Courage is required to drive the Munsiyari Road
Munsiyari Road is the name of the sharply winding and precipitous ascent in a steep and narrow zig-zag road in the hill-state of Uttarakhand, India.
The winding narrow road snakes up to the little village of Munsiari (or Munsiyari), at 2.682m (8,799ft) above the sea level standing at the threshold of the inner Himalayas. The route demands 100% concentration. Spring and Autumn are the best times to drive the road. Avoid the monsoons. And expect terrible traffic jams.
The surface of the road is paved. Located in the Pithoragarh District, the road runs from Birthi, a small town at 1.740m (5,708ft) above the sea level. If you're afraid of heights, it's probably best to keep your eyes forward. On your way to Munsiyari, you will find this beautiful waterfall called Birthi Falls. It is situated at a distance of 35 km from Munsiyari and is one of the most breath-taking picnic spots in the Kumaon valley.
The route is dangerous. Not recommended to newbies. Along the way you’ll have to deal with some dangerous drop offs. Munsiyari is nestled in the snow capped peaks of the Himalayas. The road offers splendid vistas of natural beauteousness. Munsiyari literally translated means place with snow. Don't forget your camera with lots of film/memory, fully charged batteries and an empty memory card! A vista of perfectly pointed looming peaks greets you as you drive up to Munsiyari.Splendid mountains and valleys waiting to be unmasked at every bend make the drive to Munsiyari truly awe inspiring and magnificent.
It’s pretty steep, with 21 hairpin turns. Starting from Birthi, the road is 33.7 km long. Over this distance, the elevation gain is 942 meters and the average gradient is 2.79% with sections up to 12%. It was a previously a restricted area as it is wedged in between the borders of India, Tibet and Nepal but Munsiyari is now emerging as a popular trekking destination and the government of Uttarakhand is also promoting this little paradise of Kumaon.
Road suggested by: Hugh Wilson
Pic: Himalayan Roads