Dolpo region is the largest district situated in mid-west of Nepal, in the rain shadow region. Also called “Ba Yul” or the Hidden valley, Dolpa is a land of mystery surrounded by Tibet in North and highest Dhaulgari Massif in South. Unlike other trekking destinations, the area is visited by very few tourists. The 1999 Oscar-nominated film Himalaya directed by Eric Valli and the legendary The Snow Leopard written by Peter Mathiessen were both based in Dolpo.
The Dolpo Trek attractions comprise of a rich biodiversity including varieties of herbs, unspoiled trans-Himalayan culture, pristine lakes, hot springs, ancient Buddhist gompas and a unique lifestyle of local people. The major highlights of the trek include visiting Shey Phoksundo National Park and Shey Phoksundo Lake (3660m). Shey Phoksundo National Park is the largest and only trans-Himalayan National Park in Nepal home to such rare animals like the Blue Sheep, Himalayan Griffon, the Musk Deer, the elusive Snow Leopard and rare birds like the Himalayan griffon. The medicinal plant, Yarchagumba (Coerdiopsis sinensis) a type of wild mushroom is also found in abundance in this region.
Very sparsely populated, the Upper Dolpo is home to the Bhotiya and Sherpa people. Whose culture and lifestyle closely resembles the Tibetans across the border. The locals follow the unique and ancient Bon religion that predates Buddhism. In fact Guru Rinpoche is said to have meditated and sanctified Dolpo as one of the peaceful place in the Himalayas. You will have plenty of opportunities to visit Buddhist monasteries and observe Tibetan influenced culture and tradition of local people. Yatsher Monastery is the oldest and biggest monastery in Dolpo believed to have been established by Buddhist Guru Chogyal Pasang in 13th century. The monastery has well preserved artifacts of statues, sacred manuscripts, masks and mural paintings.
In terms of trekking itineraries, Dolpo can be distinctly divided into two regions: Upper and Lower Dolpo. The trek traverses the ancient trade route of the Trans Himalayan people and stretches through and around the Arun River whose origin dates back to the prehistoric period. The Dolpo trek is challenging trek that involves crossing rocky trails and high passes such as Ganda La (4850m), Numala Pass (5115m) and Bagala Pass (5100m). The trekking trail offers spectacular panorama of Himalayas including Dhaulagiri (8167m), seventh highest mountain in the world, Annapurna and Kanjiroba peak (6883m).
The trek is best during September to November & Feb to June.