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Munsiyari

About the place: 

The golden burning peaks of snow clad Panchchulli range, Hansling Peak, Trishul Peaks, some peaks of Nandadevi range and Nandakut range and some glaciers spread throughout 360 degree viewing range, the milky white easy flowing Gauriganga river and the surrounding dense forests of Pine and Silver Far - all these make Munsiyari a forget me never type destination in the Himalayas. Small town at the high hilltop with a very little population, cosy and compact, distinguishable with it's own tradition, culture, music and food, Munsiyari can easily be termed as one of the most beautiful and enjoyable hill stations of the world.

Its name refers to a 'place with snow'. Situated on the banks of Goriganga river, it is a fast-growing tourist destination, and mountaineers, glacier enthusiasts, high altitude trekkers and nature lovers commonly use it as their hub or base camp. Munsyari also falls on the ancient salt route from Tibet and is at the entrance of the Johar Valley, which extends along the path of the Gauriganga River to its source at the Milam Glacier. It is inhabited mainly by the Shauka tribe. The town is surrounded by snow-capped peaks, with a key attraction being the trekking route to Khalia Top. Another must visit place is Pangti museum where Dr. Pangti has retained the artifatcs, books on history and culture of Kumaoun.

The Panchchuli peaks

The Panchchuli peaks are a group of five snow capped Himalayan peaks lying at the end of the eastern Kumaon region, Pithoragarh district, Uttarakhand state, India. The peaks have altitudes ranging from 6,334 m to 6,904 m. They form the watershed between the Gori and the Darmaganga valleys. Panchchuli is also located on the Gori Ganga-Lassar Yankti divide. The group lies 138 km from Pithoragarh.

Altitudes of Five peaks of Panchchuli:

  • Panchchuli-1 (6,355 m)
  • Panchchuli-2 (6,904 m)
  • Panchchuli-3 (6,312 m)
  • Panchchuli-4 (6,334 m)
  • Panchchuli-5 (6,437 m)

History of Munsiyari

It is said that the Pandavas had set out for their final journey to heaven from Munsiyari. Munsiyari also falls on the ancient salt route from Tibet and is at the entrance of the Johar Valley, which extends along the path of the Goriganga River to its source at the Milam Glacier. They led semi-nomadic lives actively engaged in trade with Tibet across the difficult Himalayan passes. It took them 20-25 days to reach Munsiyari from Tibet from where they carried back mainly salt. Salt consumed in the entire Himalayan region came from Tibet early days. It is inhabited mainly by the Shauka people (referred to as Bhotiya by the non-Shaukas), who are its original natives. The Shauka people are the main inhabitants of this place.

People in Munsiyari worship Goddess Nanda Devi. The locals were suddenly found without a viable livelihood when the border with Tibet was sealed in 1962 and the trade stopped completely. Agriculture has never been too developed here on account of the unfavorable climate. Most of them were therefore forced to migrate. The villages of Milam, Burfu etc., to the east of Munsyari, are largely deserted today.

 

Please mail us or comment for more detailed information.

Region or Zone: 
North
State or Union Territory: 
Uttarakhand
How to reach: 

A direct bus operates from New Delhi for few months each year. But its a very long journey and when the approaching roads snow covered or during the rainy season the bus doesn't run. You can go to Kausani by bus from Kathgodam, the nearest railhead. It takes 7 hours. After overnight stay in Kausani, you can hire a cab. Cabs are cheaper there and the drivers are very friendly. It will take 7 more hours from Kausani by a cab. A small cab will take Rs. 3,500/-. To reach Kausani from Kathgodam, there are two alternatives, one via Ranikshet and another via Almorah. The second one is the longer one but the road is unforgettable. It runs sometimes parallel to river Koshi, sometimes crisscrosses thr river Garhur.

The road from Kausani is more attractive. Beautiful towns and temples like Baijnath, Bagheswar will be on the way. There are two alternatives to reach Munsiyari from Kausani. One is through Chakauri and another one through Shama top - Kachkot. The second one is an ancient hilly road with great Himalayan views that can not be described in texts. You need to be there to visualize the ultimate. Ask the driver to stop over Shama for a few minutes. The scenary is just wonderful.  Munsiyari can be reached from Kathgodam via Pitoragarh too.

If you are traveling alone, you can take a shared jeep from Kausani to Bagheswar, then another from Bagheswar to Thal and then one more from Thal to Munsiyari. It makes it lot cheaper. Journey with the local people is also very enjoyable.

Please keep in mind, if you stay overnoght in Kausani, do not for get to walk around a lot there. It is also a very beautiful place.

The nearest rail station is Kathgodam and the nearest airport is Jolly Grant Air Port at Dehradun.

Here is summarized format

By Road

Munsiyari is situated 615kms from Delhi and it is well connected by motor able roads. Munsiyari can be reached either via Kathgodam from Pithoragarh. Taxis and Buses are available to Pithoragarh, Almora and other major destinations of Kumaon region. You can hire taxi or travel by bus to Munsiyari from major towns of Uttarakhand state. The distance from Pithoragarh to Munsiyari is 129kms.

By Rail

The nearest railhead to Munsiyari is situated261kms away at Kathgodam. Trains to Kathgodam are frequent and it is well connected with major cities of India by railway networks. Taxis and buses are available to Munsiyari and Bageshwar from Kathgodam. The distance from Kathgodam to Munsiyari should be entirely covered in the hills of Kumaon.

By Air

The nearest working airport to Munsiyari is Jolly Grant Airport. Naini Saini Airport in Pithoragarh is not connected with regular flights. Taxis to Munsiyari are available from Jolly Grant Airport. Jolly Grant.

 

Please mail us or comment for more detailed information.

Important Places to Visit: 
  • Walk around the town in the evening. Go to the college and Heli-pad at the top of the town.
  • Walk around the forests in the morning.
  • Visit the Nandadevi Temple. You will find snow capped peaks surrounding you in 360 degrees.
  • Trek to Milam Glacier if season permits.
  • Get a ride to some local village from the jeep stand below the market in a shared jeep.
Where to stay: 

Few good accommodations are there, the best one being the Guest House of Kumayun Mandal Vikash Nigam which can be booked online. Please mail us or comment for more detailed information.

Eat and Drink: 

You can eat in the hotel. But it is more enjoyable to eat out. No good restuarant is there as such, but many small shops and tea stalls also serve food if you ask them to do so two or three hours prior to your launch or dinner. There is one tea stall up the slope which serves hot soup, noodles etc. The small shops will serve you very simple and cheap food, but their attitude will make you feel happy.

Best time to visit: 
January
February
March
April
May
June
October
November
December
Tips to travellers: 
  1. Don't venture out after 19-30 in the evening during winter and 20-00 during summer. The roads are totally deserted then. The forests nearby are dense ones.
  2. Take plenty of warm clothes.
  3. Take powerful torches and good pair of shoes with you.
Attractions near by: 

Madkot

Madkot is 22 kms, from Munsiyari. Madkot has hot water springs which cures rheumatism, aching pains, skin eruptions etc.

Khaliya Top & Betuli Dhar

High elevation moderate slope meadows to be found at a distance of 7 kms, from Munsiyari. Ultimate site for skiing and adventure sports. Betuli Dhar is about 5 kms, from the Munsiyari Hill Station.

Birthi Fall

Birthi fall is 31 kms, from Tejarn on the Munsiyari vehicle road. Birthi Falls are moderately fabulous for its waterfalls. Wayside facilities and fast food centre is also available.

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