Munsiyari - The Gem of Uttarakhand

Perched on the crest of the snow-covered Kumaon Hills, Munsiyari is a quaint hill station which comes under the Pithoragarh District of Uttarakhand. This small town is situated at an altitude of 2290 meters and offers awe-inspiring beauty in such a way that it is often recognized as ‘Small Kashmir’. This fast growing hill station is renowned among the adventure lovers and trekkers due to its grand peaks and the glaciers surrounding it.

Munsiyari - The Gem of Uttarakhand, munsiyari weather

Munsiyari shares border with Nepal and Tibet and is located at the foothills of Ralam, Namik and Milam Glaciers. This picturesque hill station in the midst of the virgin flora and fauna of Himalayas is a paradise on earth.

History of Munsiyari

According to historians, sited on the entryway of the Johar Valley, the small town of Munsiyari was previously under the archaic salt route which started from Tibet. The semi-nomadic tribes of this locality namely, Bhotias and Shaukas were involves in trade with Tibet via the high altitude passes of Kungribhingri and Unta Dhura. 

But after the Indo-Tibetan border got sealed in the year 1962, the tribes of this region had to leave this place for their livelihood as this region was not fertile enough for cultivation. Hence, the villages bordering Munsiyari like Burfu and Milam are still uninhabited.

Mythology Connected to Munsiyari

According to mythology, the Pandavas of the Mahabharat are connected to Munsiyari as from this place only these Pandava brothers started their ultimate journey towards heaven. It is believed that the five mountain ranges of Panchachuli are the five burners (Chulhas), where the wife of the Pandava brothers, Draupadi prepared her final food for her 5 husbands.

How to Reach Munsiyari

1. If you are planning to reach Munsiyari by Railways, than, the closest railway stations are Tanakpur railway station and Kathgodam railway station which are at a distance of 274 kms and 284 kms respectively. These two railway stations are well linked with the major Indian cities. From the railway station rented cabs/taxis are available to get to Munsiyari.

2. If you are coming via airways, than, the closest airport to Munsiyari is the Pantnagar airport which is nearly 318 kms away from Munsiyari. This airport is well linked with the chief cities of india. From airport cabs/taxis are available on rent to reach Munsiyari.

Those who are coming from other countries, the closest International airport is in New Delhi which is 590 kms away from Munsiyari. From Delhi you can reach Munsiyari either by railways or by airways.

3. Munsiyari is well linked by roadways with all the major towns and cities of Kumaon region, Uttarkhand and North India. Both Government Buses and Delux Buses are available from Delhi, Pithoragarh, Almora etc. to Munsiyari.

Places to Visit in Munsiyari

Munsiyari is located in a snow-clad crest of the Himalayas and is surrounded by innumerable breathtaking locations. Some of these locations are listed below:

1. Nanda Devi Temple

Among the ancient temples of Munsiyari, the Nanda Devi Temple is dedicated to the Goddess Parvati also called Goddess Nanda. This sacred Hindu Temple is located at a distance of 2.9 kms from the town of Munsiyari. This small white colored temple is having a pointed portico and is built at an altitude of 7550 meters and the devotees trek to this temple via the hilly terrain in huge numbers out of faith.

At the Nanda Devi temple, you will get some amazing views of the Kumaon region and the grand Himalayan ranges.

Munsiyari - The Gem of Uttarakhand, munsiyari weather
Nanda Devi Temple

2. Khaliya Top

The lush green meadow of Khaliya Top is perched at a high elevation of 3550 meters above the sea level. This location can be reached via trekking a distance of 10 kms from the Munsiyari town. In summer, you will get some spectacularly lovely panoramic views of the Himalayan valley from the Khaliya Top. This place is a heaven for adventure sports like paragliding, camping and for trekking as well during summer season. The magnificent snow-filled peaks of Nandadevi, Hardeol, Nandakot, Panchachuli and Rajrambha are also visible during a clear sky, sunny day of summer.

In winter, the Khaliya Top becomes a famed location for trekking, skiing and other winter activities. Many adventure enthusiasts across the country visit this place during winters to take part in winter activities.

Munsiyari - The Gem of Uttarakhand, khaliya top
Khaliya Top

3. Balanti Potato Farm

This is also a splendid location but not visited by too many tourists. You can reach Balanti Potato Farm by walking only 2.2 kms from Munsiyari through the forests of rhododendron and Oak. This farm is famed for growing high yielding potatoes and apples. You will also get jaw-dropping views of the Panchachuli Peaks from this Balanti Potato Farm as it is sited at an elevation of 9000 meters above the sea level.

Munsiyari - The Gem of Uttarakhand, munsiyari treks
Balanti Potato Farm

4. Darkot Village

Darkot Village is a pristine land located just 6.9 kms away from Munsiyari Town. This is a village of the Bhotia tribes and you can see their rich culture in their architecture. The ancient rural houses built by these tribes are one of the must visit things in this village. Darkot is surrounded by rich species of flora and fauna and you can shop some really good woolens such as Pashmina Shawls, Blankets made from sheep’s wool etc. These woolens are manufactured by the locals only.

You can also visit the Darkot Tribal Heritage Museum also called Masterji’s Museum by the locals. This small museum has a lot to display by which you can recognize the history of this region. This museum was founded by Dr. S.S Pangthi, a traveler, trekker and an author of the Bhotia Tribe.

Munsiyari - The Gem of Uttarakhand, munsiyari
Darkot Village

5. Betulidhar

Betulidhar is located only 10 kms away from Munsiyari on Thal-Munsiyari road. This blossoming garden is perched at an elevation of 2750 meters and is surrounded by red colored rhododendron trees. Tourists come to this location to see the captivating sunrise and sunset from this height which is really mystical. In winters, from December to February, the Betulidhar becomes an exhilarating location for winter activities specially skiing.

Munsiyari - The Gem of Uttarakhand, munsiyari weather

6. Thamri Kund

Thamri Kund also called as Thamri Taal by the locals is a placid high altitude lake bordered by heavenly scenery of the countryside. This lake is amongst the few fresh water lakes of the Kumaon district. Thamri Kund is only 3 kms away from Betulidhar and almost 13 kms from Munsiyari by trekking.

This lake is encircled by the dense green Paper trees and Alpine trees and if you are lucky enough than, you can also witness Musk Deers drinking water from this lake. The rich flora and fauna and the cool ambience surrounding this lake will revive your soul.

Munsiyari - The Gem of Uttarakhand, munsiyari
Thamri Kund

7. Maheshwari Kund

Maheshwari Kund is only 3.6 kms away from Munsiyari and you need to cover this trek via the woods of oak and rhododendron. The terrain is mountainous but the location is worth visiting. Maheshwari Kund also called Mehsar Kund by the local people is actually a serene lake located at an elevation of 2410 meters above sea level and is surrounded by overwhelming landscapes. This lake holds religious importance in Hindu religion.

According to legends, once a Yaksha (Demi-God) used to reside in this lake but the villagers were not happy with this and they dried the lake. By seeing this, the Yaksha cursed and left this place and due to the curse this place faced famine for several years. Some awesome photos of this lake with the backdrop of the snow covered Himalayas will make your trip to Munsiyari outstanding.

Munsiyari - The Gem of Uttarakhand, munsiyari
Maheshwari Kund

8. Madkot Village

Madkot Village is a calm village with full of scenic location and it is only 22 kms away from the Munsiyari town. The village of Madkot is popular among the tourists for its springs of boiling water coming from natural sources and these springs are situated near the banks of river Gori Ganga. As per the local villagers, this water has medicinal properties for healing body pains, rheumatism, arthritis and also skin burns.

This village is one of the peaceful locations in and around Munsiyari where you can spend some time in solitude from the hustle and bustle of the city life. Cabs are available in Pithoragarh and Munsiyari to get to Madkot village.

Munsiyari - The Gem of Uttarakhand, munsiyari
Madkot Village

9. Birthi Falls

Birthi Falls is a majestic waterfall where water falls from an elevation of 126 meters. This spot is located in Birthi village at a distance of 35 kms from Munsiyari. This place can be reached via a short and easy trail. Birthi Falls is a famous picnis spot and a paradise for the adventure lovers.

Located amid lush greenery and breathtaking views, this is the place where you would definitely like to come again and again.

Munsiyari - The Gem of Uttarakhand, munsiyari
Birthi Falls

Things to do in Munsiyari

A lot of things can be done in the pretty little hill station of Munsiyari such as:

1. Trekking

Munsiyari is a must visit place for the trekkers and adventure seekers as it proffers a number of trekking trails from moderate altitude to high altitude. Both beginners and pros and try their skills on these trekking trails. Some of these Munsiyari Treks which are popular among the tourists are:

Short Trekking Trails

Nanda Devi Trek

Khaliya Top Trek through Balanti

Maheshwari Kund Trek

Thamri Taal Trek

Khaliya Top Trek through Kalamuni

Long Trekking Trails

Milam Glacier Trail

Namik Glacier Trail

Ralam Glacier Trail

All these trek through the dense woods of Himalayan flora and fauna are very unique and thrilling as well.

Munsiyari - The Gem of Uttarakhand, munsiyari
Trekking in Munsiyari

2. River Rafting

River rafting in the floating and clear water of the river Gori Ganga is once in a lifetime experience which you should not miss in your trip to Munsiyari. The Garhwal Mandal Vikas Nigam proffers many rafting courses for both beginners and pros where people are trained by experienced and qualified trainers. You can try one of these short term course and enjoy some sessions of river rafting in Munsiyari.

Munsiyari - The Gem of Uttarakhand, munsiyari
River Rafting in Munsiyari

3. Bird Watching

Munsiyari and its nearby areas are blessed with almost 300 species of birds which dwell here in the nature’s paradise. If you are a bird watcher, than, this is the place for you. The Basin of Gori Ganga River and the Askot Wildlife Sanctuary are some really good locations for bird watching. Here you can see the bird species like Black Redstart, Little Pied Flycatcher and Grey Winged Black Bird etc.

Munsiyari - The Gem of Uttarakhand, munsiyari
Bird Watching in Munsiyari

4. Skiing

From December end to February mid, Munsiyari becomes a hub for skiing. As during winters, Munsiyari receives heavy snowfall, it offers some most thrilling slopes for skiing like Khaliya Top and Betulidhar slopes. Both amateur and experts can try their skills in these skiing slopes. Skiing in Munsiyari is a popular activity in winters.

Munsiyari - The Gem of Uttarakhand, munsiyari
Skiing in Munsiyari

5. Shopping

Shopping in Munsiyari is really fun. You can shop some best quality hand woven woolen clothes from Munsiyari such as Pashmina Shawls, Carpets etc. These woolens are made by the local Bhotia Tribes of Munsiyari and its nearby areas. Also you can shop some organic apples, handmade artifacts and souvenir from the main market of Munsiyari.

Munsiyari - The Gem of Uttarakhand, munsiyari
Shopping in Munsiyari

Where to Stay in Munsiyari

You will get a number of deluxe Munsiyari hotels and budget Munsiyari hotels here. These hotels have sightseeing packages as well as Camping and Bonfire activities. Some of these popular hotels are Milam Inn, Bilju Inn, Hotel Bala Paradise etc. It is better to book your hotels in advance before planning a trip to Munsiyari.

Note: As Limited ATMs are available in Munsiyari and sometimes they run out of cash so, it is better to keep cash with you along with debit cards.

Best Time to Visit Munsiyari

The picturesque hill station of Munsiyari can be visited all through the year for its pleasant and cool climatic conditions. In summer, the Munsiyari weather ranges from 16 degrees to 30 degrees and it ideal for sightseeing and adventure activities.

In winters, many tourists visit Munsiyari to enjoy snowfall and skiing.

Though, the Munsiyari weather remains pleasant in monsoon also but it is advisable not to plan a trip during monsoon from July to September as due to sudden landslides the roads get closed.
So, the perfect time for Munsiyari expedition is from October to June.

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