Namaste, where are you from?
Jumla? A tiny boy responded somewhere middle of the group.
Jumla! Where? I was thinking, the group of students were from somewhere nearby Rara village. They were replying with reading data of Rara National Park at the premises of Rara Lake.
I continuously asked, where are you from in Sinja? They replied in group, Kanakasundari High School, Hatsinja, Jumla. Wow! I really impressed with young children who are studying at grade 8 but exceptionally look tiny. I am sure that it was because of compromised the basic needs due to poverty associated with chronic malnutrition. In a way, these children are lucky enough. They born in such a precious and historical place where the Nepali language was evolved. And they could make Rara in a day walking distance from their residence which is the biggest lake in Nepal.
Humm..how many children in Kathmandu have known about this facts and passion except rhetoric responses during exams. Do the parents even tell this crucial information with their children? Is any parent ready to send their children to Rara on their own? About 20 children, who born as excluded and marginalized, I found them very wise, and passionate towards the learning and nation. I really happy and grateful with my friends and relatives who keep on sending their children all the way from USA and beyond. Three years back, one of my Canadian professor, trekked from Jumla to Mugu with her 9 and 11 years’ daughters and I was doing 16 years running to young girls. Today, it is time for having positive and proactive mind set and move towards. I asked myself, why do my Nepali and non-Nepali folks don’t like to visit Seti-Karnali except official or sponsor trip.
Suddenly, I started to recall my childhood. I knew both Rara and Sinja very simply when I was contested quiz competition at Gauriganj primary school, Chitwan. During those days, neither I rode bus nor walked beyond 3 hours nor knew the lakes where I spent my most of the time in and around two small lakes in Chitwan national park namely 20 thousand and sisters in laws lake. I was sad when I knew the name of lakes again in quiz contest. But time is changing though the pace is very slow and my dream came to true.
It was third time of mine to meet Rara in 16 years course. First time, I entered via Dafne lake,Jumla Jhyari and Rara. Second time, I trekked from Narakot, Bota, Chuchemara and Rara. And now, I walked through Kolti Bajura, Humla, Gamgadi, Mugu and Rara. There is an another route, I yet to make; Kolti, Bolding Bajura, Katyad and Rara. Hopefully, I could make it one day. Now, the rough motor road near to Rara Buffer zone via Surkhet, just about 1 an hour takes place to reach Rara from there. The road not really bad indeed. The road up to Nagma, boarder between Jumla and Kalikot, blacktopped. Then the road is rough but not hard now. The foot trail takes minimum 2 days to reach and 2 days to back either way from Jumla or Kolti. I prefer to spend 3-3 days on trekking and 2 days in Rara lake to rejoice the beauty of Rara. If there is any serious concern of health or any Emergency or anything, there are other options too but required money to use flights up to Gamgadi or Rara Army Barack for Helicopter. Further, Barack provides the medical service in case of emergency. There are options to make trip more adventurous and fruitful. Few of my friends from Australia had hired porters for tenting and camping and horse riding which seems bit expensive but fantastic where as my friends from Germany and Austria trek and stayed at home stay that is cheap as well as more sharing and learning with community. The tenting at Rara lake, wow ! exceptionally lovely, but need warm clothes even during summer season due to high altitude. Never forget to bring hiking socks to compete with steep hills.
It is situated at 2990-meter-high from the sea level, 5000-meter length, 3000-meter width, 167-meter depth. However, realized that water level is decreasing from the observation of my 3 visits. The Katyad river nearly look like small drainage where as it was like big irrigation canal in 2003 and small canal in 2014. It could be due to effect of climate change and irrational development. The lake was surrounded by dense forest with couple of meadow. The sun is colouring in a way during raise, shine and set that it is royal choreographer. Too many things need to be done to preserve the essence of Rara. The local management committee is trying to manage few things such as boating, cleanliness, hotel management, safety and security etc. though long way to go.
Few of my friends complained, what’s in Rara, nothing? I asked questions to them before responding their question. what would you want to see or escape? There is everything and so precious. Rara constantly is changing her colours and motion throughout 24 hours, it is sleepless lake indeed. To me it is more than us and plant though she hasn’t have attributes as possess by living things but she provides the habitat for many of us. You may not agree with me but I claimed that Rara is more than us in many ways. It is ocean of love and pride of each of us in Nepal. Rara is not for Pizza, mo:mo etc. it is for sharing, reading, reciting poems, songs, yoga, meditation, living in nature etc. and fully recharged for hope and stewardship for your personality, peace and prosperity. You won’t hear the modern drums but you hear the music which is composed by fishes, birds, winds, waves, leaves, rain around there. In between March to September, the weather is very pleasant and sexy. It is for creation and recreation. The meadow occupies by horses, cows, sheep, goats with and without their owner but they are bonded with their own owner, returned at their respective family when the winter starts by around September. Likewise, the entire meadow is being occupied by varieties of flowers which gives of feeling of all colours that exist in this universe. Thus, here, I strongly recommended to spend at least 2 nights at Rara to feel REAL Rara. The more you feel, bring more inspiration, love, passion and pride towards national which is louder than words.