Khaptad National Park Tour
khaptad
Khaptad is a land of grasslands and forests. Its rich geography ranges from high mountains to deep gorges and mid elevation plateaus. The diverse landscape of Khaptad is filled with sub tropical, temperate and sub alpine vegetation.
One of the main attractions of Khaptad is the Khaptad National Park established in 1984. Located in the mid mountains, the Park is a rich natural habitat and has also gained religious significance as the home of Khaptad Swami, the renowned hermit. There are several places of religious and natural significance inside and outside the National Park in Khaptad.
KHAPTAD NATIONAL PARK
The Khaptad National Park (about 3000 m.) is rich in its flora and fauna variety. The National Park is covered by subtropical forest of Chir pine at lower altitude, and sub alpine forests of fir, hemlock, oak and rhododendron in the higher areas. The area boasts of 224 species of medicinal herbs and is described as the living garden of herbs, and a museum of natural history. It is estimated that about 567 species, 11 percent of flowering plants of Nepal are found in Khaptad. The Park also offers excellent bird watching opportunities, with 270 species of birds, the common ones being different varieties of Impheyan pheasant, partridges, fly catchers, bulbuls, cuckoos and eagles. The Park is also fairly rich in its variety of wild animals, common ones being barking dear, wild dog, wild boar, ghoral, Himalayan black bear, yellow throated marten, rhesus monkey and langur monkey.
Other areas in the National Park of interest to tourists are Khaptad Doha, Nag Dhunga and Upper Tribeni. Khaptad National Park also offers religious sightseeing.

CLIMATE
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.

VEGETATION AND WILDLIFE
There is a great variety of vegetation type ranging from sub-tropical forest in the lower altitudes (Jhingrana and Chaikot of Dopti) to temperate forests on the Khaptad plateau. The most common tree species are chirpine (Pinus roxburghii), spruce (Picea smithiana), fir (Abies spectabilis), maple (Acer pictum), birch (Betula utilis), alder (Alnus nepalensis) and rhododendron (Rhododendron spp.). Dense bamboo stands (nigalo) and wide varieties of medicinal herbs occur in the park.
The most common fauna in the park are leopard (Panthera pards), Himalayan yellow-throated marten (Martes flavigula), Himalayan black bear (Sus scrofa), jackal (Canis aureus), musk deer (Mochus moschiferus), goral (nemorhaedus goral), Himalayan tahr (Hemitragus jemlahicus), wolf (Canis lupus) and common langur (Presbytis entellus).
The common bird species include the Impeyan pheasant (danphe), Nepal's national bird (Lophophorus impejanus), chukor partridge (Alectoris graeca), Kalij pheasant (Lophuralleucomelana), Monal (Tragopan satyara), red and yellow-billed blue magpie (Cissa erythrorhyncapa & c. flavirostris), nutcracker (Nucifraga caryooatactes), flycatchers (Muscicapa & Muscicapella spp.), thrushes (Garrulax spp. & Zoothera spp.), Himalayan griffin ( Gyps himalayansis), cuckoos (Cuculus spp.), forktails (Enicurus spp.), tits (Parus spp.), wagtails (motacilla spp.) and eagles (Aquila spp.). A wide variety of colorful butterflies, moths and insects are also important features of the Khaptad ecosystem.

HOW TO GET THERE
The best way to reach the park area is to fly from Nepalgunj to Dipayal and the local buses are available for Silgadhi, Doti. From Silgadhi Bazzar one has to hike 6 hours to the park entrance and another 7-8 hours to the Park Headquarters. Other options are-flight to Dipayal followed by a three-day walk, or flight to Achham or Bajhang followed by a two-day walk, or flight to Bajura followed by a four-day walk. However, Dipayal and Accham airport are rarely open.

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