Dhaulagiri Region lies nestled under the seventh highest mountain in the world, Dhaulagiri (8,167m). As the terrain is a bit challenging, not many trekkers choose to explore this region. The trails, which weave past unspoilt scenery and traditional villages, are secluded and quiet. Villages of Magar, Chhantyal and Dalit communities dot the hillsides and ridges.
The region is home to the only hunting reserve in the country, Dhorpatan Hunting Reserve. Rich pastures, marshlands and forests filled with pine, oak and birch trees provide the ideal habitat for wild animals and birds. Himalayan tahr, blue sheep, goral, musk deer and 137 species of birds are found in this region.
Before Mount Everest and Kanchenjunga were discovered by the western explorers, the world recognized Dhaulagiri as the highest mountain on earth. Discovered in 1802 by a British surveyor, Dhaulagiri was considered as the highest peak in the world till 1838 when Kanchenjunga was found to be higher than Dhaulagiri. The frozen summit of Dhaulagiri is so massive that it is visible from as far as the Indian states of Bihar and Uttar Pradesh.
While parts of Mount Everest and Kanchenjunga lie in Tibet and India, Dhaulagiri stands entirely in Nepal.
The trekking trails running along the foothills of Dhaulagiri lie off-the-beaten track. Filled with alpine meadows, high mountain passes, pristine forests and uninhabited valleys, the Dhaulagiri Region receives only a handful of trekkers. Most of the treks in this region involves crossing two challenging mountain passes – French Pass (5,360m) and Dhampus Pass (5,200m).
For those looking for a challenging wilderness trek, a trek around Dhaulagiri Region can be an ideal option.
Dhorpatan Hunting Reserve, the only wildlife reserve in the country where hunting is permitted, lie within the Dhaulagiri Region. Covering an area of 1,325 sq.km, the hunting reserve is home to blue sheep, Himalayan tahr, wild boar, Himalayan black bear, musk deer, red panda and leopard. 137 species of birds are found inside the hunting reserve.
The marshland known as ‘Dhor’ serves as nesting sites for many of the birds, while the green meadows known as ‘Patan’ are ideal grazing grounds for blue sheep, musk deer, goral and other herbivorous animals. One needs a special license to hunt in this reserve. Hunting is limited only for some species.
The villages lying on the Dhaulagiri trekking routes are not as well-off as compared to those of the neighboring Annapurna Region. Teahouses are few and facilities offered are basic. Villagers offer homestays to tourists keen on experiencing local lifestyle and culture.
As the region receives very less number of tourists, there is not much scope for youths to earn a living. Those who are not interested in farming migrate to the cities or abroad in search of work.
Framed by the Dhaulagiri Massif, Churen Himal, Gurja Himal and Putha Hiunchuli, the trekking trails on the Dhaulagiri Region offer some of the best views of the Himalayas. The trailheads lie close to Pokhara and are easily accessible. One gets to enjoy close up views of the mountains within a day of hiking.
Trekking in this region also lets you experience the ethnic cultures of the Magar, Chhantyal and Dalit communities.
No crowds, secluded trail, dramatic landscape, wild terrain and unique cultural experience – a trek in the Dhaulagiri Region checks all the boxes for a perfect Himalayan adventure.