Trekking In Lower Dolpo

Arrival City

Kathmandu

Departure City

Kathmandu

Lodging level

Hotel, Tented Camps

Meals

3 Course Meals

Trip Grade

Moderate to challenging

Maximun Altitude

5360m

Attractions

Hidden natural beauty and unique culture!

Three high passes, the Kagmara La (5115m), Baga La (5090m) and Numa La (5360m)

Activity

Trekking & Cultural Tour

Overview

Lower Dolpo Trekking offers youincredibly beautiful landscapes and the most authentic ancient culture including the ones of Bons!

 

 Trekking in Lower Dolpois an extraordinary trek in western Nepal that offers you a beautiful opportunity to explore its hidden natural beauty and unique culture! Isolated from the world, Dolpopreserves rare natural charm and amazing culture under it. The Lower DolpoTrekis all about experiencing typical life of remote area while enjoying the natural features like beautiful landscape, mesmerizing waterfalls, roaring rivers, peaceful walk in the forest and magnificent views of the surrounding peaks. The trail also takes you to three high passes, the Kagmara La (5115m), Baga La (5090m) and Numa La (5360m) and the color changing enchanting lake, Phoksundo Lake. As Dolpolies in the rain shadow area formed by the Dhaulagiri ranges, trekking in this region is possible even in monsoon season. A physically fit person can do this trip anytime in April to October except for the winter when the passes are covered by the snow.

Itinerary

It’s a panoramic thrill flying into Kathmandu on a clear day. The views of snow-capped mountain peaks sprawling down below you are almost ecstatic, beginning a whole chain of memorable experiences that stay with you for a long, long time. As your plane lands at Tribhuvan International Airport in Kathmandu, our waiting support team will meet and greet you at the arrival and escort you to your hotel.

Kathmandu is the historical and cultural heart of Nepal and has been a popular destination for tourists ever since Nepal opened its doors to visitors. The city presents a wonderful mix of Hinduism, Tibetan Buddhism and Western influence. There will be a guided tour to UNESCO World Heritage Sites Boudhnath, the largest Buddhist stupa in Nepal and after that to Pashupatinath, the most popular Hindu shrine dedicated to Lord Shiva. You take a tour to Patan also called as Lalitpur (the City of Artisans), which is 5 km away from Kathmandu. You get to walk through Patan Durbar Square, and delight in the architectural wonders of Malla era. Mahaboudha Temple, Kumbeshwor Temple, Krishna Temple and Golden Temple are the major attractions at the square.

You transfer to airport for a flight to Nepalgunj, which lies close to the Indian border in the western Terai. Rest of the day is free.

You take a morning flight from Nepalgunj to Jumla, from where your Lower Dolpo trek begins. Leaving the airport at Jumla, you cross TilaKhola and ChaudabiseKhola, near their confluence and climb gradually to a fertile valley of rice terraces. The trail passes through several villages. It continues through a forest of maple and walnut, to a meadow which, in season, is covered in wildflowers. Beyond the meadow, the trail climbs to a small pass before descending to GothiChaur.

Today's walk follows TilaKhola through fields of corn, potato, buckwheat and barley until the valley narrows and you enter a forest of oaks, spruce and maples. You pass through the village of Chotra with typical mani walls. After a short distance, you come to another village, Naphukana. There is a large gompa above this village.

From Naphukana the trail becomes steeper and climbs through a forest to a pass named Mauri Lagna (3820m). From the pass there are views of snowy peaks to the north and east. Descending from the pass, the trail traverses a steep slope before dropping into a forest of pine and oaks. You then enter the Bheri Valley and after following the trail in and out of side valleys, you come to the village of Chaurikot.

Continuing on to the village of Balasa you can see Kagmara peak on the horizon. The trail drops to a stream before climbing through a forest of walnut trees to a ridge. Passing through the apple orchards of Jyakot, you then descend to the village of Rimi before following a rocky trail down to the Bheri River.

You stay on the west bank of Bheri River, passing Hurikot and arrive at the entrance to the SheyPhoksundo National Park. You then come to the confluence of the Garpung and Jagdula rivers, which joins Bheri River. Following GarpungKhola, you reach your camp by the riverside.

You continue to follow GarpungKhola, ascending slowly towards the Kagmara La. Make sure to pace yourself as quick ascent is not good for acclimatization.

You now cross to the eastern side of the river, where the valley narrows and the river becomes a series of waterfalls. The trail climbs to a moraine below the Kagmara La, where yourcamps will be ready among the boulders. You get magnificent views of the surrounding peaks from here.

You get an early start this morning and ascend alongside the Kagmara Glacier to the Kagmara La, the first of the high passes. This is a good place to spot rare blue sheep. After a 900m descent, you reach the pastures of the PungmoKhola Valley.

The trail now enters birch and juniper forests which soon give way to blue pine. Up the side valleys, there are views of Kanjiroba peak before you reach the fortress-like village of Pungmo, set amidst barley fields.

You continue downstream to the national park headquarter at Sumduwa before joining the trail up the PhoksundoKhola to Phoksundo Lake, trekking in Lower Dolpo major destination of Dolpo Trek. You climb through a forest of large cedars to the winter settlement of Palam and continue ascending through the open country to a ridge from which there are good views of the lake in the distance. Close by is a spectacular waterfall, the highest waterfall in Nepal. The trail then makes an initial descent before climbing gently to Ringmo village. After crossing a bridge below Ringmo, the trail continues northwards to the shores of Phoksundo Lake.

Today is a rest day at the lake which is known for its unusual greenish-blue color. It is overlooked on the western side, by a large snowy peak known as Kanjiroba or Kanchen Ruwa. A trail leads through a stand of juniper trees to an old monastery which overlooks the lake. As well as Buddhist paintings and statues, there is also evidence of the ancient Bon-po religion in the temple and chapels.

You retrace your route as far as Ringmo and then follow a trail eastwards, through forest of juniper and blue pine. The trail follows the river up the valley to a waterfall and you will reach at the base of the Baga La.

From your camp it's a steady 3 hour climb to the top of the Baga La, the second of the high passes. The descent is gradual at first but it soon drops steeply to a stream before ascending again to the foot of the Numa La.

You continue climbing through arid country to the last of the high passes, the Numa La. It is marked by mani stones and, if it is clear, you can see as far as Dhaulagiri. The trail now descends past a huge mani wall to the Tarap region and you walk through the barley fields of the Tarap Valley to the settlement of Dho.

Rest days at Dho. It is the largest settlement in Tarap and has several gompas. On the ridge above the village is the Ri Bhunpa Gompa and, just to the east, the village of Shipchhok has a Bon-po gompa which is certainly worth exploring. There are also opportunities to get great views of the valley and surrounding snow peaks from a number of nearby ridges.

This morning's walk is almost level and follows the river until it flows into a gorge. You enter the gorge which has large rose shrubs and other wildflowers, and after crossing and re-crossing the river numerous times, you finally come to a flat expanse.

The trail today is steep, narrow and dangerous as it clings to the cliffs, and the bridges along here can often be washed out. Eventually, the valley widens and the route becomes easier as you approach the village of Khanigaon. You then climb high above the river before descending towards the BarbungKhola and the fortress village of Tarakot.

You follow the BarbungKhola downstream along the south bank to the village of Lawan, before crossing to the north bank and walking for several more hours to Dunai.

Today, you trek from Dunai to Juphal. From Dunai you follow the river trail downstream to Juphal. you walk uphill through meadows and past a few houses to the small hotels at Kala Gaura (2090m). After several hours of walking, you finally reach Juphal, which is the end point of ourtrekking in Lower Dolpo.

You take a flight from Juphal to Nepalgunj. You then take a connecting flight from Nepalgunj to Kathmandu.

This is a contingency day in case of flight delays. If you have free time, you can let go the strains of trekking in the Himalaya. You can explore around the Heritage sites in the city, stroll down the streets of Thamel for local cultural experience, visit nearby monasteries, relax at a spa center or do some souvenir haunting in the local bazaar.

Our Nepali support team will take you to the airport for your flight home. On the other hand, if you prefer to stay longer, you can go for short tours such as game drive at National parks, rafting, Tibet tours, mountain biking, etc. – ask us.

General Information

TRIP GRADE: Strenuous Trek

This is a longDolpotrektrek that goes far beyond the normal haunts of trekkers and tourists, to remote areas of the country where the landscapes are wild and untamed and where the local inhabitants have seen little change in their way of life for centuries- untouched corners of an increasingly crowded planet. It is physically challenging, likely to include unfavorable weather conditions and strenuous activities, such as, climbing/ scrambling across high passes.

 

TREKKING TYPES

Camping trek (no lodge available) Includes: Guide, Porters, Cook, All meals and tents

 

ACCOMMODATION

Camping trek means sleeping in tents. On a camping trek, the tents provided are ‘Two men dome’ or ‘A’ shaped. Foam mattress with insulation underneath is provided for sleeping. Clients need to have their own sleeping bag. Bags or cloth packs are used as pillows. If you wish, you can bring your own ‘Air pillow’.

We have a pool of hotels in Kathmandu under 3 Star categories which we provide to clients in connection to this itinerary, unless it is mentioned otherwise or clients have a special choice. You can check on the description of such hotels through our website.

 

MEALS & DRINKING WATER

We provide three tasty, plentiful and nutritious meals daily with a variety of local and Western dishes. To start the day, breakfast consists of a choice of porridge, muesli and cereal followed by omelet, fried or scrambled eggs with chapattis or bread. Lunch is generally a selection of salad, cooked vegetable dishes, pasta and traditional breads.

After a long day on the trail, dinner is a hearty 3 course meal – soup, followed by a variety of vegetable, meat, rice and pasta dishes and completed with a simple dessert. Tea, coffee and hot chocolate are also provided at all meals. We use as much fresh produce as possible and special diets are regularly catered for. The leaders are able to maintain very tight controls on health and hygiene in the kitchen with respect to general cleanliness and food preparation and also within the group with respect to personal hygiene. This has allowed us to maintain remarkably high standards of health over many years of trek organization – and good health is vital to an enjoyable and successful trek and climb. All foods are well cooked and vegetables are treated by potassium permanganate or iodine. Boiled water is served for drinking. Antiseptic soaps and potassium or iodine treated water are provided for washing. Special dietary requirements can always be catered for.

 

PERSONAL EXPENSES– MONEY TO TAKE ON TREK

Money requirement depends largely on type of trek style, duration and trekking region. For a two-week Lower Dolpo trek, you can take about $200-$300, more if you intend to get more table drinks (alcoholic/non-alcoholic beverages), snacks while walking (a few smaller shops are available along the trail in some areas), souvenirs, battery charge, internet, hot shower (available in some places) etc.

 

CHANGING MONEY

You can change money at a bank or the money exchange counter in city like Kathmandu. Many Tourist class Hotels have money exchange facilities. These days, there is availability of ATMs in Kathmandu and Nepalgunj.

 

TIPS

Tips are appreciated by your support team after the completion of your trekking in Nepal. The amount depends on your budget and appreciation of their work. As a suggestion, we advise that you can allocate 5- 10 % of the total tour cost as tips.It is recommended that you talk to the members and hand it over individually as per the hierarchy on the last day of the trek.

 

GROUP SIZE ON FIXED DEPARTURE

If you opt to join our ‘fixed departure trip’, you are likely to be joining people from different countries of any age group except minors. The size of group varies, minimum no of persons required to operate a trip is 2 people and the maximum is 15 people.

For a Private Booking, any number size from 1 pax to 20 pax is acceptable and can be comfortably organized. We go for special planning for handling group size bigger than 20 pax.

 

GROUP LEADER AND CREW

We provide different options concerning leadership in order to match your requirements:

1) Western leader

2) Trained Nepali Trek leader (experienced and knowledgeable)

3) Sherpa Guide (handles the logistics and guides you and your team on the trek)

The Sherpa guide (commonly called Sirdar) will be accompanied by a crew of porters. We provide 1 porter for 2 members.

 

FLIGHT AND LAND TRANSFERS

First you fly to Nepalgunj from Kathmandu and then take another short flight from Nepalgunj to Jumla. On the completion of the lower Dolpo trek, you will fly back to Kathmandu via Juphal. We will arrange airport transfers.

Note: There is a high probability of cancellation of domestic flights in remote sectors due to bad weather conditions. Hence, we advise you to keep at least one or more day extra in Kathmandu before your flight home.

 

COMMUNICATION

For using internet during Dolpo trek, Wifi service is available in lower altitudes. You can also use Ncell and NTC network (both for internet and mobile network) but they don’t work properly as you go higher. If it is crucial for you to keep in contact with your family or others, we can provide you a mobile satellite phone (rental charge on request).

 

LUGGAGE WHILE TREKKING

During the Lower Dolpo trek, your main luggage will be carried by porter. Please keep your luggage as light as possible around 12 to 15 kgs for flight safety and porter welfare as per IPPG standard. You simply carry a daypack with water bottle, camera, sun-screen, spare jacket etc. You can leave your valuable items at your hotel in Kathmandu while trekking. Many hotels have a locker system and provide a deposit slip for the valuables kept under the hotel’s safekeeping.

 

TYPICAL DAY ON TREK

Your typical day while trekking in Nepal begins with a hot cup of tea brought to the tent at about 6 am, followed by a bowl of hot water for washing. After packing all your bags and having a good breakfast, we set off on the morning’s walk. All you need to carry is a small day pack containing water bottle, camera, sun cream, hat, rain jacket and a warm jumper, just in case. The porters will carry the rest of your gear for you. After walking for 3-4 hours, we stop for lunch at around midday. The afternoon’s walk is generally shorter and we arrive at camp in time for afternoon tea. The remainder of the afternoon can be spent exploring the nearby villages, doing a bit of washing or simply relaxing with a good book. On some days, we will arrive at camp by lunchtime and the entire afternoon will be free. Dinner is usually served between 6 and 7 pm. After dinner, the evening will often be spent playing cards and talking with the crew, or perhaps even joining in some singing and dancing, before heading off to the tent for a well-earned sleep

 

TREKKING GEARS & EQUIPMENT

You will need walking boots, sleeping bag (4 seasons/ -20C rated), waterproof jacket and trousers, fleece jacket, warm hat and gloves, sunglasses, water bottle, sun-screen and day pack. Comprehensive list of equipment will be provided once you book your trip. It’s not necessary to spend a lot of money buying extra equipment and clothing before your trip. Majority of these gears can be bought or hired at reasonable rates in Kathmandu.

 

GEARS AVAILABLE IN KATHMANDU

There are numerous suppliers of trekking gears in Kathmandu supplying genuine branded items or imitations depending on your choice and price. You can get anything from down jackets and sleeping bags to socks or thermal wears that you need for your trek. They might not be the best but good enough for the trek considering the price.

 

EQUIPMENT PROVIDED BY COMPANY

We provide company duffle bag (80L) to use on the trek. You can store your bag in your hotel and use it after the trek.

 

TREK SECURITY

Security of our clients is our foremost priority. All our guides are licensed by Nepal Government. Our guides and support crew are carefully chosen for your trips. They will ensure your safety and security throughout your trip. However, you also have to take precautions yourself at all times. Never leave your baggage unattended and keep your lodge room locked when you go out.

 

MEETING AND GREETING AT AIRPORT

You need to pass on your International flight details to us for a “meeting and greeting” service at airport. You just pass the customs desk and come out of the terminal building where you will see someone standing with a placard with either ‘Explore Himalaya’ or your name written on it. Our airport representative or tour officer will greet you and welcome you with a garland.

 

TREK DURATION

We ensure liability as indicated in itinerary and list of services. If the holiday is cut short or completed earlier than the projected period upon client’s wish, we shall not be responsible or make refund against unutilized days or services. Clients need to pay for hotels/services incurred in Kathmandu or elsewhere in such cases.

 

CLIMATE AND BEST TIME TO GO

The best seasons to trekking in Nepal in the Dolpo region are Autumn (from mid-September till November end) and Spring (from the beginning of March until mid-May). Temperatures will drop considerably as you trek higher everyday. The nights are cold (between -10 C to 5C) but the days are sunny and hot (between 10C to 20C).The mornings are usually clear, with clouds building up during the afternoon, disappearing at night. As Dolpo region is located in the rain shadow area, it is possible toconduct Lower Dolpo trek during monsoon but domestic flights are often disrupted by heavy monsoon cloud and rain.

March, April, October and November are the most popular and favored months for traveling. Please choose the time that is convenient for you.

 

ITINERARY CHANGES

The itinerary for Lower Dolpo trek is a standard itinerary. Depending on the prevailing situationwhile on trek, you can modify it to some extent after consulting with your guide. However, the date of trek completion should always coincide with the original itinerary. You should keep in mind that this is an adventure trip into the remotest region, where many unforeseen events may contribute to the need for a change in itinerary. In such cases, we or your guide will suggest the best alternative similar to your original.

 

HEALTH ISSUES AND VACCINATIONS

As vaccination requirements change frequently, we suggest you to consult your doctor at least 2 months prior to the beginning of your trip. We recommend protection against malaria, tetanus, typhoid, hepatitis and polio.

The main health consideration during the lower Dolpo trek is Acute Mountain Sickness (AMS). You may experience some mild symptoms initially, such as headache, lethargy, nausea and difficulty sleeping, but these should lessen within a few days. To avoid Acute Mountain Sickness (AMS), people take pills called ‘Diamox’. You can also use these pills after consulting with your doctor and purchase them in Kathmandu. Our itinerary will allow your body to acclimatize properly and handle the low oxygen rate.

If you have ever suffered from altitude sickness, or have a heart or breathing complaint, we highly recommend you to consult your doctor about your suitability for trekking in high altitude areas before booking. We suggest that you take some pain-killing pills with you and enough medicine for cold, diarrhea, nausea and fever. Some nasal ointment and throat-moistening pills will greatly help for those who are sensitive to chilly or freezing weather conditions.

 

FIRST AID KIT

We supply a medical bag with standard medicines prescribed by trekking doctors and a user’s manual. Since our staffs/guides are not qualified for suggesting medications to western clients, we would request you to use the medicines upon your own risk. It is safer and more reliable if you have your own medicine kit and not depend on what we have.

 

VISA

All visitors except the Indian nationals must hold passport and valid visa. Visa can be obtained at the Nepalese diplomatic missions and consulates abroad. You can also get “On Arrival Visa” at entry points. For doing Annapurna Trek, you can come with a 30 day visa which costs US $ 50. You should have a passport size photo to get it at airport upon arrival. Some countries’ nationals need to get visa prior their arrival. Please check http://www.nepalimmigration.gov.np/page/tourist-visa for detailed information.

 

JOIN A GROUP OR PRIVATE TRIP

Lower Dolpo trek is available on both fixed departure and private basis. If you are looking for a group to join Lower Dolpo trip, please check our ‘Fixed Departures’ link for availability, dates and price. If you would like to travel independently, or with your friends, families & colleagues, you are invited to choose any of the trips at your convenient timeframe for any number of people (minimum 1 & maximum 20 at a time).

If you want to do something that is not included in our trip list, we are ready to tailor your trip to suit your exact requirements. In short, we will make every effort to meet your needs.

 

RESCUE / EVACUATIONS

We take your safety and security very seriously, and make sure that nothing untoward happen to you. However, if anything serious like sickness or a casualty occurs, we will do everything to transfer you to the nearest hospital. As you are responsible for all the expenses incurred in evacuation, please make sure that it is covered by your insurance before assigning for it.

 

INSURANCE

Before joining this Lower Dolpo trek, we recommend you to take a travel insurance which should cover cancellation, medical expenses, helicopter evacuation and emergency repatriation.Our staff will collect your insurance details before you leave for the trek.

 

RESPONSIBLE TRAVEL

We are among the few companies in Nepal to receive Travelife Certificate Award https://www.travelife.info for our long-term efforts in sustainable practices.

1.Care for porters and staffs

We ensure that all the porters and other staffs going into high altitude conditions during lower Dolpo trek are provided with adequate clothing and equipment. All our porters carry less than 30 kg and underage porters are strictly prohibited in our operations. We run the trek according to the guidelines of the International Porter Protection group (IPPG – www.ippg.net).

 

2.Environmental Responsibility

Wonderful environment of the Himalayas is also an extremely fragile one. Increasing population density and numbers of trekkers threaten the very beauty of Nepal. At Explore Himalaya, we are extremely conscious about the environment and aim to minimize our impact as much as possible. As deforestation is one of the greatest environmental threats, we do not have camp fires and use LPG gas or kerosene for cooking as an alternative fuel to wood. We don’t use plastic bottles. We also discourage trekkers from using wood-fuelled hot showers in lodges along the way. Many lodges, however, now provide solar hot showers, a far more eco-friendly alternative.

Garbage disposal is another major problem and some of the busier trails can, at times, appear strewn with litter. Our staff members are well motivated towards eco-friendly practices. Our staff carry garbage bag with them all the time and collect our garbage and other litters they find on trail, and dispose them on the designated area. We also volunteer to bring garbage down to Lukla while returning back. Our aim is to help protect and preserve this beautiful environment for future generations of trekkers to enjoy.

 

3.Social Responsibility

Explore Himalaya works with the motto ‘Development through Tourism’. Keeping in line with this motto, Explore Himalaya Community Service Project (EHCSP) has been conceived to empower underprivileged, marginalized, poor and minority segments of Nepal.Since its inception, EHCSP has been incessantly facilitating and advocating for school education, health, community development, forest conservation, agro practices and culture preservation. A certain amount of your trip money goes to these projects. For more details on our CSR initiatives, please visit https://www.explorehimalaya.com/csr/ .

    The Trip Cost Includes
    • Fully catered camping trek (FOT)
    • Kathmandu/Nepalgunj/Jumla airfares
    • Juphal/Nepalgunj/Kathmandu airfares
    • English speaking local expert guide, porters (2 members= 1 porter, luggage 15 kg only per member)
    • Shey-Phoksundo National Park Fee
    • Dolpo Restricted Area Permit Fee.
    • 4 nights accommodation in Kathmandu (3*) on twin sharing with breakfast
    • 1 night accommodation in Nepalgunj on twin sharing with breakfast
    • 1 sightseeing tour in Kathmandu with English speaking local guide
    • Entrance fees to the monuments
    • Airport transfers and tour transfers in private vehicle.
    • Insurance for all staff & porters.
    • Equipment & clothing for all staff & porters.
    • First aid kit bag carried by guide.

     

    The Trip Cost Excludes
    • Nepal visa fees
    • International flight or any other airfares and airport taxes
    • Lunch and dinner in Kathmandu and Nepalgunj
    • Personal expenses like, communication, laundry, bar bills, internet, camera/mobile battery recharge, hot water/shower on trek, snacks while walking etc.)
    • Personal gears & clothing (available on hire)
    • Tips for guide, porters, drivers etc.
    • Client’s insurance and medical Expenses
    • Any expenses incurred in emergency evacuation/rescue due to any unforeseen reasons
    • Anything not mentioned under “Price Includes”.

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TERMS AND CONDITIONS

BOOKING PROCEDURE

Your Booking Of This Trek Will Be Confirmed By Email Once We Receive Your Deposit Of $500 And The Signed Copy Of Booking Form And Contract. The Balance Is Due No Later Than Two Months Prior To Departure. If You Book A Tour Less Than 2 Months Prior To Departure, You Must Send The Full Payment Within 7 Days Of Confirmation By Us.

CANCELLATION POLICY

If you cancel your booking, the following scale of charges will apply: • 2 months before departure – Loss of deposit (US$ 500) • 29 days to 2 months before departure – 30% of total trip cost • 10 to 28 days before departure – 60% of total trip cost • Less than 10 days before departure – 100% of total trip cost

TRIP EXTENSIONS

In addition toLower Dolpo trek, we can organize extensions both within Nepal, Tibet, Bhutan etc. You may want to try water rafting or a jungle safari in Nepal or Nepal Cultural Tour. You may as well take a trip to Tibet or Bhutan, whichever seems more appealing to you.

DISCLAIMER

It is fundamental to acknowledge that lower Dolpo trekking is an adventure tour. This requires some flexibility. The day to day itinerary is taken only as a guideline. We cannot be held responsible for any delays caused by International or domestic flights, strikes, Government regulations, weather or natural casualties etc. In such cases, Explore Himalaya shall provide suitable alternatives which will be decided upon mutual agreement. If you have any questions regarding this trip, please feel free to contact us at enquiry@explorehimalaya.com or directly by phone: +977-1-4518100. We answer all enquiries within 24 hours.

TRAVEL GUIDE:

DOLPO REGION

Dolpo is the largest district of Nepal which lies in Karnali province in western Nepal. It borders with China to the north, Jumla and Mugu districts to the west and is surrounded by Dhaulagiri and ChurenHimal range tothe east and south. It is rich in diverse nature, unique culture and wonderful scenic beauty which attract the travelers. Dolpo is also known as the “hidden land” as it is less frequented and yet to be explored fully by travelers.

SHEY PHOKSUNDO NATIONAL PARK

Nepal’s largest national park, SheyPhoksundo National Park was established in1984 AD. The National Park lies at the altitude ranging from 2130m in Ankhe to 6883m at the summit of KanjirobaHimal and covers an area of 3555 km which extends over the parts of Dolpo and Mugu districts. It is a home to different species of flora and fauna found in trans Himalayan ecosystem. Nepal’s deepest and second largest lake Phoksundo Lake and also the highest waterfall of country Suligad waterfall lies in the upper region of Suligad. The National Park is also the home to many monasteries and glaciers.

CLIMATE, FLORA AND FAUNA

The climate in the region varies from subtropical to alpine. As Doplo lies in the rain shadow area due to Dhaulagiri range, the rainfall is very minimum in this region. It is a plus point for the trekkers as trekking can be done even in rainy season. But no trek can be done in winter region as the passes are blocked by heavy snowfall. The various flora found in this region are pine, juniper, sliver birch, wall nuts, apples, plums, etc. and the region provides home to different species of animals like blue sheep, musk deer, wild yak, wild goat and several other animals and endangered animal snow leopard is also found in this region.

PEAKS

Dhaulagiri
Dhaulagiri range from II to VI lies in Dolpo region. Dhaulagiri II is the highest peak among all the peaks found in Dolpo region with 7751m of elevation and it was first summited in 1971. The Dhaulagiri IV is the second mountain which was successfully summitted among other Dhaulagiri ranges in 1969 AD after Dhaulagiri I.

Churen Himal
Churen Himal lies in the Dhaulagiri Mountain range. Churen Himal consists of 3 major summits – Churen Himal main (7,385m), Churen Himal East (7,371m) and Churen Himal West (7,371m). Churen Himal was first summitted in 1970 AD. Today, different mountaineering agencies provide expedition packages to climb this peak.

Kanjiroba Himal
Standing at the elevation of 6883m, Kanjiroba Himal is an isolated part of the Himalaya range within Nepal, adjacent to the Tibetan border. The area was discovered when British explorer John Baird Tyson made the first of a series of expeditions to the area in 1950s. It lies within the cross border of Shey Phoksundo National Park and is about 180 km northwest of Pokhara city.

PLACES

Phoksundo Lake
Phoksundo Lake is the deepest lake of Nepal which is located at the altitude of 3612m above sea level. As per the native of Dolpo, the water never freezes even in winter. The interesting part of the Lake is that it has no living organism at all. Another fascinating fact about the lake is its color changing feature. Though the lake is known for its turquoise blue color, it changes its color according to the amount of light falling upon it. The activities like swimming and boating are not allowed but the people are attracted towards the lake to gain the live experience of mesmerizing beauty the lake holds.

Dho Tarap Valley
Dho Tarap Valley is located at the heart of Dolpo with approximately 1500 people living in a valley of 3 villages, Dho, Tokyu and Lang. It is one of the highest settlements in Nepal. Dho is located at an altitude of 3900m which has 120households and Tokyu is located at 4300m with same number of households whereas Lang is a small village with only about 30 households. The Valley can be reached in a day from other villages of Dolpo.

Ringmo Village and Suligad Waterfall
Ringmo is a traditional village where people follow Bon religion and mostly belong to Tibetan ethnicity. It is located on the landslide dam that formed Phoksundo Lake at 3660m above sea level. To the south of the village lies countries longest waterfall, Suligad waterfall which is half kilometer away from the village. The water comes from Phoksundo Lake, and the waterfall is 167m long which drops into Bheri river.

Shey Gompa
Shey Gompa is a holy place of Buddhists which is also known as Crystal Gompa as it was built in 11th century below the holy crystal mountain. It is a major attraction of Dolpo trek. The monastery was made famous by Peter Matthiessen through his book “The Snow Leopard”. The Gompa is known for its 12m tall breezed golden status of Shakyamuni (Gautam Buddha). It lies in the trekking route to cross Kanga La Pass (5151m) which is one of the highest Passes in the Himalayas.

 

FESTIVALS

Lhosar
Lhosar means New Year. Known as the festival of mountain people or highlanders, it is celebrated by various ethnic groups following Buddhism like Sherpa, Hyolmo, Tamang and Gurung. Interestingly, these groups don’t celebrate the festival on the same day. There are three types of Lhosars namely Tamu Lhosar (Gurungs), Sonam Lhosar (Tamangs) and Gyalbu Lhosar (Sherpas and Hyolmos) celebrated on different dates based on lunar calendar starting from January to February. During the festival people offer prayers for good health and prosperity at homes and monasteries. They exchange various goods and gifts, organize feasts and perform dances.

Buddha Jayanti
The festival falls in the month of May. It is the day Lord Buddha was born, enlightened and died; and it celebrated by people praying together in gompas. The people in Lower Dolpo also celebrate the festival with much enthusiasm.

Shey Festival
This festival is celebrated once in every twelve year i.e., dragon year according to the Tibetan calendar. During the festival, all the Buddhist followers from the region and beyond gather to the Shey Gompa and perform typical dances, wear traditional and antique dresses and different events like horse riding, archery and lama dances are organized. People also go for kora, the circumambulation of the monastery.

Chaite Dashain
The festival occurs in the month of March or April. It is mostly celebrated in the lower Dolpo by Hindu people of the region. The festival goes for one month, people celebrate it in relaxing way. During the festival people do not work at all. They invite each other and have feast and celebrate by dancing, singing, playing and eating.

Maghe Sankranti
The festival occurs in the month of January. On this day people invite their relatives and eat different kinds of dishes specially yams.

 

PEOPLE& RELIGION

Bon Religion and Buddhism
People in Upper Dolpo follows Bon and Buddhism. The people following Bon religion are called Bonpos. The Bonpos are comparatively lesser than people following Buddhism in upper Dolpo. They speak Tibetan language and Kaam language which is similar to Tibetan language. People celebrate festivals like Shey festival, Buddha Jayanti, Lhosar.

Hinduism and Shamanism
Lower Dolpo and middle belt has high influence of multiple culture though it is dominated by the Khasan. Khasan are the followers of Hinduism and Shamanism. Hindu casts like Brahmin Kshetri, Thakuri and other can be found who celebrate major Hindu festivals like Dashain, Janai Purnima, Maghe Sakranti etc.

Kike and Shamanism
People in the middle part of Upper Dolpo and Lower Dolpo practice Shamanism. They have a typical culture and dialect. Kike is the language which is similar to Tibetan language and is believed to exist in Dolpo only.

 

 

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Anuj Pandey

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