Are you feeling a bit rusty sitting at home because of the lockdown? Do you want to grease your joints and experience some adventurous activities while soaking up the natural beauty? Then pack up your bags and head towards Munsyari because this village will refresh your mind and energize your ligaments to practically bring out the best version of yourself. In this Munsyari Travel Guide, we will cover all the important topics.
Munsyari Travel Guide – Geography
Located 260 kilometers northeast of Nainital and a staggering 625 kilometers from the national capital Delhi, this hilly village is a welcoming point into the johar valley that wraps the Gori Ganga river throughout its path from its primary source at Milam glacier. Munsyari is one of many heartwarming yet cold villages lying in the foothills of the Himalayan range. It sits at an elevation of 2200 meters above sea level, enough for visitors to kiss the clouds.
With the nearest railway stations being Kathgodam (278 km) and Tanakpur, Munsyari is not a quick and hassle-free haven to access. The nearest airport to Munsyari is Pantnagar airport(188 km). With significant transportation infrastructure being situated at such distances and hilly roads winding around sky-touching mountains of Uttarakhand, it becomes necessary for tourists to take an overnight halt at either Almora, Binsar, or Bering. A direct journey from Kathgodam to Munsyari takes up to 10 hours on a bright sunny day.
Munsyari Travel Guide – How to Visit
As mentioned before, the most efficient way to reach Munsyari is via railways and roadways. First, you need to reach either Kathgodam or Tanakpur by train journey. The average cost of this ticket is 500 bucks. Both taxi and bus services are readily available from either station directly to Munsyari. Depending upon your arrival timings and endurance levels, decide whether to make a stop or directly reach Munsyari. A direct bus ride would cost around 300 bucks.
The hilly roads going to Munsyari are specifically a tourist attraction because of the scenic beauty it provides along the way. The Himalayan range accompanies you on your way to Munsyari, compelling travelers to take a stop by the roadside and capture the essence of cordillera in its full glory. Many mountain biking enthusiasts willing to elevate their connection with nature as high as Munsyari tear up their motorcycle’s miles.
Munsyari Travel Guide – Time to Visit
While the “Munsyari” literally translates to a place with snow, it is not a good idea to visit the site during winters. Its proximity to the Himalayas results in heavy snowfall and catastrophic landslides during December and January. Therefore, the best time to witness, what many rightly refer to as the mini Kashmir, is from March to October, except July and august, because heavy rainfall in the region also results in roadblocks and natural disaster hazards of all sorts.
The dampness during this season spoils the amusement of sports. Moreover, it is better to visit the zesty paradise for trekkers during a time when you can go on long and tiring treks, climb rocks and enjoy the snow smothered summits. During this time, the temperatures are suitable for all adventurous outdoor activities, with warm rays of sun enriching your skin colour for those sun-kissed selfies. The absolute best time to visit is actually at the beginning of November when most of the tourist crowd has returned, and harsh winters are still just on the doorstep of Munsyari.
Temperatures in this short period are beyond perfect; the sun still shines bright, but it is no longer warm, and wind speeds are steadily increasing to welcome the month-long ice age, but there are no forecasts of a landslide. You can still hold a grip without a slippery surface which allows for night treks. Bonfires are not only mood setters, but the warmth of flames comforts you for real. Even the hotel charges are reduced during this period. As a bonus, you can also attend the “jaulajibi” fair organized every year in November. For this surreal experience, it is necessary to plan a trip with precise timings and a pinch of luck so that you hit Munsyari.
Munsyari – Observation deck of the Himalayas
Once in Munsyari, the first thing that comes up is a place to stay. Well, don’t worry because we have got you covered. The average price for a one-day stay in Munsyari’s finest hotels is around 2000 bucks, with the top recommendations being Milan inn and Hotel Bala paradise. The top-of-the-line choice for accommodation has to be the Himalayan Glamping Retreat, where you can have an escape from nature without giving up on necessary amenities in the most luxurious way possible. The blow on the budget will be massive, but it is worth every penny. If you decide to choose Glamping somewhere like Munsyari, surrounded by the world’s highest peaks in the lap of the Himalayas, it is going to be the experience of a lifetime.
The language spoken in the district of Pithoragarh is widely Hindi, and some locals chirping in Kumaoni and Munsyari are no exception to it. After some rest and recharge yourself at the hotel, head out straight to the spectacular views, treks, and adventures that Munsyari offers.
Start the expedition with something fresh and hydrating that can provide the endurance required for the upcoming treks. One such waterfall is situated just 35 kilometres from the main town Munsyari – the Birthi falls. Chilled and pure gushing water pouring down from a height of 125 meters while sprinkling the greenery will fill you with joy and realization of what it means to be in Munsyari. These falls can make for a pretty picnic position while still in the beginning phase of the tour.
At 138 kilometres from Pithoragarh, Panchachuli peaks look down on Munsyari with more love than any other place. With its peak standing around 6500 meters, you can view this mountain range from the trek paradise and is one of the major tourist attractions of this hill station. It is believed in Hindu mythology that the Pandavas from the epic Mahabharat cooked their last meal here in these mountain ranges before moving ahead towards their heavenly abode. Thus the name PANCHACHULI where panch means five (dedicated to five brothers – Pandavas) and chilli refers to “chullah”, which means a stove.
Best place to treat your eyes with Panchachuli Peaks
BALANTI POTATO FARMS is situated at an elevation of 2700 meters. This place makes the absolute best viewing deck for the panchachuli peaks. Moreover, it is located at a convenient distance of 2 kilometres from Munsyari, which is a mesmerizing and short trek. The farm’s major vegetation includes oak and rhododendron, while most tourists are attracted to apples found here and, of course, potatoes.
Madkot Village – House of holy hot water springs
Twenty more kilometres in the same direction as the potato farms will fetch you to the heavenly hamlet of Madkot situated on the banks of the Gori Ganga river. This is a village famous worldwide for possessing thermal springs and not just any spring but a natural hot water pond whose waters can cure painful joints, tearing muscles, and aching limbs, especially rheumatoid arthritis. It is considered to be a sacred bath in Hindu mythology.
Time for Treks
A light trek to Maheshwari Kund, located a few kilometres from Munsyari would be appropriate to warm up muscles(if not warmed up enough by hot water springs in madkot). Now Maheshwari Kund is also associated with a legend Hindu story about the demi-God yaksha who cursed the villagers to suffer from drought when the villagers didn’t let him marry the love of his life.
The next trek includes a 6 kilometres ascent from the potato farms to reach an altitude of 3300 meters and make a camp in the lush green meadows of Khaliya, surrounded by snow-covered Himalayan peaks in all directions. Khaliya Top is also a treat for animal lovers. During the spring season, when rhododendrons are blooming, painting the forest in crimson red, many faunas are breeding around, for example, Mon Ghurar, Kakar, Yellow-fronted marten, and Baral.
Uplift the spirits because the trek to the kalamuni top at 3000 meters will reward us with best wishes from kali Mata at kalamuni temple. It is located on the route from Munsyari to Birthi falls, and taxis are available too, but it is recommended to enjoy the scenic view while walking up the hill. The temple sits higher than the town as if guarding the town, looking after its people, and protecting them from ill-happenings. The Panchachuli peaks are also visible, making it a perfect camping site for trekkers before proceeding further. You can see Naga sadhus meditating near the temple, which seats many Gods like Kali, Shiva Lingam, Ganesha, and an effigy of kalamuni sadhu.
Munsyari will send you back with baggage full of memory and a set of inspiring activities. You can look back on it whenever you feel dejected and be assured that Munsyari and its memories will never cease to refresh.