The number of tourists visiting iconic Rara Lake in western Nepal has swelled tremendously after the Surkhet-Jumla section of Karnali Highway was completed.
Sightseers are increasingly driving over the highway to reach Rara which offers a more comfortable journey and leaves them more time to enjoy the scenery of the largest lake in the country.
Not long ago, the only way to reach Rara was by air or an arduous trek. Life has become easier for thrill seekers following the construction of the highway which has also helped to develop the lake as a major tourism attraction.
Domestic and foreign tourists and government officials on inspection tours visit the lake. Vacationers from Kathmandu, Butwal, Dang, Nepalgunj, Surkhet and Kalikot have been using the highway to reach Rara.
“We hardly saw new faces before the highway was constructed, but now 50-60 travellers visit Rara on a daily basis,” said Krishna Lal Chaulagain, the director of White Guest House in Manma, Kalikot.
According to Chaulagain, most domestic visitors are students, traders, teachers and government and private company employees.
Government officials based in nearby districts visit Rara under the pretext of monitoring the offices under them. Not only tourists but also staff of local non-governmental organizations and international non-governmental organizations visit the lake.
Last week, 32 young people from Kathmandu and Pokhara arrived in Kalikot on their way to Rara to launch a publicity campaign about the lake and publicize the need to preserve it. Subash Gurung, the president of The Enfield Trooper, said “Phewa Lake now faces a crisis, and we don’t want to see the same thing happen at Rara.”
Prakash Limbu, the president of National Automobile, said that houses in Kalikot reflect views of Sikkim. “The place is very pleasant even though the roads are not properly maintained,” said Limbu.
Meanwhile, travellers have complained about the poor quality of the Surkhet-Jumla Highway. A local traveller Kumar Rokka said the road was very rough for motorcycle riders. According to Rokka, the highway poses many difficulties. He has asked the authorities to improve the road so that more people will be attracted to visit Rara.
“This is the season for visiting Rara, and we are seeing more tourists nowadays,” said Krishna Prasad Acharya, a member of the Karnali Development Office. “The roads in Karnali and Jumla should be improved.”
Source: The Kathmandu Post