Dolpa trekking map online

screenshot of trekking map of Dolpa

Zoomify version of trekking map of Dolpa online

Maps are one of those things that people love or people don’t want anything to do with. I am in the former category. I have been working a little with the Great Himalaya Trail project, putting together a website and working out how to promote the trail and less-trekked areas in Nepal.

I have often wondered if looking at maps make a difference to peoples decision about where to trek. Does looking at the trails, the place names and the shading affect a persons desire to visit the place where pictures and text might not? I don’t know. And do people prefer to go to Annapurna region along with 70,000 others every year rather than the stunning Dolpa area where the visitor numbers hover around 1500 per annum.

There is a price difference for sure, but if you are going to spend so much on flying so far to get away from it all, then why do the same as other like minded people.

There was an article written in the New York Times recently regarding the demise of the Annapurna Circuit, headed by a beautiful picture of Poon Hill at dusk where I will be next week. Perhaps demise is a little strong. But roads are advancing everywhere in Nepal. Whereas not so long ago the pilgrimage to Muktinath used to be a very long walk indeed (unless you flew), now you can get there by bus and jeep. For trekkers this means sharing the trails with buses: enduring ‘horning’ and holding a cloth over your mouth. Additionally the quiet and historic winding trails are exchanged for a dusty dirt track, simply because it is level and thus easier and faster. That is if people choose to walk at all – many cross the Thorung La and motorise themselves home. Long established lodges now stand empty a few tens of meters from the roads.

On the flip side, food prices in villages have dropped massively, Jomsom can now export its apples by road, hospitals are now just a day and a few hundred rupees away.

This is life and progress. The Annapurna Circuit has changed. Now those looking for the experience that it was twenty years ago, as seen in this article, will have to look a little further, but it is there to be found. Maybe this map will help them find it.

You can buy this Dolpa map here online. It is extremely difficult to find this map in book or maps shops in Europe and the USA, simply because of a lack of distribution network / demand. Click the button below, fill in the details and I will post it to you, wherever you might be in the world, usually within a day. Please fill your address in carefully! Any questions before buying, just add a comment below and I will get back to you as soon as I can.





I’m in the cinema

“Hello! Wot? I’m in the cinema! THE CINEMA! Naa! It’s Rubbish!”

And so went the genius social commentary and comedy from an otherwise so-so British comedian, Dom Jolly.

To make sense of the above you need to picture a man stood up in one of the front rows of a cinema hall silhouetted against the screen which is showing a film that increasingly irate, paying cinema-goers are trying to watch.

He is shouting into his phone, which is an scale model of an early Nokia handset complete with its original piercing Nokia ring-tone. The scale model stands one meter tall.

(Unfortunately said clip is not available on the web, although plenty of  clips with the brick can be found here.)

Those were the days in the UK when mobile etiquette was still taking baby steps (and now it is an irritating teenager) and you can still see that now here in Nepal.

In the cinema, people will answer their phones much as they might do if they were on the street or in their living-room back home.

This extends to musical concerts, meetings and even during the pinacle of business professionalism, MS PowerPoint presentations. The needs of the many are every time trumped by the need of the individual and their caller to discuss banalities.

Blogger Nepaliketi (Nepaligirl) ranted about this on her blog some days back, along with men pissing against walls in the street, queue barging and lateness. Her point was “Let’s not stand for this. Who is in with me…”. “I’m in”, I said.

A few days later, and a few comments later on her blog. This message was somewhat retracted under the title of ‘Major on the major, minor on the minor’. Its good college wisdom: focus on the important things.

But I disagree that, while these behaviours are minor inconveniences, in the big scheme of things, they should just be tolerated.

Too much tolerance can also be bad, as sharp-as-a-tack commenter MoveAnyMountain once said on the Comment is Free section of the Guardian website.

To me the word tolerance sounds like a virtue. That we should accept, nay embrace, others’ differences, seek to understand them with empathy and live together side by side the best we can. It’s the rather biblical definition.

There is also the less compassionate side which says “You have your rights, do what you want and I will tolerate it, but don’t bother me with it.” and the Dutch must surely be the world leaders in this.

And of course, a younger I heard my mother shout many times, “I will not tolerate this behaviour any longer!” proving that tolerance can often be hard work.

But then there are a list of many things that we absolutely (not quite so absolutely in reality) will not tolerate and society is arguably better for it. Drunk driving, speeding, racism, homophobia, misogyny, mistreating of children, smoking in someone else’s personal space, dropping litter in public places, breaking the law even when no officer of the law is watching, corruption… the list of things UK society does not or tries not to tolerate is long.

Eating with your mouth open, spitting, not washing your hands after visiting the toilet, pissing on the street, picking your nose in public, talking in the cinema, arriving late for a meeting. Do any of these to frequently and you’ll find the distance between you and everybody else slowly increasing towards infinity, but more likely someone at some point will let you know that you are being anti-social.

Is there a thread in Nepal connecting tolerance of, say holding a loud phone conversation in the cinema spoiling the film for everyone, and tolerance of, for instance, the corruption or ineptness of public officials, spoiling the country for everyone?

Before I step further into a deep cultural waters without the lifebelt of an Anthropology degree to save me, I’ll stop.

However, Nepali Keti, I’ve got all the arts and crafts materials needed to build an oversized turn-of-millenium replica Nokia brick. On second thoughts, a spangly modern clam-shell “Hello Moto” moterola would be better. Are you ready to make a point?

“Ke? Sinema ma! Siiinneeeemmaaaa! Film Herchhu! Ke bhaneko? “


I guess social behaviour has to find its own balance over time. I don’t know why Nepali’s seem to care less about each other in public. I don’t know if it matters. Certainly worth further pondering.

In the case of the cinema, perhaps a more effective approach would be to slip a little public information in before each film. Slowly it might soak in. This is quite good. Perhaps Kiran Joshi could animate a Nepali version.

Magar woman from Pyuthan, Nepal


Magar woman from Pyuthan, originally uploaded by rpb1001.

I visited Pyuthan recently. Where is that? See here: en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Pyuthan_District. Five hours drive north of Butwal on dusty roads brings you to a very beautiful valley. It is spring now so the wide valley floors are completely green and visually very appealing.

This woman is a Magar. I liked her nose-ring.

View On Black

4TH ANNAPURNA ULTRA TRAIL RACE – 27 MARCH 2010

I am posting this on this blog as this race is upcoming and has no website as of today. Please feel free to forward, and post any questions you have below. For more information about previous races, see here: http://www.annapurna100.com/ – next year promises to have again a 100km race, and on trail as opposed to road as for previous years. Good luck all participants!

A great challenge to all Runners in Nepal: 4TH ANNAPURNA ULTRA TRAIL RACE 27 MARCH 2010

Routes: 35KM and 71KM

Starting – Barahi Hotel
Run along lakeside on road for about 2 km, then uphill on trail to Sarangkot
Sarangkot Checkpoint 1 –
Nau Dada – Check Point 2
From Nau Dada to Kande Old Mule track will be used then road until Lumle
Lumle – Check Point 3
Chandrakot – Guide Point Only
Birenthati – Check Point 4 and Finishing Point (35km and 71km)
Sudme – Check Point 5 and 19
Tikhedhunga – Check Point 6 and 18
Ulleri Mid – Check Point 7 and 17
Ulleri Top – Check Point 8 and 16
Ban Thati – Check Point 9 and 15
Nange Thait – Check Point 10 and 14
Ghorepani – Check Point 11 And 13
Poon Hill – Check Point 12
Downhill and Finishing Point at Birethati.
90-95% of the route is trail

RACE PROGRAMME

24/25 March – All Foreign Participants Report Summit Hotel (Main sponsor)
Participants go Kathmandu-Pokhara by domestic flight or bus according to their personal preference and budget
26 March – 3pm Registration and 4pm – Final Race Briefing at Barahi Hotel Pokhara
27 March – 0630 Race Start
28 March – 1030 Prizes Distribution/Photos and 1130 Lunch Party 1230 – Programme Ends
Participants remain in PKR or return to Kathmandu by domestic flight or micro bus according to their personal preference and budget

ENTRY FEE

Entry Fee (GBP 100 for the 71km and GBP 50 for the 35km) to be paid to Chief Organizer (Ramesh Battachan) on 26 March at Registration Programme 3pm.
This includes:
a.   Race Participation
b.   Official T Shirt
c.   Certificate of Participation
d.   Medal of Participation
e.   Souvenir for Foreign Runners
f.    Cash Prizes 1st-5th position (71km only)
g.   Trophies for 1st-5th position  (71km only)
Entry Fees for Nepalese runners is FREE.  Entry Fees raised from foreign runners are used to sponsor the fooding and lodging of non-Pokhara based Nepalese runners.