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Dolpo – Bon Monasteries and The Crystal Mountain Trek

Trip Title: Dolpo – Bon Monasteries and The Crystal Mountain Trek

Trip Length: 36 Days

Trip Grade: C       [Grading Overview]

Country: Nepal

Area: Dolpo

National Park: Shey Phoksundo       [Parks Overview]

Activity: Trekking

Activity Grade: 5       [Grading Overview]

Special Focus: Bon Monasteries Dolpo

Months: June, July, August, September,

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Description:

Dolpo – Bon Monasteries and The Crystal Mountain Trek – A spritual trek to the high and remote Dolpo region of Nepal to visit Bon and Buddhist monasteries. Nominated to be a World Heritage site – Dolpo is culturally unique in that it is, according to one commentator – the last enclave of pure Tibetan culture left on earth. The people of the area are of pure Tibetan stock, with a way of life that cannot be far removed from that of the Chang Tartars from central Asia, the original Tibetans. There are four main ethnic groups – Lama, Baiji, Gurung, and Rokaya – living in nineteen villages that are mostly located on the outskirts of the National Park. The Shey Phoksundo National Park contains a remarkably intact cultural heritage that goes back many centuries. It retains a living pre-Buddhist religion which is active in the everyday life of the people, along with its places of worship and pilgrimage. A pure form of trans humance, with livestock moving to upland pastures in summer, is still being practised.This is a unique trek to visit Bon Monasteries and learn about this hidden and preserved culture far away from roads and electricity in a lonely and stunning landscape. One of the best and most remote treks in the world.

Itinerary:

I flew through the sky on a snow lion,
and there among the clouds,
I performed miracles
but not even the greatest of celestial feats
can equal once rounding on foot this Crystal Mountain.

This trek is remote and very challenging.  It takes us through breathtaking high Himalayan landscape devoid of trees and full of ancient history and mythology.  A refuge for the snow leopard and ancient Tibetan culture with plenty of monasteries for us to discover. The itinerary has been written to give a long and relaxed trek through very challenging and remote terrain with plenty of time to visit monasteries without the pressure of being in a hurry.

Day 01.
Bus to  to Pokhara, and rest of the day on Phewa Lake, with the Annapurna Range to the north.

Day 02.
Jeep from Pokhara to Jomsom. En-route we drive between Annapurna I (8,091m.) and Dhaulagiri (8,167m.). Meet our staff in Jomsom. From here we trek up the wide, Kali Gandaki Valley to Kagbeni).

Day 03.
Trekking up from the Kali Gandaki Valley with excellent views of the Annapurna Range, Muktinath and Mustang. Walking Chalung Khola, climbing and descending side canyons along the way, to the village of Sangdak.

Day 04.
Simen Village to Simen Base Camp.

Day 05.
Simen Base Camp to Simen Pass and Camp low, the eastern entrance to Dolpo. The scenery is magnificent. This has got to be one of the grandest viewpoints in the world.

Day 06.
Korma Base Camp.

Day 07.
Korma pass ( 4460m ) and camp low.

Day 08.
Trek to Kharka – we are now in one of remotist regions of Nepal.

Day 09.
Trekking to the Kharka ground.

Day 10.
Jengala Base Camp.

Day 11.
Crossing Jengala Pass ( 5190m ).

Day 12.
Numla Base Camp.

Day 13.
Numala Pass ( 5190m ).

Day 14.
Chutung Dang (3967m ).

Day 15.
Chibu Kharka (3915m ).

Day 16.
Explore Area / Rest Day.

Day 17.
Saldang (4100m ).

Day 18.
Rest at Saldang. Visit the Bon Gompa.

Day 19.
Yang Tsser village (4300m ).

Day 20.
Karang (4100m ).

Day 21.
Ramanan (4600m ).

Day 22.
Trek to Samling Gompa (3800m ). Samling Gompa is especially important to the Bonpö and a very early foundation.

Day 24.
Rest / Explore. Namgung monastery is of the Karma-pa sect. The monastery, a red stone structure, is built against the backdrop of a cliff on the north wall of a gorge.

Day 25.
Trek to Shey Gompa (4,400m). Shey Gompa is a monastery of the reformist Kagyu Buddhist sect. It is an important place of pilgrimage at the time of the full moon in August, when pilgrims circumnavigate the sacred Crystal Mountain, at the foot of which the monastery is located.

Day 26.
Trek around The Crystal Mountain (12-13 hours). Dolpo has two holy mountains – Black Mother Mountain and The Crystal Mountain. Black Mother Mountain mythology tells of nomads searching for a missing black mother goat, found it with a boy suckling who had descended from heaven on a rainbow – they called him The Black Goat King and he fathered the inhabitants of the Nang Khong valley; The Crystal Mountain mythology tells of a Lama, who had come to Dolpo to spread Buddhism, found a wild people whose supreme god was a fierce mountain spirit. The Lama meditated on the mountain, found enlightenment, and flew into the mountain on a snow lion to do battle, but the mountain responded with snakes and the snow lion reproduced itself 108 times and finally conquered the mountain of Shey, whose contorted cliffs are laced with quartz. Every 7th Dolpo lunar month the local inhabitants circumnavigate this holy mountain in a piglimage – something we can do if the timing and weather permit.

Day 27.
Shey Gompa / Rest.

Days 28.
Trek to Snow Camp (4,650m).
Leaving Shey Gomba, we climb over Kang La (5,380m) pass. Views of the 22,000-foot peaks of the Kanjiroba Range are excellent.

Day 29.
Trek to Lar Tsa Camp (4,200m)

Day 30.
Trek to Phoksumdo Lake North (3,630m)
We descend into the Phoksundo River drainage and work our way along beautiful Phosksudo Lake. We find ourselves perched on cliffs, high above the lake.

Day 31.
Rest day at Ringmo (3,630m) for local hikes. We camp by the spectacular Phoksundo lake. The monastery of Tsho (=Ringmo), which consists of a small group of nine houses, is situated at the steep eastern shore of the lake, a fifteen minutes walk away from the village.

Day 32.
Camp at the bank of Ryajik khola.

Day 33.
Trek to Arike.

Day 34.
Jhupal (2,440m) walking along Thulo Bheri River.

Day 35.
Fly to Nepalgunj. Hotel.

Day 36.
Bus to Kathmandu and transfer to hotel.

Price:

This is a full camping trek: prices are per person based on 2 sharing a tent.

Minimum Group of 02 – Euro 4500 Per Person
Group of 03-06 – Euro 3900 Per Person

The Price includes:

Camping accommodation in tents.
Food (except bar bill)
Staffs (Guide, sherpas, cook, kitchen boys, porters) and their all expenses
including insurance.
Special Trekking Permit, National Park Entry Permit – Upper and Lower Dolpo, TIMS (Trekking
Information Management System) Card.
Ground transportation: Pick-up-drop to and from domestic airports.
Governmental taxes
International airport pick up and drop
AND
3 nights in a hotel in KTM – Two nights before leaving for the trek and One when
returning – 3 star with breakfast!
Hotel in Nepalgunj.
Internal flights : Juhpal – Nepalgung.

Prices Do not include:

Personal nature expenses like laundry, communication, shopping etc. visa personal insurance, airport tax.

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