Tokpegola : Lumbasumba mountain above. The exit of the Sodopokhari flowing in the shape of Mewa river on the right side, the natural jingle of Chhanga on the left side makes the settlement resound. The Lekali forest, which stretches as far south as Chitij, does not allow the eye to blink. The wooden houses built amidst the colorful flowers that bloom in the open field look very attractive and artistic. Such agrarian beauty is preserved, Tokpegola.
There are three famous districts of Taplejung – Tokpegola, Olangchungola and Ghunsagola. According to the Nepali dictionary, gola means ‘a place to do business in the lap of a mountain’. Tokpegola is a historic port near the border with Tibet. The ‘Tokpegola’ (locally known as Dhokpya), a listed group in the marginalized group, resides here. The caste is named after the place. The Tokpegola belong to the Sherpa family.
There is not enough evidence as to how the name Tokpegola came to be. According to Tenzing Sherpa, a local elder, this was the route taken by Nepalese troops to Tibet during the war between Nepal and Tibet. But the army did not reach there and a ceasefire was reached. And they handed over to the shepherds the yaks and buffaloes they had taken with them.
Sherpa says, “In the language of the shepherds, the shepherd was called ‘Thokpya’ and the place where he lived was called ‘Thokpai’.” Later, due to the same corruption, he went to stay in Tokpe. ‘Gradually, houses were built. People started living. ‘Later, people from Papung, Saawa, Nalbu, Liwang, Khokling and other villages started moving there for trade with Tibet. It was called Gola because it was a small business center. And the name of the place was Tokpegola ‘, Sherpa said.
Tokpegola is a two-day walk from Taplejung headquarters Phungling. Even beyond Mikwakhola village municipality-5, there is a jungle-forest road from Papung one day. Along the way, you can see shady faces falling from the cliffs. Walking along the banks of the Mewa River, which flows like a vertical stream, you will not find the road cut. Inside the dense forest, the various sounds of birds and wildlife enchant.
There are 16 houses in Tokpeli and one house in Limbu. The main occupation is animal husbandry. Everyone has raised yaks and buffaloes. Today, nearby Lekali fields like Tinpokhari, Loden, Singsongden and Sadhutar are covered with yak and chauri herds. The settlement is empty as it is covered with snow for 6 months. According to local Milandorchi Sherpa, Aul (Papung) along with the herd falls in winter.
From here, you can reach Riu Bazaar in Tibet in two days by crossing the Ombokla Pass. Tibetans have trade relations with the citizens here. Located at an altitude of 3,700 meters, Tokpegola houses look like a market as they are crowded. The flags hoisted over the house make the village look dim. The Tokpelis celebrate the Dhukpachesi festival on Nagpanchami every year.
On this day, books on Buddhism are circulated from house to house, worshiping snakes. There is a belief that by doing this, Lakshmi will enter the house and suffer will be removed. On this occasion, people from Taplejung, Panchthar, Tehrathum, Ilam and Sankhuwasabha reach Tokpegola. There are two large ponds (Bhootpokhari and Sodopokhari) near the settlement.
Sukuti is eaten with kodo juice in Kathe Tongba. Herbs like Kenzo, Mycopila, Vikma, Vanalsun, Panchaonle, Khokim are found. The Sabbru dance of the Sherpa race can also be seen in Tokpegola. Everyone dances in a group holding hands. Tokpegola is the only place in Nepal inhabited by the ethnic group. Due to lack of proper publicity and maintenance of the road leading to it, it has not been able to attract the attention of internal and external tourists.
However, the number of tourists has increased recently, said Ward Chairman Dandu Lama. Lama said that those who study the culture of the Tokpegola and the Limbu people, the cultivation of chauri, and the condition of herbs have also started arriving. He says that the footpath is also being upgraded. Harjaraj Gurung, a tourism entrepreneur, says that the government could be the first choice of tourists if such virgin destinations are identified and promoted as the government is preparing to celebrate the Amagi year as the ‘Nepal Tourism Year’.