Dolfu in Mugu awaits touristsTourists hardly visit the area due to the lack of publicity and basic infrastructure.
Dolfu, Nepal’s most underrated tourist destination, in Karnali is waiting for visitors.
Located on the rim of Rara Lake, it is famous for endangered wild animals like red panda, white deer musk, Himalayan goral and deer.
Dolfu can be reached after a two-day trek from Rara, where the spectacular Mugu and Koiji mountains can be viewed. The famous Chaya Nath shrine built in ancient style, Tamakhani, Tihar Gumba, Tihar Dobhan and other tourist destinations are the key attractions of Dolfu.
But the destination is still unknown to the general public.
Tshering Lama, a local, said that due to low publicity, the area is underrated.
Tourists hardly visit the area as they are not aware of the location and lack of infrastructure, he said.
There are around 150 small and big waterfalls along the way to Dolfu.
"Tourists only visit Rara, but there are dozens of natural, cultural and ecologically important destinations in Mugu district,” said Lama.
In Mugu, there are nearly a dozen homestays. But none in Dolfu.
Kalsan Lama, another local, said there are around 1,200 ancient monasteries and stupas in Dolfu villages—such as Pulu, Kimri, Magri and other villages of Upper Mugu.
"These places are important for those who wish to research Lama culture and traditions," Kalsan said. "Since most of our traditions are similar to those of Tibet, it could be a perfect learning platform for scholars and tourists," he said.
Lama said that there are around 150 caves in Puwa village only.
Upper Mugu is also a storehouse of herbs such as Yarsagumba, dactylorhiza hatagirea (Pachaule), aconitum heterophyllum (Atis), picrorhiza kurroa (Katuki) and among others.
Raju Karki, a tourism entrepreneur, said that efforts are being made to promote Dolfu. “We are preparing a map and other works like developing infrastructure and trekking trails are being planned accordingly.”
Jun Bahadur Baduwal, chairman of Chhayanath Rara Municipality-14, said that under the rural access programme that has recently constructed a road from Gamgadhi to Chankheli mountain, plans are being made to divert tourists to upper Mugu who come to Rara.
Baduwal said that Chankheli mountain’s base camp can be reached from Rara in an hour and a half.
"If we draw tourists to places like Chhaya Nath shrine and Rinmoksha, businesses will take a leap," Baduwal said. “Due to the small budget at the local level, Rara lacks infrastructure.”
Rara hosts the country’s deepest freshwater lake situated at an altitude of 2,990 metres and spread across 10.8 square-kilometre in the Jumla and Mugu districts, which makes the area on the list of one of the top most beautiful sites to visit.
Rara lake is part of the Rara National Park, and according to park officials, 224 kinds of plants, including medicinal herbs, 272 types of birds, and 51 types of mammals, including the endangered red pandas, can be found in the park.
From mid-March to mid-April, visitors can also see the blooming forests of rhododendron.
Apples are found in abundance around Rara from August to December.
The perfect time to visit Rara is in spring, autumn or summer.