History of Dolpo

Until the end of the 18th century Dolpo belonged to Tibet and stood under the influence of the neighbouring kingdom Lo and princedom Jumla. Later Dolpo became a protectorate of Lo, the present-day district Mustang. After the unification of Nepal at the beginning of the 19th century the alliance with Lo was ruptured through the drawing of the borders between Nepal and Tibet. Since the introduction of the Nepali Panchayat system Dolpo belongs to Tichurong in the south to which it pays taxes until today.

The opening of Nepal for tourism in 1951 initiated changes in many regions of Nepal. Dolpo was closed again in 1974, allegedly because Tibetan Khampas (Tibetan fighters for a free Tibet) were hiding in the region and this caused recurring conflicts with the Nepalese army. On the other hand there was the danger that China could claim the former Tibetan kingdoms. In the year 1989 the southern regions Phoksumdo, Tichurong and Tarap were again opened for tourism.

During a long time the population of northern Dolpo consisted of Tibetan speaking inhabitants who had settled there in various historical phases. In Nepal the population groups along the Tibetan borders are labeled with the umbrella term Bhotia (people of the North). In the northern part of Dolpo the inhabitants are followers of different Buddhists schools (Nyingma, Kagyu and Sakya) and the Bon religion while in the southern part various forms of mountain worship and shamanism (jhankris and dhami) and meanwhile mainly variations of Hinduism are practiced. After the occupation of Tibet and the uprising in Lhasa in 1959/60 some Tibetans fled to Dolpo or settled there. The inhabitants of Dolpo mainly live in villages and depend on agriculture, trade and animal husbandry for their livelihood. (M. Kind) 
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