21 DAYS LOWER DOLPO TREK
A perfect way to see the real nature, the hidden Himalayas and cultures of western Nepal.
Trekking in the west of Nepal is quite a different proposition to treks in other parts of the country. This part of Nepal is far less developed with fewer facilities available for visitors. Access is also far harder, especially to areas such as Dolpo, Upper Dolpo, Jumla and Humla.
The area in question, Beni to Dolpo, can be reached by various means accordingly in different number of days. But when we talk or plan a trekking then surely it is much more exploration, seeing new thing and realizing the fact. The focal points of this path are the Dorpatan Hunting Reserve, numerous villages with different cast groups and histories, the Dho-Tarap valley, the Phoksundo lake and numerous high passes.
Dorpatan is one of the famous natural reserves and only park permitted for hunting can be reached from Baglung via Burtibang or from Beni via Myagdi Khola. The area is located to the west of Kathmandu and to the south of the Dhaulagiri Himalaya and it is known for beautiful and large valley. This area is the home of indigenous Kham Magar and Tibetan people. During the summer month large herds of livestock are brought north from Rapti Zone by Kham Magar to graze in surrounding pastureland. Farming, animal husbandry, handicrafts and some tourism movements are the key economic activities of the people in the region.
The lower Dolpo part is bordered with Dorpatan hunting reserve and which can be accessed by few days trek to the further western Dhaulagiri range from Dorpatan.
The trekkers intending a trek in this area must be prepared for some delays and other hardships. It is also considerably more expensive to trek in the remote parts of the west. The west of Nepal is impossible to describe in few lines. This Part of Nepal is rich in the range of flora and fauna the most particular interest and value are the medicinal herbs and plants that are found in the higher regions, which represent an important source of income for the locals. The western Nepal, especially Upper & Lower Dolpo region, is also known as medicine hills. In the summer many people from the surrounding villages and district and even from Kathmandu and Tibet arrive here to collect this strange insect know as even “Himalayan Viagra”.
The history and anthropology of western Nepal is complex and fascinating. Much of the geographic territory, now recognized as Nepal, formerly consisted of a number of small hill states and petty kingdoms (minimum 46). The Jumla was one of the powerful petty Hill States of that time. Since centuries the western part of Nepal including Jumla has played a significant role in the political and cultural chapters of Nepal, especially while the Malla empires declined and split into numerous petty hill states. In an effort to develop their domain as a trading center and to obtain Tibetan goods, the rulers of Jumla turned their attention eastward and assumed control over Lo (Upper Mustang), from which they extracted as annual tribute. Soon after when Jumla assumed control over Lo the Army of Bahadur Shaha attacked on Jumla and annexed both of the petty Hill State (Jumla & Lo) into Nepal in around 1800.
In our day the entire Jumla and Dolpo region has become one of the major travel destinations. The cultural route of Jumla extends north into Tibet and west to Kumao in India. We get to cross four different atmospheres: the medium mountain with forests and pastures, the trans-himalayan vertical desert with the oases of the villages, the high quota with tundra and cliffs and the microclimate of the Phokosundo. The entire upper Himalayan range of Dolpo, Jumla and Humla are dominated by Tibetan and keeps a significant influence on the areas by trading. Most of the villages are packed closely together, one atop another with flat roofs. The main ethnic groups of this area are Thakuris, Chhetris, Matwali Chhetris (many of them are Tibetan) and of course the Tibetans.
The most obvious group of people seen in the northern most parts of the area, particularly in Dolpo, is of Tibetan origin. They pasture and supplementing this with trade both to the north and the south. Their religion is a mixture of Tibetan Buddhism and the ancient, pre-Buddhist religion in Tibet, the Bon religion, largely animistic faith. Strangely, their language is based on the Tibetan dialect spoken in Kham, a province of old Tibet located many hundreds of kilometers to the east. Lower down the people are a mixture of ethnic groups, such as the Magar, Gurung, and hill people of Hindu caste origin. Of particular interest are the Thakuri, the royal family’s caste. Again they are quite different in culture and language to their cousins further east.
The western Nepal is remote and unknown because of its relative inaccessibility from the Capital, Kathmandu, or from other Major commercial cities of Nepal. The life here is very difficult and the poverty is unforgettable in every way. This days various NGOs are currently working with the local people in the west to try to establish a certain level of tourism infrastructure. At present this is limited to community camping sites and porter and hotel training and in some parts with home stay facilities for tourists.
The west of Nepal also reserves two famous and beautiful National Parks. Those National Parks are Shey Phoksundo and Rara.
Arrival in Kathmandu. Hotel.
Sightseeing and permit day. Hotel.
Flight to Nepalgunj. Hotel.
Flight to Juphal and trek to Dunai. Tented camp.
Trek to Chepka. Tented camp.
Trek to Renje. Tented camp.
Trek to Phoksundo Lake. Tented camp.
Trek to Dajok Thang. Tented camp.
Bagala Pass and trek to Between Bagala and Numila Pass. Tented camp.
Numila Pass and trek to Tok-Kyu (Tarap Valley) . Tented camp.
Trek to Do. Tented camp.
Trek to Lahini. Tented camp.
Trek to Khani-Gaun. Tented camp.
Trek to Tarakot. Tented camp.
Trek to Dunai. Tented camp.
Trek to Juphal airstrip. Tented camp.
Flight to Nepalgunj and then to Kathmandu. Hotel.
sightseeing and souvenir shopping. Hotel.