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About Rara Lake

The Rara Lake is the biggest and deepest fresh water lake in the Nepal Himalayas. It is the main feature of the Rara National Park, located in the Jumla and Mugu Districts. In September 2007, the lake was declared a Ramsar site, covering 1,583 ha (6.11 sq mi) including the surrounding wetland. Rara Lake lies at an altitude of 2,990 m (9,810 ft) above sea level, has a water surface of 10.8 km2 (4.2 sq mi), a maximum depth of 167 m (548 ft), is 5.1 km (3.2 mi) long and 2.7 km (1.7 mi) wide. It drains into the Mugu Karnali River via the Nijar River. Its water quality is characterized by high pH, conductivity and total hardness. It was reported to be very slightly polluted and was classified as oligotrophic in limnological terms. It is polluted due to wastes produced during festivals by visiting locals and tourists. Summer is quite pleasant but winter is cold. The best visiting time to the lake is September/October and April to May. From December to March, the temperatures go low below the freezing point, and heavy snowfall occur up to one meter, blocking the way to the lake. April to June is warm in this region. Monsoon season, which in this region occurs between the months of July to October, is short. The average rainfall during the ten-year period 1994–2003 was 800 mm. The surface temperature of the lake was found to be 7.5 °C to 7.6 °C and was visible below 14 m to 15 m. Rara Lake, being surrounded by Rara National Park, has unique floral and faunal importance with rare and vulnerable species. The park was established in 1976 to preserve the beauty of the lake and protect it from sedimentation and adverse human activities. The Park flora consists of 1074 species, of which 16 are endemic to Nepal; the fauna includes 51 species of mammals and 214 species of birds. The lake holds three endemic fish species (Schizothorax macrophthalmus, S. nepalensis and S. raraensis) and one endemic frog, Rara Lake frog (Nanorana rarica). Winter visitor water birds such as gadwall (Anas strepera), mallard (Anas platyrhynchos), northern shoveler (Anas clypeata), common teal (Anas crecca), tufted duck (Aythya fuligula), common golden eye (Bucephala clangula), common merganser (Mergus merganser), common coot (Fulica atra), and solitary snipe (Gallinago solitaria) reside and rest at this lake