Exploring Rolpa's Rugged Highlands

Exploring Rolpa's Rugged Highlands

Sep 23 . 2021

Rolpa is the epicentre of the Maoist insurgency, which has lasted a decade. However, it is now renowned for much more. The mountainous area is a great location to appreciate nature's peace, indigenous Nepalis' culture and lifestyle, and local cuisine.

Rolpa has improved infrastructure, refurbished tourism sites, and carved out new hiking routes since the Maoist insurrection ended. As a result, today's visitor footfall is incremental.

Rolpa is a unique vacation destination for adventurers, and here are five reasons why you should include it in your itinerary.

Lord Baraha's Enticement and Jaljala

Jaljala is located at an elevation of 3,100 meters above sea level and is sacred to Hindus. The temple of Lord Baraha is particularly well-known. Thousands of devotees from surrounding Rolpa and neighbouring districts such as Dang, Salyan, Banke, Pyuthan, Rukum, Kapilvastu, and Arghakhanchi visit the temple three times a year, on a full moon day in the Nepali months of Baisakh, Jestha, and Shrawan.

Like many others around the country, the primary appeal of the Baraha temple is the idea that praying to Lord Baraha would grant one's wishes. After Swargadwari, Jaljala is considered the second most significant holy site in Rapti.

Jaljala is about a day's walk from Rolpa's district headquarters, Liwang. Magar villages can be found nearby. The thick forests in the area are home to Ghoral, Himalayan black bear, deer, leopard, and jackal, as well as rhododendron blossoms in the spring.

Thawang and Jelbang

The Maoist insurrection is centred in Thawang, a historic Magar hamlet in Rolpa. Maoist commanders and warriors were housed in the clustered hamlet of about 300 homes. 

Thirty-three Thawang residents died in the insurgency, and the conflict resulted in the burning of 21 traditional wooden homes. Thawang, on the other hand, is now a peaceful town with bright tourism potential.

Another Magar village near Thawang is Jelbang. Seventy-three people died in the village during the insurgency, possibly the most significant casualties in a single community. Houses with wooden plank roofs, makai ko thankro, janto, dhiki, traditional spinning wheel and loom, among other rustic antiques, can be seen in the village. The elder generation, primarily women, weave Allo thread cloth used for bhangra, kachhad, and pagari. 

Jelbang and Thawang are about 70 and 74 kilometres away from the district headquarters, respectively. Some several local eateries and homestays provide incomparable hospitality to guests.

Guerilla Trek Route

This is a new trekking path that has a lot of potentials. This is a distant yet simple hiking path starting in Beni, Myagdi, and ending in Sulichaur, Rolpa. The path connects Taksera, Hukam, Nisibhuji of Baglung, Maikot in Rukum and Thawang, Jelbang in Rolpa, passing through the country's sole hunting reserve in Dhorpatan. 

On the way, one may see the people's rural lifestyles and steep scenery. The guerilla walk path allows you to engage with some of the most innocent people in the countryside. There are only a few hotels and lodges along this trail, so you may have to camp.


The Chaubise kingdom erected Gadhilek, a strategic fort on a mountaintop in the southern portion of Rolpa. The rural municipality of Runtigadhi intends to capitalize on its historical value by increasing tourism.

A view tower was built by the local unit a few months ago. In Dahaban, there are fort remains, a temple and parade field, and a Nepal Army barrack. Runti, the birthplace of Swargadwari Mahaprabhu, the Annapurna range, Swargadwari of Pyuthan, and the Sisne Himal are all visible from Gadhilek.

Experience the Magar Culture, Lifestyle, and Tradition

Around 44 per cent of Rolpa's population is Magar, one of 59 indigenous nations recognized by the country's constitution. The community's traditions, culture, and way of life are diverse. The Magar language is commemorated at several sites, notably Liwang, the district capital. Bamboo is referred to as ‘Li' in Magar, whereas grassland is called ‘wang.'

Rolpa is home to three distinct Magar languages. Sheshi is a Magar dialect spoken in Liwang, Janko Madichaur, Kotgaun, Reugha, and Korchabang. Thawang, Mirul, Uwa, Jelbang, Kureli, and Jayabang are all Parbate Kham spoken. Gamal is also the language spoken in Gam, Seram, Jaima Kasala, Syuri, and Pobang.

The Magar community has a lot of traditional cultures, including song and dance. Bhume and Kauda are traditional dances that are performed at numerous feasts, festivals, and get-togethers. Bhume is the primary celebration of the Kham-speaking Magar people. It is a week-long celebration held in Nepal during the first week of the Ashadh month.

During a visit to Rolpa, one may see some other exciting and lovely sights. Holeri, a southern gateway to Rolpa, is a famous tourist attraction. In 1996, Maoists stormed a police checkpoint, heralding the start of the "people's war." Holeri, at about 2,000 meters above sea level, is a place of outstanding natural beauty. The climate of this hillside bazaar is usually pleasant, which attracts visitors from Terai, particularly during the summer. Visit the caves at Jugar, Holeri, Jinabang, Hanning Gaun, and the Sunchhahari waterfall in Siuri.

Important Tips:

How to Reach Rolpa?

Vehicles may be used to get to Rolpa from all around the nation. From Kathmandu, one may fly to Nepalgunj or Bhairahawa and then take a car to Rolpa.

Where to stay in Rolpa?

In Liwang, Sulichaur, Holeri, and Ghartigaun, there are several hotels. In Thawang and Jelbang, visitors can stay in homestays.

What to eat in Rolpa?

Dal, bhat, and tarkari sets with local chicken are served at hotels and homestays. Visitors may eat organic green leafy vegetables, milk, yoghurt, and other milk products during their stay in rural regions.