Home Travel and Cuisine Go Do Phoksundo (Photo Feature)

Go Do Phoksundo (Photo Feature)

116
0

Dolpa lake in the monsoon is a precious jewel in Nepal’s crown

With most monsoon clouds blocked by the towering Dhaulagiri range, this is the time to visit Dolpa —  Nepal’s mysterious and little-explored trans-Himalayan district. Dolpa’s scenery is the stuff of legends, depicted in David Snelgrove’s classic, Himalayan Pilgrimage, or Peter Matthiessen’s book, The Snow Leopard, and inspired by films like Eric Valli’s Caravan.

The outlet of Phoksundo Lake, which was blocked by a gigantic landslide 40,000 years ago.
The outlet of Phoksundo Lake, which was blocked by a gigantic landslide 40,000 years ago.
Phoksundo LAKE changes its colour each passing hour from sunrise.
Phoksundo LAKE changes its colour each passing hour from sunrise.

Following the footsteps of these early explorers, one can see the reason for Dolpa’s allure. Nothing appears to have changed here. It seems the same as it was not merely 60 years ago when Snelgrove walked through, as the mountains, rivers and the lakes have a primordial feel.

This monastery at the lakeside is happy to get visitors.
This monastery at the lakeside is happy to get visitors.
The village of Ringmo on the hike from Jufal to the lake.
The village of Ringmo on the hike from Jufal to the lake.

But, of course, things have changed. The airfield at Jufal has been asphalted, and there are more regular flights from Surkhet and Nepalganj. The highway from Rukum has arrived at Triveni, three days’ walk south of the airfield.

The village of Kagni on the walk up from Jufal airfield.
The village of Kagni on the walk up from Jufal airfield.

It takes three days to get to Dolpa’s stellar attraction: Phoksundo, Nepal’s most spectacular lake. None of the photographs here do justice to the green waters of this 145 m deep lake, into which plunge sheer mountains. This time of year the walk from Jufal goes past dazzling green forests and terrace fields of Ringmo village. Geologists believe that a huge landslide about 40,000 years ago dammed the river that formed the lake.

The spectacular 170 m-high waterfall that drains Phoksundo.
The spectacular 170 m-high waterfall that drains Phoksundo.

The water overflows through the stunning 170 m waterfall which you can hear hours before you finally arrive at a ledge from which you get the first glimpse of the lake, located at 3,611 m.

Go to Dolpa before the world gets there.

By Jay Poudyal

The writer is a photographer and creator of the blog ‘Stories of Nepal’.