- Trip Outline
- Cost Includes
- Cost Excludes
Dolpo is Internationally Known zone of its uniqueness, describes in various forms of media worldwide, An Oscar nominated CARAVAN was set in Dolpo and subtitles in English language. The aura of remote upper Dolpo, closed to foreigners for decades and still culturally Tibetan, has been enhanced by Matheissen’s ‘The Snow Leopard’, David Snell grove’s ‘Himalayan Pilgrimage’ and George Schaller’s ‘Stones of Silence’ among many other travel books. Myth has it that the Guru Rimpoche, who extend Tibetan Buddhism throughout the Himalayas, discovered this hidden land, a ‘Be-Yul’ or refuge, over 1700 years ago, and it has been inhabited by Tibetan nomads, for over a thousand years.
Dolpo has remained isolated by various causes, fairly due to its inaccessible location, and somewhat because of the Khampa guerillas using Mustang and Dolpo as a Base shelter durin. It has only been open for trekking and tourism since 1989, and then only parts of southern Dolpo were opened. There is still a special restricted area permit needed to trek above Phoksumdo Lake in Shey Phoksumdo National Park, which has only been a viable trekking region since 1999 because of the Maoist actions in this region. Inner Dolpo has a population of approximately 6000 inhabitants, many of whom migrate south for the winter.
We will fly from to Nepalgunj from Kathmandu (60 minutes). After a tiring day, you can spend the evening in your hotel or explore this vibrant city.
From Nepalgunj we will take a plane to Juphal, it’s about 35 minutes long. After landing in Juphal, we will meet our trekking crew and walk through the green terraced fields along the Bheri River and through the narrow canyon. After three hours of trekking, we will reach a large village of Dunai, where we will spend the night.
From Dunai, we will cross the suspension bridge and move westward. At the meeting point of the Thuri Bheri and Suli Gad rivers, we will follow the latter one and move north. We will hike up gradually, with the sound of the river thriving in the backdrop. We will walk through marijuana, millet, pumpkin and potato fields. We will continue our trek along the river and reach a small settlement called Hanke. It is the gateway to Shey Phoksundo National Park. We will walk through Parela and Rahagaon to reach Ankhe. What’s interesting is these names mean eyelashes, eyebrows and eyes respectively!
The trek starts to get a little challenging from this point. After crossing a dwindling river in well-built bridges, we will hike uphill on a steep trail on a narrow path. From there, we will descend for some time along the river and then ascend up, relishing the beautiful view of the surrounding landscape. We may camp on the side of Suligad River.
We will start early in the morning. The trek will be fairly easy for the first few hours. From Sumdo, we will incline down steeply. We will climb a ridge at 3,875m from where we can have the amazing view of the 300m waterfall, biggest in Nepal and the Phoksundo Lake. We will drop away through beautiful Birch forests to reach the Phoksundo Khola and beautiful settlement of Ringmo, decorated with its mud plastered Chortens and Mani walls. It is a lively and vibrant village. From here, we will walk a short distance to reach the shores of Phoksundo Lake where we’ll set the campsite.
We will follow the adventurous trail that is suspended on a footway of wood supported on pegs, driven into gaps in the rocks. We will go steeply up, up to 4,040m and then drop down to the bottom of the valley to enter the bank of Shey Phoksundo Khola, where we will camp for the night.
We will be crossing few streams barefoot! We will cross the glacial valley and head north. As the trail goes on to become narrower and narrower we will cross impressive vertical cliffs and crooked rock formations. At the meeting point of Phoksundo river and another unnamed river, there is a very old wooden bridge which we will cross, of course. A long, tiring climb will lead us to sheep grazing land from where the trail turns up a still gorge. Another long and tiring climb to the top and it will bring us to another valley from where we can see the adventurous Kang La Pass. We will spend the night in overnight camp.
The trek today is especially tiring and demanding today. It will take us around 3 hours to reach the top of the Kang La Pass at altitude of 5,151m. The view from the top more than compensates for all the hard work. While descending the steep valley floor, we have to be extra careful. It will take only around 45 minutes. A beautiful red Chorten will mark your arrival in Shey Gompa. An old-fashioned log bridge will take us to the Shey Gompa compound where we will be spending the night in a tent.
Shey literally means crystal in the Tibetan language. This monastery is also called the crystal mountain. We can visit the Shey Gompa and take blessings from the Lama. We can visit the Tsakang Gompa, west of Shey. It has been a meditation hub for lamas in medieval times. The monastery was built in the 11thcentury.
We will start the day by trekking along a pleasant track covered with juniper shrub. We will ascend up to a stony gray canyon. It begins with a zigzag trail of rocks and eroded soil and it will bring us to the flat spot, suitable for a little picnic. After 20 minutes of some steep climbing, we will reach the top of the Saldand La Pass. From here we can enjoy the great view of the barren, and the coppery red landscape of Mustang. Then we will descend down to the north and it might get long and tiring. The view of grazing yaks and the nomadic tents made from yak hair will welcome. This signals that you have now entered the Namduna Gaon. Here we can visit the Namgung Monastery set against a backdrop of the cliff. The village only has six houses and terraced fields on both the sides. We can see stretched out Barley fields, the main crop of the district. We can visit the recently built beautiful monastery in the periphery.
After leaving the Namjung Valley, we will hike uphill. It begins with a long and exciting traverse along the rocky mountains. At the bottom of the valley we can see terraced fields of ripening crops. We will ascend for some time before going downhill to the beautiful village of Salding, located on a plateau high above the Nam Khong Nala River. It is the biggest village of the district. It is an arid village of the Trans Himalayan Tibetan plateau.
We will leave Saldang early in the morning and go down the river bank, then the terraced fields, beautiful stupas and Chortens. We can see any Mani stones on our way and can visit the Chaiba Monastery on our way. We will go through the village of Namdo, a prosperous village of 60 houses and 400 people. We can visit the Namdo monastery and another monastery on top of the cliff. We will camp near the settlement called Sibu, along the river bank. We will spend the night in an overnight camp.
Following the dwindling river, the first few hours of the trek is going to be fairly easy. After two hours, we will cross another stream and then turn to a side valley. The climb from there is very steep. We will then reach a pleasant meadow, but it is bestrewn with rocks. Night will be spent in overnight camp.
The trail today is compacted which makes the walking easier today. But at times it gets very steep. It will only take 2 hours to reach the top of Jeng La. The view from here of the Dhaulagiri Mastiff is truly mesmerizing. After a rough trail downhill towards the Tarap Valley, we will find ourselves in a lush green valley in the few hours leading us to Tarap Chu. Tarap is truly a majestic valley, vast plains on the lap of snowy mountains extending 20kms along the Tarap Chu. On reaching Tokyu Gaon we can visit Gompas and Chortens. We can spend the night in the Tokyu Monastery compound. The monastery belongs to Chaiba sect.
The trail today is broad and fairly easy. We will walk along the fields where we can see the men and women busy harvesting the crops. We can also see Mani Walls and Chortens, many of which need a reconstruction now. The village of Tarap is mainly populated by Magars and few Tibetans. The people here follow Bon Po or Buddhism. We can go visit the Gompa here and receive blessings from the resident Lama. We will spend the night in an overnight camp on the site.
Following the course of the Tarap Khola, we will go downhill. We will cross the narrow gorges on our way. We might even see Blue Sheeps, Yaks and people taking their yaks and goats for grazing. We will walk along a more heaved path as we walk away from the river. We will cross one of the modern suspension bridges. The track will get very narrow in places. We will spend the night in an overnight camp.
We will continue our descent down the canyon of the Tarap River. Today we will trek on paths, broad and silky to very narrow and steep. We will also mount the flights of man made staircases which need to be tackled with some care. Our campsite will be a pleasant and beautiful meadow in the shade of big trees. We will spend the night in an overnight camp.
Leaving KhaniGaon and the mountains in the backdrop in a newly built suspension bridge we will walk along the river, sometimes uphill and sometimes downhill. Sometimes the trail can be more challenging and we will also cross one of the rivers on wet stepping stones!
Leaving the wild adventures of the treks back up there, we will climb down mainly. We will walk beside the resonating Bheri River and reach the village of Dunai. Now we have completed the circuit of the beautiful Dolpo. We will take rest and later go exploring on arrival.
We will go back to the small town of Juphal. At first the trail is flat and broad but as we go up the trail goes on to become more and more steep. We will spend the night in an overnight camp.
We will board the two planes on the same day. We will fly from to Nepalgunj (35 minutes) and from Nepalgunj to Kathmandu (60 minutes). Then, it will be time to say goodbye. Hopefully we’ll meet again!
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