Experience Far West Nepal 

Experience Far West Nepal 

Author: Sadeep Dhungana

Mar 6, 2021

The far western region of Nepal has a diversified topography from the Himalayas to the northern region and the dense forest in the southern belt. It is an untouched pristine location with great potential to become a major traveler’s hub. 

It has an abundance of natural and cultural attractions that attracts every adventure seeker. Trekking to the base camp of Mount Api & Saipal in high mountains to the green grassland of Khaptad in Mid-hill and wildlife safari inside the jungles of Suklaphanta  - makes regular trek and exploration fast west worthy experience.

Culture & Tradition

Far Western region of Nepal is rich in cultural variations. People from different backgrounds like Baramin, Chhetrie, Thakuri, etc. are in the upper region and the lower region is covered by Rana Tharu who traveled all the way from Rajasthan when Mughals captured India. 

'Deuda' songs and dances are famous here which are the jewels of the far west which are performed by a group of native people during festivals. 

Places like Badimalika, Shaileshwori, Triveni Dham, Surma Sarovar (Lake), Ugratara, Tripurasundari, etc are religious places here. Every year thousands of visitors travel to this place to worship.

1. Api Nampa Conservation Area (ANCA)

Mount Api is the highest mountain in the far west, starting from the western part of Nepal at an altitude of 7,132 m. Due to extreme variation in climate and geography, it has a unique structure. This is also a newly explored trekking route in Nepal where only a few travelers have reached through the off-beaten path of Api Base Camp and Kalidhunga lake.

For those who seek an isolated mountain adventure in the Himalayan region, then trekking to Api Base camp and Kalidhunga lake is the best location. Both of these fall on the same trekking trail. 

All these regions are protected under Api Nampa Conservation Area (ANCA). The trail passes through the bank of Chamelia river and the trek starts from Makarighad and ascends through typical Nepali villages like Ghusa, Siti, Domal, etc.

This trek doesn't have tea houses, thus you likely to have a homestay with local people and is welcomed with great hospitality otherwise camping is the only option. 

Dhauli Odar and Api Base Camp are the best spots for camping at higher altitudes. Kalidhunga Lake takes three hours of walking distance towards North-East from Api Base Camp.  Trekkers can find the majestic view of Mount Api, Jethi Bahurani, Nampa, and Boye. 

Himalayan animals like Red Panda, Swamp Dear, Himalayan Thar, Ghoral, etc, and plant-like Yarshagumba, Pachaunle, Kutki, etc are protected species here. The best season to travel this place is spring and autumn.

How to get there?

You can take a flight from Kathmandu to Dhangadi and from there bus services are available up to the headquarter of ANCA via Gokuleshwar & Latina. It takes 2-3 days bus travel to reach the starting point of the trek from Kathmandu.

2. Khaptad National Park

Khaptad National Park is the gem of the far-west which lies in the center of four different districts Bajhang, Bajura, Achham & Doti of the hilly region in Nepal.  The area of the park is 225 sq. km. 

For those who love to enjoy themselves in the natural garden, Khaptad is the best choice. The whole area is covered with alpine forest and spotted green grassland. Triveni Dham is the holi site for Hindu pilgrims that represents the junction of three different rivers (Indrawoti, Chandrawoti, and Anamika).

Every year thousands of domestic and international visitors travel here during  Khaptad Mela which is one of the famous celebrations in the far west. 

Similarly, Khaptad Daha is the biggest lake inside Khaptad National Park. During the full moon of the August-September festival called Purnima, it is celebrated. Khaptad Baba Ashram is the place where Khaptad Baba (great Indian botanist), spent fifty years of his time doing meditation and botanical research in the same region. 

At an altitude of 3,200 meters, Saharshra linga is located, which is a naturally carved stone with different shapes of Snakes.

It also offers grazing land for domestic livestock from the village of its neighboring area. All these are the major attractions of Khaptad National Park. One who travels this land experiences tranquility and peace of mind in the natural landscape.

How to get there?

The best way to reach the national park area is to fly from Nepalgunj to Dipayal & the local buses are available for Silagadhi in the Doti district. From Silagadhi  Bazzar, one has to hike 6 hours to the park entrance and another 7-8 hours to reach the Park Headquarters. 

Direct local buses are also available from Kathmandu to Silagadhi which takes three days to reach there.

3. Suklaphanta National Park

Suklaphanta comprises two words 'Sukla' means grass and 'Phanta’ means flat land which was initially a wildlife reserve but later got converted to National Park in 2017. 

It is by far the largest grassland in the lower land (Terai) of Nepal that aimed to protect the Swamp Deer. Initially, 500 swamp deers were recorded here but now has increased by four times in number which is 2,000 at present.

The region falls under the sub-tropical monsoonal climatic zone. Dramatic grassland and wetland around the lakes of the park are also the habitats for numerous species of birds and animals. Some 700 species of flora are estimated in the park. 

The main grass species are Imperata Cylindrica and Heteropogon contortus. A total of 423 species of birds, 46 mammals, 28 fish, and 12 reptiles & amphibian species are recorded here.

The park supports the highest number of Bengal Floricans in Nepal and many other species like Bengal Tiger, One-Horned Rhinos, Indian Leopard, Monitor Lizard, and Mughal Crocodile can also be spotted. 

Travelers can experience wildlife safaris, jungle walks, canoeing, bird watching, elephant ride, and enjoy beautiful noon at a marine lake called 'Ranital' inside the park.

How to get there?

The park can be reached by traveling through East-West Highway through Nepalgunj to Dhangadi and up to Mahendranagar.

The Dodhara Chandani bridge is the longest suspension bridge in Nepal. with the length of 1,452 m and 1.6 m wide. It connects two different villages of the region Chandani & Dodhara separated by the Mahakali River. It is the best location to enjoy the sunset and view the daily running local lifestyle of people in the far west.

Conclusion

Far west is the great combination of its exotic landscapes in terrain, hills, and mountains, unique culture, history, traditional and religious beliefs offer enormous importance for tourism.

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