“No place is ever as bad as they tell you it’s going to be.” – Chuck Thompson
The place might be underdeveloped but the people , the smile and the beauty has its own value there at Karnali Zone.
“The plans are not always successful unless you go for it ” , the plan was made and was on a halt unless i along with some friends traveled to Mugu on a Motorbike. Travelling began from Butwal ( 322 m above the sea level ) , four of us with three bikes from Butwal and picking a friend at Kohalpur (16 km south from Nepalgunj ).
Kohlpur is the mid point to get separated to different cities like Nepalgunj (16 km North ) , Gorahi , Dang (135 Km East) and Birendranagar, Surkhet (90 Km South ) .
With Lots of checkpost on the Banke and Bardiya National Park we reached to Birendranagar ,Surkhet after 344 km and 9 hours of bike ride , the plain and straight road wont make anyone tired but its always good to take a rest every 60-70 km of ride.
Surkhet (720 m above sea level ) is connected to different hilly region of western Nepal like Jajrkot , Dailekh , Accham Bardiya, Kailai, Salyan and Doti .
Day 1 end at ” Hotel Namaste of Surkhet ” .
Day 2 started early morning 6 AM departure towards Mugu from Surkhet via Karnali Highway. Newly Opened Road to the hills is black topped almost the distance to be covered except some places.
Karnalai Highway or Dailekh sadak one of the road can be choosed while leaving Surkhet. For some off road Karnali Highway is best for ease Dailekh sadak is good one. Dailekh Sadak connects Karnali Highway at Ramghat .
Ram Ghat itself is a holy place of Dailekh , so rest with a cup of tea was what we did .
Leaving Ramghat we headed towards Tuni Bagar , the road is blacktopped and it is 1 hours ride from Ramghat. Tuni Bagar Specializes on Fish from Karnali and Rice , we had time for the lunch so made a choice of leaving the Bazaar and headed towards Manma
Manama (2034 m above sea level) , capital of Kalikot District is the highly populated area with options to stay and eat good food. Manma has a bike servicing center and we could get petrol .
2 hours of ride from Manma we reached Nagma( 2640 m above sea level), small city . It looked like the point for the business for the people of Karnali , there were loaded trucks and tractors. Nagma , was the end of the Day 2 at ” Hotel Satkar “.
Leaving Hotel Satkar on cold 6 AM , we headed towards our destination . According to locals at Nagma, Rara Lake at Mugu is just 93 KM by the road. Except some 5 KM all the remaining road was not black topped it was completely a OFF ROAD Ride .
Leaving Nagma and entering Sinja Valley , it was beautiful valley with culitvated land and TILA River making cultivation easy. Except the road everything there was beautiful , Valley had history from Mahabharat , history of trade between China and India , History of Nepali Language . Though being on a short trip we couldnot get more information about all the history but we did visit the Pandava Cave , where it is belived that Pandava during their VanVas period made a hide out . Other places “Palace of Sinjali King” and ” Temples ” are to be visited on trek.
Gothijiula can be next stop to stay at night instead of Nagma , if there is time ,there are hotels avilable and it is the last stop for the buses on the way. If stayed at Nagma Gothijiula would be good Tea and breakfast stop , as there are no good hotels on the way till Pina VDC in Mugu.
3 hours of tough off road, beautiful scenery plain Patan and we reached Jhyare pina of Pina VDC , Rice of Jumli Marsi (Red Rice ) was of a different taste . Some rest at Jhyare Pina and we headed for the destination Rara Lake.
Jumli Marsi is a Red rice famous in the area , tastes a bit different but tastey . It is a High altitude rice grown above 2500 m of altitude. There is a 10 Rs postal ticket for the Jumli Marsi for information click here .
There are two ways to reach Rara Lake , one turns to Sallere and another towards Talcha Airport. We headed towards Sallere , parking a bike there we need to treak around two hours to reach the destination. Reching 2990 m from sea level and sea shaped lake with blue water that view steals every thing the pain on body to hunger.
Parking a bike is not a difficult job as there is a place and an old women will take care of your vechile , she charges 300 per bike and 500 per four wheeler.
For stay there is a lodge ( Danfe Lodge ) with almost all facilities there by the side of the lake. If the lodge is packed just a half an hour walk and there are different lodge offering a warm stay.
Most for the stay there is warm clothes temperature falls to almost zero degrees . We were there on the occasion of Nepali new year so there was no place in a hotel room to stay neither on the lodge by the lake nor on half hour walk so if any one is planning a trip its better to book a room or tent will do a work. We luckily got the staff quater for the stay but 30 to 40 people woke up whole night with with only fire warming them .
Early chilly morning wake up , some sunrise photography and we left the lodge . It took almost two hours to pass reach the bike and we started the return back , it was the same route and we now were heading towards Jumla and for that we needed to reach Nagma first, return back didnot take a time as first time we were heading to Mugu. We reached Jumla on a continus ride of 10 hours.
Chandannnath Municipality ( formed on 2014 ) , one of the new municipality was the developed of all we traveled on the road. It had black topped road , settled town with good hotels , hospital , internet , airport , cable TV conceret houses , electricity and business .
We were there just for a night. We had a long way to go so we didnt wait and started our journey early morning towards Surkhet .
10 hours of continus drive to Hotle Namaste at Surkhet and the day ended with tired us.
Regular bike ride back to Butwal and the trip was over.
There were six of us and the budget didnot exceed 12,000 Nepali Rupees per person.
Do’s and Dont’s
- Do , maintain your bike before you start your travel , ( most probably take a time at Surkhet and see your Bike , else there is authorized service center for Bajaj at Kalikot )
- Do feel up the fuel tank , the up you go the cost increases of fuel.
- Do, take regular brakes in an hour or one and half.
- Do, take warm cloth , you will feel cold on the top .
- Do, enjoy the trip with a view .
- Do try to trek after Gothijiula , people said the trek would be awsome.
- Do take time in Sinja valley there are many history on the valley ( sadly we didnot give any time ).
- Do give lift to people walking and asking by the road they will tell you the history of places and knowledge of culture, i had that experince.
- Dont Rush, give your friends a look on every turning.
- Dont just go to the top fell the beauty on the way .
- Dont limit the trip for six or less days atleast give ten days .
- Dont bargain with people of hotel , Karnali is least developed zone . They are trying on their own.
- Its been a month or more since i started writing this post and i am regrading this as i have forggeten many things so Do write your blog when you are back and Dont make it late.
Some of the Pics are at link of Flickr below