Munsiyari, a new discovery in the Kumaon
Hills of Uttaranchal
, is about 154 km north of Pithoragarh
, overlooking the Gori River gorge and the deep valleys that branch up into the high mountains. A short period ago it was a restricted area in the Himalayan Inner Line,wedged in between the borders of India, China and Nepal. But now, the restrictions are relaxed, thus placing Munsiyari on the trekking map of the Kumaon Hills. Set at the entrance of the inner Himalayas
, this beautiful village offers magnificent views of the Panchuali peaks which owe their name - the 'five cooking pots' - to their plumes of wind-blown snow. On a clear day, they appear to be at arms' length that one would feel to reach out and touch them.
From Munsiyari, there is a gentle 11 km trail which extends to the famous Kalika Pass (2700 meters). It is here where a small Shakti temple is situated amidst dark pines. A more exhausting trail leads via the Matkot (12 km) village to the glaciers of the Panchuali group, to the alpine meadows of Chiplakot Bugyal (30 km), dotted with tiny lakes, and even up to the
Milam Glacier and Johar Valley.
Since Munsiyari is the end of the road, few buses come this way. Bus services are thin except a daily service to Almora and Pithoragarh respectively. People mostly arrive here on shared jeeps; one needs to change at Thal for the last four hours of journey.