DOLPO, THE HIDDEN valley of Nepal Himalaya is situated in a remote corner of the world and has been visited by only a handful of westerners. To the south it is bound by the Dhaulagiri-Churen-Putha Hiunchuli Himals, and to the west by the Kanjiroba Himal. The Tibet border is to its north and northeast. Mustang (Lo) and Thak khola, the upper Kali Gandaki valleys are to its east. Dolpo, is a district of west Nepal with an area of 2080 Since the invasion of Tibet by the Chinese, the land of Dolpo was said to be the last enclave of pure ancient Tibetan culture. Mountain-locked inner Dolpo i.e. core Dolpo area had not been visited by many trekkers in the recent past as entry to this area was restricted. Only in 1993 I had the opportunity to enter the Dolpo valley to meet the people who are the followers of the pre-Buddhist religion of the Tibetan plateau.

I, alongwith 8 team-mates arrived at Nepalganj on 12 September 1993 via Gorakhpur and Nanpara. A Dornier aircraft of Everest Airways brought us to Jumla (2340 m), the district headquarters of Karnali. On the 15th we commenced our trek towards the east with 3 porters. The road runs through the fertile terrains left of Tila khola. From the east end of Garjankot (2500 m) we walked up on slippery slopes towards Deorali Bhanjyang (3000 m). In the evening we took shelter in a rest house at Guthichaur Sheep Breeding Farm (2760m). The next morning we walked down to the right bank of Bapila nala. The day after, leaving behind the Bapila khola, we resumed our trek towards east. From Chutra it was a walk upwards through dense forest. As we failed to get a suitable camp site in the forest, we were forced to camp on a bushy slope at Napukona (3320 m). From Napukona it was a hard climb to the top of Mauria Bhanjyang (3930 m). We were now out of the Karnali river watershed and had entered the Bheri zone. The path descends to the hamlet of Chaurikot (3050m). The village is populated with Tibetans as well as Nepalese. At noon the next day we were at Rimi village. To the east Kagmara V, was high above the blue sky. From Majhgaon the main path leads to Kaigaon which is a well built village located to the left of Jagdula khola. We turned northeastward to reach Hurikot. Hurikot (2270 m) is also a big village with a Bon Pon monastery. The porters we engaged from Jumla expressed their unwillingness to proceed further. So four new porters were engaged from Hurikot. The village was a conglomeration of small stone huts. Usually, the paths leading through villages in Nepal were in bad shape. In some places they are used for sewerage. Leaving the village far behind, we entered into 'Shey Phoksumdo National Park' area. At noon we reached Toijem (2600 m) army check post which was situated on a table top above the left bank of Jagdula khola. Armymen stopped us and our porters fled. We were in a quandary about what to do. At noon the next day we got clearance from ar^iy headquartei's after a repeated exchange of wireless messages. In this desolate area we weren't sure how to get help to carry our loads to Dolpo valley. Luckily, after 4 days, some army officials intervened and helped us to arrange for 3 yaks.

Rangrik Rang (6553m).

10. Rangrik Rang (6553m). Route of first ascent. (Solid line for fixed-rope section). Article 10 (Harish Kapadia)

Cricket at Racho khad base camp.

11. Cricket at Racho khad base camp. Article 11 (Harish Kapadia)

On 24 September we left Toijem. In the beginning, we walked up along some slippery slopes in the forest. It took one hour to reach the Gurpang khola. Different species of alpine flowers were growing in profusion. After crossing Gurpang khola the track was along its left. At Phedi (4000 m) we established our camp on a beautiful meadow. The overcast clouds gradually settled down and a fantastic view of the Kagmara range appeared gleaming white in the moonlight. It was a dramatic spectacle.

The next morning it was a steep climb along rocks and scree slopes. We moved slowly and stepped up to a crest. There were cairns on the top. We thought that it was the top of Kagmara la. But Durga, the yak-man, replied in the negative. We were again plunged into a struggle. Plenty of blossoms of Phen Kamal and a flock of wild pheasants were found. The weather was dull and only the top of Kagmara I was visible. After a cumbersome and slow ascent on snow we arrived at the top of Kagmara la (5114 m) where it was snowing relentlessly. Cairns and some tattered streamers decorated the top. We started down on a stretch of icefield towards the east. At its end we were enchanted with the beautiful blossoms of meconopsis horridula (blue poppy) and delphinium caeruleum. We walked further down to Pungmi nala and continued the trek towards the Dazu campsite. Darkness was approaching fast and we were compelled to camp on a crest at Chuche. Durga Bahadur, a fine jolly fellow was a most amusing companion. The next morning as soon as we started walking it began raining heavily. Soon the terraced fields of Pungmi village were sighted. The Pungmi monastery belongs to the Bon Pon sect. The entrance gate known as kani is a square structure whose interior walls and ceiling depict religious motifs in vivid colours. We walked down to Bauli gad, a beautiful river. Its dark blue water flow through the forest. Sumdo (3050 m) is situated on the confluence of Pungmi nala and Bauli gad. A track leads to Dunai along the downward course of Suli gad. We followed a pleasant upward track through the right bank of Bauli gad and reached Palem (3200m), the headquarters of 'Shey Phoksumdo National Park'. Above it there are some deserted huts which are used by the Ringmo villagers as winter shelters. We stayed there for the night. Recently, for administrative purposes, the Dolpo valley was extended upto the Barbung valley and the Suli gad and the Tichurong valleys were included with Dolpo.

On the 27th it was a steep climb. On the way up we had a close view of the charming and gorgeous Suli gad faEs, a waterfall of 300 m. The river Bauli gad also known as Suli gad originates from the Phoksumdo lake and after crossing the meadow and alpine forest brings its blue waters to this waterfall. We had our first sight of the Phoksumdo lake, a sparkle of blue water beyond the green meadow, hutments and chortens of Ringmo village. Before entering the picturesque Ringmo (3610m) we walked past heaps of mani stones, chortens and kani. Ringmo, a small hamlet looks like a fairy tale fortress. The huts were of identical shapes and constructed with uneven stones. The ground floor is used for cattle and kitchen- cum-bedroom is on the 1st floor. A portion of the 2nd floor is used as store room and the rest treated as a roof-cum-balcony. The inhabitants belong to the Bon Pon community and are Tibetans. We procured some rations from the only shop and from the villagers at exorbitant prices e.g. kerosene oil Rs. 150'-. sugar Rs. 70/-, rice Rs. 70/- per phakding in Nepalese currency. One phakding is equal to 900 grams only. Ringmo villagers in their fields produce phaper (buckwheat), potato, ua(naked barley) and radish. It was hardly a 15-minute walk to reach the southeastern corner of Phoksumdo Lake - a lake of deep turquoise blue water. Its magnificent colour was beyond my imagination. I have never seen such an exquisite natural phenomenon in the high Himalaya. The wide expanse of the lake stretches in the distance between rocky mountains. It measures 4.8 km south to north, 1.2 km east to west and the depth is 650 m. Phokso means lungs and the lake is lung-shaped. Aquatic life in any form is non-existent in its brilliant water. Truly it is an unpolluted lake and it does not freeze in winter whereas the Suli gad does. The park authorities allow the visitors only to touch the water. Geologists say that this lake was formed when an earthquake devastated the mountains and blocked the course of the river from Kanjiroba. But there is a folktale that in ancient times there was a village where the lake is situated now. It was flooded and submerged by a demoness. She gave the villagers a turquoise on the condition that her pursuers were not informed that she had fled that way. But the turquoise became a lump of dung by the superior powers of 'Padmasambhav'. The villagers were angry as they thought it to be the trickery of the demoness and disclosed where she had gone. She in turn took revenge by causing the flood, which formed the lake.

The next morning we marched northwards along its west shore. The cliffs dropped straight into the water. This trail leads to Sebu la/Kang la (5385 m) and continues to Shey monastery, but due to its narrowness and the bushes at the banks of Phoksumdo nala, no laden yak can move. In 1956 David Snellgrove entered inner Dolpo by following this track. There are two tributaries to the north, one from Kanjiroba Himal and another from the northeast snow range. All around are high rocky crags but the southeast side of the lake is covered with pines and junipers. Across the lake at the southeastern corner is the Ringmo monastery, built beautifully on the last piece of shore beyond which the rocks become sheer precipices. The monastery of two storied flat-roofed houses looked dilapidated and the inside was more neglected with thick layers of dust everywhere which even covered the image of Shen rap. To welcome us, two unkempt boys started beating the drums and solemnly chanting from the religious text. It belongs to Bon Pon people who are the followers of Shen rap i.e. Sakyamuni and are adherents to pre-Buddhist theological tenets circling around the chortens, mani stones and rotating the prayer wheels anti-clockwise which is the reverse in 'Padmasambhava' Buddhism. The reverse swastika is the holy symbol of the Bon Pon religion. They claim that they follow the old religion of Tibet of the pre-Buddhist days but they have adapted themselves to Buddhist teachings and religious practices. In Dolpo, Buddhism did not clash with those dogmas but absorbed them. After visiting the monasteiy we came back to our shelter. As Durga Bahadur went back we were once again stranded without yaks to reach the inner Dolpo valley. After prolonged bargaining we managed to engage Tenzmg of Ringmo village with 3 yaks for Rs. 700/- N.C. per day. It was painful to leave the shores of this magnificent lake with all its serenity and soothing beauty.

On the 30th morning we began the second phase of our trek towards the inner Dolpo valley. During summer, Dunai, the district headquarters of Dolpo is connected with inner Dolpo through high passes in the north and northeast. In winter it is approachable only through the gorges of Tarap chu and Barbung khola. Leaving behind the magnificent view of Ringmo village to the north, we gradually turned east. Within a couple of hours we were in the midst of a pasture cum meadow. Crossing the gentle grassy valley, it was steep climbing till we turned north. We were exhausted. The valley became wide and we walked up slowly along a small tributary. At Dondang (4500 m) we established the camp of Baga la. On a bright morning we advanced slowly and steadily on heaps of boulders. We were on our way to the hidden valley that was tucked behind Dhaulagiri. After a hard climb of 2 hours we arrived at the top of Baga la (5180m). A pair of cairns and some tattered streamers stood on the top. We felt excited as we were at the gateway of the inner Dolpo valley. Prasantada and I walked up along its north ridge to the top of a hump. Reaching the crest we were looking at the magnificent landscape, to Kanajeralwa to the north, Kagmara to the west, the Norbu Kang mountains to the south. From the top of the pass a new land lay revealed to the east and northeast — the typical Tibetan landscape, bare grey-brown mountains, white clouds against a lucid blue sky and no sign of tree or forest. The Dhaulagiri, Churen Himal and Putha Hiunchuli ranges form an effective barrier against the ram clouds drifting northwards from the Gangetic plains. The eastern slope was snowbound. Beginning to descend we soon arrived at the right bank of Poyon khola (4450m). We had crossed the great Himalayan divide from south to north and entered the desert mountain of the trans-Himalayan Tibetan plateau. The valley is coming down from Norbu Kang mountains. The eastward trail leads to Numa la (5190m) and it continues to Tarap valley. We marched northwards and found a herd of blue sheep (kaur) grazing on a grassy slope. A dolpo yakman with caravan of laden yaks from the Nepal-Tibet border was heading for Dunai. Dolpo traders barter tsampa (flour from roasted barley) and other foodgrains for Tibetan salt and wool with nomads of western plains of Tibet. We spent the night at Themamuche.

Dolpo men wear a red-coloured Tibetan coat bakhu, a bunch of auspicious red threads, stone ear-rings dangle on their ears, and red and white bangles adorn their hands. Here the males also have long hair. We continued a pleasant upward trek towards Lamosiya Bhanjyang. From the top of Lamosiya la (5136m) we were rewarded with a magnificent view of the Tibetan plateau — the roof of the world. We were dumbfounded by the beauty of desert mountains. Dolpo is a desert by nature with its stark wilderness, snow clad mountains and rustic beauty.

The upper Bheri and Langu watersheds have been divided into four sub-regions. Tarap and Tsharbung are valleys of upper Bheri and Panzang and Namgung valleys are in Langu watershed and these valleys are considered as part of inner Dolpo. The main trail from Lamosiya la is down towards Saldang. We continued our trek northwest towards Shey.

It was a long way down over scree and stones on the rocky track. We entered a gorge and the mountains above were hidden from us once again. Only at dusk could we camp at Trelamukchung. An icy wind was blowing in the valley and we felt terribly cold. There was frost at night and we could hardly come out of our tents before sunrise the next morning. Tenzing was grumbling about the heavy loads. It was a constant irritation for me to pacify him. At about nine we resumed our journey on the lonely plains of the barren mountains. It was a long traverse to reach the top of Shey la (5100m), from where we had the first sight of Shey area including the crystal mountains. Spending a while there we descended through a precarious dusty and rocky path to a tributary. We walked on the track by its right bank and passed through heaps of mani stones.

We were at Shey (4600 m) on 3 October and thrilled to reach the doorstep of an ancient and historic monasteiy. As Shey means crystal, this monastery is also known as the Crystal monastery. Shey appeared deserted except for some blue sheep grazing above the monastery. An old man appeared with some juniper bushes on his back. Communication was a serious problem as most of the Dolpo villagers do not know Nepali. The people of Dolpo appear to be a primitive and backward group of Tibetans and almost totally untouched by their contact with the Nepalese population. Bhotias of other areas conversed in Nepali but a majority of Dolpo people are ignorant of any language other than their own Kham. The old man was the caretaker lama and the only soul in this lonely area even through the winter months. He allowed us to stay in a hut of 1.5 m height and its entrance was through a narrow door lm high. Ventilation is through a hole on top. The room was dark even during the day. The lama of Shey resides at a red hermitage known as Tsakang gompa which is north of Shey and that is not really a monasteiy but a dwelling in solitude. Tsakang had been a meditation centre of some famous lamas of Tibet. We visited the Shey monastery. The iron trident fixed atop it signified the presence of a Buddhist ascetic. There is a small collection of images, religious books and tankhas but the whole places was filthy and the paintings were fading away. Thousands of prayer stones were lying between the stupas in the north and the monasteiy. Om mani padme hum is the common inscription. The prayer stones at the bottom must be many centuries old. This gompa belongs to the Chaiba community, followers of the Padmasambhava and Kagyu sects. This was the first Kagyupa monasteiy. The founder lama was Ten-dzin-Ra-Pa and the monasteiy was built during the 11th century.

Shey is famous for its ancient Buddhist culture. In Dolpo the ancient Tibetan way of life combines animism with the teachings of Buddha. Drutop Yeshe introduced Buddhism in the Dolpo valley. Many years ago the Buddhist ascetic Drutop Senge Yeshe came to Dolpo and came across a wild people whose supreme God was a 'fierce mountain spirit'. He came directly to this mountain and meditated. The Tsakang temple was built in front of that meditation cave. On the occasion of Buddha Purnima the Dolpo people gather here for observing a week-long festival and during that period they organise a holy trip of 16 km circling around the crystal mountain which is called 'kora' parikrama. Ciystal mountain is to the east of Shey monasteiy. It is a very strange mountain indeed. Its contorted cliffs are laced with quartz and embedded with a rich variety of marine fossils. People first came here some 2000 years ago. Dolpo is one of the highest inhabited areas on the earth. Dolpo was formerly a part of western Tibet and the lamas of Dolpo frequently travelled to central Tibet through the Mustang valley when there was no political boundary between Dolpo, Mustang and Tibet. At that time Dolpo and Mustang were treated as provinces of Tibet. Jumla and Lo (i.e. Mustang) were annexed during the domain of the Gorkha dynasty and Dolpo automatically became part of the Nepal Kingdom and ties with Tibet were gradually loosened. The king of the Gorkhas gained control over Dolpo some 200 years ago. Since a few western scholars have visited this area (Prof. Giuseppe Tucci in 1954, Snellgrove in 1956, Dr G. Schaller and Peter Matthiessen in 1974) they unfolded the mysteiy surrounding inner Dolpo to the outside world.

Shey gompa stands above the confluence of Kangju nala from the black pond area and Yeju nala down from the eastern snow slopes. Near the confluence there exists a group of prayer mills in the form of a water wheel. On the river bed the 3 temporary flat-roofed huts belong to Saldang villagers. They frequented this place as a pasture for their cattle.

The next morning we packed our belongings and waited impatiently. At last Karma Sipche appeared with three yaks. The animals' front legs were tied and kit bags were placed on their backs. We were on the road again. A pleasant track amidst juniper descends into grey, stony canyons. A zig zag path on bare rocks and coarse, eroded soil reaches the top of Saldang la (5200m). We rested near the summit cairns which shielded us from the freezing western wind. Inner Dolpo is a land of poor and scattered villages separated from one another by lofty passes. The descent towards the north was long and tiring. At last we caught sight of Namgung monastery. Nomadic shepherds, dork, camped on a pasture and their yaks and sheep were grazing there. The tents were made of yak hair. In the lofty Dolpo, nomads lead their sheep, goats and yaks from pasture to pasture, as they have for centuries. They looked wild and rough. We came down to a tributary of Nam Khong khola. Like Shey, the Namgung monastery (4800 m) is of Karma-pa sect. This Chaiba monastery, a red stone structure, was built against the backdrop of a cliff on the north wall of a gorge. The red and white colours of the gompa and its stupas are the only colour in this stark landscape. The village has 6 huts only and terraced fields on both sides of the tributary, which flows down to the Nam Khong valley. The economy of the region is based on agriculture, animal husbandry and trading. In Dolpo only one crop a year can be grown mainly barley. In some villages buckwheat, oil-seed, potato and radish are also cultivated.

The view of Shivling, Gangotri glacier.
The view of Shivling, Gangotri glacier.

1. The view of Shivling, Gangotri glacier. From snowbound Tapovan meadow (above) and viewed northwards from Camp 1 on Kedar Dome across the Kirti Bamak. Article 8 (John Cleare)

Kedar Dome seen across the Kirti Bamak from ABC (4740m).

2. Kedar Dome seen across the Kirti Bamak from ABC (4740m). The line of ascent was the abvious right-hand ridge, via the cwm to the right of the prominent rocky spur.

In the morning we were faced with the laborious task of packing up the loads on the yaks. Leaving the Namgung monastery we started climbing on a scree slope. Later it was a long traverse along some dusty barren mountains. After 3 hours of hard going Saldang appeared below on a plateau high above the Nam Khong nala. It has a picturesque appearance. Saldang (3620 m) is the biggest village of the inner Dolpo area. Karma accompanied us to his house.

We went up onto the roof. The edges were stacked with juniper bushes for winter time. From Saldang it was only a two-day walk via Yang Tsher monasteiy to reach Kato, a market on the China-Nepal border where the barter of salt and wool from Tibet with foodgrains from Nepal takes place. A clear eastward trail on flat land leads to Tsharkabhot and continues to Jomsom. It's a long trek crossing a number of high passes. The Nam Khong khola flows from the southern snow ranges towards the north to meet Panzang khola. The Panzang flows west to meet Mugu Karnali. Though the village lies at about the same altitude as Ringmo it is totally different. Ringmo, a Himalayan village is situated below the tree line while Saldang belongs to the arid zone of the trans-Himalayan Tibetan plateau. The village stretches for two kilometres on an open slope. As winter was approaching, there was no trace of greenery in the terraced fields excepting a few willow trees planted near the huts. The characteristic features of the desert mountain are the endless expanse of brown mountains, the floating white clouds against the blue sky and an uninterrupted flow of chilly wind blowing across. The yearly rainfall is a bare minimum. Sibsankar, Karma and I went to the main village to procure some rice and other foodstuff. Saldang consists of 5 villages having 80 well-built houses with nearly 600 villagers. We searched door to door and were able to procure only one phakding of rice from a villager. The poor quality of rice here was a luxury item to the villagers.

The primitive life style of a Dolpo villager is in sharp contrast to those of the other Bhotias. Saldang is a prosperous village not only agriculturally but also for its strategic location on a trade route to Tibet. After the Chinese occupation of Tibet in 1959, trade with Tibet has virtually been stopped. It had been restored to some extent a few years back through the barter system by which Tibetan salt reaches mid-Nepal. The Drokpa people from the western plains of Tibet collected salt from the dried lakes north of Tsangpo.

On 6 October we bade farewell to Saldang. On the way down to the river bed we passed through huts, terraced fields, stupas, chortens, heaps of mani stones and a Chaiba monasteiy. Namdo, the next village is also a prosperous village with 60 houses having nearly 400 inhabitants. It stretches for more than 5 km on the high slopes to the left of Nam Khong khola. The Namdo monastery is located near the river bed. There is also another monastery atop a high cliff. It was surprising how skillfully it was built in this craggy terrain. At dusk we camped near the river bed. In the morning the nala was crossed twice at the expense of numbing our lower limbs. A yakman whistled and the jingling of yak bells echoed faintly in the canyon. A long caravan of laden yaks appeared and we were on our way to the Tibetan border. Leaving the Nam Khong nala we turned east till we arrived at the confluence of two small tributaries. It was steep climbing to the bottom of Jeng la where we stayed on a beautiful meadow. We faced a biting cold that night and the next morning too. There was heavy frost and water was frozen. It was only half an hour's climb to reach top of Jeng la (5150m). A splendid view of snow ranges emerged in the south. The north face of the Dhaulagiri massif was glittering in the morning light. A rough track descends towards the Tarap valley. Only in the afternoon we found a green valley which led us by a pleasant track down towards Tarap chu. Several flocks of sheep were grazing. Tarap is a dream valley with vast plains in high mountains. It extends 20 km along the river Tarap chu having 10 villages with cultivated fields, many gompas and chortens of both sects. We halted for the night at Tok Khyu monastery (4200m). This monastery also belongs to the Chaiba sect. The temple was on the ground floor and everything was covered with dust.

On the morning of the 9th, porters were arranged but they tried to exploit us. After prolonged haggling it was settled at Rs. 2400/- N.C. for 3 porters for 3 days. Arranging porters /yaks-was always troublesome in Dolpo to all westerners who visit this remote district of Nepal. We walked east along the downward course of Tarap chu. The westward trail leads towards Numa la (5190m) which continues to Suli gad valley. A plain valley with patches of lush verdant grass on both sides of the river - completely different from what we had found in other parts of inner Dolpo. There is also a marsh which is a common feature in the desert mountain of Tibet and the Ladakh Himalaya. In this valley both Bon Pon and Chaiba sects reside together. There are a number of gompas. After a short march we came to Dho (4090m). The village was surrounded by an irregular stone wall. It looked deserted and ruined. The villagers were usually grumpy. At Dho, 34 huts are divided into three clusters and built in a haphazard way. Tarap is inhabited by a few Tibetans and mostly Magars, living here for generations. There are two ways for approaching Tarakot, from Dho. The shorter one is through Tarap chu gorge which is difficult and risky. Another trail on high pasture land crosses a high pass and takes 6 days to reach. The eastward track leads to Tsharkabhot. We decided to follow the shortest route as we were already behind schedule and the shortage of foodstuff was a constant problem.

We entered a gorge of high cliffs and walked southward. By afternoon we reached Kamattarka (3800m) at the confluence of Tarap chu and Lang khola, a stream from the east. We camped on a beautiful meadow and our porters took shelter in a spacious cave. The most difficult and dangerous part of our trek started. The valley became so narrow with a deep gorge that in some places one could jump from one side to the other. Sometimes there was no trace of any path and we had to walk across stone slabs fitted on logs in between the walls which acted as a bridge. The track crosses the river by numerous small bridges. The gorge also provided unexpected adventure and thrills. At some places, the bridges were either damaged or washed away and we were forced to cross the icy torrent on foot. At noon we were at the base of the great cliffs towering on either side and as no track could be found, we decided to climb high. We followed the faint marks of a narrow trail on a steep rock wall and at some points we did not find a place to keep our toes. The protruding and overhanging rocks obstructed us as we moved with rucksacks. We clambered on the rocks like lizards till we reached the top of a dusty slope. We could not stop for rest but continued to move fast amidst debris and dust till we landed in a meadow.

The next day we were able to come out from the barren gorge to a wooded area and the valley became wide. We hurriedly walked down to Barbung khola, a river from Mukut and Tsharkabhot area. We entered the Tichu-rong valley, the valley with fragrant waters. We traversed west along the left side of Barbung khola (upper Bheri). A day long hard walk brought us to Tarakot where colourful terraced fields greeted us. Tarakot, a village of 25 houses is dirty and dusty. Sahartara village (2850m) is located to its south. Before the Gorkha dynasty Tarakot was the capital and had a dzong. The famous Sandul gompa lies 8 km east of Tarakot and at the junction of Barbung khola and Tarap chu.

During winter, the Dolpo Bhotias come down to Tarakot to trade and work in the fields of Tarakot villagers. The Magars of Tarakot are also known as Taralies. From Tarakot the southward trail leads to Dhorpatan and continues to Beni/Pokhara. During trading Taralies act as middlemen of Dolpo Bhotias and the people of lower valleys. The next day we had a pleasant trek of 16 km along the course of Barbung khola and reached Dunai (2100m), the district headquarters of Dolpo, in the evening. Dunai is a well-built town with big market to the left of Barbung khola. We reached Rani gad after dark where the Suli gad merges with Barbung khola. On the 13th it was a 3 hour descent to arrive at Jhuphal airport (2320 m) where we terminated our enjoyable and rewarding trek of nearly 400 km. On the 14th morning we bid good bye to Dolpo and left by a chartered flight of Royal Nepal Airlines for Nepalganj.

Members: Ratan Lai Biswas (organiser), Prasanta Das (leader), Asit Chakraborty, Dwijadas Mondal, Kironmoy Dutta, Sibsankar Mukherjee, Sujit Das, Sankar Makhal and Debiprasad Mukherjee.


  1. Himalayan Pilgrimage, by D. Snellgrove.
  2. The Snow Leopard, by Peter Matthiessen.


A trek through western Nepal to unfrequented Dolpo valley in September-October 1993.


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