Khaptad, famed for its pristine beauty, is situated at an altitude of around 3,100 meters above the sea level. The area that spreads across 225 square kilometres also has the Khaptad National Park in it.
Everywhere in Khaptad there are green fields with lamas and thumkas (hillocks). Flowers of all kinds, colourful butterflies flying over them, dense forest that looks like grafted all around. Gurans of all nine colours in the forest can be witnessed. Within the dense forest are fragrant herbs and green grasslands. Khaptad is the confluence of Doti, Achham, Bajhang and Bajura of Province 7. Covering an area of 225 square kilometres at an altitude of 2,700 to 3,227 meters above sea level, Khaptad National Park is one of the rarest grasslands in the world. Trees and plants like Julesallo, Khasru, Pomel, Nigla, Bhojpatra, Guran, Ranisalo, Thigesallo, Louthsalla etc. are found in this area, while hundreds of herbs like Kalakoot, Panchaule, Neeramsi, Satuva, Vayujadi, Hatwajadi, Gandalano, etc. are found in this region. Wild onions are found. Rare animals like green lizard, red frog, falcon, bear, wild boar, musk, leopard etc. are found in abundance in Khaptad.
Khaptad is rich for a wide range of flora and fauna, scenicbeauty, pleasant climate, vegetation, and socio culturalheritage including Khaptad Baba’s hermitage.They are the basic attractionsfor tourism in Khaptad National Park area. Alpine forests, 220 species of birds 40 speciesof wild life, 567 types of flowering plants and 400 herbal plants. The area is rich in socio cultural resources which can be termed tourism products. The Ashram ofKhaptadBaba is a famous spiritual site. The hermitage of the lateKhaptadBaba is preserved in “core zone” of KNP. All thevisitors of KNP usually visit the hermitage and experience the spirit andthe power of the place.
According to the Puranas, Mahadev used the herbs of Khaptad to cure the sick, so he was called Vaidyanath. The various cultural fairs held in Khaptad have been popular and famous for centuries. A big fair is held here every year on the Ganga Dushara, an eleventh day before full moon in June. Thousands of pilgrims and domestic tourists visit there at KNP to bathe in the Triveni River, watch the famous Hudke dance of the far west and enjoy playing Deuda.
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 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 Bazar 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. Another way to reach Khaptad may be suggested to fly to Dhanagadhi from Kathmandu which takes 1 hour and 10 minutes. Bus ride from Dhanagadhi to Silgadhi takes around 7 hours. Similarly, Silgadhi to Jhigrana 20 km travel 1.5 hours by Jeep and travel by foot to Khaptad.
Recently, Prime Minister Pushpa Kamal Dahal, Deputy Prime Minister Narayan Kaji Shrestha and other leaders had visited the beautiful place and assured tourism promotion activities.
Likewise, India’s famous Yoga Guru Ram Dev had conducted a three day Yoga Camp. He had commented saying “one should not miss to visit this piece of heaven in the earth in the life time.” (By Ram Dangol)