Nepal's newest park area, is in the middle hills
of the Far-West of the country. The 225 sq kms.
area of the park is situated where the districts
of Bajhang, Bajura, Doti and Achham meet. Khaptad
is plateau of grassland and forest cover at an
elevation of about 3,000 meters. The mixed conifer
and broad-leaf forests are an excellent example
of the vegetation that once covered much of west
Nepal's middle hills. The forest consists of a
mixture of tall fir, yew, rhododendron, oak, dense
strands of bamboo and smaller shrubs. This habitat
provides good cover for bear, leopard, barking
and musk deer, as well as birds like the Impeyan,
koklas and kalij pheasants. This park is special
because it represents one of the few remaining
mid-mountain ecosystems in Nepal Himalaya. At
the north-eastern corner of the park, a small
serene lake and swampy area called Khapted Daha
is religious site where Hindu pilgrims come to
worship Shiva on the full moon of July-August
each year. Here lived the ascetic, the Khaptad
Baba, who was known and revered throughout Nepal.
The Park offers a challenging yet rewarding experience
unlike any other protected area in Nepal. The
Khaptad Baba Ashram is located near the Park headquarters.
The Tribeni confluence
made by three rivers, and a Shiva temple are on
the way to Park Headquarters. Ganga Dashahara
is celebrated here during Jestha Purnima and many
pilgrims visit the park during the festival. Sahashra
Linga is another religious site situated at 3,200
m above sea level which is the highest point in
the Park. Other religious places include Ganesh
temple, Nagdhunga and Kedardhunga. These areas
are considered as places for meditation and tranquillity
and should not be disturbed. Tobacco products,
alcohol, and sacrificing of animals are prohibited
in these areas.
There is a small
museum and a view tower at the park headquarters.
To the north one can see the Api and Saipal Himalayan
Ranges- In the other direction the vast green
mid-hills of Nepal can be seen clearly. The Park
contains 22 open patches of grasslands or patans
interspersed with the forests. These patans consists
of gentle rolling hills. The local people graze
their livestock in the Patans during the summer
season. In the north-eastern part of the Park,
there is a lake called Khaptad Daha. During the
full moon of August - September a festival is
The seasons of spring (March-May) and autumn (October-November)
are the best times to visit the Park. The temperature
ranges from 10°c to 20°c offering pleasant
trekking weather. The monsoon begins in June and
last until September during this time paths become
muddy and slippery. From December to February
winter brings snow and chilling winds.
The flora of the Park can be divided into three
basic vegetation zone's-subtropical, temperate
and alpine. In the lower altitudes (1000 - 2000
m), subtropical vegetation dominates the landscape;
Forest mainly consists of Montane Sal, Pines and
Alder species. From 1800 - 3000 m temperate type
of forest dominates. The forest there are comprised
of lower temperate mixed broad-leaved species
(Lindera nacusua, Cinnamomum tamca. etc), temperate
mixed evergreen species (Spruce, fir, hemlock,
oak. etc), and upper temperate broad-leaved species
(Aesculus indica, maple, etc.) Fir oak, birch,
and rhododendron arc the major species found there.
Intertwined into the landscape of the Khaptad
plateau are the Patans with beautiful flowers
(about 135 species) that bloom in the summer and
late spring. The grassland flowers consist of
primulas, buttercups, and wild berries. Also occurring
inside the park is a wide variety of medicinal
herbs (about 224 species).
The Park is reported to have 266 bird species
with migratory birds joining the residential ones.
It supports about 175 breeding birds’ species.
Some of the common ones are the Impeyan pheasant
(Dhanphe), Nepal's national bird, and many types
of partridges, flycatchers, bulbuls, cuckoos,
and eagles. A wide variety of butterflies, moths,
and insects also form a part of the Khaptad ecosystem.
The Park provides habitat for some 20 different
species of mammals. Common ones include barking
deer, wild boar, goral, Himalayan black bear,
and Yellow-throated Marten, and Rhesus and Langur
monkey. Other includes leopard, wild dogs, jackal
and musk deer.
Currently there are no lodges or hotels in the
park. Trekkers must be self- sufficient in tents,
food, fuel and all other supplies. Make sure to
bring a first-aid kit because there are no medical
facilities available within the Park.
HOW TO GET
The best way to reach the Park area is to fly
to Nepalgunj or Dhangadi. From Dhangadi direct
buses are available to Silgadhi, Doti. From Silgadhi
Bazar one has to hike 6 hours to the Park entrance
and another 7-8 hours to the Park Headquarters.
Other options are- take a flight from Nepalgunj
to Dipayal and proceed to Silgadhi or fly to Achham
or Bajhang followed by a two-day walk, or flight
to Bajura followed by a four-day walk.