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- By: Admin
Khaptad National Park or the Khaptad Region is a protected conservational area in the far-western region of Nepal. The National Park was established in 1984 and is best known to be the garden of countless herbs and over 224 species of medicinal herbs.
Khaptad National Park is also home to 567 species of flowers, several species of birds, animals, and sub-alpine forest trees. Today in this article we discuss all the features of the conservational area and what makes it so famous.
This conservational area is located in the far-west region of Nepal and stretches into four districts; Doti, Achham, Bajhang, and Bajura. The Khaptad National Park covers an overall area of 225 km square (87 sq mi) of these districts.
The park lies at a height of 1,400 m (4,600 ft) to about 3,300 m (10,800 ft). The coordinates of the area are 29°16′12″N 80°59′24″E.
The easiest way to reach the national park is to take a flight from Nepalgunj to Dipayal. From there we catch a local bus that leaves for Silgadhi, Doti.
After reaching Silgadhi Bazaar one has to hike for about 6 hrs to reach the entrance gate of Khaptad National Park. After walking for another 7-8 hrs we reach the Park’s headquarters.
Besides that, we can also catch a flight to Dipayal and embark on a three-day walk, or fly to Accham or Bajhang after which we trek for straight two days.
One can also reach Khaptad by taking a flight to Bajura and then walk for four days. However, note that the airports at Accham and Dipayal are rarely open.
Khaptad National Park was named after the holy man, Khaptad Baba or Swami Sachchidananda. The Swami was a spiritual man who wandered/travelled along the high hilly/mountainous regions of Nepal. He is believed to have settled temporarily in parts of Ilam, Swargadwari, Kalinchowk, Mushikot, Chandannath, and finally settling in the Khaptad Valley.
Swami Sachchidananda moved to the now conservational area during the 1940s in order to worship and meditate. He is said to have resided in the valley for almost fifty years.
It was under his advice to Late King Birendra that the valley was later named as the Khaptad National Park. The park still holds temples, hermitage, and stone statues of the holy man.
The conservational area is best known for being home to over 287 species of birds, 23 mammals, 23 amphibian and reptiles.
Khaptad National Park is known for residing birds like impeyan pheasant (danphe), white-rumped vulture, peregrine falcon, bulbuls, cuckoos, etc. The availability of these species of birds has turned the national park into an area for bird-watching.
Mammals like Himalayan black bear, musk deer, wild dog, ghoral, Barking deer, wild boar, langur monkey, yellow-throated marten, rhesus macaque, and many others.
Besides being the home to different species of the animal kingdom, Khaptad National Park is also a garden for medicinal herbs, sub-tropical and sub-alpine forest trees, and flowers. The protected area is famous for the chir pine-rhododendron forest, alder forest, Himalayan fir-hemlock-oak forest, and oak forest.
The Khaptad Baba Ashram is situated inside the national park. It is the place where Swami Sachchidananda lived near the Tribeni, inside the conservational area. The Tribeni is a junction of three major rivers flowing through the park and is best known for a Shiva temple.
The Ashram is now a place of religious significance and is visited by numerous tourists for pilgrimage. The temples in the lower Tribeni area are now converted into places for mediation. These religious are usually visited by pilgrim-goers during Jestha Purnima (5-6 June) to celebrate the festival of Ganga Dashahara.
There are usually no restrictions for visitors or tourists, but activities like cutting trees for firewood, animal grazing, smoking, drinking alcohol, and slaughtering of animals are strictly prohibited.
Another important stop whilst going to Khaptad from Attariya Chowk, Kailalli is Saileswori. The place is famous for the temple of Goddess Saileswori located in Silgarhi, Doti.
The temple complex comprises of several other temples dedicated to the worship of Hindu gods Ganesh and Masto.
Ramaroshan also is known as Pancha Pura or the five cities in Hindu cities is located in the Accham District. The place is believed to have dated back to Pauranic Age.
This religious site is best known as the five historical cities which have myths related to the Goddess Parvati. The site comprises of 12 lakes and has been considered places for bird watching.
Besides its religious significance, Ramaroshan is also home to the ruins of many old historical buildings, which gives the place archeological importance.
Badimallika lies about 8-10 days away from the Khaptad National Park. The area provides tourists with the spectacular views of the Himalayan ranges.
It is best known for housing the temple of Mallika Devi which lies at an altitude of 4,153 m. Legend has it that the Goddess Sati, the former and deceased wife of Lord Shiva was reborn in this region as Parvati.
The best time to visit the conservational area is during the season of spring which lasts from March to May and during autumn, from October to November.
Monsoon in Khaptad starts from June and ends around September during which the trails become muddy and slippery. Winter in the region starts from December and lasts till February during which one experience snowfall and chilling winds.
The temperature in Khaptad ranges between 10°c to 20°c which is considered ideal form tourists who look forward to trekking.