Shey Phoksundo is
Nepal's largest national park and
covers 3,555 sq. km. Sitting astride
the Dolpa and Mugu districts of
western Nepal, the park was
established to protect the trans
Himalayan ecosystem found only in
few areas of the Kingdom. The unique
park includes the Kanjiroba Himal,
with many peaks of over 6,000
meters, as well as the famous Shey
Monastery, the Phoksundo Lake and
the Langu Gorge.
The flora of the area include pine,
walnut, willow, oak, poplar and
cypress in the lower southern parts.
In the higher reaches, pine, spruce,
juniper and birch predominate. The
alpine areas are vegetated by
berberries, wild rose and caragana.
The and trans Himalayan mountains
and grassy alpine meadows to the
north are almost devoid of trees but
have caragana and dwarf juniper.
The wildlife of Shey Phoksundo
include a good population of blue
sheep and ghoral, musk deer,
leopard, wild dog, wolf, marmot,
weasel, mouse hare, rhesus and
langur monkeys. The higher reaches
and the haunt of the elusive snow
leopard. The adjoining Tibetan
region is home to such rare animals
as the great Tibetan sheep, Tibetan
wild ass, Tibetan gazelle and
antelope, and wild yak. Bird species
of the park include the Impeyan and
cheer Pheasant, chough, raven,
Tibetan snow cock, Tibetan twit,
brown dipper, Himalayan griffon and
lammergeier. The park is inhabited
by people of Tibetan descent who
follow the pre-Buddist Bon religion
and some of the main villages are
Ringmo, Pugmo, Salclang, Kugun, and
Tatgaun. On the august full moon all
Dolpa villagers converge on the Shey
(Crystal) Mountain in a festival to
walk around the holy peak three
times in as many days.
Access: The nearest airstrip
is at Juphal, south of the park.
Visitors can also fly to Jumla from
where it is a 10 day hike to the
Phoksundo and Shey areas. The best
time to visit this park is from
April to November.