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Overview of Munsiyari
Though the town of Munsiyari is very small, it is a well-known spot in the Pithoragarh district of Uttarakhand. This is because, most of the trekking routes of the state start from here. The tourists and trekkers who come to the state in large numbers operate from the base camp at Munsiyari. Set at the foothills of Himalayan mountain range, the town of Munsiyari stands tall at about 2200m above sea level. There are two main glaciers at the top of the peaks known as Milam Glacier and Ralam Glacier. Munsiyari is the originating point for the trekking trails that leads to both of these glaciers. There are around 6 trekking trails that originate from Munsiyari to Milam and around 3 trails that start from Munsiyari to Ralam Glaciers.
Munsiyari literally means a place that contains snow. This is indeed true because winters at this place is absolutely cold and most of the times, this place witnesses snowfall as well. In earlier days, the local inhabitants of this place were the Shauka tribal community people. They still exist in sporadic numbers all over the place.
Today, Munsiyari has grown phenomenally from what it was many centuries ago, in terms of infrastructure and facilities. Right from the time trekking to the hills around this area started, Munsiyari has been functioning as the default base camp area from where professional mountain climbers, nature-lovers, trekking enthusiasts and glacier-watchers start their trekking. Munsiyari is one of the hot tourist spots of the state today.
Munsiyari is a small town that can be located in Pithoragarh district in the north Indian state of Uttarakhand. Located at 2200m or about 7200 feet above sea level, Munsiyari is at 30.06 degrees towards the North and 80.23 degrees towards the East. The location of this place can be traced back to the salt route that started from Tibet in the olden days. If tourists want to enter to Johar Valley, they have to pass through Munsiyari, as the place is located right in front. This valley is located all along the Goriganga River, which is sourced by water from the Milam Glacier.
How to reach and local transport
Air – Pantnagar Airport, at a distance of 249km, is the nearest to Munsiyari.
Rail – Kathgodam railway station, at a distance of 275km, is the closest to Munsiyari.
Road – There are lots of buses that ply from all important places in Uttarakhand and Delhi to Munsiyari every day on a frequent basis. There are also hired taxis that take tourists to Munsiyari from the airport and railway station.
Local transport – Trekking is the only way to explore this place in more detail and precision.
Tourist attractions and things to do
Panchchuli Peaks (five beautiful peaks that are visible from Johar Valley), Birthi Waterfalls that fall from a height of 126m, Maheshwari Kund (famous sacred pond), Betulidhar (Rhododendron garden), Thamari Kund (scenic lake in the midst of paper and alpine trees), Darkot (shopping market for shawls and blankets), Khaliya Top (a peak that stands at 11500 feet above sea level), Nanda Devi Temple, Museum of Tribal Heritage, Potato Farm at Balati, Kalimuni Top (peak that stands at 9500 feet above sea level), Dharchula ( critical route that leads to Kailash) and Narayan Ashram are some of the places that tourists can visit when they come to Munsiyari. Tourists can indulge in skiing at the Khalia Top, river rafting on the Gori Ganga River, bird-viewing, trekking and other relaxing and adventurous activities when they come here.
Places to eat and local cuisine
The KMVN Tourist Rest House and Wayfarer Retreat are some of the good places to eat in Munsiyari. Here tourists are treated to authentically prepared meat dishes, specialising in chicken and mutton specialities. Vegetarians are treated to a typical North Indian Thali, containing Indian Rotis, vegetable curries, salad, chaas and many more.
Where to stay
Wayfarer Mountain Resort is considered to be one of the best places to stay in Munsiyari. This is a premium resort that offers excellent services to its guests. Other decent budget accommodations available here are KMVN Tourist Rest House, Vijay Mount View Resort and Milam Inn Hotel.
STD, PIN code and emergency contact numbers
The STD and PIN codes of Munsiyari are 05961 and 262501 respectively. The Pithoragarh Police Station can be dialled at 05964 225238 apart from the other helpline numbers for Police, Fire and Ambulance services at 100, 101 and 102 respectively.
Banks, Hospitals and Tourism Office
State Bank of India
Pithoragarh district, Munsiyari, Uttarakhand, Ph: 05981 222203
Archana Hospital, No. 123A, Mahindra Vihar
Back of Hotel Surbi Palace, Ballupur Road, Dehradun, Ph: -0135 2622713
District Tourism Development office, Pithoragarh district
Contact person – Mr. SS Yadav (Assistant Tourism Officer In charge), Ph: 05964 225527