Khaptad National Park

Nepal is a country blessed with natural beauty and rich biodiversity. Among the many protected areas in Nepal. Khaptad National Park is a hidden gem located in the far-western region of the country. And it covers an area of 2,330 square kilometers and ranges in elevation from 1,400 m (4,600 ft) to 3,300 m (10,800 ft). It is the native land of a variety of flora and fauna, including over 225 species of birds, 23 species of mammals, and numerous species of butterflies, reptiles, and amphibians.

Khaptad National Park & Buffer Zone
Khaptad National Park & Buffer Zone

Khaptad National Park has established in 1984 AD and is named after Khaptad Baba. He is a revered Hindu sage who lived in the area. The park is known for its peaceful environment, beautiful scenery, and pristine nature. It is also a popular destination for trekkers and nature lovers who want to experience the natural beauty of Nepal.

One of the most unique features of Khaptad National Park is the high-altitude grassland, which is rare in Nepal. The grasslands are surrounded by dense forests of oak, rhododendron, and other trees, providing a diverse habitat for wildlife. The grasslands are also a habitat for a variety of medicinal plants that are used by the local people for traditional healing practices.

Flora and Fauna

Khaptad National Park is a treasure trove of biodiversity, with a diverse range of flora and fauna that attracts visitors from all over the world. The park is the abode of various species of rhododendron, including the national flower of Nepal, the Rhododendron arboretum. Other notable plant species found in the park include fir, oak, and pine trees, as well as numerous medicinal plants used in traditional Nepalese medicine.

Wildflowers in Khaptad: Bucci Flower
Wildflowers in Khaptad: Bucci Flower

The park is also inhabited by varieties of wildlife, including the endangered red panda, Himalayan black bear, leopard, barking deer, and musk deer. Visitors can also spot over 270 species of birds in the area, including the Impeyan pheasant (Himalayan monal: Daphe), Nepal’s national bird. The park offers several diverse landscapes, from rolling hills to pristine forests and alpine meadows, all while enjoying stunning views of the snow-capped mountains and the tranquil Rara Lake.

Culture

Khaptad National Park is also known for its cultural significance, as it is the hometown of several ethnic communities, including the Rokaya, Bote, and Sunuwar people. These communities have lived in the area for generations and have developed a unique way of life that is closely linked to the natural environment. Visitors to the park can learn about the local culture by visiting the villages and interacting with the people.

An older temple near the Triveni Temple
An older temple near the Triveni Temple

7 Attractions of Khaptad National park

One of the main attractions of Khaptad National Park is Khaptad Lake, a pristine alpine lake located at an altitude of 3,200 meters. The lake is considered holy by the local people and is surrounded by lush forests and grasslands. Visitors can hike to the lake and enjoy the breathtaking views of the surrounding mountains.

  1. Diverse Wildlife: Khaptad National Park is inhabited by a variety of wildlife including the endangered red panda, Himalayan black bear, leopard, barking deer, and musk deer.
  2. Birdwatching: The park is also a haven for bird enthusiasts, with over 270 species of birds recorded in the area, including the imperial pheasant, Nepal’s national bird.
  3. Trekking: The park offers several trekking routes with breathtaking views of the Himalayan range and the surrounding hills.
  1. Religious Significance: The Khaptad Baba Ashram located within the park is a popular pilgrimage site for both Hindus and Buddhists. The ashram is dedicated to the renowned saint Khaptad Baba, who is believed to have meditated in the area.
  2. Natural Beauty: The park boasts a diverse landscape with rolling hills, pristine forests, and alpine meadows. Visitors can enjoy stunning views of the snow-capped mountains and the tranquil Rara Lake.
  3. Cultural Experience: The park is home to several ethnic communities, including the Badi, Thakuri, and Brahmin, who have their unique cultural practices and traditions.
  4. Peaceful Environment: Khaptad National Park is a peaceful retreat away from the hustle and bustle of the city, where visitors can relax, unwind, and connect with nature.
Ganga Dushera Festival in Khaptad
Ganga Dushera Festival in Khaptad

Best time to visit the Park

The best time to visit Khaptad National Park is during the months of March to May (Spring) and September to November (Autumn). During these seasons, the weather is generally clear, dry, and pleasant, and the skies are usually clear, providing the best opportunities for trekking, wildlife spotting, and photography.

Snow at the Triveni Temple area in Khaptad
Snow at the Triveni Temple area in Khaptad

During spring, the hills and valleys of the national park are covered with colorful wildflowers and rhododendrons in full bloom, making it an ideal time for nature enthusiasts and photographers. Autumn is also a great time to visit, as the monsoon season has just ended, and the skies are clear, offering excellent views of the surrounding mountain ranges.

However, it’s important to note that Khaptad National Park is located at an altitude of over 3,000 meters, and the weather can be unpredictable and cold, especially during the winter months of December to February. Therefore, it’s best to avoid visiting during these months unless you are prepared for the extreme cold and potential snowfall.

Getting There

Yes, taking a bus from the new bus park in Kathmandu to Attariya Chowk, Kailali is one way to reach Khaptad National Park. From Attariya Chowk, Silgarhi Bazaar is about a 9-hour drive away, and the park headquarters is located about 50 kilometers away from Silgarhi Bazaar.

Another option is to fly to Dhangadi and then drive to Silgarhi Bazaar, which can save time and be more comfortable.

If you’re entering Nepal from the west, you can also reach the park from the Gadda Chowk entry point in Mahendranagar. Silgarhi Bazaar is approximately a 10-hour drive away from Mahendranagar.

Khaptad Baba Ashram
Khaptad Baba Ashram

Frequently asked questions about the Park

How do I get to Khaptad National Park?

The nearest airport is the Dhangadhi Airport, which is located about 220 kilometers away from the national park. From there, you can hire a taxi or take a bus to reach the park. The journey takes about 8-9 hours by road.

What is the best time to visit Khaptad National Park?

The best time to visit Khaptad National Park is during the months of March to May (spring) and September to November (autumn). These months offer clear skies, pleasant weather, and great opportunities for trekking and wildlife spotting.

What are the entry fees for Khaptad National Park?

The entry fee for Nepali citizens is NPR 50, and for foreign nationals, it’s USD 15. There are additional fees for camping, trekking, and other activities.

What are the popular activities to do in Khaptad National Park?

Popular activities in the national park include trekking, camping, wildlife spotting, bird watching, and nature photography. There are several trails within the park, ranging from easy to difficult, and various viewpoints that offer stunning views of the surrounding landscape.

Is it safe to visit Khaptad National Park?

Yes, it’s generally safe to visit Khaptad National Park. However, it’s important to take necessary precautions while trekking or camping, such as carrying adequate supplies, avoiding risky areas, and following the instructions of the park officials.


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Sailendra Bhatta

An adventurer, writer, and Founder of Nepal Travel Vibes.

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