Munsiyari is a township settlement of Pithoragarh district nestled at an altitude of 2300 meter. Munsiyari is an old settlement lies on the banks of River Gori Ganga that originated from Milam Glacier and flows through this settlement and intersected with Kali River which is flowing from Nepal near ‘Jauljibi’ of Uttarakhand. The word Munsiyai is derived from a Tibetan word which means (Mun – Snow and Siyari – Area). Munsiyari is the center and also the gateway to the Johar Valley and is referred to as the ‘Snow View Point’ of the Kumaon region. Once during the past Munsiyari was an important trading centre between India and Tibet. For the last many years Munsiyari developed as an important tourist destination for its panoramic views of the Himalayan ranges especially during sunset at the backdrop of Panchachuli range (6904 meter). Due to the geographical location Munsiyari offers the view of the Himalayan ranges from every spheres of the town which is worth admiring. Munsiyari is regarded as a paradise for trekkers as numerous trekking routes have emerged from Munsiyari. Munsiyari is a big town and surrounding it there are around 223 small villages. Most of the population of Munsiyari is known as ‘Bhot’ or ‘Bhotia’. These are mainly Tibetans for which Tibetan influence is clearly seen in the traditional folk culture of this region. Munsiyari and its surrounding area is home to more than 300 species of Himalayan birds that inhabit these regions for which this is an ideal destination for landscape photographers and bird watchers. Within the region of Munsiyari there are two different viewpoints worth visiting, one is the view located near Indo Tibetan Border Police Camp and another is the Nanda Devi temple. Munsiyari is located around 98 km away from Chaukori.

Places of tourist visit in Munsiyari:

Birthi Falls: Birthi is a popular tourist spot mainly known for Birthi Falls and is located around 35 km from Munsiyari situated En- route Thal – Munsiyari road in Pithoragarh district. This cascading waterfall surges from a height of about 400 ft. The route to Birthi Falls is a narrow steep uphill trek route which can also be reached from Kalamuni Pass. Tourists are recommended to visit Birthi Falls during their stay at Munsiyari. There is a KMVN Tourist Rest House situated near Birthi Falls which is a great option for tourists to make a night halt. The ideal time to visit Birthi Falls is from September to June. The view of the surrounding Himalayan ranges from the periphery of Birthi Falls is worth admiring.

Maheshwari Kund: The Mehasr Kund or Maheswari Kund is another major tourist’s attractions of Munsiyari and is located around 10 km away. Maheshwari Kund is a lake (Kund is referred to as a lake) and a Hindu legend is closely associated with it. This pristine lake or Maheshwari Kund is dotted with wide species of floras like Rhododendrons, Oak, Pine and other Himalayan floras. The periphery of the Maheshwari Kund offers stunning views of the Panchachuli Range. Maheshwari Kund resides between Munsiyari – Madkot road and tourists can opt for a trekking trail to reach the lake from Munsiyari.

Thamri Kund: Thamri Kund or Tamri Kund is a natural lake or pond that resides within the forest region of Munsiyari. The locals of the region believe that Thamri Kund has blessed this region with ample rain in case of insufficient rainfall. Thamri Kund is also revered to a short trek route of about 03 km from the Hanuman Temple of Munsiyari Road. The periphery of this pond offers stunning views of the snow clad mountain ranges and the trekking route is through lush green natural vegetation.

Kalamuni Top: Kalamuni top is located around 15 km away from Munsiyari on the way back from Birthi. The elevation of Kalamuni top is about 9500 ft and the spot is popular for a temple dedicated to Goddess Kali. During winter Kalamuni top receives heavy snowfall. The stunning view of the Panchachuli range along with the sprawling Pine Forest is worth admiring. After Birthi a steep uphill route leads to Kalamuni top.

Khaliya Top: The Khalia Top is a meandering meadow surrounded by the snow-capped Himalayan ranges of the Kumaon Himalayas along with the mystical land of the Kumaon region. Khalia Top is nestled at an altitude of about 11500 ft (3500 meter) and offers stunning views of Himalayan ranges like Hardeol, Rajrambha, Nanda Kot and Panchachuli. Khaliya Top is also referred to as another trekking trail from Munsiyari. From Balanti Potato Farm an easy gradient route of about 06 km leads to Khaliya Top. During winter adventure sports are organized at Khalia Top.

Betulidhar: Betulidhar is a colossal garden blossomed with Rhododendrons. Betulidhar is located around 07 km away from Munsiyari town and is nestled at an altitude of about 2748 meter (9000 ft). Tourists are advised to visit Betulidhar during winter season as it becomes an important skiing option for tourists visiting Munsiyari from December to February. Betulidhar is situated on Thal – Munsiyari road.

Nanda Devi Temple: Nanda Devi Temple is another point of tourist interest located around 3 km from Munsiyari which can be reached by a short trek from the market road of about 200 meter. The temple of Nanda Devi is situated on a large meadow and offers a magnificent view of Panchachuli range along with River Gori Ganga flowing at the bottom. The evening view from the periphery of Nanda Devi Temple during sunset is worth admiring. The Nanda Devi Temple is a bit of an isolated spot of Munsiyari, ideal for families and groups to relax and enjoy the 180 degree view. The architectural style of the Nanda Devi Temple resembles that of typical Kumaoni style.

Madkot Village: Madkot is a picturesque hamlet of Munsiyari, which is blessed with scenic splendour, thick natural vegetation and sulphur mixed hot spring. Madkot Village is located around 22 km away from Munsiyari on the east bank of River Gori Ganga en- route to Darchula. The sulphur mixed hot spring at Madkot village has curing powers of many diseases.

Darkot Village: Darkot Village is a pristine hamlet situated on Madkot – Munsiyari road and is located around 06 km from Munsiyari. The village of Darkot is encircled by Himalayan ranges and is also blessed with flora and fauna in abundance. The small wooden constructed houses of the locals or the rustic houses of this region are worth admiring; they display a rich Kumaon culture and architecture. The hand woven blankets, stoles, shawls, sweaters and others made by the local women of the self-help groups from rabbit’s fur are worth buying. Darkot is an hour’s drive from Munsiyari and tourists need to descend from the main road in order to reach the village.

Tribal Heritage Museum: The Tribal Heritage Museum is a small cultural private museum established in the year 2000 by Sher Sing Pangtey, a teacher locally called as Master Ji. This Tribal Heritage Museum is situated in Nanasen Village located around 2 km from the Munsiyari market area. This museum has wide collections of household items like pottery, wooden utensils, bags made of Yak skin and ornaments, measuring balance, musical instruments and handicrafts along with bowls, kettles, saucers, cooking pots, spoons, boxes made of strong and durable wood from the Shanger Tree. This museum offers tourists a glimpse of the traditional Bhotia culture. The museum remains open from 10.00 am to 05.00 pm.

Balanti Potato Farm: Balanti Potato Farm is an offbeat spot nestled at an altitude of about 9000 ft and located around 02 km trekking route through thick woodlands from Munsiyari Bus Stand. Balanti Potato Farm is situated on Munsiyari – Madkot road. The periphery of Balanti Potato Farm offers stunning views of the Panchachuli Range. Balanti Potato Farm houses thick greenery of Oak and Rhododendron trees all over.

Narayan Ashram: Narayan Ashram is another tourist attraction located around 41 km away from Munsiyari and nestled at an altitude of about 2734 meters. The Narayan Ashram was established by Narayan Swami in 1936. The ashram is a centre for spiritual cum social education. The ashram is located at Dharchula on Kailash – Mansarovar route. On the way tourists get to see the flowing Kali River that forms a natural boundary between India and Nepal.

Trekking in Munsiyari: Munsiyari is best known for the emergence of a few trek routes that lead to the inner regions of the Kumaon Himalayas of Uttarakhand. Munsiyari forms the base camp for most of the glacial trek routes present within the region. On the way to these trek routes trekkers will come across verdant natural vegetation of Oak, Pine, Cyprus and Rhododendrons. Bird sightings are also witnessed in these trek routes. Some of the popular trek routes that emerged from Munsiyari are listed below.

Milam Glacier Trek: Milam is a major glacier of the Kumaon Himalayas in the tehsil of Munsiyari of the Pithoragarh district of the Indian state of Uttarakhand. Milam Glacier is spread over an area of about 37 sq km and is a 16 km long trek which has its base camp at Munsiyari. Milam Glacier is the source for the emergence of River Gori Ganga which is a major tributary of Kali River. The ideal time to trek this route is from mid of March to May. The trek route to Milam Glaier offers stunning views of the Himalayan ranges along with verdant meadows, lush green valleys, waterfalls, pine forests and others.

Ralam Peak/ Glacier Trek: Ralam Glacier is another main Himalayan Glacier the elevation of which is about 2290 meters and is located around 15 km away from Munsiyari town. Ralam Glacier is located between Ralam Dhura and Ralam Khal. Ralam Glacier is divided into Upper Ralam and Lower Ralam. The ideal time to trek this route is from April to June and September to November.

Namik Glacier Trek: Namik Glacier is a lesser explored trek route of the Kumaon Himalayas located around 40 km away from Munsiyari. The elevation of Namik Glacier is about 3600 meters and it forms the source of Ramganga River. The Glacier is guarded by major Himalayan ranges like Nanda Devi, Nanda Kot and Trishul. Namik Glacier is situated on the ancient Indo – Tibetan trade route. The word Namik is derived from the presence of ‘Saline water springs’ and number of waterfalls and sulphur mixed hot springs originating from here. The ideal time to trek Namik Glacier is May to June and September to October.

Birding In Munsiyari: Munsiyari is an ideal destination for landscape photographers and bird watchers. Munsiyari and its surrounding areas are home to more than 300 species of Himalayan birds that inhabit these regions. Some of the commonly spotted birds species at Munsiyari are Grey Bellied Tesia, Robin Accentor, Himalayan Cutia, Green-tailed Sunbird, Satyr Tragopan, Chestnut Crowned Warbler, Great Crested Tit, Golden Eagle, Snowy Browed Flycatcher, Red Headed Bullfinch, Bearded Vulture, Snow Partridge, Eurasian Woodcock, Hill Partridge, Spotted Laughing Thrush, Rose Finch, Great Throated Parrotbill, Black Throated Parrotbill, Pied Thrush and many others.

Skiing in Munsiyari: One of the main outdoor activities in Munsiyari is Skiing which is mainly held during the months of winter. Among other skiing destinations located in India, Munsiyari is one of those. During the winter season numerous tourists flock to Munsiyari in order to take part in this adventure sport. Skiing in Munsiyari also offers breathtaking views of the surrounding valleys and mountain ranges. The Khaliya Top Meadow and Betulidhar are the two notable spots for most of the skiing activities around Munsiyari.

How to reach
By Air: The nearest domestic airport to Munsiyari is Pantnagar Airport which is located at a distance of 249 km and it serves to and from flight service with Delhi. The next nearest airport to Munsiyari is Indira Gandhi International Airport at Delhi which is located around 652 km away and it serves both domestic and international flight options with major cities of India and the other countries as well. The Jolly Grant Airport at Dehradun can also be another option for tourists to visit Munsiyari which is located around 445 km. From these three different airports hired cars and taxis are available to reach Munsiyari.

By Train: The nearest railheads to Munsiyari are Kathgodam (280 km) and Tanakpur (275 km). There are three different routes by which Munsiyari can be reached. The first route is by train upto Kathgodam or Lalkuan from here by road via Almora – Bageshwar – Thal – Birthi upto Munsiyari.
The second route is by train upto Tanakpur, from there by road via Lohaghat – Pitthoragarh – Ogla – Didihat – Thal – Birthi upto Munsiyari.
The third route from Tanakpur to Lohaghat – Pitthoragarh – Ogla – Jaulojibi – Madkot to Munsiyari can be reached.

By Road: Munsiyari is well connected by strong motor-able roads with Delhi, Kathgodam, Tanakpur, Dehradun and Pantnagar along with other major cities of India as well. Direct bus services ply from Kathgodam, Almora, Haldwani and Tanakpur to reach Munsiyari. But from Delhi tourists are advised to avail hired cab service. But tourists will get bus services from ISBT Anand Vihar upto Haldwani and from there by another bus Munsiyari can be reached.

Best time to visit Munsiyari: The best time to visit Munsiyari is from March to June and September to November. From December onwards Munsiyari starts receiving snowfall and it remains covered with snow till the month of March. From March to April is the best time to witness the red coloured rhododendrons that bloom all over the valley.