Munsiyari, The Last Frontier.

Munsiyari – Heaven In the Lap Of Panchchuli

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Panchachuli Peaks

 

Its name refers to a ‘place with snow’. Situated on the banks of Goriganga River, Its a destination for and mountaineers, glacier enthusiasts, high altitude trekkers and nature lovers. Munsiyari also falls on the ancient “Salt Route” trade route from Tibet. The path extends along the banks of Goriganga River to its source at the Milam Glacier. Munsiyari is surrounded by snow-capped peaks

Key attractions being

  • Nanda Devi Temple
  • Pangti Museum, where Dr. Pangti has retained the artifacts, books on history and culture of Kumaon.
  • Saras Bazaar Market.
  • Gori Ganga’s River Bed.
  • Balanti Potato Farm.
  • Madkot Village – Hot Water Spring.
  • Askot Musk Deer Sanctuary
  • Maheshwari Kund or Mehsar Kund
  • Darkot
  • Birthi Falls
  • Jauljibi (Nepal)
  • Dharchula (Nepal)
  • Trekking Route to Khalia Top
  • Trekking Route to Kalamuni Top.

 

Nanda Devi Temple.

A short 3 km drive from Munsiyari leads you to the entrance of the Nanda Devi Temple. It’s a well spread Bugyal, there is a well maintained; small but colorful temple. From here one can get splendid views of Himalayas in the backdrop. Rajrambha, Hansling, and Panchchuli range of Himalayas being the most prominent.  It is a must visit for tourists going to Munsiyari.

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 Pangti Museum

Also called Masterj’s Museum, Here Dr. Pangti has a good collection of ancient artifacts, currency, coins, Himalayan Herbs, stones, measurement devices, Ancient Shoes and Clothes etc. Masterji was a retired school teacher, trekker, traveler, Author and former Authority over Bhotias of the region. There is interesting evidence of trade documents that enabled trade Between India and Tibet during the ancient days. There is an attendant who gives demonstration on how in ancient times people rubbed Iron on Flintstone to produce spark for getting the fire going. He also Showed a machine which was used to produce thread from wool. There are a number of books posters and post cards on Himalayas which were on sale.

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Saras Bazaar Market

It’s an initiative by the local government and NGOs working for upliftment of the population of remote villages. It encourages villagers specially women to earn a decent living by selling handmade clothes like sweaters, shawls etc and homegrown pulses and spices. Visitors can buy local village produce from here.

 

Gori And Kali Rivers

Gori River is the main River in Munsiyari Distt. Uttarakhand. its main source being Milam Glacier. The Gori is fed by glaciers and streams from the the high peaks of Panchachuli, Rajramba, and Chaudhara. Later Gori River joins Kali River in Jauljibi. Gori river is known for its clear waters and scenic Surroundings.

 

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The Confluence Of Gori And Kali Rivers

The Kali River has a unique characteristic. Its waters appear to be black or Kala, Thats why name Kali is derived.

 

Gori Ganga’s River Bed

Gori ganga riverbed can be accessed form many a places both ahead and before Munsiyari. You can find a path down to the river bed or walk up the stones besides river banks. The water of Gori Ganga is Crystal Clear and any one can enjoy the soft currents and pools. The place is blessed with Natural Swimming pools. Don’t forget to take your swimsuits!

 

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Crystal Clear waters of The Gori River

 

Balanti Potato Farm

If you head back 8 kms towards Kalamuni Top, about 400 mts form the road is the Potato Farm. The place is little dull and only good if you wish to see 180° views of Peaks. Also the farm is adjoining the Old Oak Forests. Seems like a place just out of a fairytale. Its not hard to believe either that you may come upon druids, elves and Fairies.

 

Madkot Village – Hot Water Spring

Madkot village is located at 22 kms from Munsiyari. The village is known for its hot water spring known to cure rheumatism, joint pains and skin problems. The place is no fancy at all and not properly maintained. But the ride to Madkot village is very interesting. Don’t Miss the fun. Jauljibi – Madkot Road is a very scary cliff road located in the Indo-Nepal border. The road is in dreadful condition and requires strong nerves to negotiate it.

 

Askot Musk Deer Sanctuary

Askot musk Deer sanctuary is located 54 kms from Pitoragarh  near Askot in Uttarakhand. This sanctuary has been set up primarily with the objective of conserving the musk deer and its habitat. Also  found in this sanctuary include the leopard, jungle cat, civet cat, barking deer, serow, goral and brown bear. Many species of high altitude birds are also found in this sanctuary.

 

Maheshwari Kund or Mehsar Kund

Locals of the region refer Maheshwari Kund As Mehsar Kund. It’s Naturally Originated Lake surrounded by Rhododendrons. You can view of Panchachuli Peaks from here too! It can be accessed by a small treck.

 

Darkot

Darkot is a small Hamlet located only 6 kms away from Munsiyari and quite apt for purchasing Pashima shawls and sheep wool blankets.

You may take a car to reach there and one can walk into the village house and may find women and men weaving handmade woollen caps and sweaters from sheep wool. They use century old techniques to weave these garments. The local people are very helpful and if you coordinate with them, you may enjoy local food in their house.

 

Birthi Falls 

Birthi falls is a picturesque place with beautiful surroundings. There is a KMVN Guest house right next to the falls. It is a picturesque cascading waterfall surrounded with verdant colors. Water from Birthi Falls down from 126 mts of height. It is an ideal spot for tea and lunch breaks. It is located 35kms before Munsiyari. It’s a good stopover for tea/coffee or snacks.

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Jauljibi Nepal

Jauljibi is the small bazaar of Indo-Nepal border situated at the confluences of Kali and Gori Rivers. The Nepal-side bazaar being rather small compared to that on the Indian side. A suspension bridge on the Kali has joined the bazaars and the people of both countries for many years. The town is famous for its annual trade fair. Also known as “Mahotsav” organized in November Every year just before onset of winters.

 

Dharchula – Nepal

Dharchula is a border town in Pithoragarh district in the northern state of Uttarakhand. An ancient trading town for the Trans-Himalayan trade routes, it is surrounded by very high mountains. Dharchula is situated in a valley on the banks of the Kali River at an elevation of 915 m (3,002 ft). The river Kali is divides the boundary of Nepal with India. Both Nepalese and Indian nationals cross unrestricted, however there is a customs checkpoint for goods.

Dharchula lies about 83 km (52 mi) northerly of Pithoragarh along the route of the Kailash-Mansarovar pilgrimage tour. Some of the main attractions of Dharchula are Swami Narayan Ashram, Chikrila Dam, Kali River and Om Parvat and not to forget route to Holy Kailash Mansarovar.

If your GPS suggests that the road is good to drive, it may be time to get a new one! The road to Jauljibi and Dharchula runs along the Goriganga River. It’s a narrow, windy road with no guard rail or any sort of secure markings for about 43 km. There are countless hairpin bends and several blind turns. The Drive is picturesque and may be treacherous because of bad road conditions. In some places the road is only wide enough for one vehicle, making chances of a drop of hundreds of meters. The funny part is that during the rainy season the road gets washed away. The river Kali Forms a natural divide between India and Nepal.

 

Picnic hike On the Munsiyari Bugyals

One can indulge in long Hikes east side of the Zara resort road. Magnificent views of the Panchachuli Range and the Johar Valley can be captured during the hike. After village Harkot can be seen deep into the valley nestled in between green terrace fields. Following the trail you can reach the Nanda Devi Temple. The complete hike takes about 3 hours one side.

 

Long Trekking Routes From Munsiyari

Milam Glacier:

Munsiyari is the gateway to Milam valley And Johar Valley

Munsyari (2200 m) to Lilam 12 km

Lilam (1810 m) to Bagudiyar 13 km

Bagudiyar (2450 m) to Rilkote 12 km

Rilkote (3350 m) to Burfu 9 km

Burfu (3450 m) to Milam 8 km

Milam (3500 m) to Milam Glacier 5 km

Total route 59 km

Ralam Glacier:

Munsyari to Lilam Patan Gaon 15 km

Patan Gaon to Sophiya Udiyar 15 km

Sophiya Udiyar to Ralam 15 km

Total Route 45 km

Source: Wikipedia & Content Available on Internet.

 

 

 

TRAVELOGUE 

 

Day 1

Delhi- Rudrapur- Haldwani- Bhimtal- Almora- Kausani

We started from our home at around 8 in the morning. Heavy traffic jams are synonymous with Ghaziabad. Delhi NCR takes more than an hour to clear. The route didn’t have much of traffic and we reached Bhimtal in about 6 hours.

Its 2 PM and we have no time for rest as Kausani is still a long way to go. Approx 115 kilometres.

Since it’s a hilly route, it will take at least 2 more hours from here. Once on the outskirts of Almora, we took road via Someshwar to Kausani.

Roads were butter smooth. We reached Kausani by around 5. The views of Greater Himalayan Range from Kausani are very beautiful. One can get full view of Range from the KMVN guest House itself. Mani peaks like Hathi Parvat, Nandaghunti, Trishul, Mrigathuni, Maiktoli,  Nanda Devi, Nanda Devi East, Nanda Khat, Chhanguch, Nandakut, Followed by Panchchuli Peaks that one can only see on a clear sky day.

Kausani is a famous hill resort in Uttarakhand providing an excellent view of the 350km stretch of the Himalayas on a clear sky. Kausani hill station is located at altitude of 1890 mts. above the sea level. It’s an excellent place for nature lovers and birdwatchers. Kausani is a land of lush green hill station with view of snow clad Himalayan Range, silent valley views, songs of birds, and the towering coniferous and pine trees. The sun rays make beautiful scenery and turn the view to golden at Dawn and red-orange sky at Dusk.

During his Lifetime, Mahatma Gandhi, stayed at Kausani, penned his memorable commentary on the Gita – Anashakti Yoga inspired by the scenic grandeur of this richly gifted spot. He impressed by the Natural Beauly Called this place Switzerland of India. The guesthouse where Mahatma Gandhi stayed still stands in the same place and is known as the Anashakti Ashram. We were visiting Kausani during start of winters so the sky was very clear.

There is a small local market in Kausani with small shops selling basic commodities and also Post Office. At about 6 kilometers from Kausani there is a Shawl factory and Tea Kausani Tea state.  There are no big restaurants or eating joints in Kausani. We decided to have major meals from the KMVN Guest House only.

As we reached we were greeted with a smile and shown us the room. We had booked Super Deluxe Cottage. And probably our cottage had the best view !

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View From The Cottage

My wife had fully packed refreshments along with us and I prepared maggi in our room itself. Thanks to the preparation, we had taken electric kettle too!

Tip: Beware of the monkeys! They create a racket everywhere.

 

 

The day went past very quickly and we had no time for rest.

Soon it was call for dinner and we went to the dining hall area. There is buffet system in place and guests can also order specific meals if they wish to. Meals are tasty and fulfilling.

Today we slept early as it was a long day and we were tired.

 

Day 2

In the hills, usually one gets up early as all sleep early. We woke up at 5:30 AM and woke up to see the most spectacular scenery anyone would have seen in lifetime. The whole of Trishul range can be seen in colors of dawn. Blue and black whole panoramic views of majestic mountain range of Trishul can be seen clearly from our Huts area. Just by looking at the peaks , so clear ; you may think how fortunate you are just to witness such a wonderful natural creation God has made. We were also lucky enough to capture some spectacular photos. In the absence of any clouds, the tall mountain Range can be seen as if one can touch them with our hands. But the mountains; they are so huge that they appear so close despite being far.

Peaks visible from the view point at Kausani are:

Nandaghunti 20700Ft, Trishul 23380 Ft, Mrigathuni 22490 Ft, Maiktoli 22313 Ft, Nanda Devi 25645 Ft, Nanda Devi East 24384 Ft, Nandakhat 21690 Ft, Chhanguch 20420 Ft, Nandakot 22510 Ft, Followed By Panchachuli Peaks.

If you can brave the monkeys, you may go up to the view point and stay there to cherish and capture nature’s beauty. Luckily we got ample time to click rising sun and panoramic photos of the mountains both in Chamoli side and Bageshwar valley. Hathi Parvat in Chamoli district can be seen on a clear morning from this view point. During sunrise it shines peachish pink and slowly as sun goes up the horizon it shines white.

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Today is a big day for us and the most difficult drive to begin. We quickly had our breakfast and left our Guest house by 9:30 AM. We were running late on schedule. But never mind we had clicked wonderful memories!

 

Route:

Kausani-Baijnath-Bageshwar-Chaukori-Thal-Nachni-Tejam-Birthi-Munsiyari.

 

Munsiyari is approx 180 kilometers from Kausani. It’s a long Drive, the roads are narrow and at points after Chaukori, the roads can be both Dangerous and difficult to drive on. At many points the road is nonexistent. The route is single road for most of the stretch and you have to be very careful while you drive. If one vehicle turns up coming from the other direction, then reversing your own vehicle can be a serious task. But that’s the adrenaline rush! We were there for adventure only!

River Goriganga follows the route from Thal all the way to Ginni village giving spectacular views of the Valley and photogenic valleys and deep gorges.

Tip: You need to drive a car with high Ground Clearance so that you can negotiate bumpy stretches of the road easily and do some Off-Roading “IF Necessary”.

Thankfully we were Driving Nissan Terrano; it was very appropriate cross-over for the terrain.

There was not much traffic due to off season. So we were driving smoothly. Surprise came to us after Thal. Road was in very bad condition. Series of landslides had swept away the Road. The road had deep side valleys after Tejam village. There are no side railings or markings either. But all this effort will not go waste as we are about to witness the best views of our lifetime!

We crossed Birthi Falls at around 4:30 pm and didn’t wait at all because we were getting late. I wanted to reach Munsiyari before sunset. As we progressed towards Kalamuni top; the road started to have number of bends or loops, (total approx 14 in number). While ascending uphill it’s difficult to negotiate these bends, descending is comparatively much easier. After crossing Kalamuni Top, the road is simple descend to the beautiful town of Munsiyari.

Since its sunset time one can see beautiful Panchachuli peaks shining in Bright Orange peach contrasts of light of sunset, a phenomenon seen rarely so clear. Its just mind-blowing! We stopped to capture some photos for memories. The sun rays brighten up Just the peaks of Panchachuli Mountains leaving all the remaining to darkness. (Munsiyari is famous for its beautiful sunsets).

Descend down from the Kalamuni top takes less effort and we reach Munsiyari in no time from here.

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Him Nagri Munsiyari aapka swagat Karta hai – Entrance Gate of Munsiyari

Locating KMVN is no task. Here its very prominently located. Just turn Left From this Gate.

TRH @night

KMVN TRH: Panchachuli in Backdrop, Moon Rising!

 

The hotel staff had no hope of us arriving. Generally people try & reach Munsiyari before sunset. We were late. But to my surprise, there was no other tourists staying here. Quickly we checked in to our room on second floor. and soon settled down. The view from our room is just amazing.

Peaks Visible form our room: Hansling, Rajrambha & Panchachuli peaks.

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