Nepal's least visited National Park. At just over 5km (3miles) in lergest body of water in the country and lies at an altitude of 293m (963ft) in the district of Mugu. The populations of several villages were relocated to the Terai when the park was inaugurated in 1975, and today the only people living within its boundaries are wardens, police and army officers. Though comparatively short, the hike in from Jumla is strenuous, passing through tranquil valleys and mysterious, magical coniferous forests reminiscent of British Columbia.
To reach Jumla, either fly from Nepalganj or walk from Surkhet. At an altitude of 2370m (7776ft), this dusty town is the starting point for routes heading east into Dolpa, north into Humla and west into Bajura. A few stores lines the 200m (220yd) flag-stoned main street, but despite the outskirts of town, jumla retains an atmosphere of almost total inertia. Bustling it isn't. The cultural center of town is the flag-swathed ChandanNath temple, from within which can be head bell-ringing and horn-blowingpujas every afternoon. The inhabitants of Jumla are mainly high-caste Thakuri and Chhetri Hindus who do not like working as porters.
There are two routes to Rana from jumla - via Bumri to the east or Sinja to the west. The eastern route is the shorter and lower of the two, though also the more strenuous.

Jumla to Rara via Bumri
The Bumrirute has two alternative starts of its own. If there is snow on the hills immediately above Jumla you would be wise to begin along the lower trail into the valley of ltheLah Gad via Padmara and the Khali Lagna. Given good weather, however, a more direct and steeper trail crosses the DanphyaLagna (3600m/11812ft), visible due north of Jumla town.

Due to the elevation reached at this first pass, the best way to cross it with out a headache is to spend an entire day in Jumla on arrival, and then set out after lunch the next day for CharyaChaur (300m/9840ft). It's a peach of a spot in a meadow amongst beautiful pines, with stunning views south across the TilaKhola. The final ascent is steep and best tackled early the nest morning.

Recommended overnight camps for the rest of the walk are Bumri, JhariKhola and Rara. The trail is faint, weaving its way through a wildrness of dense forest and periodically emerging into idyllic clearings and hanging valleys. Camp below Bumri village by the Lah Gad stream on your second night out, and cross the GurchiLekh (3400m/11155ft) to the JhariKhola on the third day. If you are going slowly, there's a perfect camping place at Bulbhule in the Chautha valley as you head north onto this ridge, with a bubbling spring and shady pines.

From JhariKhola the main trail descends north to pina village and the MuguKarnali - look out for a small wooden sign in English pointing out the 'Way To Rara' and the tiny maatibaato (upper path) heading off west to Jhari village and Rara. This is truly trekking in wonderland. The path is often barely discernible, climbing through pristine forested hill country, lpastJhari's cluster of flat-roofed dwellings and up onto a delightful open ridge that eventually drops away to the southern shore of Rara. On the hillside above Jhari are some of the most magnificent Himalayan cedar trees l've ever seen.

Don't dally long if you want to pitch your tents in daylight at Rara. The park headquaters and campsite look close across the lake the north, but it takes a good two hours to walk around to them. Camping is not permitted anywhere else on Rara's shores, and the ban on firewood use and fishing is strictly enforced. Be sure to bring sufficient kerosene, as your porters will have to cook with it.

Once at Rara you'll be reluctant to leave. It has a rara peace and tranquility and a captivating beauty. With on grazing animals in the park the woods have reverted to their natural state with dense undergrowth alive with monkeys and chattering birds. You may be lucky and spot some of the other animals that the park sustains - red pandas, musk deer, Himalayan tahr and noisy wild boar. There are otters too, and the lake is an important stopover for migrating waterfowl.

Spend one of your days here walking round the lake on the path built for king Mahendra to mark his visit in 1964. Look out for ancient Mallastelae and the overgrown temples of Rara and Chapra Villages on the north side of the lake.

Walk-out via sinja
To return to Jumla via the western Sinja route, leave Rara at the bridge where the KhaterKhola flows out of the lake in its northwestern corner. Follow the north bank of the river for a couple of kiloimeters and then turn south up a steep 1000m (3280ft) ascent onto the ChuchemaraDanda (the extension west of the GurchiuLekh) The views north into Humla from this ridge are superb and the airy trail a joy to walk. Tecommendedovermight camps are at Gorosingha, Sinja and Jaljala, but an extra day would be well spent along the way as it's fascinating country steeped in history and tradition. There are two paths between Gorosingha and Sinja. The shorter, steeper one via Okarpata has more open mountain vistas but misses out the stunning GatteKhola valley and botan.

Sinja used to the winter capital of the Malla kingdom, but its old ruined town (Kotgaon) lies on the other side of SinjaKhola and is now overgrown, after a long walk from Sinja up the forested JaljalaKhola, the final campsite at Jaljala is in a vast open meadow where spirited wild horses graze on the lush grass. The trail then crosses an unnamed pass at 3500m (11484ft), before skirting around the valley of the JugadKhola to rejoin the easterly route at CharyaChaur.


Day to Day Itinerary for Jumla Rara Lake Trekking

Day 01: Arrival in Kathmandu airport & transfer to hotel. O/N Hotel

Day 02: Free day in Kathmandu & official work. O/N Hotel

Day 03: By bus or plane to Nepalgunj

Day 04: By plane to Jumla(2500m)

Day 05: Jumla to Danphe Lagna camp (3500m)
Follow the main street of Jumla north of the Jugad valley. Trail passes through Sisnamul(2830m) enters a forest of big trees. Trail becomes steeper and climbs through meadows to Danphe Lagna, a pass at3720m offering a views of Patrasi Himal (6860m) and Jagdul Himal (5785m) to the east.

Day 06: Danphe Lagna camp to Chautha(2770m)
Trail descends through forests of fir , birches , walnuts and bamboo to a Hiran Duski(2840m). cross a long bridge of Sinja Khola and climb steeply to reach to Chautha.

Day 07Chautha to Dhotu
Trail ascents and descents through rocky trial and forest. Passing through wooded valley and some fields. Above Bhulbule trail emerges into an immense tree less meadow. Ghurchi Lagna, a pass 3450m where prayer flags are flapping . there are views of the Mugu Karnali river and snowy peaks of Tibet

Day 08: Dhotu to Rara Lake;(2980m)
Cross a river and make a steep climb to the Jhyari village of Thakuri. Continue climb through cedar forests to a huge meadow atop 3050m ridge with a great view of Rara lake. Descend a short distance to Rara Lake.

Day 09: Rest day and explore

 Day 10: Rara lake to Gorosingha
Take a lower trail that descends gradually to river. Cross a river and climb an area reforested with pine and rhododendron forests. There are views of Rara lake and excellent views of western Himalaya from the ridge.
Rara lake to Gorosingha
Take a lower trail that descends gradually to river. Cross a river and climb an area reforested with pine and rhododendron forests. There are views of Rara lake and excellent views of western Himalaya from the ridge.

Day 11: Gorosingha to Sinja(3000m)
The route heads down to the Ghatta valley. The trail follows the Sinja khola and climbs a big gully from the stream to a ridge at 3450m. after here trail descends gradually to Okarpata(3070M). it is one of the big village of whitewashed. Trail descends steeply down rocky trail to Sinja. Sinja was the capital of the Malla dynasty that ruled western Nepal. There is a large temple of Bhagwati.

Day 12: Sinja to Jaljala Chaur
Trail crosses the sinja khola on a wooden cantilever bridge to reach to Dhobe khola. After passing a few villages and temple trek is through forests of pines, birches and oaks.

Day 13: Jaljala Chaur to Jumla
Keep climbing through forest to another meadow. Just below the ridge , there is a few houses at Chauri Khola. Cross another ridge at Chere3010m to reach to Jumla.

Day 14: Jumla to Nepalgung to Kathmandu. by air Day 15Free day in Kathmandu. Day 16End of Programme


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