Published: 19th January 2011
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This hill station lies at the base of the great Himalayan mountain range, at an elevation of about 2,200 m. A vista of perfectly pointed looming peaks greets you as you drive up to Munsiyari.Splendid mountains and valleys waiting to be unmasked at every bend make the drive to Munsiyari truly awe inspiring and magnificent. Till recently, Munsiyari was a restricted area in the Himalayan Inner Line, wedged in between the borders of India, China and Nepal. Restrictions have now eased, placing Munsiyari on the trekking map of the Kumaon Hills.

Historically Speaking
Munsiyari also falls on the ancient salt route from Tibet and is at the entrance of the Johar Valley, which extends along the path of the Goriganga River to its source at the Milam Glacier. It is inhabited mainly by the Shauka people (referred to as Bhotiya by the non-Shaukas), who are its original

natives.The Shauka people are the main inhabitants of this place.

Munsiyari is not the place for shopping, but you can buy their tribal kind of woolens made by the locals or buy the wonderful hand woven carpets at the Munsiyari Market. For the environmentally inclined, take back the Himalayan tree saplings from near by Nurseries for your home or garden.

While most of the festivals in Uttaranchal are celebrated to mark the change of season, several others honour local traditions. The fair of Jauljibi is held every year in the month of November. The fair has great commercial value as people come across from Nepal to trade in horse, oil

etc. The Uttarayani fair is a very important fair for the cultural and social fabric of Uttaranchal. It is celebrated here but not as much as in Bageshwar which draws the maximum crowds. Makar Sankranti , marks the change of season and is celebrated with tremendous fanfare. People wear new clothes, and sweets are made in many interesting shapes like that of pomegranates, knives etc. Basant Panchmi marks the beginning of the spring season. Phool De is a festival that usually falls as per the Hindu calendar in March and is for young girls. Olgia is celebrated on the first day of August and is a time when the fields are full of lush green harvest. Khatarua festival is celebrated in mid September and marks the beginning of autumn season.

Night Out
Try Kukla a local dish made with flour or Bhuta Aalu - potatoes fried with dhungar (local herb).

The picturesque mountains of Munsiyari have many great trekking routes. The valley of the Gori is a trekking paradise and there are a number of fabulous treks from Munsiyari to Milam, Namik and Ralan glaciers and through the narrow Johar valley that traces an ancient trading route to Tibet. Inner

Line trekking permits are required and if you are joining a professional trek group, they will arrange the permits for you. Adventure enthusiasts will also find lots of opportunities for white water rafting and skiing in Munsiyari and in surrounding areas.

The forests in the lower reaches are ablaze with rhododendrons in spring. Mountain birds like the whistling thrush, wagtail and hawk cuckoo, falcon and serpent eagle live here. The odd leopard, panther, mountain bear and the musk deer has made its home in the Munsiyari jungles. From Munsiyari

you can see a treasure trove of gorgeous peaks, especially the Panchuli quintuplets that look like five chimneys. The legendary Pandava kings are said to have cooked their last meal at Panchuli before ascending to heaven. The entire Kumaon area is steeped in epic history and the sacred mountains of the region symbolize ancient heroes and Gods in their various avatars. The River Mahakali and its tributaries Goriganga, Ramganga and Dhauliganga plot a course through the Kumaon Mountains to merge with the Ganga in the plains. The thin ribbon of Goriganga flows by Munsiyari, draining the 18 km long Milam glacier and merging with the Balati glaciers and the Panchuli snowfields.

How to get there by Air
There is a small hill airstrip at Naini Saini in Pithoragarh, 128 km from Munsiyari.

How to get there by Rail
Munsiyari is 261 km from Kathgodam, the nearest railhead and major transport junction for the Kumaon Hills. Buses and taxis are available from Kathgodam to Munsiyari.

How to get there by Bus
Munsiyari is 612 km from Delhi. If you are driving in from Delhi, Nainital, 330 km is a convenient place to break journey. It is a further 288 km to Munsiyari from Nainital. The roads are decent; Almora and Bageshwar are the two main halts where you can refuel your gas tanks.

Best time to Visit
The months of March to June and mid-September to October are splendid for visiting Munsiyari and for trekking. The monsoon months from July to early September are best avoided.

Hotels in Munsiyari
Besides a KMVN Tourist Rest House and PWD Inspection Bungalow, Munsiyari has a few private hotels and resorts. The Wayfarer Resort offers a mix of five Kumaoni log huts and five Swiss cottage type tents. Accomodation is also available at the Zara Resort, Pine Resort and Parvati Resort. Milam village

and other halts on the trekking routes have basic accommodation such as PWD Guest houses.

Nearby Places
Madkote (22km), Baneanani and Jaulijibi (66 km) are beautiful getaways from Munsiyari. You can take a jeep safari to get to any of these destinations and the drive will take you past some spectacular mountain scenery and waterfalls like the Birthi Falls (31 km).

The Balati Farm is a popular trek from where you can get a magnificent view of the snowy Himalayas, and Maheshwari Kund is a serene lake surrounded by marshes that are teeming with life. The Goriganga is wonderful for river rafting. Khaliatop with its alpine slopes and Betulidhar in the higher reaches offer some splendid skiing opportunities in the winter months.

Special Permits
To trek in to Inner Line you need to get special permission but if you''re joining a professional trek group they will arrange permits for you.

For more information for this Destination please check india Travel Guide

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