The mystical Dolpo region is also a popular meditation destination of the Tibetan Buddhists. The Buddhist devotees travel there to spend a meditating life and gain the enlightenment. It is also a God gifted part with awe-inspiring natural sceneries.
The mystical Dolpo region of Nepal lies in the northwestern part of Nepal. It is a trans-Himalayan rain shadow region and arid part that borders with the Tibetan highland. It is one of the biggest districts of Nepal, which is loaded with the eye-catching geography, Himalayas and brown hills, forests and Lakes and culturally magnificent region. So, Dolpo region has been a dream place (region) for the trekkers in Nepal.
As previously mentioned, Dolpo region is extremely isolated from the aspect of access and geographical location. The flight from Nepalgunj is only a single option for the travelers/trekkers. No modern civilizations can be found there. But the spirituality and their honest traditional behaviors are excellent. The trek begins from Juphal and head to the district headquarter- Dunai, which is located on the bank of the Thuli Bheri River. Both clockwise and anti-clockwise routes can be used for the trekking. It is bounded up by the Shey-Phoksundo National Park, which is a home of rare found animals like snow leopard and diverse medicinal herbs.
Dolpo region can be divided into two parts. The Lower Dolpo and Upper Dolpo (including the inner Dolpo). Both are demanding parts for the trekking. The breathtaking Phoksundo Lake lies in this part, which is near Ringmo Gaon. Spread in 1220 acers, this lake was declared as a Ramshar site in 2007. If you want to do the Lower Dolpo trek, still you need to cross two high passes: the Baga La (5169m) and Numa La (5143m). Crossing over 5000 meters, trekkers need to have their physical fitness and acclimatization.
The Upper Dolpo region no doubt is more isolated and includes the hidden valleys. Shey Gompa, Bhijer, Saldang and Chhiume are the culturally significant places in the Upper Dolpo. Upper Dolpo trek makes a circuit of the Dolpo region, so it can be said it is a Dolpo circuit trek. This trek is extremely demanding. Nagdalo La (5350m), Nengla La (5368m), Nangla Pass (4375m), Muri La (5030m) and other are the challenging high passes in Upper Dolpo.
When you think about Dolpo, think about fluttering the Buddhist prayer flags. Almost all the houses have those flags hang on their rooftop. Being a large district, Dolpa’s total population is approximately 30,000. 60% of the total population belong Hindus and 40% belong to the Buddhists (5% of the population belong to the Bon Po religion). However, the upper part of Dolpo includes mostly Buddhists. About 80% people depend on agriculture. There is no need to count the Monasteries, Chhortens and Mani Walls. In the upper section, there are monasteries and Chhortens almost in every village. Shey Gompa is one of the most renowned monasteries in the Dolpo region.
Shey-Phoksundo National Park, which was established in 1984 and covers an area of 3,555 km², is the home of several endangered flora and fauna. The fauna include the snow leopard, musk deer and the Tibetan wolf, blue sheep, Tibetan sheep, Himalayan tahr, leopard, jackal, Himalayan black bear and yellow-throated marten are found in the park. 6 reptile species, 29 butterfly species and 200 species of birds are found in this National Park.
The spectacular Himalayan views: Churen Himal 7,381 m (24,216 ft) meters, Kanjiroba 6,221 m (20,410 ft)), Mukot (6,638 m (21,778 ft)) and Putha Hiunchuli (7,246 m (23,773 ft)) are renowned peaks. Some other mountains on the border ridge include Gautam Himal and Kanti Himal to the north, Kanjiroba Himal and Kagmara Lekh running northwest to southeast is eye-catching Himalayan panoramas.
The movie, Himalaya (1999), directed by Eric Valli was shot in the remote part of the Dolpo region. This movie depicts the story of villagers who take a caravan yak across the mountains that carry the loads of salt from the Tibetan highlands. The movie got several prizes due to the depiction of adventurous lives of the people in Dolpo.
Highlight: Every year, people of Dolpo go to the alpine meadows to collect caterpillar fungus. For the long time, schools remain closed and students join their parents to hunt it. Dho Tarap is one of such places. If you see the caravan, it looks like a mass migration, where people carry their required things during their time of stay in the alpine meadows. Due to the high altitude, it becomes challenging to them to survive.
The mystical societies with amazing culture, awesome landscape, extremely remote geography and naturally god gifted attractions have made trekkers from different corners of the world allure to trek in the Dolpo region. Having about 3-4 weeks of itinerary, they can have the lifetime memories with the feeling that they are walking in different universe. Those magnificent attractions make Dolpo a dream place for the trekkers.