Upper Dolpo trek reserves its charisma for a four week long walking from Juphal. Beyond the Phoksundo Lake, following gorges and stony trail encountering complicated Kang La pass before reach to sacred and mythical land Shey Gompa.Then after following Tartang Khola and insighting Sheer-sided canyon to the Samling Bon Gompa near Bhijer. Crossing the Nenga La pass the largest village of Upper Dolpo Saldang and to the north an oldest and beautiful monastery of Dolpo is Yangjer nearby Nisal village. Approaching further to the North-east corner, the lost village is Musi village. Beyond the Musi village, conquering the Muri La pass trail connects remote and isolated valley Panzang valley villages Simen, Phalwa and Tinje. For a really strenuous and rugged adventure seeker can further continue to the east traversing Mo La pass to Chharka Bhot and a high wild trail crossing across Jungbenla 5550m before knee-jerking trails to Kaligandaki Valley and Jomsom. And for soft and easy trek lovers crossing the Choila Pass to Dho Tarapa’, Upper Dolpo’s trade junction. Finally the trek hits downhill trail back to Juphal, along the Ticherong valley, a valley inhabitant of Tarali Magar people.
Upper Dolpo is a living museum nowhere else in the world. Upper Dolpo holds the boundless glory of a marvelous landscape, cultural and natural enrichment. Upper Dolpo’s the most beautiful valleys; such as Nakhong valley, Bhijer Valley, Panzang Valley and Chharka valleys are living antique of Dolpo. These valleys hold century-old Buddhist and Bon monasteries, barren pastureland with grazing yak, blues sheep, marmots and rarely visual snow leopard. In totality people living in this area are called Dolpo Pa and they have their own culture, tradition, and lifestyle with some similarity and some distinct with Tibetans.
Highlights of Upper Dolpo
Legend associated with Saldang village comprises, ‘there was not enough water but there was enough land ‘SA’. Since the land was rised up ‘dang’ the area came to known as a risen land ‘Saldang’.
Nakong valley is an ancient kingdom of Upper Dolpo. In this days the valley is also known as the Saldang. The valley comprises century-old Buddhist and Bon monasteries such as; Shel Sundo Monastery, Tskang Gonpa, Gomache Gonpa in Shey area crowning with Dolpo’s most popular pilgrims Crystal Mountain Shel Ribo Drugta. Another sacred gonpa Namgong Gonpa is located on the other side of Shey Gompa. Saldang village the main village and the highly populated village of Nakhong valley. Sacred gonpas like Samye Choling Monastery and Jovo Monastery built in more than 500 years and 800 years ago respectively lies in the village. These both monasteries belong to Nyingma Pa sect. Tiling, Giling, Marang and Karang are other hidden villages lies on the left top corner of Saldang village. These villages also uphold some century-old Buddhist monasteries.
On the other side of Saldang village, the awesome hamlets such as; Komash village reserves Komang Gonpa and Nisal village holds Yangjer Gonpa one of the oldest gompa of Dolpo.
The legend about Bijer says ‘Once upon a time a mouse ‘byi’ owned and occupied the land of the area. One day a lama came and decided to make the place more peaceful, he eventually caught the mouse and crushed jer against the cliff face.Then place is coming to know Byi-jer to Bijer.
Bijer valley is another beautiful valley of upper Dolpo. Located in the north of the Shey Gompa, at the 3850m altitude, the barrens hills holds few terrace and have some impressive chortens to its east. Ngagyur Naser Nyingma monastery and Samling Bon Gompa are located in the region.
The Panzang valley is a beautiful valley of upper Dolpo. The valley comprises Simen village, Tinje village, and Phalwa village. The valley is closed to China boarder. The legend about Panzang valleys says ‘the group of monk ‘Bande’ made their home ‘tshang’ in the area thus it became known as the monk’s home ‘Bantshang’. The legend about Tinje village says ‘the region is shaped as the heel of person’s foot ‘tingba’ thus village was called Tingyu and later permuted to Tinje village.The Buddhist gompas Phu Gonpa, Dralung Gonpa, Balun Gonpa, Talur Gonpa are located in the region.
The Bantshang Kula Palsang a glorious master site is the most important sacred place of Panzang valley. Circumambulate of this mountain during Horse year of Tibetan lunar calendar particularly full moon day is considered one of the especial auspicious day.