Shey-Phoksundo National Park is situated in the trans- Himalayan region of northwest Nepal. Its is Nepal’s largest National Park covering an area of 3,555 Square Kilometers. It was established in 1984 to preserve a unique trans- Himalayan ecosystem with a diversity of flora and fauna. In 1988, an area of 1349 square Kilometers surrounding the park was declared as buffer zone, is jointly managed by the park and local communities.
The park provides diversity of sepctacular landscapes. Elevation of the park ranges from 2200 meters at Suilgad to 6.883 meters at the summit of Kanjiroba. Much of the park lies in the north of the Himalayan crest. The park encompasses Phoksundo Lake, a wetland of international importance, which is declared as Ramsar site on September 23, 2007. This lake is also Nepal’s deepest and second largest lake and famous for its magnificent turquoise color and the spectacular scenery that clearly ranks this park with the most scenic mountain park in the world.
The park contains many monasteries and religious sites. The most famous Shey Monastery was established in 11th century. Thasung Monastery near Phoksundo Lake was built about 900 years ago to conserve wildlife.
The park experiences a windy climate range. Winters are quite serve with frequent snowfalls above 2500 meters and temperature remaining below freezing above 3000 meters through much of the winter. Most of the precipitation in this area occurs during monsoon (July-September). The park contains that transition from a monsoon dominated climate with 1500 millimeters of annual precipitation in the south (Suilgad) to and arid climate with less than 500 meters a year in the northern slopes.
On the base of culture this zone has more to offers. The park is home for more than 9000 people and their village area among the highest settlement on earth. Most of the inhabitants of the park practice Bon, and ancient religion with roots in Animism and Buddhism. The Bon-po religion, which forms the entire cultural base for Tibetan Buddhism, was founded 18000 years ago, during the Zhang Zhung Empire of today’s western Tibet. The Landscape is dotted with sacred monasteries, thangka paintings and chortens. Thus, there is local trade with Tibet and agriculture. This area is also famous for its salt trade caravan.
Trekking in this region is most rewarding trails around the Nepal. Individual trekking is permitted to trek upto Rigmo or Phoksundo Lake. The trans- Himalayan region of inner Dolpa is restricted for individual trekkers but group trekkers is always opened. A group trekking permit can be arranged through any recognized trekking agency of Nepal.
Local accommodations are avialable at Dunai, Sangta, Chhepka and Rigmo. The Lodges located there provide food and limited supplies. Campsites with rubbish pits, toilets and shelters are available throughout the park. Most of the campsites are manages by local community.
The park headquarter is located at Suligad and sites offices of the park are at Chhepka, Rigmo and Kaigaun (Toijam).
High altitude sickness can effect if elevations is gained too rapidly and without proper acclimatization. The symptoms are headache, nausea, vomiting, dizziness, difficulty in sleeping, breathlessness, loss of appetite and general fatique. If someone develops the symptoms, stop ascending immediately. If symptoms persist, the only proven cure is to descend to lower elevation.