Khaptad National Park – The Greenland of Nepal

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Khaptad is not only a tourist destination but also a beautiful feeling. Even the most beautiful destinations in the world are jealous of its beauty. Green big vast lands, animals grazing there, bells jingling around their necks, chirping birds, free flowing rivers, colorful flowers and incomparable peace. Khaptad is a delicious mixture of these things, and whoever tastes this mixture experiences heaven while alive. Actually, heaven is not a place, it is only a feeling and Khaptad has contained within itself some things that give birth to that feeling. When we thought of going to Khaptad for the 11th episode of Heaven is Myth Nepal is Real, and until we reached there, we always thought that we were traveling to a new destination. After reaching there, our thinking suddenly changed. The intoxication of Khaptad is so intoxicating that it stays in people’s mind for a long time. Our drunkenness is not over yet.

Khaptad National Park is covered with colorful flowers during the monsoon season. Photo: Amir Shrestha
Our Khaptad’s Itinerary

Day 1  : Kathmandu – Butwal

Day 2 : Butwal – Chisapani, Karnali Bridge

Day 3 : Chisapani, Karnali Bridge – Jhigrana

(Hotel Khaptad View, Jigrana, Dipak Dai’s Number: 9858440137)

Day 4 : Jhigrana – Khaptad (10 hours walk)

Day 5 : Khaptad – Exploration [Hotel’s Number (Haribahadur Rawal)  9864994366]

Day 6 : Khaptad – Dipayal

Day 7: Dipayal – Nepalgunj

Day 8 : Nepalgunj – Narayanghat

Day 9: Narayanghat – Kathmandu

Khaptad National Park is located between the four districts of western Nepal, Bajura Acham Bajhang and Doti, is one of the must visit places in Nepal. We here have brought what we saw and experienced to you through this episode. We have experienced the intoxication of Khaptad here. I hope this video will get you hooked like we did.

Khaptad’s journey was the longest journey of this season. Khaptad can be reached from Kathmandu only after traveling about 850 km by car and walking all day. The far western region of Nepal is also a place where few people have visited. Due to the lack of development infrastructure, these areas have not yet reached as many people as they should have. Let’s hope that with time there will be development and tourists.

It was the month of June and news of landslides on different highways of the country was heard every day. We were also very nervous before the trip. As we were going, we were wondering whether we would get stuck in a landslide on the way or get stuck in a landslide. But luckily we did not have to face the rain. And we were not bitten by the fear of landslides to travel.

After eating at Ramailo Danda and traveling for a while, we reached Muglin Bazar. From there we took the road towards Chitwan and continued our journey to Butwal. After traveling uphill for a while, we were about to reach the plains of Terai. The journey on the wide road of Terai is a little faster than the road on the hill. But everything comes with advantages and disadvantages. Terai came upon us with unbearable heat.

Local Shephards of Khaptad National Park. Photo: Amir Shrestha

The summer was the same, and the dust blown during the road expansion was making it more difficult to travel. The beauty of the wide road through the vast forests of Terai made us forget the heat and dust from time to time. However, the dust did not leave us until we reached the bottom. The heat was going to be there with us for two more days until Attaria.

A long trip does not allow you to stay for a long time. After having Tea and Selroti in Daunne, we proceeded towards Butwal. Although the road is not so difficult, Butwal is about 266 km from Kathmandu. So it will be evening when we reach there. After the widening of the road section in between, it will definitely take a little less time to reach Butwal. 

When we reached Butwal in the evening, We felt a bit chilly as the sun had set. On that occasion, we stopped the car on the side of the road and went out to taste Fulkis.

Butwal city is a developed city situated on the bank of Tinau river. Two important highways of Nepal, Siddharth Highway and Mahendra Highway come and connect at this place. Being a business center, Butwal city is bustling even late at night. We wandered here and there for a while observing the hustle and bustle and the culture there.

When we woke up in the morning, Butwal was foggy. The sky was shining like it would rain. We woke up a little late due to the tiredness of the previous day. By the time we got up, the city had already gone about its business.

After leaving the hotel in Butwal, we proceeded towards Chisapani, our destination for the day. From there you have to travel 307 km to reach Chisapani. Luckily, before reaching Chisapani, we get a chance to see Banke and Bardia national park. Traveling on the way in the Terai, we passed through Lamahi. The heat was even stronger than the previous day. While traveling on a bike, the body would be sweating. Every now and then we stopped the bike and drank water. After about 34 hours of travel, we reached Bhalubang.

When we got there, we were very hungry. So we decided to stop and eat fish and rice. Bhalubang is in Dang district. When there were no human settlements in this place, bears were found in abundance, so it was named Bhalubang. After eating delicious fish caught from Rapti river in Bhalubang, we moved towards Chisapani again.

After traveling for a while, we moved through the middle of the big Jungle. We were tired of traveling the Terai road as if it will never end. On top of that, the heat showed no signs of slowing down.

After having lunch at Basgadhi, we traveled for a while and reached Chisapani through Bardiya National Park. It was night when we reached there.

The Karnali Bridge in Chisapani is 500 meters long. This bridge, built in the cable stayed format, was built by the joint efforts of Nepal, Japan and the American government. There are only two bridges built in this pattern across Nepal. Therefore, this bridge has become a big tourist attraction. This bridge connecting Kailali and Bardia districts is within the Mahendra Highway. All the people who reach there stop for a while on the bridge and take pictures.

While going from Chisapani towards Attaria, you can see Ghodaghodi lake in the middle. Ghodaghodi Lake is a Ramsar site in the western part of Nepal. Many species of birds migrate to this lake at an altitude of 205 meters above sea level. People feel peace when they sit by the side of this lake covered with lotus flowers for a while. This lake located in Kailali district is a beautiful tourist destination that should not be missed by those who pass through it.

When we reached Attaria, the sun was burning the fire. It was not possible to stay in that heat for long, so we moved towards Dipayal. To go from Attaria to Dipayal, one has to take the hilly road. As the road to Dipayal was getting nearer, the heat was slowly decreasing. After two days of continuous walking on the plain roads, we found the curvy hilly roads. The gentle breeze blowing in the hills made us forget the heat of Attaria in an instant. After reaching Khani Danda, we stopped at a hotel to have lunch.

The colorful flowers of Khaptad National Park during the monsoon season. Photo: Amir Shrestha

After having lunch at Khani Danda, our journey continued towards Dipayal, the headquarter of Doti district. After traveling about 57 kms, we saw a huge hills in front of us. The hill is known as Bhir of Vasu. The road has been opened by breaking the rock from that hill in Kailali district. Since the road is small, there are many accidents happening in this place every year. We also felt terrible about the accidents, but continued our journey ahead.

When we stopped at Gaira Bazar, which is Dadeldhura’s and Doti’s border, it rained for a while but it stopped raining again while we were moving ahead. Although it was raining, the weather supported us this time. We didn’t have to stop for a long time because of the rain. Shortly after starting the journey, we crossed Dadeldhura and entered Doti district.

There were scattered villages on the road with the local people and children living there. The glow of their faces, those who lived far away from Kathmandu with less basic infrastructure than us, were many times more attractive than that of us living in a prosperous area. We felt that the city makes us forget the laugh because of its busyness, and it makes us wander from village to village in search of that laughter.

By the time we reached Dipayal, it was night. We had to proceed from Dipayal and reach Zhigrana via Silgadi. As luck would have it, we were able to see a fox on the way. For those born and raised in the city, seeing a fox is a big deal. 

At night it seemed like it would rain, but it didn’t. That’s why the morning was dark. After getting up around 7 o’clock and having lunch, we decided to proceed towards Khaptad. We packed our bags and got ready. It was around 8:30 in the morning when we moved towards Khaptad.

Magical reflection, Khaptad National Park. Photo: Amir Shrestha

Khaptad National Park starts from Doti’s Zhigrana. Passengers’ bags are checked by the Nepali Army as soon as they pass the National Park’s gate. After going a little further from there, you will reach the National Park’s office. We can proceed towards Khaptad only after reaching the office and paying the fee for entering Nikunj. For Nepalese, entry to Nikunj costs 100 rupees per person.

As soon as you enter National Park, the forest path begins. Birds are chirping from nearby tree branches. The leaves that have fallen on the ground are rustling together. When you reach there, you can experience a supernatural peace. It was difficult for us to walk uphill, but because we had come to see Khaptad from such a distance, we were equally excited. It was because of that enthusiasm that the difficulties experienced while walking did not seem like difficulties.

The road to Beechpani was very steep. On the way, we filled and drank the water from the forest.

Carrying a heavy load and climbing up that steep hill was putting a lot of strain on the legs. Even though it was summer, it was not that hot because of the forest. After walking uphill for some time, we reached the second passenger resting place. After spending some time at the second resting place and getting tired, we walked for 1 hour and reached Beechpani.

The greenary of the Khaptad National Park during the sunset. Photo: Amir Shrestha

Khaptad National Park was established in 2042. Bajhang, Bajura Doti and some of Achham are included in this Nikunj spread over 225 square kilometers. Apart from its natural beauty, this National Park is also religiously important. Among the wild animals found here are red deer, musk deer, ghoral, leopard, wild dog and langur, among the birds there are ostriches and monals. Besides, religious places like Khaptad Daha, Triveni and Sahasralinga within National Park are of great importance for Hindus.

After reaching Buki Daha, we suddenly felt that we had reached Khaptad. The open green field and the animals grazing here and there seemed to us as if we had seen it somewhere before.

The first person we saw when we reached Khaptad was the old mother, she was greeting us towards the Khaptad National Park. There must be many other people like her who live in National Park with temporary sheds and graze cattle. Since National Park allows 500 rupees to build a temporary shed and graze cattle, people take their cattle from four nearby districts and stay in Khaptad for a few months.

Army barracks are about 20 minutes away from Sitapaila. Passing Chhede Patan, we proceeded towards the army barracks. On the way, we lay down in the open field and rested for a while, then we reached Khaptad.

When they reached Khaptad the previous day, our body was tired. But after a great sleep, we were excited to explore the Khaptad this morning . On the first day, we had decided to visit Khapar Daha and Sahasralinga on the first day to visit some distant places. According to the same plan, we first left to visit Khapar or say Khapar Daha in Bajura.

Khaptad Daha, can be reached after walking for about 1 hour from the barracks. It is a very important place in terms of both natural and religious aspects. It is said that one part of this daha is the abode of deities and the other part is the abode of demons. People from all four surrounding districts come to worship Khaptad Daha. Devotees who visit here offer money and light burning incense. Seeing the clear water of Khaptad Daha, the forest surrounding the pond and the peace there, we can easily guess why Khaptad Baba chose this place for meditation. 

We thought that two days would not be enough to visit Khaptad. The beauty of Khaptad demanded more time from us. It seemed that, if you sat next to Khaptad Daha for the whole day, it wouldn’t have been enough. Reluctantly, as there was little time, we proceeded to see Khaptad Dah Patan. After about 5 minutes of walking from Daha, a big green landscape appeared in front of us. It is said that there are about 200 such big green lands in Khaptad.

Khapar Daha or Khaptad Daha in Khaptad National Park. Photo: Amir Shrestha

When we reached Patan, we saw the animals grazing freely without any hindrance. Remembering the animals locked in the zoo and the birds imprisoned in cages, our hearts cried once. Is freedom only for people? We sat in the square that day asking ourselves these same questions.

After eating, we proceeded towards Sahasralinga, a famous religious place in Achham district. Sahasralinga is located at the highest point of Khaptad National Park. You have to climb a lot to get there. We were able to reach there only after 3-4 hours of continuous travel. While going to Sahasralinga, we met some people who came there to graze goats.

At a height of about 3043 meters above sea level, this Sahasralinga temple is worshiped every year on Ganga Dussehra day. We also found out by asking the people there that priests from Acham district had come and performed the puja. No one knows the answer to how Sahasralinga originated and when it became the center of religious faith there. But we got to know from them that they have been worshiping at this place since about 5-6 generations ago.

Pink sky and the greenary of the Khaptad National Park during the sunset. Photo: Amir Shrestha

On that day, the Rawal family living in Kanchanpur came to Sahasralinga and performed Rudri Puja. Tell us our fate, or luck that we were able to watch that puja. After joining in the puja and singing the praises of Lord Shiva, we put on our Tikas and returned to Tribeni.

After about 1 hour of steep descent through Sahasralinga, you can reach the Tribeni temple area. Like the Sahasralingam, devotees flock to this temple to worship Lord Shiva on the day of Ganga Dussehra. The river was called Tribeni because the water flowing from two rivers and a small hut mixed together. Khaptad Baba always used to take an evening bath in Triveni and take his meal only at that place.

Historically and religiously, Triveni temple is also rich. It is also rich in natural terms. When the soft rays of the setting sun cast their golden color on the temple area, people are forced to believe that the world is golden and I myself am golden. The melody of the Triveni river, which is still flowing, hypnotizes people.

A local horse posing in front of camera in Khaptad National Park. Photo: Amir Shrestha

After spending some time in the Triveni temple area, we proceeded towards our hotel which was about 2 km away. On the way, there was a chance to see the huge Kedar stone on the way. After walking for a while leaving the Kedar stone behind, we reached our hotel by nightfall.

After having the delicious tea prepared by Hari Bahadur Rawal Dai, we proceeded towards Khaptad Baba Ashram, one of the most important destinations of Khaptad.

Khaptad Baba is also known as Swami Satchitananda. It is said that he was born in Kashmir, India. Khaptad Baba traveled to different places in Nepal in the 1940s and came to Khaptad and started meditating. At that time, seeing his penance, people close to him started worshiping him. Kirti was spreading throughout the country along with the time of Khaptadbaba who did penance by sitting on the skin of a tiger. It is widely heard that even the kings of Nepal came to Khaptad to have a look at him.

The history here says that he played a major role in establishing Khaptad as a National Park by conveying to the government that Khaptad, which is only a common cow pasture, should be converted into a National Park and protected. He is famous even today because of his knowledge of herbal medicine, yoga and philosophy of life. Had it not been for Khaptad Baba, Khaptad would hardly have become so famous.

A horse grazing in the green lands of Khaptad National Park. Photo: Amir Shrestha

After spending some time at Khaptad Baba Ashram and visiting the Ashram, we proceeded towards Ghodadaunna. After walking for about 15 minutes from Khaptad Baba Ashram, we reached Ghodadaunna. Ghoda Daunna Patan was the biggest one we saw in Khaptad and also the most beautiful. On our last day in Khaptad, we spent a lot of time sitting in that place. That place taught us that beauty can be appreciated in silence.

It took us 4 days to reach Khaptad National Park located in the south west of Nepal, about 900 km away from the capital Kathmandu. But we never came back after reaching there. We are still humming to the tune of bells ringing somewhere in the valley of Bhaisi. Our hearts are looking towards the sky, being excited by the greenery of that place. Although our body is with us now, our reflection is still moving in the water of Khaptad Daha.

The greenary of the Khaptad National Park. Photo: Amir Shrestha

Wherever a person travels somewhere, they leave some portion of themselves in the same place. We have also left some of our parts to Khaptad this time. And taking some part of Khaptad in ourselves. One of the strange parts of travel is that the more memories and experiences we carry with us during the journey, the lighter we feel. This Khaptad trip was one such trip. We want you to lighten yourself up by giving Khaptad some of your time. We thought that this video of ours will make you feel lighter to some extent. But if it doesn’t make it as light as you think, then you should pack your bags and leave for Khaptad. Do you know that people get more pleasure from their own travel experiences than listening to others’ travel experiences? right?

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