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Dolpo Trekking

The best known of the many isolated high Himalayan valleys across northern Nepal, Dolpo preserves one of the last remnants of traditional Tibetan culture. Legend says it’s a one of the "hidden valleys" created by Guru Rinpoche as a refuge for devout Buddhists in troubled times. Surrounded by high mountains including the Dhaulagiri massif to the south-east and cut off by high passes closed by snow half the year, Dolpo’s easiest access is from Tibet, where its people emigrated from perhaps 1. 000 years ago.

Upper Dolpo shelters about 5.000 people, whose lives revolve around Buddhism, barley, and yaks; their villages (over 4.260 meters) are among the highest settlements on earth. A large portion of Dolpo has been set aside as Shey - Phoksumdo National Park, at 3.555 square km Nepal’s largest. Meant to preserve a complete example of the trans-Himalayan ecosystem, the park shelters blue sheep, Himalayan black bear, leopards, wolves, and the exclusive snow leopard.

Dolpo is the best-known of Nepal’s forbidden northern border regions. The 1989 announcement that the government was opening the region to group treks caused a flurry of excitement.

To reach here, you must trek through a registered company, which will obtain permits. Groups generally fly from Nepalgunj to the Juphal airstrip, then walk few hours to the district headquarters of Dunai (2,100 meters). The trail follows the Suli Gad River, passing through thick conifer forests and a few Thakuri Hindu villages. The National Park check-post is one day from Dunai; two steep days later, you reach Phoksumdo Lake.

Flying in and out, the trek takes less than two weeks. Phoksumdo Lake (3,627 meters) is the highlight of the whole trek, a basin of unearthly turquoise blue ringed by rocky crags and forest, framed by snow-capped peaks. Legend says a demons fled here during Gum Rinpoche’s conversion of Tibet’s resident spirits, offering local people a gigantic turquoise to keep her passage a secret. Guru Rinpoche transformed the turquoise into a lump of dung, and the disgruntled people revealed the demons hiding place. In revenge she culled down a flood upon their village, submerging it beneath the lake. The legend is a concise mythic summary of the ancient struggle between Bönpo and Buddhists; the latter won, but the former remain, even here at Phoksumdo.

At the lake’s eastern end is the village of Ringmo, also called Tso. The town’s entrance chorten has nine complex Buddhist and Bönpo mandalas painted on its wooden ceiling. The people are Bhotia and only very distantly related to Tibetans. They are gradually becoming Hinduized, adding Chhetri surnames to their Tibetan names.

The Bönpo monastery, Tso Gompa, is two km from the village, set above the lake on forested cliffs with views across to Kanjiroba. Below the village, a gigantic waterfall cascades over a series of rock steps, draining into the Suli Gad fur below. A visit to the Bönpo Gompa at Pungmo, two hours up aside valley to the west, is a worthwhile expedition.

The best part of Dolpo lies beyond the lake, along a difficult trail that crosses a high pass into the real Dolpo. Shey Gompa, named after nearby Crystal Mountain, is several days’ walk north of the lake. Another trail to reach Shey Gompa leads trough the Tarap valley over several high passes and magnificent villages like Tarap-Dho, Saldang and Pijorgaon.

Trip Detail

  • Location: Dolpo Trekking
  • Duration: 33 days
  • Grade : Moderate
  • Highest Access :
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Trip Itinerary Print This Itinerary

Day 01 Kathmandu to Nepalgung (Fly)
Day 02 Nepalgung to Jumla (Fly)
Day 03 Jumla to Gothe Chaur (2820 m)
Day 04 Gothe Chaur to Chorta/Naphukana
Day 05 Chorta/Naphukana to Bhalu Khark (3182m)
Day 06 Bhalu Khark to Kaigaon
Day 07 Kaigaon (2610m) to Gorphug (4050m)
Day 08 Gorphug to Lasa/Yundon (kagmara pass 5120m)
Day 09 Lasa/Yundon to Sumduwa
Day 10 Sumduwa to Phoksundo Lake (3540m)
Day 11 Phoksundo Lake Rest
Day 12 Phoksundo to Yak Khark
Day 13 Yak Khark to Num La Phedi
Day 14 Num La Phedi to Jaglung Gompa/Toy-Khyu (4120)
Day 15 Jaglung Gompa/Toy-Khyu to Dho Tarap (Exploration)
Day 16 Dho Tarap (4030m) to Pigophu/ Big Cave
Day 17 Pigophu/Big Cave to Lahini
Day 18 Lahini to Tara Gaon
Day 19 Tara Gaon to Easy Khark
Day 20 Easy Khark to Purbang
Day 21 Purbang to Singh Khola
Day 22 Singh Khola to Yekle Ghar
Day 23 Yekle Ghar to Pilma/Forest Camp
Day 24 Pilma/Forest camp to Fagune Phedi
Day 25 Fagune Phedi to Dhor Patan
Day 26 Dhor Patan Rest Day
Day 27 Dhor Patan to Jal Jale
Day 28 Jal Jale to Dhara Pani
Day 29 Dhara Pani to Babiyo Chaur
Day 30 Babiyo Chaur to Beni
Day 31 Beni to Pokhara
Day 32 Pokhara Rest Day
Day 33 Pokhara to Kathmandu

Cost Includes

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Cost Excludes

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