Rara Lake nestles like a sparkling jewel amongst verdant forested hills at the heart of Nepal’s least visited National Park. At just over 5km (3miles) in length, it is the largest body of water in the country and lies at an altitude 2980m (9630ft) in the district of Mugu. The populations of several villages were relocated to the Terai when the park was inaugurated in 1975, and today the only people living within its boundaries are wardens, police and army officers. Though comparatively short, the hike in from Jumla is strenuous, passing through tranquil valleys and mysterious, magical coniferous forests of British Columbia. The pace of life in Jumla is slow indeed the town retains an atmosphere of almost total inertia. The cultural centre of town is the flag-swathed Chandan Nath temple, from within which can be heard bell-ringing and horn-blowing pujas each afternoon. The best season is March to October.