Shey Phoksundo National Park

phoksondo lake

Shey-Phoksundo National Park(SPNP), declared in 1984, is situated in trans-himalayan region of North-west Nepal, covering an area of 3555 km2, which extends in Dolpa and Mugu districts of Karnali Province. SPNP is the largest National Park in the country. Conservation of highland ecosystems, unique landscapes, endangered wild flora and fauna, historical and cultural heritages are some major objectives behind the announcement. An area of 1349 km2 surrounding the park was declared as buffer zone in 1988. The park management authority and local people jointly initiated community development, conservation activities and manage the natural resources in the buffer zone. The National Parks and wildlife conservation act, 1973 has made a provision of ploughing back 30-50% of the park’s revenue into community development and conservation of the buffer zone. Biodiversity conservation, sustainable community development and wise-uses of natural resources for well-being of local community by reducing park-people and people wildlife conflict are the major objectives to establishing the buffer zone. 

The park contains numerous wetlands, are providing home- ground to different kinds of migratory avifauna. Phoksundo Lake, which is internationally significant wetland, listed under Ramsar site in 23 September 2007. This lake ranks second deepest (145m) and second largest (4.94 km2) lake compared to other lakes in the country.

Himalayan Thar @ Shey Phoksundo National Park

Major Flora and Fauna 

Shey Phoksundo National Park harbors prime habitat for some endangered and flagship species like Snow Leopard (Panthera uncia), Great Tibetan Sheep (Ovis ammon), Great Tibetan Wolf (Canis lupus), Tibetan Antelope (Pantholopus hodgsoni), Musk Deer (Moschus chrysogaster), Red Panda (Ailurus fulgens) and Leopard Cat (Prionailurus bengalensis). Other wildlife include Blue Sheep (Pseudois nayaur), Ghoral (Naemorhedus goral), Common Leopard (Panthera pardus), Himalayan Black Bear (Ursus thibetanus), Jackal (Canis aureus), Common Langur (Semnopithecus schistaceus), Rhesus Monkey (Macaca mulatta), Yellow-throated Marten (Martes flavigula), Weasel (Mustela nivalis), Marmot (Marmota hymalayana), Wild Boar (Sus scrofa), Barking Deer (Muntiacus muntjak) and so on. The park is home to 6 species of herpetofauna. The highest flying butterfly (Paralasa nepalaica) is recorded in the park. More than 200 avian species is reported here. Danphe (Lophophorus impejanus), Monal (Trygopan satyra), Cheer Pheasant (Catreus wallichii), Tibetan Partridge (Perdix hodgsoniae), White-throated Tit (Aegithalos niviogularis), Snow Cock (Tetraogallus hymalayensis), are some other additional bird species existing in the park. 

The park is famous for availability of non-timber forest products especially for medicinal plants. Yarsagumba (Ophyocordiceps sinensis) is renowned for its aphrodisiac properties, is found in the meadows of park. 

Major attractions 
  • Nepal’s second deepest and largest phoksundo lake (145m and 4.94 km2
  • Shey Gumba. 
  • Tripura Sundari temple 
  • Upper Dolpa valley 
  • Snow Leopard, Musk Deer, Red Panda and Himalayan Monal 
  • Culture and Monasteries

Shey-Phoksundo National Park

Accomodation & other Facilities 

Local accommodations and services are available at Jufal, Dunai, Suligad, Sangta, Chhepka, Renchi, Taporicha and Rigmo. Despite remoteness, friendly people are able to supply lodge, hotel and tea-shop facilities with local variety of foodstuffs. Campsites are constructed on the way to stay during trekking. Community managed camp sites are also made on the community land.

Safety Precautions 

High altitude sickness can affect you if elevation is gained too rapidly and without proper acclimatization. The symptoms are -headache, difficulty in sleeping, breathlessness, loss of appetite and general fatigue. If someone develops the symptoms, stop ascending immediately. If symptoms persist, the only proven cure is to descend to a lower elevation. 

Trekking Routes 

Entire Dolpa district is divided into two regions i.e. lower and upper. The upper limit of lower Dolpa is up-to Phoksundo Lake of Phoksundo rural municipality. An individual trekking is permitted to trekking up-to Phoksundo Lake. The trans-Himalayan region, which lies at upper Dolpa, is restricted to trekking. A group trekking permission can be issued only through the recognized trekking agency of Nepal. 

How to get the Park 

One of the following gateways can be mapped out to visit Shey Phoksundo National Park

  1. By air: Kathmandu to Nepalganj to Jufal airport Dolpa.
  2. By air: Kathmandu to Nepalganj to Jumla airport Jumla.
  3. By bus: Kathmandu to Nepalganj to Talubagar, Jajarkot.
  4. By bus: Kathmandu to Nepalganj to Surkhet to Jumla.
  5. On foot: Talubagar Jajarkot to Tribeni Dolpa to Tripurakot / Dolpa to Suligad Park HQ.
  6. On foot: Jumla to Chaurikot Dolpa to Kaigaun /Dolpa to Toijam Park Post.
  7. On foot: Mustang-Tuchela pass-Chharka-Dho-Numla- Bagala-Phoksundo Lake.
  8. On foot: Dhorpatan hunting reserve via. Thange passes to Dunai Dolpa to Suligad Park HQ.
  9. Kathmandu-Nepalgunj-Talcha (Mugu)-Pulu-Kimri-Dolphu
Park Regulations to follow or things to remember 
  • An entry fee of Rs. 3,000 (Foreigners), Rs. 1,500 (SAARC Nationals), Rs. 100 (Nepali) visitor and Rs. 25 for tourist porter should be paid at designated ticket counter. 
  • Valid entry permits are available from the National Parks ticket counter at the Nepal Tourism Board, Bhrikuti Mandap, Kathmandu or park entrance gate at Suligad. 
  • The entry permit is non-refundable, non-transferable and is for a single entry only. 
  • Entering the park without a permit is illegal. Park personnel may ask for the permit, so visitors are requested to keep the permit with them. 
  • Get special permit for documentary/filming from the Department of National Parks and Wildlife Conservation (DNPWC). 
  • Documentary/filming fee of US$ 1,500 (Foreigners), Rs. 50,000 (SAARC Nationals) and Rs. 10,000 (Nepali) should be paid at DNPWC. Additional 25% should be paid while using drone for documentary/filming. 
  • Drone (UAV) fee is same as documentary/filming fee while using it for other purposes. 
  • Don’t remove or damage plants and animals. All flora and fauna are fully protected and must not be disturbed. 
  • Rubbish must be placed out, buried or disposed off in designated areas. 
  • No one should walk within the park between sunset and sunrise. 
  • Do respect the cultural and religious sites. 
  • Camping inside the park should be made only at the designated areas. 
  • Carry out non biodegradable items such as batteries, plastic bags and bottles. 
  • Never trek alone, hire a local guide if you can’t find a companion.

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