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DOLPO TRAVEL GUIDE

Dolpo located in western Nepal is considered to be one of the most remote places and
known for its many isolated high Himalayan valleys. Deep in the Himalayan mountains,
this hidden Trans- Himalayan region is quite peaceful. The landscape here is dry and arid,
filled with ancient caves and nomadic lifestyle with big herds of yak, sheep and mountain
goats. Even in the monsoon season, this region has blue sky and splendid mountain views
as it lies in the rain shadow area. Surrounded by snowy peaks including that of Dhaulagiri
(8167mt.), Kanjiroba (6883m) and Annapurnas, this region has one of the deepest lake in
the world. Phoksundo lake, spread over an area of 200 sq.km, is surrounded by rocky
cliffs and its turquoise fresh water, which is a complete wilderness setting. The region is
sub divided into two parts ‘Upper Dolpo’ and ‘ Lower Dolpo’. Trekking to both the areas
undoubtedly gives you a lifetime experience as this trek is very daring and challenging.

Climate, Flora & Fauna
Temperate to Alpine vegetation are found changing with elevation in this region. Usually
the weather remains fine during spring season (March-May) although high passes still
remains covered with winter snow. This region lies in rain shadow with desert-like barren
tundra, barely getting 250 mm of annual rainfall. Monsoon rainfalls from June till
September and the weather usually remain clear as it receive much less rain being
generally high, dry, windy and cold even in summer. The dolpo area in particular, has rich
variety of flora as it is filled with ground orchids, edelweiss, corydalis, campanulas,
anemones, forget-me-nots, impatiens and roses. At the higher part of the regions,
larkspurs, geraniums, poppies, sedums and saxifrages proliferate are found.Common
vegetation in this region is primarily from the legume family, such as the spiny caragana
and astragalus, and lonicera from the honeysuckle family.The region is the habitat of
Himalayan black bear, Blue sheep, Himalayan tahr, spotted leopards, Jackal, wolves,
exclusive snow leopard, rare cats and huge birds’ Himalayan griffon and other migratory
birds. Yaks, horses, mountain goats, zos and asses are commonly found.

Kanjiroba Massif
Situated in the remote Dolpo region, west of Nepal, Kanjiroba massif is another major
attraction of the region to the visitor. The Kanjiroba Himal provides you a panoramic
backdrop to complete your experience. It truly provides a lifetime experience to those
who are longing for a challenging and adventurous trek in the remote Himalaya. It offers
a spectacular view of neighboring peaks such asTripura Hiunchuli (Hanging Glacier
Peak) - 6,553m ,Tso Karpo - 6,518m Palta Thumba (Milchberg) - 6,126m ,Kangmara
-5960m,Kanjeralwa – 6612m,Kanjiroba (main) – 6883m.

People & Places
Dolpo consists of an ethnic group called Bhotias with Tibetan origins, who are either
adherents of Buddhist or the Bon religion (a Shamanistic religion that pre-dates
Buddhism). The Dolpo-pa (people of Dolpo) are unique in their cultural and social
tradition. The people living around the region are Bhotia and they have close ties with the
people of Tibet. They are gradually becoming Hindus and Buddhist, adding Chhetri,
Gurung, Sherpa etc surnames to their Tibetan names. They speak kaike language which is
believed to exist only in Dolpo, as the Dolpo-pa are from Tibetan origins they speak
Tibetan language too. Normally, people are farmers, traders and shepherds, often all in
one because this is the only way to survive. Agriculture on a large scale is impossible
because fertile land is scarce and most of them are depended on animal husbandry and
trade. ‘Losar’ a Tibetan new year is their main festival which is celebrated on 18th of
February and lasts till 14th to 16th of February. Another ceremony they generally
celebrate is ‘Yul-lha’ ceremony which is a ritual to appease Gods.

Nepalgunj
It is situated in the western region, which is famous for the adventurous treks to Dolpo,
Jumla and Mount Kailash. Nepalgunj is a district headquarters of Banke District in the
Bheri region of Mid Western Nepal. It is the industrial and transport hub for western,
mid-western and far-western regions of Nepal. Nepalgunj has a diverse culture as there
are many ethnic groups living around. The region consists of highest percentage of
Muslim religion.

Jumla
Located in west Nepal, Jumla is the zonal headquarter of the Karnali zone. Compared
with other areas, the development process in the region is slow and tourism is yet to pick
up. This zone is regarded as one of the world’s highest rice growing area. The people in
the region are Thakuris, a Chhetri sect that has the highest social, political and religious
standing. The origin of Nepali language is Sinja of Jumla. Therefore, the Nepali dialect
“Khas Bhasa” is still spoken among the people in this region.

Shey-Phoksundo Lake
Shey-Phoksundo Lake is one of Nepal’s most spectacular and second largest lake. This
lake is considered sacrosanct by the locals of Dolpo. The lake is 4.8km long, 1.8km wide
and said to be 650m deep. It spreads in an area of 3627m. Ringed by snow-capped
mountains and fresh turquoise water, this lake is purely a jewel of Dolpo. There is no
aquatic life in the lake, which makes the water brilliantly clear. View of this lake truly
gives you a satisfying lifetime experience.

Shey-Phoksundo National Park
The largest National Park of Nepal ‘Shey-Phoksundo’ is situated in Dolpo district, near
Phoksundo lake which spreads in an area of 3555Sq Km. It was established in the year
1984 with an objective to preserve the unique Himalayan ecosystem with its typical
Tibetan type of flora and fauna, and to protect endangered species such as the snow
leopard and musk deer. Much of the park lies north of the Great Himalayan Range,
locally represented by Kanjiroba Himal, at the southern edge of the trans-Himalayan
region of the Tibetan Plateau. The park has 20 mammals, 176 species of birds, a total of
28 species of butterflies and various varieties one of wild flower.

Crystal Mountain ‘
Crystal Mountain’, one of the sacred mountains and the major attraction of Dolpo lies
beyond the Tso Kava Le lake which is several days’ walk north of this lake. This
mountain is known as She-Re Drugda translated to Crystal Mountain. Locally, it is
known as “Shey”. According to the local people, there is a legend of this mountain which
gives the origin of being sacredness. There are lots of marvelous sites around this sacred
mountain as there are pilgrims at each place, ‘Dorjee cave’ where Senge Yeshi retreated
for nine years and gained the highest attainment of enlightenment. ‘Chod Ten’ stupa
where ‘Chod’ means ‘to offer’ and ‘Ten’ means an ‘offer to depend on’ is one of the most
precious objects in the Gomoche Monastery which is located around the sacred crystal
mountain, yet there are lots of interesting places to visit.

The Major Treks

Upper Dolpo
It offers an exploration to the Western Himalayan terrain, the people, their culture and
their rugged yet beautiful surroundings. Trekking in this remote region is certainly
challenging with high mountain passes and difficult terrain which leaves a fruitful
experience worth taking the adventure.
Link

Dolpo to Jomsom (Lower Dolpo)
This trek truly provides an opportunity to experience the life in the remote highland.
Lying in the western Himalayan region, battered by the high winds, arid and dry
landscape, unbearable cold in the winter months and almost cut off from the development
of the outside world, this region is a living example of a tough struggle against the harsh
force of nature. The trail passes through some high mountain passes and scarcely spread
local villages, with beautiful mountains towering above in the background.
Link

Lower Dolpo (Dolpo-Tarap- Shey-Phoksundo)
Lying north to the Himalayan mountain range is a high altitude arid land known as Dolpo
to the rest of the world. Battered by the high speed gale of the mountains this arid land is
true Himalayan wilderness. Blessed by the unprecedented natural beauty this region
provides an opportunity to witness the nomadic lifestyle of the few men who dared to live
in this harsh land.

Caravan Trek to Dolpo
This trek offers you to experience the whole surrounding of dolpo region. Those who are
seeking for a challenging and adventurous trek in a remote area are highly recommended
to visit this part of the country. The trek starts from Juphal and ends in Juphal. The trial
passes through ethnic Thakuri villages in a high and remote alpine area, where you will
witness and experience the lifestyle of people who are battling against the harsh force of
nature. The route goes through high passes like Numala and Bagala and very remote area
of the country, and finally ends to gorgeous Shey Phoksundo Lake (3627m). Eventually,
we head back to Juphal.

Best time to visit
The appropriate time to visit this region is between March-May and June-September.
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