Shey Phoksundo is Adventure Travel at its Rarest

Very few tourists have visited the Dolpa region in Nepal on their adventure travel to the Himalayan country. Located in an isolated region of the Trans Himalayan Zone, Dolpa is unexplored territory in mid-western Nepal. This area has been opened to tourists and trekkers only recently and a large part of it is now the Shey-Phoksundo National Park. The southern part of the park is one the newest areas of Nepal open to trekkers.

The park protects the rare trans-Himalayan ecosystem found only in few areas of Nepal. The centre of attraction is lovely Lake Phoksundo, the deepest in the Himalayas, with waters that are reputed to change color all the time. This area is on the edge of the trans-Himalayan plateau that extends from Tibet down into Nepal. The people living here are of Tibetan descent and have maintained their distinct cultural and religious identity. They practice an ancient religion Bon that predates Buddhism.

Some of Nepal’s most remarkable wildlife inhabits this Park including the blue sheep, ghoral, musk deer, leopard, wild dog, wolf, marmot, weasel, mouse hare, and rhesus and langur monkeys. The elusive snow leopard is also believed to be seen here in the higher regions. As the park adjoins Tibet some rare Tibetan animals also inhabit the region including the great Tibetan sheep, Tibetan wild ass, Tibetan gazelle and antelope, and wild yak.

The lower areas grow walnut, willow, oak, poplar and cypress while at higher altitudes one can see pine, spruce, juniper and birch. Himalayan birds such as the Impeyan and cheer Pheasant, chough, Tibetan snow cock, Tibetan twit, brown dipper, Himalayan griffon and lammergeyer delight one in the park.

The trek is an arduous one and the route is very narrow and steep at places. Despite the tough trails and rugged topography a journey to the Dolpa area is adventure travel of a lifetime. One can fly in to Dunai and walk for a day to reach the park. It takes another two days to reach the lake. The unique park includes the Kanjiroba Himal range which has many peaks of over 6,000 meters. It is also home to the famous Shey Monastery and the Langu Gorge. On the full moon night of August Dolpa villagers converge at the Shey (Crystal) Mountain and walk around the holy peak three times in three days.