Driving (Kathmandu >> Silgadi),
Trekking (Silgadi >>Jhingrana>> Bichpani>> Khaptad national park)
|Date||May 14 –May 21, 2014|
|Team supervisors||Janardhan Lamichane, Prajwal Rajbhandari|
|Participants||Sanjeev Parajuli, Sagar Atri, Gayatri Sharma, Prasodhan Niraula, Nabin Pokharel, Madhukhar Thapa, Sony Manandhar, Tashuma Lama|
|Report by||Gayatri Sharma|
|Photos by||Sanjeev Parajuli, Prasodhan Niraula|
|Creative supporter||Sagar Atri, Nabin Pokharel, Madhukhar Thapa, Sony Manandhar, Tashuma Lama|
Travelling is all about the moments we capture and the memories we shareJ. On a sunny morning of May 14, 2014, began the 7 day trip to Khaptad National Park. Established in 1984, the national park covers an area of 225 sq.km with the highest point at 3212m. It is named after Khaptad Baba, a saint who moved into the area in 1940s in search of peace. It is an elevated plateau that consists of mostly grasslands or meadows [called Patan in Nepali]. The national park, located in the far western region of Nepal, spreads over five districts – Doti, Bajhang, Bajura, Accham & Dipayal. It is rich in biodiversity and about 300 species of birds visit the park every year. It is also home to a variety of other wild animals: musk deer, black bears, barking deer, Himalayan large cats, langur monkeys etc.
Despite the 27 hour long journey by bus from Kathmandu to “Silgadi”, we managed to look fresh and enthusiastic. Our group comprised of 10 people, who were all equally excited to be at the heavenly place. Though the main objective of the trip was sample collection, we had arranged our schedule in such a way that we could get enough time to enjoy the mesmerizing views of the mind blowing landscapes.
Our excitement turned into unpleasant emotions when we had to sleep in a school with no benches or bed-sheets, on the very first night. The extreme cold and power cuts added to the frustration. However, our team leader, Prajwal Rajbhandari somehow managed to motivate us and finally convinced all of us to move forward the next morning. No such problems were faced during the rest of our journey, as we walked past beautiful waterfalls and amazing landscapes.
We passed a place named “Jhingrana” the next morning. I guess someone had named that place after Jhinga, [Nepali name for housefly], as we could see clusters of houseflies everywhere ;). There, we met a group of students who said that they walked about 3 hours every day to get to their school. It was pleasing to know that despite the hardships, they were aware about the importance of education. At 9 in the morning, we were at the entrance to Khaptad National Park, our research area. As we ventured deeper into the national park, a mixed feeling of excitement and fear arose as we could be facing some really dangerous animals, in one of the most remote areas of Nepal.
“As we ventured deeper into the national park, a mixed feeling of excitement and fear arose as we could be facing some really dangerous animals, in one of the most remote areas of Nepal.
At about 4 in the evening, we reached Bichpaani (3020m), which was our first sampling site. Getting to this place was challenging yet rewarding, as it offered beautiful views of the dense forests around it. The challenges and rewards continued to appear throughout the rest of the journey. We stopped for sampling at multiple sites, and during one of those stops we spotted a herd of Ratuwa [barking deer], some Himalayan cats and langur monkeys.
Among all the places within Khaptad National Park, Triveni river area, which lies in Assam district, was the most fascinating. The religious setting of the place matched perfectly with its peaceful ambience. Visit to the Aashram of Khaptad Baba and to the beautiful lake called Khaptad Kunda were some other highlights of our trek. Another equally satisfying moment was getting to see a successfully installed micro-hydroelectricity plant, in possibly one of the most remote villages of Nepal. After exploring the area for five days, we started our return trip.
“Another equally satisfying moment was getting to see a successfully installed micro-hydroelectricity plant, in possibly one of the most remote villages of Nepal”
Though the return trip was not as short as we had expected, the spellbinding beauty and the awesome company of our group members kept us going. Cherishing all the beautiful memories of the place, we reached Seti River, Tamel and stayed there overnight. We had a small party on the last night, and each one of us shared our experiences and our opinions of the place. The very next morning, we boarded the bus to Kathmandu. Though we faced some minor difficulties during the trip, on the overall, it was a fun-filled research trip and the beauty of Khaptad was of course, pleasing to the eyes and soothing to the mind.