Munsiyari

By Sanjeev Nayyar [email protected] | 2012

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We left Narayan Ashram at abt 6.30am to reach Munsyari by about 2.30pm. Long but beautiful drive. Somewhere along the way stopped for chai - tea. When I looked up at the sky saw this cloud formation. WOW.

Wanted to feel the water so stopped car, walked down to river. U see me with band-aid on my nose. Whilst walking down, lost balance, my nose hit a rock. Luckily nothing serious. Fellow traveller Satish put band-aid immediately and then clicked this pic. For years I carry band-aid in my wallet. Never know when might need.

Note carefully. Behind you see a newly made walking bridge. In front is a rope, see post on extreme left of pic. Earlier locals would cross the river by sitting in a basket which was pulled to the other side by a trolley.

Munsyari is a reasonably big town. One gets the closest view of the Panchhuli Peaks from here. Next few pics are of Tribal Museum. It is a private collection of a local historian who has very painstakingly put this together. His name is Dr Sher Singh Pangtey. U see two tribal ladies in their local dress.

Do not remember the description fully but here it is. Man puts grain from top, the chakki (grinder) moves with the help of water below to grind the wheat.

Pic of an insect ie found at higher levels in the Himalayas. On way from Narayan Ashram to Dharchula met a young boy who told us that the Chinese demand for this insect is so high that hundreds of locals go high up in the hills to collect this insect. Earnings per family per year could range from Rs 5-15 lakhs. Insect has some medicinal value hence the demand.

This is old sewing machine. It is how raw wool became thread. The Museum is a good 12-15 minute drive from the bus stand but very very good.

Sindhoor was kept in these boxes. Second box right to left has red colored Sindhoor (applied by married Indian women on hair centre parting after marriage).

This is how Beer was served. Munsyari is a base camp for trekkers going to Milan, Ralam and Namik glaciers.

This is a Tibetan Yak. Munsyari also known for rajma. During conversations with locals got to know that the area had very close relations with Tibet prior to China''s forceful occupation. This reinforced what I had read in books by many spiritual leaders of their visit to Tibet. That time could not visualise how they went to Tibet, now I can.

Tribal jewellery. It is at a height of 2135 metres. Also has skiing during the winters. Buy woollens there esp Angora caps. Next pic has details.

"Tribal jewellery. 7kms before Munsyari is village Darkot which is famous for woollen products. I walked thru the village. To see pictures Click Here "

Hukkas used by tribals. Originally planned to spend one day at Munsyari but liked the place so much that spent two. If u can spend three-four days.

Sun-set view of Panchchuli peaks. It is a group of 5 peaks in the Darma valley of Kumaon. The group''s name is derived the legendary Pandavas''s "Five Chulis" (cooking hearths), where they cooked their last meal before proceeding toward their heavenly abode.

Early morning view of the Panchchuli peaks. Walk around the town, go for short treks. Best place to click pic of Panchchuli peaks is Indo Tibetan Border Force rest house. It is about a 5-7 minute walk from the bus stand.

Sun-rise view of Panchchuli peaks. I stayed at Kumaon Mandal Vikash Nigam hotel, cost Rs 1,000/ per day. Very good rooms but slightly away from the market and bus stand.

A view of Munsyari after the sun had risen. Due to large number of Bengali tourists in Munsyari shopkeepers called me Dada. Khalia Top is a 10 km trek from you get a very good view of the Panchchuli peaks. Leave at 7am and expect to return by lunch time.

A late morning say 9am view of the Panchchuli peaks. They are an altitude from 6334 to 6904 metres. People in Munsyari very nice, a pleasure to speak with.

Another view of the Panchchuli peaks this time from the PWD guesthouse. Visit the Nanda Devi Mandir - missed doing that.

U see Pandey Hotel is good place to stay. Clean, functional rooms with good view. Id is [email protected], call owner Pandeyji 9411130373. In Oct cost Rs 750/ for double room if u check in without a booking. If you book in advance could pay Rs 1,500/ a day. Note hotel name is in Bengali due to large nos of Bengali tourists.

Another view of the Panchchuli peaks. Opp Pandey hotel is a small restaurant run by a husband wife duo. Super homely food. Way to identify is fair wife and wheatish complexion husband.

Peak on right is Hasling peak 5350 metres. To read a good travelogue on Munsyari click here

About 30 minutes drive from Munsyari towards Chakouri is Kalamuni Top which is the highest point from where you get an overview of the Panchchuli peaks. Ahead of the top is the Kalamuni Temple whose entrance you see. In the winters skiing happens at Kalamuni Top.