Munsiyari, literally meaning ‘the place with snow’, is a quaint hamlet with the most stunning natural beauty in Uttarakhand. Perched at an altitude of 2,298 meters, Munsiyari is surrounded by snow-capped mountains and glaciers, and consequently, is a favourite among mountaineers and trekkers.
The hill station sees snowfall quite regularly, which is why it is lovingly also known as ‘Little Kashmir’. Fringed with dense forests, and settled on the banks of Gori Ganga, the town is home to incredible wildlife such as the whistling thrust, hawk cuckoo, mountain bear and musk deer. The main inhabitants here are the Shauka tribe people who worship Goddess Nanda Devi.
The most stunning attraction is the Panchachuli Peak, a group of 5 snow-capped Himalayan mountain peaks on the eastern side of Kumaon region. The altitude of these peaks range from 6,312m to 6,904m – ideal for difficult-level trekking. Legend goes that the Pandavas from the Hindu epic Ramayana, had had their final meal here before finally departing from Earth.
For the beginners however, a trek to Khaliya Top is highly recommended. At an altitude of 3,747m, the gorgeous meadow affords a great view of the mountain vistas. The trail of the trek is especially enjoyable with the scent of beautiful alpine trees such as spruce, pine, old oak and cypress trees perennially hanging in the air.
If you want a secluded picnic near a waterfall, Birthi Waterfalls nestled amidst the thickets of Himalayan forests, is your answer. You have to undertake a small trek to reach here. Falling from a height of 2,200m, the waterfall is the most glorious around monsoon.
What’s a trip to the hills without visiting some hot water natural springs. About 5km from Munsiyari, there’s one at Madkot. A dip in the natural spring is believed to heal skin rashes, burns or body aches. Don’t leave Munsiyari without exploring the Namik Glacier; for an incredible trekking experience.
The best time to visit here is during summer months; when the place affords a clear view of lush greenery and sky-high mountains, and is perfect for trekking. Though if you wish to see snowfall, the ideal time to visit is during winter season.