Dolpa District is a part of the Karnali Province of Nepal. It is one of the seventy-seven districts of Nepal. The district, with Dunai as its district headquarters, covers an area of 7,889 km2 (3,046 sq mi). Dolpa is the largest district of Nepal covering 5.36% of the total landmass of the country. A large portion of the district is protected by Shey Phoksundo National Park. The name is derived from the 12th century Shey Monastery and the deepest lake in Nepal, the Phoksundo Lake, both of which lie in the district. The park protects endangered animals like the snow leopard, musk deer, and the Tibetan wolf. Shey Phoksundo is the largest and the only trans-Himalayan National Park in Nepal. It is the biggest area occupying the district of Nepal. Dolpa is a truly isolated corner of Nepal.
Main Highlights of Dolpa
- The highest mountain of the region is Churen Himal with 7,381 meters.
- The majority of Dolpa lies behind the rain shadow of the Dhaulagiri Himal (range) and is high altitude desert, strongly reminiscent of Tibet.
- 3,555 km2 of Dolpa has been set aside as Shey-Phoksundo National Park. The park shelters blue sheep, Himalayan black bears, leopards, wolves, and the elusive snow leopard – of which there is a trek of the same name.
- Overlooking the Phoksundo Lake is the Pal Sentan Thasoon Chholing Gompa, a Bön-PO Gompa said to have been built 60 generations ago.
- Dolpa is well known for: the movie ‘Himalaya‘, the stunning, turquoise Phoksundo Lake, Shey Gompa, said to be 800 years old and its desert-like Tibetan scenery.
- From May 15 until June 15 it is the Yarchagumba season in Dolpa. During this period people all over Dolpa leave their house to collect Yarchagumba, a unique combination of a fungus and a caterpillar which only grows in certain areas above 3500 meters and is in high demand in countries like Japan and Malaysia for its medicinal qualities. Even schools close during this time! Besides, many people from surrounding districts enter the village to collect this precious species. They get about US$ 1 for each Yarchagumba, but it is worth far more in Japan, China, and Malaysia.