Upper Dolpo Trek – Mysterious Land is one of the hidden tourist destinations of Nepal. Just beyond the Himalaya lies Dolpo, a land that conjures up visions of mysterious monasteries, elusive snow leopards and unusual blue sheep. It remains one of Nepal’s most remote regions. Until recently the isolation of the area has made it strictly off-limits, adding to its air of mystery and intrigue. This protection from the outside world also helped the ancient traditions and age-old way of life in the area to remain intact over generations of time.
As breathtaking and mesmerizing as the stunning mountain scenery is to behold, meeting the people who call this region home is equally as moving. These friendly locals number only into the hundreds and with some villages located higher than 4,300 meters are among the highest dwellers in the world. Upper Dolpo is also recognized as a region where many Tibetans reside. Though these regions are located in Nepal, they are very Tibetan in both their culture and lifestyle. Isolated for generations, they still practice the pre-Buddhist religion Bon Po, which was almost completely replaced by modern Buddhist doctrine in the 9th century. The area was somewhat made known by writers Peter Matthiessen and David Snellgrove, who visited and wrote books about their journeys.
A trek through Dolpo provides the distinct feeling of being a true mountain dweller and is sure to enchant and inspire anyone who follows its mysterious route. The 1999 French-Nepalese movie Himalaya or The Caravan, was the first Nepalese which got a huge success and also nominated for the Oscar Award in the best foreign language film category. It was the first Nepalese film to be nominated in the Best Foreign Film category at the 72nd Academy Awards. The film depicts not only the life style of the upper Dolpo people of the mid western uphills of Nepal but also their traditional customs, for example celestial burial.
One of its main attractions of the trek is Shey Phoksundo Park, where there is a wide array of flora and fauna. The remote and isolated area is a dream for thrill-seekers and adventurers who wish to explore the routes that lead to the mid-western parts of Nepal. It’s most popular for most frequently seen, animal blue sheep. This herbivorous mammal can be seen bouncing off rocks, and peacefully grazing away at the grass. Most of the time dews to havey snowfall very few foreigners and tourists are allowed access to Upper Dolpo, the culture has been left untouched by the spread of tourism. Twice a year, the Himalayan pilgrimage takes place at the Shey Gompa, where pilgrims make a kora of the crystal mountain known as Mt. Kailash.
The treks in Upper Dolpo are particularly challenging. As you trek, you will walk between high mountain passes surrounded by dry, arid land, and small tufts of vegetation. You can walk and stroll in rhododendron forests, visit Shey Gompa in Upper Dolpo, and witness the Himalayan pilgrimage, Tatopani in Jomsom, and the Muktinath Temple. Stroll through the forests while admiring the beautiful mountains in the south of Upper Mustang and exploration of ancient kingdoms and historical monuments will be the best moment of your life.
The Upper Dolpo Trek begins from Juphal after a short flight from Nepalgunj. We will cross 12 passes — six of which lie between 16,500 feet and 17,800 feet, and one pass (the highest point on the trek) at 18,250 feet. Upper Dolpo trek is a hard trek due to many up and down hills as well as higher elevation though there is hundreds of beautiful breathtaking scenery. If you have good practice to walk up and down hills it is not so hard. As this is one the restricted areas of Nepal, a special permit for the visitors is required that costs US$ 500 per person for 10 days. To extend this trip more than 10 days one needs to pay additional US$ 50 per day/per person.
Trekking routes pass enormous mountain ranges such as the Annapurna, Dhaulagiri, Churen Himal range, Kanjiroba and through Lower Dolpo, once its own small kingdom. The lack of popularity among other trekking groups gives this journey a sense of wild remoteness.