Location of the Tapriza School in Dolpo


Recommendation of Trekking Organisations

Books on Dolpo

Literature on Dolpo and on the Bon religion.


Dolpo (nep. Dolpa) is today one of the most northwestern districts of Nepal on the border to Tibet. Even though it is the largest district in area, it is very sparsely inhabited and has a population of around 30'000.

In the northern part of the district, in one of the highest inhabited regions of the world, mostly over 3000 metres above sea level, lives a Tibetan speaking population who call themselves Dolpo-pa (person from Dolpo). As agriculture and animal husbandry do not suffice in this barren region, the inhabitants rely on trade to get access to additional goods. In summer the men trek to Tibet with their yak caravans, while the women live in the upland pastures with the female animals (the dri) and produce butter and cheese. In Tibet crop is exchanged for tea, salt, wool, butter as well as modern commodities. In spring and autumn the acquired goods are then again traded in southern Dolpo or even in Jumla. In the winter the people leave their main villages and move to their winter villages, or, who can afford it, goes on a pilgrimage to Kathmandu. Religiously, the Dolpo-pa follow Bon tradition or Buddhism, while the southern part of Dolpo is mainly Hindu or practises shamanism.

The Tapriza school is located in the village district committee (VDC) Phoksumdo, named after the crystal clear blue lake, the heart of the VDC. It includes the villages Ringmo, Pugmo, Rike und Renji. Most students come from these hamlets. The school complex lays centrally at the intersection of several trading routes and has become a place where the villagers meet and interact, especially during school performances and cultural shows.

Until today there is no road leading into Dolpo. The region can only be accessed on foot from the south, over high passes from the western or eastern neighbouring districts or by airplane or helicopter on the landing strip of Juphal. In the meantime there is sparse solar power and a few phones which however only rarely work or are non-occupied. There is hardly any medical care and also no hospital. The education level is very low and in most regions school education is only available up to primary level (if at all). 

District information according to the district profile of 2002:
  •     Size: 7889 km2 (largest district of Nepal)
  •     Altitude: between 1225-7625 a.s.l.
  •     Number of VDC (Village Development Committees): 23
  •     Belonging to the Karnali Zone (one of 14 zones of Nepal)
  •     Population: 29'545, at place 73 of 75 districts
  •     Number of households: 5812 (with an average of 5 members)
  •     Population per doctor: 22'071
  •     No hospital
  •     No road
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