|My friends observing Panchachuli Peaks from Munsiyari|
|KMVN Rest House, Munsiyari|
The end of land and the beginning of the majestic Himalayas.......
I reached back at Ranikhet from Binsar with a nostalgic and a sad feeling for not being able to go to the final frontier, MUNSIYARI. With a weariness I was about to leave for my dinner when I got a call.
Tommy Singh had been in touch with me from Delhi and often we discussed about Himalayas and emerald beaches of Goa but somehow we couldn't make it together. "Kiran, I need a holiday more so for my daughter Amrita, in a remote and exotic place. I had some problem with her " said Tommy Singh. "What problem?" I asked. "Shall tell you later", was the reply. I told Tommy, nothing could be done in the night, would be able to confirm by noon tomorrow. An excitement creeping through my body..MUNSIYARI ! Here I have a company of a friend who is willing to go to any adventurous place..oh, come on Kiran, go all out to fix it!
Next day luckily I got every arrangements made at KMVN guest house, Munsiyari. The accommodation was not availale at Zara Resorts, the second and perhaps a better option. However, I prefer KMVN places as they usually have the best locations in the Kumaon, Uttarakhand.
By noon next day, I told so to Tommy and when I spoke about Munsiyari he retorted,"Munsiyari? Where the hell is that?". "Munsiyari is end of the land and the beginning of the great Himalayas, the most happening place, close to Nepal border". I informed him.
The day after Tommy was at my hotel in Almorah at 10 AM and soon after snacks and tea we left for a long journey to new mystic heaven, Munsiyari.
The drive was breathtaking with splendid mountains and lovely valleys to be unmasked at every bend. I looked at Amrita, Tommy's daughter as we got down to stretch ourselves somewhere on the way. She was a beautiful girl, carved in leisure by God! Slowly she was feeling a bit better from the morning when she looked a corpse I thought, will ask her directly at an appropriate moment as to what happened though I had an inkling- some thing to do with a man!
As we drove up the landscape changed to a different fauna and flora, peaks emerging gradually and temperature dropping further. And then we reached to the majestic beauty of our destination, in it's ultimate brilliance was Munsiyari!
KMVN Rest House. What a location! You can see the photo at top right of this post and you can imagine! After some rest we had our dinner and the Tommy and Amrita being tired, we straight went to hit our sacks.
I opened the curtains of my room and what a night! I could see Panchuli peaks of the great Himalayas so close, bathed in silver moonlight and so was my bedroom. . The peaks were like five chimneys. I was in a fairyland and words can't explain the God's miracle!
The morning was invigorating, Amrita was great and Tommy was bubbling with excitement. I was told, for a long period Munsiyari was a forbidden place in the Himalayan Inner Line, wedged in between the borders of India, China and Nepal, opened few years back to all.
We left to devour the mystery and beauty of nature with some beer and chips. The forests in the lower reaches were ablaze with rhododendron and mountain birds like whistling thrush, wagtail, hawk cuckoo and and wild animals-panther, mountain bear, languors though we could see only languors and a deer. We met few other travelers who were proceeding to the higher reaches and then we came to know about a village -Dett Dercot, where you get the best Pashmina Shawls, how? my guess was, being close to Nepal! We decided to go and bought two shawls.
We had a typical dinner with "Chainsoo" a black gram lentil preparation, "Kafuli"a vegetable curry of spinach and rice. Then I got a chance to talk to Amrita Singh but when I found that she is happy and enjoying then I didn't touch the subject.
We decided to stay for two more nights. Those were the most memorable moments as we went to excursions and treks.
The thin ribbon of river Goriganga flows by Munsiyari, draining the famous 15 kms long MILAM and BALATI Glaciers leading to Panchuli snow fields. The valley of Gori is a trekking paradise. Munsiyari boasts of many other treks like NAMIK and RALAN Glaciers with an ancient trading route to Tibet. It was really mystic!! Of course, you require permits to trek these heavenly routes.
The river rafting in Goriganga was an unforgettable experience which we will cherish for a long time. I would also recommend Jeep Safari to visit many enchanting places from Munsiyari.
Then came that dreaded moment to leave. With our eyes wet we left towards...I don't know to where.
Map and Route
How to reach Munsiyari
By Road: Munsiyari is well connected by motorable roads with major destinations of Uttarakhand and northern India. Buses from ISBT Anand Vihar are available to Champawat, Almora, Tanakpur, Haldwani and many other destinations from where you can easily hire a local cab to reach Munsiyari. Taxis and buses are easily available to Munsiyari from major destinations of Kumaon region.
Munsiyari is a very long drive from Delhi and a break journey at Vijaypur, Chaukori or Almora is advisable. If you are traveling by public transport, you may take a bus from Anand Vihar ISBT to Almora and then another bus to Munsiyari. One can also take a bus from Pithoragarh, which is 135 km from Munsiyari.
From Delhi (By Road)
Route 1: Delhi - Hapur - Gajrola - Moradabad bypass - Rampur - Haldwani - Kathgodam - Bhimtal - Bhowali - Khairna - Almora - Chitai Temple - Barechina- Dhaulchina - Sheraghat - Udiyari Bend - Thal - Birthi Fall - Kalamuni Top - Munsiyari.
Route 2: Delhi - Hapur - Gajrola - Moradabad bypass - Kashipur - Kaladhungi - Nainital - Bhowali - Khairna - Almora - Chitai Temple - Barechina- Dhaulchina - Sheraghat - Udiyari Bend - Thal - Birthi Fall - Kalamuni Top - Munsiyari.
Route 3: Delhi - Hapur - Gajrola - Moradabad bypass - Kashipur - Kaladhungi - Nainital - Bhowali - Khairna - Almora - Kosi - Someshwar - Kausani - Baijnath - Garur - Bageshwar - Vijaypur - Chaukori - Udiyari Bend - Thal - Birthi Fall - Kalamuni Top - Munsiyari.
By Rail: The nearest railheads to Munsiyari are Kathgodam and Tanakpur. The distance from Tanakpur Railway station to Munsiyari is 286 kms, and Kathgodam Railway station is situated at a distance of 275 kms from Munsiyari. Taxis and buses are easily available from Tanakpur and Kathgodam to Almora, Pithoragarh, Bageshwar and Munsiyari. Tanakpur and Kathgodam are well connected by railway networks with major destinations of India.
By Air: The nearest airport to Munsiyari is Pantnagar Airport. Pantnagar airport is situated 249 kms from Munsiyari in the Nainital district of Uttarakhand state. Taxis are available from Pantnagar Airport to Pithoragarh, Almora, Bageshwar and Munsiyari. Pantnagar is connected to Delhi with daily flights. Pant Nagar Airport is well connected by metalled road with Munsiyari.
The nearest International airport is at New Delhi around 600 kms from Munsiyari. Naini Saini Airport is situated in Pithoragarh but flights to Naini Saini are not very frequent