At an elevation of 2000 meters in the Kumaon region, the Himalayas hold a small congregation of villages named Munsiyari. This subdivision in the district of Pithoragarh in Uttarakhand is often referred to as ‘Mini Kashmir’ because of its picturesque beauty of the valleys and hills that are an allure to travellers and trekkers all around the world.

The name ‘Munsiyari’ refers to ‘place of snow’ and as the name goes it does provide some breath-taking views of the Himalayas with its wide basins and white-capped crests. From Munsiyari, one can have a spectacular view of the Panchachuli peaks which is an assembly of five white peaks in a row. ‘Chuli’ means Chulha or earthen oven and ‘Pancha’ means five. People say that the five peaks, Panchachuli originated its name after the Pandavas who cooked their food here in five earthen ovens. Munsiyari is the top chosen a place for not only travellers and wanderers but also for trekkers and mountaineers who flock all-round the year to have a glimpse of the Himalayas.

Places to visit in Munsiyari
Birthi Waterfalls

This giant waterfall having a height of 120 meters is located at a distance of 30 kilometres from Munsiyari. It lies near Tejam on the Thal-Munsiyari road and can be reached via Kalamuni pass. The waterfall among the dense foliage of the Himalayan valleys offers a mesmerizing view to the nomads.

Birthi Waterfalls
Birthi Waterfalls. Image Source: Euttaranchal
Kalamuni Top

On the way to Birthi waterfall, lays the Kalamuni Top. This is the highest motorable road in Munsiyari region. It is situated at a distance of 15 kilometres from Munsiyari and is famous for its Kali Temple. One can have a view of the entire Munsiyari region from Kalamuni Top and hence is a popular choice among hikers and trekkers.

View from Kalamuni top
View from Kalamuni top. Image source: Flickr
Khaliya Top

The not-to-miss trek for the trekkers and adventurers is the Khaliya Top trek. It is a small trek of 10 kilometres from Munsiyari but offers a gigantic view of the Himalayas. The path to the summit is not well defined and passes through narrow forests at many places. Travellers must hire a guide to reach the top.

Views from Khaliya top of the Panchachuli and Nanda devi range, Khaliya Bugyal is an alpine meadow located in Munsyari, Distict Pithoragarh Uttarakhand.
Views of the Panchachuli and Nanda Devi range, from Khaliya top
Nanda Devi temple

Another small trek for the trek-lovers is the Nanda Devi temple. The 3-kilometre trek from Munsiyari ends at the ancient and mythological Nanda Devi temple from which the peaks derive its name as ‘Nanda Devi’. The trek named ‘Nanda Devi Trek’ should not be misinterpreted with ‘Nanda Devi Temple’. Nanda Devi trek is a trek to the second highest peak of India which is located at an altitude of 7,500 meters whereas the later is only a meagre trek of 3 kilometres.

Nanda Devi Temple
Nanda Devi Temple. Image source: Flick
Thamari Kund

This naturally occurring water body is another attraction for travellers who love to be in the lap of nature. This river body is surrounded by alpine and paper trees. One can often grasp a view of musk deer that come to the lake to quench their thirst. Local people consider this lake as a sacred one and can often be seen performing rituals near its banks. The lake is at a distance of 30 kilometres from Munsiyari and is the perfect place unifying man and the divine.

Thamri Kund in Munsiyari
Thamri Kund. Image source: Euttaranchal

Apart from these, places like Kausani, Darkot, Betulidhar, Madkot hot water springs, Binsar, and tribal museums are some other points of attractions of a traveller.

Best time to visit

March to October is the best time to visit Munsiyari. Avoiding the monsoons in the hills is the greatest option as most of the roads get muddy and slippery.

Things to do in Munsiyari
Trekking

The foremost activity which a nomad can take is trekking in Munsiyari. It is a popular base camp for trek to peaks and valleys. Local guides are available to ease the trekking for a trekker.

Bird watching

As Munsiyari surrounds a long belt of flora and woods, bird watching is yet another activity here. Black Redstart, Streaked Laughing Thrush, Himalayan Woodpecker, Verditer Flycatcher, Grey-winged Blackbird, Scaley Billed Woodpecker is some of the bird species seen in these valleys.

Camping

Night camping, bonfires, and stargazing sessions are the added profits of Munsiyari. Travellers can enjoy the serenity and exquisiteness of the Himalayas after dusk while camping here. The rising moon and the sun behind its peaks give an experience of a lifetime for a nomad.

Forest Trek in Himalayas Khaliya Top - Munsiyari, Uttarakhand, India
Forest Trek in Himalayas Khaliya Top – Munsiyari, Uttarakhand, India
How to reach

Though few flights are available for Munsiyari from Delhi there are not many frequent flights to reach this place. The best option is to reach Munsiyari is to travel to Tanakpur or Kathgodam by rail. After reaching either of these, both cabs and buses are available for Munsiary.

Tips while visiting Munsiyari
  1. Carrying trekking shoes, poles, hand gloves, windcheaters, sunglasses, cap, and jackets are advisable for treks in Munsiary.
  2. Light backpacks, water bottles, snacks, toiletries, insect repellent cream, sunscreen lotions, and moisturizers are among the other items to include while planning for Munsiyari.
  3. Carrying medicines of fever, digestive snags, contaminations and body pain is recommended. Pain gels and sprays are also advised to carry for outfitting a crisis.

So, planning a trip?

Related Reading: Other places to visit and things to do in Uttarakhand

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