Sparsely populated Dolpo is largest district of Nepal, and home of deepest and miraculous lake Phoksundo and largest National Park Shey Phoksundo. Dolpo reserves many forgotten villages nestling at the foothills of skyline peaks.Today’s blog we get information about some of most fascinating villages of Upper Dolpo.
The highland, barren and deserted landscapes of Upper Dolpo comprising gems like friendly people and beautiful hamlets. Villages like, Saldang, Bhijer, Tinje and Chharka are the prime concern of today’s blog.
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’.
Saldang village was an ancient kingdom of Upper Dolpo. Saldang is the largest village of Upper Dolpo.The scattered village Saldang is home of Sacred gonpas like, Samye Choling Monastery and Jovo Monastery which was built in more than 500 years and 800 years ago respectively. 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. Namgong Gonpa is located at the right top corner of Saldang village. On the other side of Saldang village, the awesome hamlets such as; Chagaon, 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 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 terraces and has some impressive chortens to its east. Ngagyur Naser Nyingma monastery and Samling Bon Gonpa are located in the region.
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 Tinje village is a beautiful village of upper Dolpo, set above the confluence of main Panzang River and Polte Khola. Situated at the 4110m altitude Tinje village is a flat terrain village of Upper Dolpo. Tinje has the only a historic fort remains of Upper Dolpo.Polte village is and another part of Tinje village where pleothora of monasteries found in deep isolation. These are Tolung which is 300m climb up and Balung both are on the Northeast hillside.
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.
Chharka was known as SAKA in many years ago, SAKA is a Tibetan word which means “Good place” and also the village was fomous for fine salt, because of there was salt mine. Salt found in Chharka was finest one hence the ‘Chharka’ mean good salt. So, Chharka is named from Good salt & good place.
Chharka is located 4200m from sea level located in east of Dolpo district. It is also highest human settlement in the world. Chharka is very compact, almost like a medieval fortified village. Houses are closer together than in other Dolpo villages, and they seem to be built higher, three stories in some cases. There is only one entrance into the old town, and the houses’ yak pens form a kind of wall around the town. It may be that the narrow valley limits the amount of arable land, so the locals have chosen to limit sprawl.
The genealogy and lineage of Chharka people are Siro, Habha, Yangton, Tolung, Purang, Nopri, Toyo which were came from Dulung Village, Mustang, Lasing, Tibet, Poldya of Tinje Village.
Sachen Gonpa: Sachen Gonpa is Ningmapa sect gompa located in Chharka village, which was built by Saga Jampa, Dorje Choekyong Sangpo in 1400A.D.Later in 1993 Menla Phunjok of Chharka village had re-constructed the gompa in the participation of villagers.