Bonpo Kora Trek - 27 Days

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Explore the fascinating, hidden land of the wild west of Nepal with its ancient religious tradition of BonDolpo is the largest but most remote and least developed district in Nepal. Although a few anthropologists and geographers have explored the region, the entire district was closed for trekkers until 1989 when the southern part of Dolpo was opened to organized trekking groups. The title of the Trek refers to the visit of important places for the Bonpo ( followers of Bon tradition) in the way of a pilgrim, a so-called Kora that can be translated as a circumambulation. Early records of some of the sacred shrines and temples can be found in David Snell groves Book “Himalayan Pilgrimage”.

Peter Matthiesen’s book ‘The Snow Leopard’ and Snell grove’s ‘Himalayan Pilgrimage’ has contributed to the mystique and attraction of Dolpo.

As the district of Dolpo has received very little world recognition, and has remained a hidden land with ancient traditions, you will get a chance to explore amazing ways of live and religion on the journey to this land. You will have the chance to encounter the fascinating Yungdrung Bon religion that has been practiced in Dolpo without interruption. Bon religion is practiced in a few areas of Nepal, mainly in Dolpo, and in Tibet. Since the occupation of Tibet, Menri monastery, the main religious centre has shifted to Dolanji in the Indian exile. Bon history reaches far back to the time of the former kingdom of Zhangzhung with its centre in the area of Mt. Kailash. Tonpa Shenrab Miwo is regarded as the founder of Bon religion. The written scriptures of the Bon religion can are traced back to the 11th century. Bon religion was practiced in Tibet before Buddhism was introduced. After its introduction there were phases of competition and fights for power between the two religious traditions. However, both religions existed side by side and influenced each other. They have different founders, different protecting deities and different religious practice, but in the core both believe in “Karma” the law of cause and effect, in the cycle of birth and rebirth and in the final aim of reaching Buddhahood (enlightenment). The ways to this aim depend on the religious tradition and even in Buddhism different practices can lead to Buddhahood. Dolpo is one of the few areas, where Bon religion has been practiced without interruption due to its remoteness. Some villages are practicing only Bon religion in others it exists side by side with Buddhism, with frequent intermarriage. If you want to have a unique insight into this tradtion travel with us, our Trekking team is from these villages and is capable introduce you to the religious specialists, the monasteries, the sacred sites and today’s ritual practice. In addition our founder Semduk Lama has assisted the social anthropologist Dr. Marietta Kind over years in her research on the Bon religion in Dolpo that resulted in the publication of two books. Marietta Kind Furger published two book on the Bon religion in Dolpo: “The Bon Landscape of Dolpo – Pilgrimages, Biographies, Monasteries and the Emergence of Bon” (2012 by Peter Lang) and “Mendrup – A Bonpo Ritual for the Benefit of all Living Beings and the Empowerment of Medicine” (WWF Nepal 2002, 2nd edition Vajra Books 2012)

In addition the Destination Dolpo Team founder Semduk Lama founded the Tapriza School together with Marietta Kind and Catherine Inman. A local school that in addition to the Nepali curriculum teaches Tibetan language, local culture and Bon tradition.

If we have been able to awake your interest into this unique religious tradition and if you are a nature lover and enjoy wilderness and hiking over high passes as well as simply living in your tent and meeting local people, you will be able to fulfil your passion and have a lifetime experience on this trek. With Destination Dolpo Travels and Trekking Pvt. Ltd, you can enjoy this wonderful adventure, encountering interesting places, people, monasteries, villages, valleys and serene pine forests, oaks and rhododendron as the trek passes through many gigantic mountain ranges. The natural vista of the hidden and mystic lands of Dolpo is not comparable with any other parts of the world. So get ready for this exciting and wonderful trip to the Upper Dolpo Bonpo KoraTrek!

Day 1
Arrival in Kathmandu

Upon your arrival in Kathmandu, a representative of Destination Dolpo Travels and Trekking Pvt. Ltd will receive you from the airport and drop you to your designated hotel. As this is the first day, you will have time on your own. In the evening, our manager will brief you about the trip and your stay in Nepal.

Day 2
Fly from Kathmandu to Nepalgunj

On this day, depending on the schedule of your flight, you will be taken to the Domestic Airport of Kathmandu. Once you reach Nepalgunj Airport, our representative will pick you up and bring you to your designated hotel. You will have time to visit Nepalgunj or free time on your own.

Day 3
Fly from Nepalgunj to Juphal and trek to Byasgar (2427m) via Dunai

This is the first day of your trekking. In the morning we fly from Nepalgunj to Juphal. Then the trekking starts. The walk descending from the airport to Kaligaura at the river bed takes around 1.30 hrs. From Kaligaura, after walking for around 2 hrs, we reach Dunai Bazaar, the capital of Dolpo. We pass Dunai Bazaar and hike further along the river and then upwards via the banks of Bheri river towards Byasghar. We will be camping near the settlement for overnight.

Day 4
Trek from Byasgar to Parle (Baijibara) (2772m)

From Byasghar, it takes around 6 hours uphill to reach Parle (Baijibara) village. The trail follows the Bheri River for about 15 minutes and then it starts ascending in not too steep hills. Along the way, herds of white monkeys can be seen in the rocky cliffs. After walking for around 3.5 hours we reach a small village called Dharapani (Kotar) with beautiful Bais trees. You can have lunch here or go further to Nakpo(Sima) with a few settlements. The people of Nakpo are very friendly and ready to welcome you. After lunch, we pass along the staircase of a terrace field with peach and walnut trees on the sideways. Along the way, there is an entrance gate made of a Bonpo shrine, a chorten (skr. stupa) indicating that we are close to the main village of Parle. The chorten called Mutek Kainon belongs to a series of four famous Bonpo chorten in Dolpo built by the great Bon master Treton Namkha Gyaltsen who lived in the late 17th to the early 18th century. The inner part of chorten has beautiful wall paintings and Mandalas on the ceiling. Parle is a settlement of the Magar (ethnic group) but the inhabitants there speak Tibetan dialect. The villagers follow the Yungdrung Bon tradition. Yungdrung Shugtshaling Gompa is the main monastery of this village. The famous pilgrimage of the sacred Mount Riwo Palwar starts right above Parle village. The monastery, the solitary retreat of Drakon Gompa and the pilgrimage sites are set in a most amazing scenery and are famous places for the whole area. After visiting the village and the monastery and possibly the hermitage we set up camp. Camping as well as home-stay service is available for tonight. This trekking trail is very news.

Day 5
Trek from Parle (Baijibara) to Laini (3523m)

Todays trail leads through pines trees and beautiful sceneries. After hiking for around 2 hrs, with the beautiful view of all villages of Sor Tara and Thage pass, we reach Khani Gompa village. On the opposite side of this village, flowing far below, we see Bharbung river, different peaks and beautiful views leading to Tsharka. From Khanivillage, a straight path with rocky hills and thick forest leads you to Laina Cave where we will be camping for tonight.

Day 6
Trek from Laini to Toltol

The trail of this day ascends upward from Laini for around an hour. It is quite steep. After hiking for around 3 hour we reach Tilwa. At Tilwa we see a small stream coming down from the hill. Then the trail goes straight a headup to Chuhur Cave. At Chuhur there are some hotels that are only opened during in the summer season. At Chuhur, there is a dense forest containing trees of pines and Bhojpatra and a campsite. At both sides of the trail there are ridges of hills and we can see blue sheep, musk deer, deer and other wildlife. Along the path there is a dense forest of pine and Bhojpatra. After hiking around 2 hours we will get Toltol and can spend our night over there.

Day 7
Trek from Toltol to Do-Tarap

Today the trail passes through the plane area covered with bushes and shrubs. Along the route the medicinal herb “Sibbok thrones” can be found everywhere. We reach the settlement of Lang in around one and half hour from Sisyol. There is a bridge that separates Do from Lang. While walking for around 2 hours on the trail to Do we reach Mirbu on our left where a small river flows into the Do-Tarap river. It is a beautiful place with rocks and caves related to different myths. The Mirbu stream flows down from a sacred place of Bon the ancient Mirbu Gompa, only ruins today.With the mesmerizing view of hills, rock caves and wild animals such as blue sheep, we reach the wide valley of Dowith Tarap village.

Day 8
A rest day in Do-Tarap (4020m)

This is the day to enjoy the beautiful village of Do-Tarap. It is famous as a settlement on the highest altitude of the world (4020m). It exhibits all the characteristics and traits of the true land of Dolpo. Do-Tarap has a number of magnificent monasteries. One of them is the famous Gompa Ribo Bumpa Monastery. It was built a long time ago, and thrones above the village. Kakar Gompa, also known as the ‘White Crevasse Temple’ is located in the village of Kakar. In the northern highlands, the white structure of Mekhyim Monastery can be seen. Another noticeable feature of this region is the Tathagata stupa. Similarly there is also a Drakmar Dewa Monastery in Do-Tarap, which is built into the red cliffs, devoted to the Buddha of the future, Maitreya. Shering Monastery, which is known to locals as Sheding Dewa Gompa, is also Nyingma-pa establishment. If we walk for around half an hour to the east of Do-Tarap, we will reach the Bon Gompa complex of Shipchok and the red tin-roofed monastery of Doro. In Do-Tarap we also find the second of the four special Bon chorten in Dolpo built by the great Bon master Treton Namkha Gyaltsen from Pugmo. The shrine is named Yungdrung Obar, ‘The Blazing Swastika of EternalBon’. The Crystal Mountain School, an Amchi hospital of Tibetan medicine and an Allopathic health post are also located in the valley of Do.

Day 9
Trek from Do-Tarap to Murjung Base camp (4965m)

On this day we will trek in the north-eastern direction. The trail ascends from Jyanta-La pass.After around an hour’s trek, we reach a junction. The trail to the left leads to Saldang and the right one goes to Tinkyu (Tinje). We follow the left one that climbs up in a zigzag. Along the way we come across the Do-Tarap winter pastures. In Murjung we set up our tents, this is the basecamp for Jyanta-La.

Day 10
Trek from Murjung Base camp to Rakyo (4160m)

This day, the trekking starts at 6:am in the morning. We will take our packed lunch for this day as we cannot cook on the way. Ascending and descending is common in this trail until we reach Jyanta-La pass situated at 5220m altitudes. On the pass we are rewarded for our climb with the unique view of the mountain range. After passing Jyanta-La pass we reach the summer pastures of Namdo village and continue to Darsumna (a junction trail from Phoksumdo and Do-Tarap) and follow the river bank until Rakyo.Our campsite will be near the settlement of Rakyo.

Day 11
Trek from Rakyo to Saldang (3750m)

The trail of this day is quite easy. You have the option of choosing one from the two ways leading to Saldang. One leads along the river bank and the other climbs to the hillside. If we follow the river bank trail we have to cross the river many times but it is shorter than the other trail. But, if we follow the other way, we will hike through many villages such as Cha, Sugu,DechenLabrang and Dhungdhar. In Saldang we finally camp for this night.

Day 12
Trek from Saldang to Neng-La basecamp (4790m)

On this day our trail goes from Saldang to Karang village. We will be ascending from Karang and take the trail upwards until we reach Karang. From Karang, Neng-La basecamp is very close. We will camp there for the night.

Day 13
Trek from Neng-La basecamp to Bichervillage

Today our trail slightly ascends but it more often descends. In the morning we climb upwards and cross the Neng-Lapass before we continue downwards to Bicher village where we camp for this night. In Bicher we find both Bon and Buddhist tradition side by side.

Day 14
Trek from Bicher to Samling Gompa (2.30 hrs hiking)

This day is like a rest day as it includes only a short trek. After breakfast we will visit Bicher village with its Bon and Buddhist Gompas, the school and the hospital. In the afternoon, we hike up to Samling Gompa our camping site for this night. Samling Gompa is the oldest Bon Gompa in Dolpo. It was established in the 8th century and is still connected to the very important lineage of the Yangton Lamas where a number of ancient texts have been preserved. It is a historically very interesting place that is still a retreat for lamas and centre for a number of rituals.

Day 15
Trek from SamlingGompa to Den camp

From Samling, we ascend to Tora where we have our lunch. Tora is the summer pasture for the people of Bicher. From Tora we continue uphill to the high pastures of Den-La go. It is just a few hours walk from Tora. We will be camping near the Saldang summer pasture called Den.

Day 16
Trek from Den to SheyGompa (4100m)

On this day, we will be ascending upwards from Den for few hours. Then the trail starts descending for around 3 hours until we reach Shey Gompa.

Day 17
Rest day

In Shey we have our well deserved rest at the monastery of Shey SumdoGompa. This place is filled with various monasteries, herritages and retreat cavessas well as natural vistas that are incomparable to any other part of the world. It also is the starting point for the most celebrated pilgrimage of both Bon and Buddhist people around Shey Cristal Mountain, known as the “Crystal Mountain in the Dragon Roar”. Today’s program shall be a surprise by the team of Destination Dolpo

Day 18
Trek from Shey Gompa across Ngadra-La pass (5360m) to the basecamp

The trek of this day is a shorter one. There is just a light ascent from Shey Gompa to Ngadra-Lapass (in some maps also marked as Kang-La pass). It takes 3-4 hrs to reach Ngadra-La pass.Along the way, we cross Shey River a few times. Once we arrive in Ngadra-La basecamp, we will be staying for overnight in a camp.

Day 19
Trek from Ngadra-La basecamp to Rugtang Hogma (3630m)

Today the trek of is quite a long. After ascending for around 1-2 hrs, we cross the Ngadra-Lapass. Then the trail consists of steep descents until we reach Tukyaksa. We will campat the site called Rugtang Hogma for this day.

Day 20
Trek from Rugtang Hogma to Phoksumdo (3600m)

In the morning we will start downwards to the beautiful turquoise blue Phoksumdo lake that is related to many mythical stories. We pass through the Jungle area of Tshola Phuk until we reach the end of the lake.From there the trail passes ascends through rocky hills and cliff high above the shores of Phoksumdo lake. We will have breath taking views of Phoksumdo lake from many different angles until we reach Ringmo village. Our camping spot is at the shore of the lake with a wonderfull view of the beautiful lake and the surrounding high mountains.

Day 21
A rest day in Ringmo at Phoksumdo Lake

On this day, we have our well deserved rest day. We can visit Ringmo village and the Thasung Tsholing Bon Gompa situated at the shore of the lake. Our crew being from the area of Phoksumdo will offer a special program for our guests.

Day 22
Trek from Phoksumdo to Pugmo (3284m)

From Ringmo the trail leads through a forest with birch trees for around 30 minutes. After reaching the ridge, we will arrive at a view tower from where the great waterfall from Phoksumdo Lake can be glanced. The trail leads steeply downwards to Palam the winter village of the Ringmo villagers and the former headquarter of Shey Phoksumdo National park, which was destroyed during the insurgency period by the Maoists. A bit further we reach Chunuwar with its health post, the Tibetan Amchi clinic and a lodge. Across the river is the locally-run Tapriza Secondary School, with over 260 students and best results of all schools in Dolpo. After lunch in Chunwar we visit the school and then continue down river to Sumduwa. From there we follow the side-valley to Pugmo village situated below the Mountain Kangsumnya on the way to Kagmara-La pass.

Pugmo village: this village is situated in a very narrow valley. From the village we see very beautiful of Kangsumnya Himal. Pugmo is famous for several masters of the Terton and the Khyunpo Lama lineage who lived and meditated in caves and retreat chapels in the side valleys. These Bonpo masters transformed the formerly wild landscape with its wrathful local deities into a inhabitable area. Pilgrimage, ancient temples and a vivid ritual culture of the Bon tradition can be seen here. In Pugmo, we can offer home stay facilities in traditional structured houses to provide an insight into the living style of the villagers. One of the famous Bon Gompa called Namgyal Lhakahangis also situated in Pugmo village. It is believed that Lama Treton Tsewang Tsultrim a famous master of the Treton lineage established the Namgyal Lhakahang Gompa in 16th century. The religious Bonpo chorten and prayers stones inscribed with the Bonpo mantra Matrimuye can be seen everywhere in Pugmo. Additional Gompas and retreat caves on Lama Chumik pilgrimage exist in the side valley leading from Pumer, to Phu and Gunthang. Telephone and electricity facilities are available in the village. We can either opt for camping in the meadows or for a home-stay in a traditional house in Pugmo.

Day 23
Trek from Pugmo to Sepka

To reach Sepka from Pugmo, it takes around 6 hours. Until Renji village, the trail goes straight and downward. From there onwards it climbs up and down following the river through dense forest in a narrow gorge. At Sepka there are some lodges and a camping site. We will be spending our night either at a lodge or camp.

Day 24
Trek from Sepka to Juphal

Today is a longer trekking distance. We will be descending from Sepka and reach Juphal airport in oneday. Along the way, we pass Sangta, a tea house under a big boulder block and continue towards the winter settlement of Ringmo called Jailas and Kagni. From Kagni, the trail leads quite straight to Suligad. The Shey Phoksundo National Park office is situated in Suligad. We cross a suspended bridge from Suligad army post to reach the main road on the other side of the river. From the main road, we can either take a jeep or hike for around 2-3 hours to reach Juphal. We spend the last night Dolpo at one of the local hotels.

Day 25
Fly from Juphal to Nepalgunj and then to Kathmandu

Depending on the schedule of the flight, our representative will accompany to your flight from Juphal to Nepalgunj. From there, you will take another flight to fly back to Kathmandu. Once you reach Kathmandu, our repsentative will drop you off to your designated hotel. You may have free time to explore around the ancient streets and temples of the Kathmandu.

Day 26
Leisure day at Kathmandu

This is a leisure day in Kathmandu. You can enjoy this day either in the hotel or for strolling around the streets of Thamel or visit another temple or stupa.

Day 27
Final Departure

This day marks the last day of your stay in Nepal. With a happy smile thinking of your wonderful adventures and experiences in Dolpo you will be brought to Tribhuvan International Airport for your flight home. We are looking forward to see you again in Nepal.

Depending on the trek and on the number of people in the group, the average price per day & per person will range between $90 – $110. (Flight and trekking permit not included)

Trekking permit costs: 
– Lower Dolpo : $20 per day
– Upper Dolpo : $500 for 10 days

You can send your inquiry via the form below.

Bonpo Kora Trek