About Shey Gompa and Inner Dolpo Trekking
Shey Gompa and inner Dolpo Trekking takes you beyond Phoksundo Lake to the mystical land of the 800-year-old Shey Gompa and Crystal Mountain. The landscapes include the green, southern fringes of Dolpa, the turquoise Phoksundo lake, and the parched hills of Upper Dolpo. This is quite a strenuous hike with some long, steep ascents and descents and considerable time spent above 4000 meters with very cold nights. But the unforgettable landscapes, the views from the passes and the contacts with a very special untouched culture make it all worth it. The resilient villagers you meet in this harsh land seem wholesome and almost supernatural.
Shey Gompa and inner Dolpo Trekking begins at Jhupal village; a short flight from Nepalgunj that will take you centuries back in time. The trail from Jhupal follows the Phoksundo river valley and leads through natural forests, grassy fields and remote villages until we reach Phoksundo Lake and enter the boundary of Upper Dolpo region, enclosed in a large national park. We spend a day there to rest and feast our eyes on the crystal blue waters of Phoksundo Lake, from which flows one of the highest waterfalls in Nepal. Re-energized, we leave Phoksundo Lake to make the steep two-day ascent to the Himalayan pass of Kang-La, 5360m.
From Kang-La Pass, we make a steep descent into the Nam Khong Khola river valley to the Shey Gomba Monastery the spiritual heart of Upper Dolpo. The people of Dolpo followed Bon Po, a fierce mountain and nature spirit before a Tibetan Buddhism was introduced to them. As a result, the worship at Shey Gomba combines elements of both Bon Po and Buddhism.
Shey Gomba sits at the base of the magical place called Crystal Mountain. Each year people from all over Dolpo reach this secluded place to celebrate the festival at Shey and complete the circuit of Crystal Mountain. Shey means Crystal, and Shey Gomba got its name for the rugged cliffs of Crystal Mountain which are embedded with quartz and a rich variety of marine fossils. As we trek deeper into the Upper Dolpo, we follow ancient paths created by the Tibetan salt traders who traverse this arid zone of the Trans-Himalayan Tibetan plateau. The terrain is wild, barren, and windswept as we continue eastward into the beautiful valley of Tarap Chu. Soon we come to Dho Tarap, 4040m, an unusual village built in a haphazard way and surrounded by a jagged stone wall. We take a day to explore and visit Bon Gomba, a 40 minute walk from the village.
Leaving Dho Tarap, the trail is lined with juniper bush and wild rose, typical of areas near the tree line. We might see herds of blue sheep and musk deer. As we descend, the valley opens and vegetation increases until verdant grass is seen beside the river. We will camp on a lush meadow known as Kamakharka, 3800m, where the Tarap Chu and the Lang Khola meet. Continuing along the gorge of the Tarap River will be another memorable part of the Shey Gompa and inner Dolpo Trek. The deep gorge becomes so narrow that in some places we can jump from one side to another. If the bridges are damaged or washed away, we may have to cross the raging torrent on foot. After passing though an impressive forest we descend into another gorge and follow the river downstream to Tarakot, 2537m, an old fortress town where fertile terraced fields greet us.
Finally, we walk alongside a tremendous gorge of the Bheri River to Jhuphal.
Shey Gompa and inner Dolpo Trek remains one of the least-visited districts in the Himalaya of Nepal.
Shey Gompa and inner Dolpo Trek with safety and comfort
You can rest assured that your safety and comfort are our priorities. As a safety precaution, we always carry emergency equipment:
• Portable Altitude Chamber (PAC)/Gamow Bag (A life saving device in case of Acute Mountain Sickness)
• Comprehensive medical/first aid kit
• Thuraya satellite phone for logistical, safety and personal use. Personal calls can be placed for $3 USD per minute.
If you have any queries regarding your travel, please don't hesitate to contact our office staff. We are happy to help you in any way we can.