Slow living with a shot of empowerment in the Himalayas
THE DIFFERENCE YOU MAKE
When you book a sojourn at Himalayan Ark homestay, or trek with one of their guides, you support a community in its efforts to protect the environment, as well as maintain a sustainable way of life.
Himalayan Ark’s homestay hosts keep 80 per cent of the revenue, and voluntarily contribute 5 per cent towards community development — 2 per cent goes to the van panchayat, while 3 per cent goes to a fund that offers interest-free loans for community members to upgrade their homestays. In 2019, tourism brought in over 50 lakhs (US$75,000) to the community.
If travel is not an option, you can also support Himalayan Ark by purchasing their crafts through their community-run Instagram page, @voicesofmunsiari.
The closest international airport is in Delhi, 291km away. Take a taxi or an overnight train to Haldwani/Kathgodam. From Kathgodam/Haldwani, you can hire a taxi for the 285km journey through the hill section to Munsiari. During the monsoon, June to September, you may need to enquire which road is open.
During some seasons, there are also flights from Delhi/Dehradun to Pantnagar (half an hour’s to from Haldwani) and Pithoragarh (five hours’ drive to Munsiari).
Plan at least 10 to 12 hours for travel.
The high altitude of Munsiari means pleasantly cool to cold weather year-round.
Each season brings experiences suited to different travellers. May to June is ideal for those seeking to escape the summer heat, while the spring and autumn months would be the choice of trekkers and climbers.
The monsoon arrives in July and August. While the rainfall may obscure the panoramic views, the season will delight those keen on botany, with the alpine meadows in particular being at their verdant best.
Winter brings crystal clear skies and toasty sunny days, the slanting winter light casting a pale glow over the snow-covered landscape. It is the best time for photography, reading, and for long meditative walks.