Far West Nepal
The sight of a white-turbaned Dhami, a shaman, with silver bangles on his arms and gold rings in his ears, will indicate just how far west you are of the modern world. Yet Hinduism and Buddhism blends with animism in local devotions, the most famous object of which was the Khaptad Swami, the renowned ‘eco-saint’ who lived to well over 100 years of age.
Organised tourism has so far been limited to the gentle hills and pastures ofthe Swami’s home, Khaptad National Park, with its snowy backdrop of peaks. But the pristine forests host abundant wildlife, including leopards, monkeys, bearsand rich birdlife. For those with a sense of adventure, there is still much to uncover here – exploration that is as much cultural as it is natural. Just one example is the Chamar’s Dasain, when bulls fuelled with rice-wine and marijuana joust for supremacy – the loser becomes dinner and the winner enjoys a year with the cows!
Trekking in the Far West is authentic as it gets. Trails wind through a land untouched by the hand of time, past ancient orange and lemon groves and flagstoned medieval villages. The history of the Malla Kingdom that reigned here from the 12th to the 14th century is not readily discernible today. But in a land that history has left behind, the visitor is free to experience a taste of what trekking must have been like when Nepal first opened up to the world beyond its borders.
Top 3 Treks
Api Base Camp Trek – 19 days
Far away from civilization: adventure trek through remote terrain, pristine forests and alpine landscape. Enjoy spectacular views of Api Himal (7132m) and its neighboring peaks. Trekking style: Camping
Khaptad National Park Trek – 10 days
A paradise for nature lovers: enjoy the park’s incredible biodiversity with 135 species of flowers, 226 bird species and 23 species of mammals including barking deer, wild boar, leopard, wild dog and jackal. Trekking Style: Camping (basic teahouses in some villages)
Far West Exploratory – 15 days
The final leg of the GHT low route across Nepal: trek from Rara Lake through untouched territory unaffected by the modern world. Pass through remote Chhetri villages. Trekking Style: Camping (basic teahouses in some villages)
- Birdlife is rich in Far West – colourful Impeyan Pheasant and Himalayan Griffuon vulture can be spotted here
- Khaptad Festival is held around August or September every year, attracting lots of pilgrimsLeopard, goral,
- Himalayan black bear and monkeys thrive here
- Many houses in Far West have a cactus on their roof, which is believed to protect the house from lightning. Straw roofs don’t need this protection!
Where to get the permit
|Far West||All trekking areas where no Trekking Permit is needed||TIMS (Trekkers’ Information Management System): Organized trekkers: blue TIMS cards;Nepali currency equivalent to US $10; can also be payed in US$ Individual trekkers: green TIMS cards;Nepali currency equivalent to US $20; Nepali currency only||TAAN or NTB office in Kathmandu or Pokhara (individual trekkers) Through travel agency (organized trekkers)||Before the trek|
|Baihang District:-Areas of Kanda, Saipal, Dhuli||Trekking Permit:For the first 7 days US $90 and after 7 days US$ 15 per day (or equivalent convertible foreign currency)||Department of Immigration Can be arranged through travel agency||Before the trek|
|Darchula District:Areas of Byas Village Development Committee||Trekking Permit: For the first 7 days US $90 and after 7 days US$ 15 per day (or equivalent convertible foreign currency)||Department of Immigration Can be arranged through travel agency||Before the trek|
|Khaptad National Park||Khaptad National Park Entrance Fee: Foreign nationals: NPR 3,000 SAARC nationals: NPR 1,000 Nepali crew: NPR 25||Entrance KNP||During the Trek|
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