Five diverse attractions of trekking in Dolpo
When it comes to plan a trekking adventure in Nepal, few trekking regions pop out into the minds of holiday planners. The famous regions Everest and Annapurna become their first priority. However, few trekkers who prefer to tread the silent trials in the Himalayan foothills, visit the isolated destinations, explore the untouched landmarks and witness extremely authentic culture – Dolpo is the first region that makes place into their minds.
Dolpo, the home of Bons, the last hidden paradise of the Nepalese Himalayas and the site catering the best nomadic culture is miles away from the modern influence and people here still depend and practice on traditional lifestyle and occupations for their livelihood.
Post quake, many trekking regions of Nepal have suffered massive destruction, few of them need slight renovation but Dolpo and its neighboring regions remain safe and intact making it the best alternate destination for walking adventures in Nepal after the quake.
Here we have five interesting & diverse attractions of trekking in Dolpo that not many people know. Have a look.
1. Diversity in Culture
From the trek starting point, which is the airstrip in Juphal, trekkers get opportunities to sight the culture of different ethnical tribes. In the lower part of Dolpo, the culture of Chettris and Brahmins spill over and Hinduism dominates the lower region of Dolpo. Gaining elevation, the culture in the highland villages is totally contrast compared to the Lower Regions of Dolpo. Central and the Upper part of Dolpo comprises Bons and Buddhists, who are the descendants of Tibetan people and their culture in no way matches with the people living in Lower Dolpo.
2. Diversity in Landscapes
The trek starting points in Dolpo normally are mid-hill towns ringed by lush vegetation and terraced paddy fields supported by River system that originate from the Himalayas. As we gain altitude, the tropical forests around us gradually changes into the low alpine woodlands of firs and junipers. Incredibly beautiful lakes with the mesmerizing Himalayan panorama at the backdrop are the most beautiful landscapes of Dolpo above 2500m. Slowly the trial enters the nival region, where the trees are replaced by small alpine bushes and most of the times arid valleys surrounded by Himalayas begins to dominate. The elevated passes that come across frequently cater the astounding views of the Himalayas.
3. Diversity in floral and faunal species
Not very far from the Nepalgunj Airport, Bardia National Park caters extremely rich wildlife of lowland plains. Travelers always have option to explore the wildlife in the park. After thirty minutes of mountain flight and 5-6 hours of walk per day for two to three days, the floral and faunal species we see are totally different. And the process goes on. Dolpo hunts the highest amount of Yarsagonpa (herbal medicine) per year, which is the major source of income for the people of Dolpo. Moreover, Shey Phoksundo National Park, which is the prime highlight of every trek in Dolpo is the home to many other species of herbal plants and also the best suited home to large herd of blues sheep and obviously the hunter – elusive snow leopard.
4. Myths on landmarks of Dolpo
Home to many highland monasteries, Dolpo was the land blessed by the precious one Rinpoche many centuries ago. The interesting myths related to all the major landmarks, including the formation of mystically beautiful Phoksundo Lake has always fascinated trekkers to this region. Every Bon and Buddhist Monastery in the Region has interesting myths attached with them. Hearing these form the natives and from our informative guides would make your trekking in Dolpo worthwhile as every myth has strong religious justification and the degree of faith natives have on them would make you fall in love with the devotees of Dolpo.
5. When rest of Nepal sleeps, Dolpo wakes up
Nestling at the rain shadow of Mt. Dhaulagiri and Kanjiroba, the region experiences maximum of 500 millimeters rainfall every year making it the best alternative destination to trek during the monsoon when other trekking regions of Nepal experience massive rainfall. In tourism aspect of Nepal, the months of June and July are off season for trekking activities. However, this doesn’t fit for Dolpo, during this time of the year also Dolpo entertains trekkers.