Dolpo & Ku
Dolpo, the land of miracles lying in the highest place on earth is inhabited by traditional and nomadic people descended from Tibet is in a Himalayan range of north-west part of Nepal bounded with unimaginably natural boon and aesthetic beauty. It is inhabited by approximately 36,700 human with their nomadic life and professionally engaged in agricultural farming. It consists of three rural municipalities, Shey Phoksundo, Charka-Tangshong and Dolpo Buddha and is situated in the Upper part of Dolpa District of KarnaliZone in western Nepal.
Dolpo is also known as a highland desert of Nepal with barren rock, high cliffs and himalayas. Dolpo was a part of Tibet political territories until the time of the 18th century. Dolpo has remained physically hidden-land and isolated for many decades, with few monasteries that are built at a high altitude of 19,000 feet.
The trail and cross passes of Dolpo is very difficult because of geographical and topographical circumstances. The physical land of Dolpo is not suitable for cultivation due to climatic conditions because it snows for six months from October to March. Only 15% of land is suitable for cultivation in Dolpo. Whereas, 20% of land is covered with forest and 3% with arable wasteland. 12% land of Dolpo is suitable for grazing lands and sloping meadows. And, 50% land is covered with gigantic mountains, stone and rocks. The people, known as Dolpo-pa, earn their living from aged agro-pastoral lifestyle, cultivate crops of barley in highland and raise animals such as yaks, goats, and sheep. The journey way and path of Dolpo is vertically narrow with stone piled stairs, steep passes and eye diving drought landmarks. In the mid of summer, the Tibetan antelope passes and crosses over through the high rocks and rocky trails of mountains. Yaks and Horse are the prominent domestic cattle in Upper Dolpo mainly used for transporting commodities from place to place. Those cattle are especially in benefit purpose during the seasonal period of Yarsagumba and China trade that happens in July.
Dolpo is breathtaking corners of the Himalaya with deprivation of physical prerequisites compared to the rest of the unfamiliar part of Nepal. Dolpa is surrounded by the Dhaulagiri and Churen Himal ranges to the west by Jumla district. The landmark of Dolpo is distinct, and people are humble and innocent. Instead of lush green, the landscape of Dolpo is overwhelmingly built and composed of Tibetan plateau. In a quick sense, Dolpo is a land of Buddhism, with two major sub-parts of Buddhist religion called Chyowa and Bon religion. The territorial zones of Bhijer, Tsarka, Dho and Phoksundo are mainly encompassed with Bon religion. Dolpo is also a remarkable resemblance to historical monasteries. Shey-Monastery in Shey, Samling Monastery in Bhijer and Bon-Po Monastery in Ringmo village are some of popular monasteries of Dolpo. Wild antelope, chameleon, tiger, blue sheep and snow leopard are on the verge of extinction in different parts of Nepal. But these animals are being preserved and protected in the ecosystem of Shey Phoksundo National Park. Atis, Chirayita, Jatamansi, Kutki, Yarsagumba, Titepati, Salla simta are some of the medicinal plants of Dolpo.
Based on the field survey conducted by researchers, they came to conclude with an overview that Dolpo lies in that district that is considered the largest geographical area of Nepal compared to the rest of 75 districts. But it is also the district with the least population inhabited by very low numbers of people. The permanently settled people of Dolpo are mostly illiterate.
KU (meaning monuments and idols in Tibetan language) is the village located in the Himalayas region at the elevation of 3103m above sea level. Kuwa means the identification of local people of Ku village. Thereby, people belonging to Ku village are called Kuwa There are almost 45 houses with a total population of around 160 peoples and the village is solely depends upon farming. In recent years, the villagers have been able to make some money by collecting yarsagumba. Chyowa and Bonpo are the two different religions of Buddhism followed by Ku village.
It is one of the most northern villages in Upper Dolpa and very closes to Tibet and most difficult to get to through harsh mountainous terrain including several passes greater than 4500m. During November to March, each year the village is completely isolated due to snow and bad weather. From the nearest town of Dunai (the bazaar of Dolpa- takes 9 days to reach). It will take around 10-14 days walking and nearest village is about 8 hrs on horse ride. The village has very old history steeped in many ancient traditions. However, these all come before it was included as a part of Nepal much later on.
Karbon Monastery, Tashi Sumdho Monastery and … are the historical monasteries located in the village since from many past decades. Karbon Monastery is one of the oldest monastery of Nepal built during different earlier centuries. Ku village has its own distinct boons and gifts of nature. It is a shocking matter of fact that, we can observe and find fishes in the river that passes through Ku village. And the atmospheric temperature of village is warmer in summer than rest of the village of Dolpo as it is landlocked and surrounded by hills that let the village to receive direct beams of ray from sun. Thereby Ku village is more suitable and has great possibilities of farming of different vegetables and plants. The village is also suitable for planting green vegetables and maize in an open farming field. Ku village also has possibilities of growing willow tree that is far more impossible in different village of Dolpo.
Phungchung Hamga (Danphe Shail in Nepali) ranging 6103m of height is located between the land of Ku village and China. The village is lacking the facilities of heath care services as there is no any medical clinic and working staffs for the health field. Instead, Amchi (local doctor) prescribe herbal medicines and provide treatment in traditional ancient way.
In near future, there is higher prospect of tourism as the village is characterized with distinct geographical features that benefits the local of village in different way. If deep analysis and research regarding the plantation is done, then possibly Ku village can be suitable for growing of different vegetables and herbs. In an overview, there is good bonding between the village and people. The local people are very humble, innocent with helping nature. The experience of visiting and observing the lifestyle of Ku village can be life-time experience.
Getting to Ku: Reaching to ku village is not an easy trail. But here are some options: