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!