Dolpo Region Things to Know

Dolpo Region of Nepal: 8 Fascinating Things to Know

The Dolpo region is located in the upper part of Dolpa, Nepal’s largest but also one of the most remote districts. The region is fascinating in many ways, from its dry rugged terrain surrounded by Himalayan mountains to culturally Tibetan people still embracing the medieval way of living. Unlike Everest, Annapurna, or Langtang, many haven’t heard of this trekking region. But the ones who have heard about Dolpo will definitely want to go trekking in the region. Here we’ve talked about what makes Dolpo unique and interesting things to know about this region of Nepal.

A Primitive Way of Life

Seated between the Dhaulagiri range and the Tibetan Plateau, the Dolpo region has remained isolated from the rest of Nepal. Even today, the people of Dolpo live a primitive way of life. Mules, yaks, and horses are the primary modes of transportation. As a result, you will observe endless lines of mules, yaks, and horses transporting goods and supplies at various places, which is common there.

Bon-po Culture

Lower Dolpo has a mix of Hindu and Buddhist people. On the other hand, the Upper Dolpo has a mix of Tibetan Buddhism and the Bon religion. Bon is Tibet’s original religion, which shares certain similarities with Tibetan Buddhism. Upper Dolpo people are of Tibetan origin and have preserved their traditional religion and culture to this day.

Sowa Rigpa: A Traditional Art of Healing

Sowa Rigpa is an ancient medicinal practice rooted in Buddhist philosophy that has been mainly practiced in Tibet, Nepal, Bhutan, India, and Mongolia. A practitioner of Sowa Rigpa is called Amchi. Dolpo region has the highest number of amchi in Nepal.

Yarsagumba Hunting

Yarsagumba (Caterpillar fungus) is highly valued for its amazing medicinal properties. Harvesting yarsagumba is an important source of income for Dolpo residents. From mid-June to August, before the rainy season begins, is the best time to go for yarsagumba hunting. Except for the sick and elderly, everyone from Dolpo goes for yarsagumba hunting during this period. At this time, schools remain closed and all villages are empty. Yarsagumba hunting has become an important aspect of life in Dolpo.

Shey Gompa and the holy Crystal Mountain

Shey Gompa is a must-see if you’re doing the Upper Dolpo Trek. This monastery was built in the 11th century and is located at an elevation of around 4200 meters above sea level. It is famous for its 12-meter-tall golden statue of Gautam Buddha, which covers three floors of the monastery.

Just above Shey Gompa is the holy Crystal Mountain. The mountain is regarded as the younger brother of the holy Mt. Kailash.

Shey Phoksundo National Park

It is Nepal’s largest national park, covering the districts of Dolpa and Mugu. This national park is home to approximately 200 bird species, 6 reptile species, and 29 butterfly species, including Paralasa nepalaica, the world’s highest-flying butterfly. Likewise, it is home to some endangered species, including the snow leopard, blue sheep, and Himalayan tahr. Furthermore, this protected area encompasses several monasteries, notably Shey Gompa.

Shey Phoksundo Lake

Shey Phoksundo National Park is also home to the stunning Shey Phoksundo Lake, a Ramsar site. The lake is extraordinarily beautiful, with its turquoise-blue water and natural landscape. With stunning scenery of snow-capped mountains in the backdrop, rocky hills and deep forests frame this lake. What a heavenly sight to watch! Also, there are around 20 stupas in the lake’s southern belt. Shey Phoksundo Lake is on the itineraries of both the Lower and Upper Dolpo Treks.

Suligad Waterfall

The water from Shey Phoksundo Lake cascades over a 167-meter-tall waterfall. Suligad Waterfall is the name of this waterfall. Finally, it flows into the Bheri River, making Thulo Bheri. This waterfall is also a must-see if you are planning to trek in the Dolpo region of Nepal.

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