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Dolpa, also called Dolpo in the local tongue is the largest district in Nepal located in the northern far-west. Even though Dolpo covers an area of about 7889 square kilometers, it has one of the lowest number of people inhabiting it. As such, much of Dolpo is left untouched by human civilization. Here you can find nature in its purest form. Being largely located towards the north of the Himalayan mountain range, Dolpo receives little to no rainfall, making the region barren. What Dolpo lacks in vegetation, it makes up for in its majestic hills and views of the mountains which are sure to keep you mesmerized.
Due to the barren landscape, the lifestyle of Dolpo is still very primitive, relying mostly on Yaks and mules for transportation and dry timber as fuel for cooking. The region seems almost left behind by modernization, and the many hassles and stresses of modern life. The people there still wear traditional attire and speak a language known to very few.
One of the oldest human settlements was in the region of Dolpo and many ruins of ancient civilizations can still be found here. The area also includes the famous Dho Tarap, one of the very rare high altitude human settlements in the world. Settlements like Tinje, Chharka, Kagkot and Mukat will have your imagination running wild, trying to figure out what the place looked like many centuries ago.
Yarsa-Gumba is a special type of fungi that is found in the region of upper Dolpa. When a caterpillar gets infected by a special type of fungus, it basically becomes mummified and this fungus is called Yarsagumba. Yarsagumba is used in the many traditional medicines of Nepal and Tibet and is highly sought after as an aphrodisiac and for its medicinal properties. One piece of Yarsagumba can go for as high as RS2000, making it extremely valuable and expensive. Every summer, the region of the Phoksundo National Park opens itself up to locals who travel in the dozen to hunt for yarsagumba. Many unfortunately do not make it back due to the harsh conditions in the region of upper dolpo.
The pristine Shey Phoksundo lake lies in the Dolpo region. The bright blue hue of the lake surrounded by dry mountains surely makes Phoksundo the most beautiful lake in Nepal. Virtually untouched by humans, the water there is clean, clear and blue. The lake itself is the deepest lake in Nepal and is located at an altitude of 3611m. The lake has been designated as a RAMSAR site, an important water resource.
The ancient Tibetan religion of Bon is retained in Dolpo, with many esoteric and secret practices and deities unlike those in Buddhism and Hinduism. The ancient tradition of Sky-burial, where dead bodies are cut up and fed to the eagles and vultures as a way to dispose of the bidy is retained in Dolpo region as well.
Thus any enthusiast of history, rare and esoteric cultures and wonderful cold-desert views will find Dolpo to be heaven and is definitely a must visit in Nepal.