Munsiyari: The hidden jewel of the Himalayas

Photo of Munsiyari: The hidden jewel of the Himalayas 1/14 by Abhay Kapkoti
Photo of Munsiyari: The hidden jewel of the Himalayas 2/14 by Abhay Kapkoti
& I, I took the one less traveled by...
Photo of Munsiyari: The hidden jewel of the Himalayas 3/14 by Abhay Kapkoti
Photo of Munsiyari: The hidden jewel of the Himalayas 4/14 by Abhay Kapkoti
The Mighty Himalayas...
Photo of Munsiyari: The hidden jewel of the Himalayas 5/14 by Abhay Kapkoti
View from Kalliya Top..
Photo of Munsiyari: The hidden jewel of the Himalayas 6/14 by Abhay Kapkoti
"The Freedom and simple beauty is to good to pass up"
Photo of Munsiyari: The hidden jewel of the Himalayas 7/14 by Abhay Kapkoti
Photo of Munsiyari: The hidden jewel of the Himalayas 8/14 by Abhay Kapkoti

Munsyari: The Little Kashmir

A Backpacker’s dream

It was in December 2014, Bhattji calls at night "Tomorrow we are leaving for Munsyari". Munsyari, a small hill station nested in Pithoragarh district of Uttarakhand. It has been on our travel list for sometime now. It was supposed to be a bike trip but in that season riding Milkha (our bike) would not have been a good decision. So we turned towards the roadways. The plan was to catch the bus that comes from Delhi to Munsyari in Bhowali(8km from Nainital) at 1 A.M. We got to Bhowali at nine in the night. The policemen positioned in Bhowali bus station were happy to share the burning embers & some lively stories about the crazy things they encounter. Here we also met a 75 year old man who accompanied us to Munsyari, Trivediji. Trivediji had heard about Panchachuli since childhood and always wanted to go to Munsayri. Following your travel dreams at that age was initially a big surprise and later an inspiration to us.

Photo of Munsiyari: The hidden jewel of the Himalayas 9/14 by Abhay Kapkoti

Flying on Wheels:

It was 3 A.M and our bus was still not there. We couldn’t help but twist our necks on the slightest sound of a whirring engine. But we were adamant that we will take the bus as planned. It was 4:30 AM when the bus to Munsyari finally showed up. The bus seats were the most comfortable thing we had to sit on that night. The Bus was moving at its usual slow pace until the driver changed in Almora. Came in, Rajeev. He is the reason why drivers in hills are referred as Pilots. He was practically flying the bus. We were later told that he was an expert and well acquainted with every twist & turn in the road. Soon we crossed Kasar Devi and we had our first  sighting of the mighty Himalayas. We started interacting with fellow travellers on the way which provided us good information about the place. When you get to travel with so many people living in such remote areas, something in you changes, you realize how small are your life problems and how much resilience can people develop living in this part of the world.

Photo of Munsiyari: The hidden jewel of the Himalayas 10/14 by Abhay Kapkoti

Love at first sight:

The minute we crossed Thall, the view changed, the floating river, the huge mountains accompanied us anywhere. We knew we were in for a treat. The Birti Fall is a landmark. It truly is. Our Pilot continued to defy the laws of gravity which added new thrill to our journey. We reached Munsyari at 5:30 PM. We were then greeted by Panchachuli and it was love at first sight all over again.The sun was about to set, it is one of the great wonders of mother nature to see sunset through the point of view of Panchachuli. The perpetual color change in peaks lead to the wonder that was the moon, a full moon. It was so breathtaking, that lost in that moment, we forgot to capture it with our cameras. We were just mesmerized with what we had witnessed. Later I met a lady who proclaimed that she comes here every full moon all the way from Delhi to see the moon rise.

Photo of Munsiyari: The hidden jewel of the Himalayas 11/14 by Abhay Kapkoti

This bird you cannot change:

Next day I was up early for my jog and for the sunrise. We will be eternally grateful to Panwar Sir who let us tag along with his group for some action on Bird Watching front. We looked for the state bird (Monal) for quite a time but as it often happens with the royalty we were not able to get a glimpse of it. Himalayan Vultures did bestow us with their presence. The rest of the day was spent bird-watching with the group, wandering and checking out local delicacies.

Photo of Munsiyari: The hidden jewel of the Himalayas 12/14 by Abhay Kapkoti

Today we lunch at Khaliiya Top (AHU! AHU! AHU!):

The day after, we decided to trek. The thumb rule is no visit to any hill station is complete without a trek. We trekked to the renowned Khaliya Top. It was an 8 km trek. Initially it went through dense woods. The vibrant flora and fauna of the woods was breathtaking. Every time I took a glance at the Panchachuli I couldn't help but exclaim, ‘Is this for real?’. After 6kms of uphill trek, we finally reached the Bugyal( Meadows). This was a new world, This was Narnia. We had our lunch at about 2 P.M. Caught up in a trance, we kicked ourselves for not bringing the tents along and slowly dragged our heels back. I was all for taking a shortcut in the way down, but my wise friend resisted. We went down leisurely. No one comes back sad from a trek, try it. We went to sleep seconds after we fell into the bed.

Photo of Munsiyari: The hidden jewel of the Himalayas 13/14 by Abhay Kapkoti

After thoughts:

The next day, we had to leave. We said goodbye to all the warm hill folks.

Photo of Munsiyari: The hidden jewel of the Himalayas 14/14 by Abhay Kapkoti

The bus back home was spent in deep thought on figuring out questions about happiness, love, life and peace.The questions that lie dormant in normal life suddenly stare back at you in the hills and you often you 'find' yourself wondering.

P.S. A series of such breathtaking experiences led us to create Uttarakhandli. There is so much more to see here which often goes unoticed. We collect stories, insights, from locals and avid travellers to uncover such hiden jewels. Join us in our quest to discover and rediscover Uttarakhand. This is our Facebook page.Your friends in Uttarakhand( Uttarakhandli).

Satellite town of Nainital

Awesome Dhabbas to have Lunch

Picturesque waterfall on way to Munsyari

Last place where Panadavs stayed before ascending to Heaven. Period.

8km trek from Munsyari to this majestic place

11 Comment(s)
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hey bro , nicely written... but just wanted to add that there is lot more to explore in munsiyari like hot water spring and Trekk to Milam glacier ( awesome experience) i am from munsiyari so i know a bit , if u ever plan to go there again i can help u out
Wed 09 21 16, 10:41 · Reply · Report
Great Job!
Sat 07 16 16, 09:50 · Reply · Report
hey abhay, nice article. I am planning to leave for Munsyari this friday. Can you share if there is a direct bus ex delhi to munsyari? Also, where did you stay in munsyari? Any contact? Thanks!
Wed 06 08 16, 09:11 · Reply · Report
Nice article. Especially the photo of the old bus. I think once a bus goes up in the mountain they never come back to ply in the people who love the hills.
Sun 05 15 16, 01:40 · Reply (1) · Report
Thanks..aptly put down.. Even though we live in a age say one has to conquer the world .. but sometimes deep inside we want to feel little, almost microscopic in front of something much bigger(Mountains) than ourselves. In that place magic happens
Sun 05 15 16, 09:25 · Report
Disha Kapkoti ki hi family se lagte ho :P
Wed 05 11 16, 21:53 · Reply (1) · Report
Haha.. Muje bhi aisa lagta tha bhai.. phir request accept na hui ..:'( :P
Thu 05 12 16, 20:43 · Report
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