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Uttarakhand: Pithoragarh, Munsiyari and Milam Glacier - A Traveller's Guide
Season: April to June and September to November.
Temperature: 14.5 Degree Celsius to 20 Degree Celsius.
Pithoragarh, spreading across 5*2 km of hilly land, is located at an altitude of 1645 meters. Hidden in the darkness of Oak and Pine trees, Pithoragarh, is a place to look snow clad Himalayan range from a different perspective altogether. Many name it as Mini Kashmir. Surrounded by five soaring mountains, such as, Chandak, Thal, Dwaj, Kedar and Kundar, the serene Pithoragarh is located at the border of India, Nepal and Tibet. The valley of Kali is acting as a border between Pithoragarh and Tibet where as Nepal can be accessed by crossing a viaduct, placed 33 km away from Pithoragarh. A lot of shopkeepers around the border areas keep themselves busy in selling countless numbers of items to the buyers. Baitari is probably the best place for the tourists who want to purchase foreign items and is accessible by Nepali Buses from Pithoragarh. Countless numbers of holiday makers, who travel to Kailash and Manas, start their voyage from Pithoragarh.
The hilly historical fort, erected by Gurkhas during 1789, has now become a Tehsil. Rai Gumpha is also popularly known as Mini Patal Bhubaneswar. The Lingam of Someswar Mahadev here in this Gumpha had been formed naturally due to water which kisses the trunk of the mountain and comes down slowly on the stones of the hill. Innumerable dotted holy temples and ancient historical evidences of Pithoragarh are impressive. The bird’s eye views of Panchachuli, Chandak, Chaukhamba, Nanda Devi, Nandakot, Nandakhat and many more enthralling peaks of western Nepal are best viewed from Pithoragarh and from other places around. Throng of nature lovers flock to the hilltop of Chandak just to witness the natural locale against the absorbing sunset.
Temple lovers, who move around to gaze at the facades of various divine powers, should not miss the opportunity to travel to Narayan Ashram to pay reverence to holy Mata Di. While coming back to your shack, you can purchase woolen items for you from Dharchula Market, about 96 km away from Pithoragarh, located at an altitude of 915 meters.
Tawaghat, another coveted destination nearby is only 19 km away from Dharchula and is accessible by bus. The River Kali flows in between the territories of India and Nepal. Tourists would be fascinated to watch the water stream of the Kali River on the way to Dharchula.
Another coveted destination nearby is the divine Narayan Ashram, at a height of 2440 meters. Trekking lovers would really enjoy the 14 km road to the Ashram which was built in 1936. The shrine of Swamy Narayan on the Ashram premise recalls all his memories. Nature lovers along with spiritual people would be able to spend a quality time watching the snow covered mountain peaks around the divine Ashram. To stay amidst the serenity of the consecrated Ashram, you can book rooms at the comfort of the Ashram. But, while going to Ashram, make sure that S D M Pithoragarh/ Dhatchula grants permission for you.
Munsiyari: One of the most important and prime tourists’ spot of Uttarakhand is Munsiyari, about 154 km away from Pithoragarh. The beguiling natural setting of Munsiyari is pulling crowds.
Nepal and China, at the eastern and northern corridor of Munsiyari respectively are delimiting the land of excitement.
Tourists who visit Munsiyari from or through Kalamuni Top, should watch the face of holy Hindu Goddess Kali who is worshipped by Naked saint (Nanga). Devotees believe the deity always bless her followers with her four arms.
Munsiyari (Mun in Tibetan language means snowflakes and Piyari means field) gets entirely draped in snows during November- April. On the well-stretched-out banks of the Gauri Ganga River, the picturesque Munsiyari, is protected and shielded by five towering crests of Panchachuli (6904 meters). The reflected sunlight on the snowy mountains draw pictures on the minds of the nature lovers with multiple colors. The red color of nature during sunset looks even more inspiring and appealing. Stand and spend time on the banks of the feral and uncultivated Dhauliganga River while enjoying the shivering cool breeze. Don’t forget to touch the trunk of the Panchachuli hill here.
Amidst an engrossing bugyal, the presence of the divine Nanda Devi temple enthralls each and everyone. Beautiful birds fly around and sing in concert. Tourists wake up listening to the melodious tunes of birds like Bulbuli (Pycnonotus jocosus).
Handicrafts, manufactured by local dwellers, can be bought to recollect the memories of the trip.
Tourists who love adventurous sports should travel to Khalia Top for some delightful adventures. Madkot, situated adjacent to Munsiyari, houses a hot spring as well.
How to reach Munsiyari: Buses carry innumerable tourists and city dwellers from Pithoragarh to Munsiyari in 9 hours. About 305 km away from Munsiyari, Tanakpur is also connected to the hillock by bus. Buses ply to Munsiyari through two different roads from Bareilly, Tanakpur and Lohaghat every day. Hiring a jeep to Munsiyari for a comfortable journey would be an apt and wise option. Munsiari is placed in a prime location of Uttarakhand at a height of 2300 meters and can be accessed by buses from different corners, such as, Lucknow, Pilibhit, Kathgodam, Kaushani, Bageshwar, Almora, Chaukori, Birthi falls, Halduani, Kalamuni Top and Thal. A lot of Jeeps and buses ply frequently to Munsiyari from the hilly retreat, Thal. The road that goes all the way to kailash and Manas from Thal offers a pretty and agreeable natural sight to the travelers.
Where to stay at Munsiyari: Some of the laudable and noteworthy hotels where tourists can stay at Munsiyari are PWD Bungalow, Vijoy Tourist Lodge, Hotel Debbhumi, Pandey Lodge, Himmani Lodge, Mountain Resort, Hotel Jara Resort and Hotel prince.
Milam Glacier: The heavenly paradise for trekking lovers, Milam Glacier, located at an elevation of 3450 meters, had been reopened in 1994. Ever since the battle between India and China in 1962, the pretty Milam Glacier was closed and was inaccessible to the trekkers.
Holiday makers, who visit Milam Glacier, should not miss the opportunity to watch the Rogus Kund, about 8 km away from the Glacier.
To and fro journey between Munsiyari and Milam (52 km) would be completed in 7 to 10 days. Even though the number has decreased but still Milam is said to be the land of Bania Community. Entire meadow of Milam once was the pasturage of Kasturi Deer.
Lilam PWD Bungalow provides the much needed shelter for the first night to the trekkers. Trekkers have to trek for 15 km towards the higher altitude alongside the water stream of the Gauri Ganga River to reach the PWD Bungalow. Most of the trekkers like to spend the second night of their journey at the PWD Bungalow in Bugdiar (2700 meters). It is located at the other side of a very tough elevated land of the Mansingh Top. The 3rd night generally is spent in a privately owned house in Taikot, about 12 km away from the Mansingh Top. After spending the 4th night in the village of Millam (3300 meters), trekkers reach their desired destination on 5th day. The Milam Glacier is not more than 2 km away from the Millam village. The Milam Glacier welcomes and greets all the visitors warmly displaying the milky white snow and soaring hills. A sensational cool breeze would touch you on the land of snow and peaks. The panoramic wonders of Nanda Devi, Hardeul and Trisul would fascinate one and all for sure.
On the way back to your own shack from the Milam Glacier, you can savor the taste of tea and food sitting at the roadside. But, it’s always advisable and suggested to carry foods alongside to the captivating glacier. You can take rest in the temporary tent on the way, if you are really tired. The entire road to the riveting glacier exhibits an imposing and absorbing natural splendor to the travelers and trekkers.
The ancient memories and historical epitomes of Martoli or Millam village are not prominently visible today but the very old and distinguished Nanda Devi temple in the vicinity still is considered to be one of the holiest temples of Uttarakhand. It’s not very far away from Millam. Nanda Devi east and Nandakot peaks are showing their snowy heads from the background of the consecrated temple. The deity is worshipped by all the pilgrims who trek all the way to the temple to watch the great Himalayan range from Milam. The road towards the Nanda Devi East Base Camp is bifurcated from this holy hilly land.
About 45 km away from Ralam Village, trekkers start their journey to explore another glacier namely Ralam.
If you are really interested to explore the natural sumptuousness of Milam, then you can avail a package of 7 nights and 8 days of KMVN. Everyone has to pay 5200 rupees to be a part of this conducted tour.
The green well spread out valley of Birthi is located at an altitude of 1800 meters. Compelling greeneries and towering mountains around are the fortes of this magical land. On the way to Birthi, you have to stop at various places to get surprised gazing at the natural grandeur of the Himalayan range. A spellbinding waterfall here is coming down from a height of 100 meters and is hitting the undulating land with its untamed water stream. The Tourists Lodge, located at the lower acclivity, is a picturesque place for staying overnight at. A highway on the banks of the Birthi River looks mesmerizing as well.
Buses from Birthi ply to Kalmuni, Kaushani, Munsiyari and Pithoragarh regularly.
Located at a height of 2700 meters, Kalmuni Top is situated on the lap of wonderful nature. This heavenly destination gives tourists an opportunity to live in tune with nature at least for few days. The Hindu Goddess, Kali is residing on her holy throne in her own temple in Kalmuni Top. She is sitting comfortably on her own hauler, lion and is blessing her followers with her four hands.
Thal is positioned on the banks of the Ram Ganga River right in between Birthi and Chaukori. Shops, bank and normal hotels are scattered around Thal.
Didihat is another sought after destination which is quite popular in the proximity for its excellent natural environs. Situated at an altitude of 1725 meters, Didihat, is one of the best places where from an agreeable and charming view of Panchachuli peak can be enjoyed.
Notable places where tourists can stay in Didihat are Tourists Rest House, Hotel Kumaon, National and Sharma.
About 3 km away from Didihat, atop the small tila, the hallowed Sirakot temple, houses the Hindu God, Malainath Shiva. Baikunth Dham and Narayan Ashram (7 km from Didihat) are drawing attention of the pilgrims as well. The enthralling Angkot Sanctuary is covering a sprawling hilly valley. Buses and Jeeps are traveling to Ogla, Thal, Chaukori, Munsiyari, Pithoragarh and Tanakpur from Didihat.
How to reach Pithoragarh: Pithoragarh, about 62 km away from Lohaghat, is connected to Lohaghat, Kathgodam, Tanakpur, Halduani, Bareilly, Delhi, Almora, Ranikhet and Nainital by bus.
Where to stay at Pithoragarh: Hotel Samrat, Anand, Alankar, Hotel Prasant, Hotel Zara Residency, Hotel Uttaranchal Deep, Hotel Shivam, Hotel Sri Krishna and Hotel Jagat Anand.
Check our hotel booking links below for photos, rates, options and online bookings.