The valley of flowers Dolpo with the most charming landscapes in the country has the power to bewitch you. The area is fully surrounded by bon religion so this is also called bonpo sanctuary trek.You can access the virgin hills and mountains with a special permit. Dolpo region is surrounded by glistening Dhaulagiri Mountain and is cut off from rest of Nepal by perennial snow. The villages of Dolpo are perhaps the highest settlements on planet.
Dolpo has the widest variety of animals including Blue sheep, Brown bear, Antelopes, Snow leopard and so forth. You can also find variety of fauna including medicinal herbs. The economic activities of people involve: cultivating barley, raring mountain goats, sheep and yaks. Many people of this region are also involved in traditional art of making Thanka paintings.
Dolpo region has heavy influence of Tibetan culture. People in this area follow Bon religion. It is said that Lord Buddha had mentioned that one can achieve salvation by solitary meditation in Dolpo. If you are looking for spirituality you should visit Dolpo once in your lifetime. It will rekindle your spirit and bring you closer to nature. Pack your trekking shoes and head to this isolated land to rekindle your spirit and experience nature at its best.
Included meal: Dinner (D)
Your much awaited journey to Dolpo begins with your arrival at Tribhuvan International Airport (TIA) in Kathmandu. After completing custom formalities and claiming your baggage head towards the arrival gate where you will be greeted by a representative from Actual adventure Pvt.Ltd.
You will be transferred to Kathmandu Guest House or similar standard hotel. Later in the evening a Welcome Dinner in a traditional Nepalese Restaurant featuring a Nepalese cultural program will be waiting for you to celebrate your arrival.
Day 02: Kathmandu Sightseeing
It will take a day to get permit for your trek to Dolpo therefore after a delicious breakfast be ready for heritage galore at Kathmandu, which once used to house three ancient kingdoms and is very rich in its cultural heritage. You will have plenty to see of the Newari arts and culture. Sightseeing for the day includes both heritage and pilgrimage spots all of which are counted in UNESCO world heritage sites.
Swaymbhunath is a popular ancient Buddhist pilgrimage site, also known as the Monkey temple. Its structure is a white dome with a gold conical shape on top, which is painted with the watchful eyes of Buddha. A mythological story about origin of Swayambhu states that a lotus that radiated dazzling light sprung at the very spot where the dome is today. The lotus is said to have been planted by Buddha. After climbing 365 stairs that lead to the temple you can explore many legends and mythological stories about its existence.
Pashupatinath Temple is the most popular pilgrimage site of the Hindus. The main temple is that of Lord Shiva. Though the temple is barred to non-Hindus a good view of the famous pagoda style structure of the temple complex, courtyard and other shrines can be viewed from the opposite bank of the Bagmati River. Shiva’s manifestation as Pashupati lord of animal, is considered one of the holiest sites of the Hindus and is a must visit once in a lifetime to gain salvation. You can also see the Hindus cremation site Aryaghat at the bank of Bagmati River.
Bouddhanath is the largest and the most important holy place for the Buddhists. It is also famous for its power to fulfill wishes and blessings. The base of the stupa is a square shaped terraced plinth representing joy, love, compassion and calmness. The white dome shaped structure on top is painted with yellow to represent lotus. Above which a square tower representing fire is painted with eyes of Buddha. On top of it is the gold conical shaped structure representing air followed by an umbrella on topmost part symbolizing space.
Kathmandu (Hanuman Dhoka) Durbar Square is a public square containing ancient palaces, temples, statues and streets. There is an ancient wooden pavilion Kasthmandap made by wood gathered from a divine tree, Kalpa Vriksha, build centuries ago. It is this pavilion from which the city got its name Kathmandu.
Taleju temple is the oldest and the tallest building in the area, door of which is opened only once in a year during the festival of Dashain. The buildings in the durbar square are important link to the history of Nepal. Hanuman Dhoka is the name given after idol of Hindu monkey god Hanuman which is placed near the entrance of the ancient palace.
At Kathmandu you will get to marvel the traditional art and crafts of the Newars, in the form of intricate wood work, sculptors and architecture. As you go for sightseeing, don’t get carried away as you may have to purchase the gears that you might require for the trekking. The stores equipped with trekking gears can be spotted easily at Thamel, couple of minute walk from Hanuman Dhoka Durbar Square. You will spend this night in Kathmandu, however finish packing and be well rested for the next day
Day 03: Kathmandu - Nepalgunj Flight
Dolpa is generally reached via Nepalgunj, a city located in the lowlands of Terai close to the Indian Border in South Western Nepal. After breakfast we depart from Kathmandu and catch a flight to Nepalgunj. Spend the day taking a rickshaw ride around town. The street of Nepalgunj is filled with the hustle and bustle of the bazaar with horse carts filled with people going and coming from the Indian border. Culturally the region resembles India than upland Nepal. Take a trip to one of Nepal’s most important Hindu Temple: the Bageshwori Temple (Goddess of Learning). Overnight stay at Nepalgunj.
We will catch an early morning flight to Juphal (2475 m). After landing in Juphal and meeting up with the rest of our team, we begin our journey of the Dolpa Circuit. We descend down a cluster of houses and wind down the trail through a valley to reach Dunai (2140 m) , the capital of Dolpa district. Overnight stay at Dunai.
Today we will pick up the trail heading eastward out of Dunai and trail alongside the Thulo Bheri River to reach Lingdo (2391 m). The trail will lead you through lush vegetation to the village of Lingdo. Overnight stay at Lingdo.
Today we will follow the path across suspension bridge, enjoying the glimpses of the Putra Himal past cypress trees. On the trail be on the lookout for white breasted dippers, a breed of birds that are indigenous of the region. Journey through the cedar forest as the walls of the valley starts to get narrower until you reach the gorge alongside the river. Navigate through a steep hillside to reach Laina Odar (3370 m) . Overnight stay at Laina Odar.
Today you will climb up the face of a cliff past a mini-pass strung with prayer flags. The trail will lead you through a gorge so steep that the river is no longer visible. After you cross the suspension bridge and follow the river you will reach Nawarpani (3475 m). Overnight stay at Nawarpani.
Day 08: Nawarpani - Dho Tarap
The trek to Dho Tarap (4080 m) encompasses an amazing experience of trekking through the trail chiseled out on the sheer rock face. Walk through a canyon where the walls glow like amber. The trek leads you through a Trans-Himalayan landscape and passes a great view of camp sites at the bottom of the flat valley floor till we reach Dho Tarap. Overnight Stay at Dho Tarap.
We spend the day at Dho Tarap to assist in the acclimatization. Explore the village of Dho Tarap, which consists of cluster of houses surrounded by fields. Since your trail is short you will have time to mingle with the locals and learn about their culture and religion. Visit the surrounding monasteries and spend the day enjoying the beautiful view. Overnight stay at Dho Tarap.
We leave behind Dho Tarap passing through a remarkable Kani. Trek past various villages and monasteries to reach the Numla Base Camp (4440 m). Overnight stay at Numala Base Camp.
We climb up to the Numa La pass (5318 m) taking in the beautiful scenery of the mountain ranges. We descend down the steep slope to reach the campsite at Danigar (4631 m). The camping site is spectacular- situated in a meadow near the Panklanga Khola with beautiful snowcapped Norbung Kang (6085 m) towering on one side and the high pastures on the other. Overnight stay at Danigar.
Today you will follow the trail up the Panklanga Khola, winding up over the slope. Enjoy the perfect view of the Norbung Kang and the Baga La range. As you traverse past the Baga La Pass (5190 m) with the dazzling view of the snowcapped mountains, you will observe that the pass is marked with bushes and trees till you reach Kanjirowa Himal (6883 m) towering above Yak Kharka (3982 m). Overnight at Yak Kharka.
Your day will begin with uphill climb of the slope from Yak Kharka followed by crossing the river. You will follow the path through a small pass that enters the pine forest leading you to Ringmo (3733 m) - located on the shore of the Phoksundo Lake.
A sacred lake surrounded by the snowcapped mountains with enchanting deep blue waters changing into the shade of emerald green closer to the shores. There are about 20 gompas in the eastern side of the lake which you can visit today. Shey Phoksundo Lake is the high altitude lake in Upper Dolpo region. The turquoise blue lake is surrounded by beautiful peaks along with monasteries strewn across on its east. You can marvel the tranquil lake at the same time experience and observe the Bonpo religion. Bonpo is the spiritual form of Tibetan Buddhism. You will be camping near the lakeside.
Today after breakfst you will follow a path that will lead you through the shade of pine forest until you approach Rechi (2940 m). We follow the trail up the top of a steep hill where you can get a magnificent view of the Phoksundo Lake. Along the path you will also come across the Phoksundo waterfall. The path descends down the hill alongside the river, past bamboo and walnut trees to Chhepka (2838 m). Overnight stay at Chhepka.
The path from Chhepka is a steady descent with some small climbs before reaching Juphal. Travel through a forest and then a dry landscape to gaze upon the Dhaulagiri Range. As you traverse pass villages, and the check post of the Shey Phoksundo National park, you will approach a suspension bridge after crossing which you will slowly approach Juphal (2475 m) where you will be retiring for the day.
We catch a flight from Juphal to Nepalgunj and subsequently to Kathmandu. As you take off don’t miss the beautiful view of Dhaulagiri range from the window. Distance from Nepalgunj to Kathmandu will be covered in an hours’ time. Since you arrive early, you will have half a day to roam around Thamel and nearby Basantapur buying souvenirs and trinkets for your friends and families. Farewell dinner will be organized in your honor to celebrate the successful completion of your Trek to Dolpa in the evening.
After your breakfast, the journey to the land of mountains will end here. You will check out from the hotel and will be dropped at the airport three hours prior to your scheduled departure. Your plane takes off giving you the spectacular view of the beautiful Himalayas which touched your life and gave you a memory that will last a life time. You leave with a promise to come back again to Mystical Nepal.