Far-West is equipped with diversified land topography from the Himalayas in the northern region to the dense forest in the southern belt. It is an untouched destination with great potential to become a major traveler’s hub. It has an abundance of natural and cultural attractions that pulls the mind of 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 worthy to spend long days in nature.
Culture & tradition:
Far West 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. Likewise, 'Deuda' songs and dances are famous here which are the jewels of far-west which is 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.
Api Nampa Conservation Area (ANCA)
Mount Api is the first mountain, starting from the western part of Nepal at an altitude of 7,132m above sea level. It is the highest mountain in the far west. Due to extreme variation in climate and geography, it has a unique land structure ranging from sub-tropical region to higher Himalayas. 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 wait for an isolated mountain adventure in the Himalayan region than trekking to Api Base camp and Kalidhunga lake is one of the best destinations, both of them 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 where the trek starts from Makarighad and ascends through typical Nepali villages like Ghusa, Siti, Domal, etc.
This trek doesn't have tea houses, if you like to stay with local people in their home then you are always welcomed with great hospitality otherwise camping is the only option to make the trek a success. 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.
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 themself in the natural garden than Khaptad is the best choice, the whole area is covered with alpine forest and spotted green grassland. Triveni Dham is the holiest 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 August-September festival called Purnima is celebrated here. Khaptad Baba Ashram is the place where Khaptad Baba (great Indian botanist), spent fifty years of his time by doing meditation and botanical research in the same region. At an altitude of 3,200m, 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.
Suklaphanta National Park
Suklaphanta comprises of two words 'Sukla' means grass and 'Phanta’ means flat land which was initially a wildlife reserve but later in 2017 it got converted into National Park. It is the largest grassland in lower land (Terai) of Nepal that aimed to protect the largest number of Swamp Deer in the world. Initially, 500 Swamp deer were recorded here but now it has increased by four-time 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 be spotted here. 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.
How to get there?
It is located in the Kanchanpur district of Nepal. You can find a bus/flight from Kathmandu to Mahendranagar and from there it takes 45 minutes by road towards Bhimdatta Municipality to reach the destination.
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.