Truth be told, the question of sight-seeing in Munsiyari doesn’t arise. For, when in Munsiyari, the ‘sights’ are right in front of you – be it the meadows or the hills or the Himalayan peaks — you simply do not allow them to be ‘out of sight’!
You get the point, don’t you? The moment we set step and our sight in Munsiyari, we gave it our heart. That was at the Kalamuni Pass. We demanded of Ratanda, our driver, to allow us to walk down to the beautiful valley. He wouldn’t hear of it. Said, we were late for lunch already and that the rain-clouds looked threatening. Noticing our smiles vanish, he smiled and said, he would get us to the meadows after lunch and leave us there. To graze, eer, gaze and loiter….
And that’s how we saw most of Munsiyari — loitering and gazing….
We rushed to the Nanda Devi Temple early in the morning. Immediately after an early breakfast. It was a very bright morning, and we wanted to beat the crowd too. Predictably, we were the first visitors at that hour at the temple premises. Vast and open, the grounds of the temple give an unobstructed view of the five peaks of the Himalayas, locally known as the Panchachuli.
Showing us Khaliya Top, Ratanda enquired if we’d be keen to do the steep 10km trek of the Khaliya hill. We couldn’t, since our daughter couldn’t. He told us about how popular the trek is when it is capped with snow. At the moment, however, there wasn’t any snow there. And admitted that the climb would be too steep for our 7-yr old.
He then insisted we take a tour of Munsiyari’s Tribal Heritage Museum. We were glad he did. For, this was not a govt run museum. Instead, it’s a private museum of an elderly school teacher and an expert in the area. The artefacts, coins, items he collected over the years are on display at this wing of his own house. The place helps build up a visual of how life is like in and around Munsiyari. Whats more, you can buy photographs, CDs of the festivals and fairs of Uttarakhand from here.
Post lunch at our hotel (read review: Milam Inn in Mumsiyari), we walked up to the Balati Potato Farm. A 45-minute trek, we walked down the woods from the main road up to the farm. Another fantastic view of the Himalayas and the valley below, we loitered around the farm for a good while taking photographs, chatting with the farm workers, watching them work ….
And from the farm, we wrestled from Ratanda what we had promised us the noon before — we asked him to drive down while we walked, trekked down. Across meadows and zig-zag roads, exploring the horticulture greenhouses here and there, trying to see if we could identify medicinal plants that Munsiyari hills are famous for, stopping by cow sheds and trying to strike conversations with its inmates, watching rain clouds gather and calculating if we could beat them and the running for shelter when they teased us with a drizzle, gazing at an abandoned stone house with beautiful grounds and wondering how beautiful a garden I could make of it…..and we filled our hearts with images such as these, with the crisp air to take back home so that we could cud and chew when memories struck….
For the complete Uttarakhand itinerary, where to stay, what to see and what to buy, read — An Uttarakhand Roadtrip This Summer