Trekking Itinerary from Munsiari

Trekking Routes from Munsiari

Munsiari, located in the northern part of Pithoragarh district, is a trekker’s paradise. A number of trekking routes start from this small frontier town. Some of these routes are short, covering a distance of around three to ten kilometers only while some others like Milam Glacier Trek or Ralam Glacier Trek are long requiring around ten days to complete. Till 1992, movement in this area was restricted by the Government of India. Now that the restrictions have been lifted these treks have become very popular.

Trek to Milam Glacier

Milam Glacier, which covers an area of 37 sq km, is one of the most popular trekking destinations from Munsiyari. It is best described as potpourri of several glaciers emerging from surrounding peaks. Although its two main branches originate from the eastern slope of Tirsuli and the southern slope of Kohli it has several others joining it at later stage. River Gori Ganga originates from its snout and a large part of the trekking trail runs along the bank of this river. For more information on this glacier you may refer to our page on Geography of Munsiari. 

Trails from Munsiari to Milam Glacier

Trails from Munsiari to Milam Glacier

The trekking trail from Munsiari to Milam Glacier passes through a picturesque region consisting of many lonely hamlets, evergreen forests and lush green alpine meadows. Although Munsiyari is considered the base, the actual trek starts from a place called Bog Udyar. From there you have multiple options. Our trail will take us through Lilam, Bugdyar, Martoli, Ganghar, Panchu, Milam village and finally to Milam Glacier.

Day 1: From Bog Udyar to Leelam

The first days trek involves 12 km of continuous descent. Our destination is a small hamlet called Lilum. It is located at an altitude of 1850 meters, which is 6105 feet. There is a PWD Rest House in this village. You may spend the night there.

Day 2: From Leelum to Bugdyar

From Leelum to bugdyar
Source: Flickr

Today we camp at Bugdyar, another small village located at an altitude of 2500 meters on the bank of Gori Ganga. The trail, that follows the river, takes us through a beautiful country. At places you may have glimpses of Munsiyari. The distance to be covered is 12 km. On the way you may stop at Roopsi Bagar, which also overlooks Gori Ganga. Rargadi is another village on this route. At Budgyar, there is an outpost of Indo Tibetan Birder Police (ITBP).

Day 3: From Bugdyar to Martoli

Martoli on Way to Milam Glacier

Today’s trek takes you above the tree line to a small hamlet called Martoli (3385 meter 11170 feet). The village was once a prominent outpost on the trade route from Tibet. However, with the closure of the frontier and drying up of the trade, villagers lost their livelihood. So they began leave Martoli to settle down in and around Munsiyari. However, it is not fully deserted; few people still live there. There is also a small temple, dedicated to Goddess Nanda Devi, at this place.

Day 4: Martoli to Ganghar

Ganghar, located at an altitude of 3260 meters, is our next destination. The distance to be travelled is around 12 km. From here, one can have a clear view of Nanda Devi East.  Earlier it was a prosperous village where at least sixty farmer families used to live. Now only a handful of them can be found there.

Day 5: Ganghar to Pachu Glacier

From Ganghar to Pachu

Pachu or Panchu Glacier (3690 meter) is located at a distance of only 6 km from Ganghar; but because of terrain and altitude it takes three to four hours to cover this distance. The trail takes you through a forest of rhododendrons.  As you approach the glacier you find Nanda Devi looming large over you. It seems so very near. Those who have time may spend a day here exploring the ridges of Nanda Devi East. Otherwise, you may move on to Milam village.

Day 6: Panchu Glacier to Milam Village

Milam Village
Source: Flikr

Milam was another important outpost on the trade route from Tibet. Before the trade closed down there were about 500 families living here. Post 1962, most of the families migrated to other regions in search of livelihood. Today, it is almost deserted village with very few families living here. In summer, medicinal plants such as high altitude Buckwheat and Jambhu are cultivated in and around this village.

The trail takes you through a picturesque region. The sight of Nanda Devi is truly enchanting from here.

Day 7: Milam Village to Milam Glacier

Milam Village to Milam Glacier

One generally takes around two hours to reach Milam Glacier from Milam village. Initially, the trail passes through high altitude meadows dotted with sage, Junioer, miniature gorse and briar roses.  As you approach the glacier you will find the path to be slippery. This is because of ice formation and unless you are careful you are sure to meet with some accident.

Now you have two alternatives. You can either go along the glacier to reach Nitwal Thawl and set the camp there or come back to Milam Village the same day.

Day 8: Nitwal Thal - Suraj Kund – Nitwal Thal

Milam Glacier

We presume you have put up your camp Nitwal Thal. In such a case, you should continue along Milam Glacier to reach Suraj Kund, located at the base of Tirshuli Mountain.  From here you can have close view of many well known peaks that surround the glacier. Once you have admired them all retrace your step back to Nitwal Thal.

Day 9: Nitwal Thal to Milam Village

Tonight we camp at Milam Village. Tomorrow we start our return journey; this time we will go via Rilkot.

Day 10: Milam Village to Rilkot

From Milam Village to Rilkot

Follow River Gori Ganga to reach Barphu Village, located at the foot of Burphu Peak. You may spend the night there. But most continue downwards to reach Rilkot the same day. The total distance is 17 Km.

Day 11: Rilkot to Bugdiyar

Continue downwards to reach Bugdiyar by afternoon. The distance to be covered is 12 km. The magnificent gorge at Nahar Devi is the highlight of this trail.

Day 12: Budgyar to Lilum

Fom Bufdyar to Lilum

Retrace your steps back to Leelum to spend the night there.

Day13: Lilum to Munsiyari

Road head Bog Udyar is our first destination. From there we catch vehicles to reach Munsiyari.

Nanda Devi East Base Camp Trek from Munsiyari

This trek follows the same trail up to Martoli and then diverts towards Nanada Devi Base Camp. Many take this up on their return journey from Milam. In such a case they reach Lwani from Milam and spend the night there. The next day they set for Nanda Devi East Base Camp and return via Martoli.

Ralam Glacier Trek from Munsiyari

Ralam Glacier is another popular trekking destination from Munsiyari. This glacier is the source of River Ralam Gad, a tributary of River Gori Ganga. The trail diverts at Leelum. It then runs via Patan Gao, Sophiya Udiyar and Ralam Village before it reaches Ralam Glacier. However, it can also be reached from Milam village. In that case, one first reaches Tola Village and then crosses Brijganga Pass to reach Ralam Village. From there, one reaches Ralam Glacier.

Ralam Glacier trek from Munsiyari

Best Time for Trekking from Munsiary

The best time to visit these glaciers is from the beginning of May to middle of October. One should also try to avoid the monsoon months.

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