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Remote Dolpo with its breathtaking landscapes came into the limelight through Eric Valli’s extremely successful film “Caravan” which was shot in the Dolpo region. Much earlier it received wide exposure through Peter Matthiesen’s book “The Snow Leopard”. This is a long, difficult trek that traverses many high passes but although not an easy trek, the landscape is nothing short of spectacular with pristine glacial lakes and snow bound hillsides besides the superb view of mountains. Yak caravans go into Tibet and back, then down to the lower regions of Nepal to barter goods as they did centuries ago. The Dolpo region comes under the Shey Phoksumdo National Park and is a restricted area. Special permits are required for tourists to enter Dolpo. Southern Dolpo was opened to trekkers only in 1989. This is a six-day trek, which starts with a flight from Pokhara to Jumla (2370m).

The trek starts near the airport’s eastern end. There are two rivers to cross; the Tila Khola and Juwas Nadi. The trail then goes through lovely rice terraces leading to Dochal Ghara at 2,530m. You next come across a meadow after which the trail climbs up to Pattyata Pass at 2,830m. This is followed by a descent to a lovely alpine landscape leading to Gothi Chaur. On the 2nd day you reach Naphukana. On day 3, the trek passes through fields of potato and corn where you encounter turbaned inhabitants of the region. The campsite is at Balasa. From Balasa there are many rivers to cross and the route goes through walnut forests and finally through rhododendron and oak forest that abound in langur monkies. The day ends at Forest camp. From the camp the route goes up and down and a glorious sight of Mt. Dhaulagiri greets you. The trail passes through a government farm at 3,160m to reach Tibrikot at 2,100m. On the last day the trek from Tibrikot to Dunai begins. The trail follows the Thulo Bheri river through arid countryside and goes past the Juphal airport. On the way you pass the national park office and an army camp. Dunai, the headquarters of Dolpo can be seen from a distance across a river. The town is entered through an elaborate gate. There are a few hotels here.

The trek to Dolpo can be started from Juphal airport. The journey begins with a flight from Kathmandu to Nepalgunj from where you catch a flight to Juphal. Juphal to Dunai is only a two-hour hike.

From Dunai you can trek to pristine Phoksumdo lake in three days. This is the turquoise lake seen in the film “Caravan”. The trail goes through the Phoksumdo river valley with views of the Kagmara peak and reaches a Thakuri village called Rahagaon. From here the trek is through canyons, forests and a river before entering the Shey Phoksumdo National Park. The trail then climbs to a cliff and descends steeply to the riverbed. The next stop is at Ryajik village. The last day’s walk is through forests and across a river. From an elevation of 3600m the lake can be seen in the distance. A beautiful 330m waterfall, the highest in Nepal can be seen here. Walk past the Ringmo village and you arrive at the Phoksumdo lake. It is also referred to as Lake Ringmo. The lake is 4.8 km long and 2.8 km wide and is said to be 650m deep. To the west of the lake can be seen the 6612m peak, Kanjiroba. If you follow the trail along the western side from here you will reach the famous Shey Gompa referred to in “The Snow Leopard”.

The cost and tour details are available on your request.
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