When I look back into the Himalayan days

April 20, 2018


Have you ever thought about how people travel throughout the weeks and months, without going back home, destination after destination..

My thoughts were the same until I stayed for few days in a small village near to the Birthi falls on the way to Munsiyari, in Pithoragarh district which is in the Kumaon part of the Himalayan mountains. I never felt to travel and stay for the whole months or so, as people do except this place I have been to.

The village
It was back in 2016 May. I happened to stay in KMVN Tourist Rest House in Birthi, when I was off for some official work. 

The road through which we came to TRH, Birthi
Not many people were there, except some who stops to see the waterfall on their way to Munsiyari. Except that, the place is very silent and serene.

We were 35 Km away from Munsiyari which is a starting point for various treks to the Himalayan mountains. Munsiyari means the place with snow(from Wikipedia). I was very close to the mountains capped with snow and yet couldn't reach to it. One of my wishes is to see and feel the snow in real.

The TRH we stayed in was very beautiful. If I look through my back balcony, I could see the Birthi falls.

It was a Saturday. By the time we reached it was evening. Though we came from a long ride, we weren't feeling much tired. The weather here won't let you feel tired. There were rain clouds, hence we cancelled the plan to trek to the falls. We sipped the hot tea and sat there enjoying the foggy weather. But we made plans to go near the waterfalls in the next day morning.

Our travel partner in Birthi
So the next morning we started off to the waterfalls. See our travel companion for our Birthi stay. He was with us by the time we arrived wagging its tail, accompanying wherever we go. It took hardly 10-15 minutes to reach near the falls. Water was super cool.


The Birthi falls
Here people will climb the steep hills, with very ease. Can you spot a woman climbing down the hills in the next picture??


Mountain Woman climbing down.. Did you spot her??
If not, see the picture below. She is the one, who climbed down like a pro. Most of the people here rely on agriculture, animal husbandry or trading medicinal plants. The People who are close to nature. They depend mostly on natural resources for their day to day life.

The lady you spotted above.

We spent some time near the waterfall. Later we planned to go visit the Kalamuni temple, which is 17 Km away from Birthi. It is on the way to Munsiyari.

The temple is devoted to Kali and Naga sadhus. People who visit Munsiyari, stop here to take the blessings. There are some beliefs associated with the temple. If we pray, the god here will protect us from snakebite and relief us from 'naga dosha'. 

Kalamuni Temple Premises
In the temple, there was cannabis grown, which is referred as one among the five sacred plants in Atharva Veda. They use it here in the form of 'Bhang' for some religious festivals in the temple. I have heard about this consumed in  beverage form during Holi and other festivals. But never happened to see or drink. Oh, my wish list is very big 😉.

Bhang Plants grown in the Himalayas
We can see Panchchuli Peak from this place and can reach Khaliya top by a trek of 10 km. But the man we met on the temple said, it will rain by looking at the weather. We cannot predict the weather in mountains as them, though the sun was up at that time, the weather will change in the blink of an eye. Hence we had to drop the desire to climb up to the Khaliya top. He was telling us stories of people who takes goats for grazing inside the forests for days and precautions they take to keep the leopards away.
We met him in the temple..
So we came back to the room, after spending some time there in the temple. By evening we went on exploring the 'gaav'(village) downside. 

We went to this stream of water. People here said they have spotted Leopards and other animals, coming here to drench up their thirst.


A stream in a village near TRH Birthi

Scenes in the village : Kids playing around on a Sunday evening

Though we couldn't see the leopard in action, we could see the victims of leopards action. We were told that the goat was killed by a leopard and left without eating. So this family were barbequing it for the Sunday special dinner.

Dinner for the day
On our way, we met this woman. I forgot her name, but her delightful gestures I still remember. She was very happy meeting us and was inviting to her home. Disregarding her age, she was doing all the brickworks for her new home.


Happy Himalayan People
The next day morning it was time for us to say good bye to Birthi. When I left the place I was missing everything. The candlelight dinners because there was a power shut down at nights, the short night walk in the dark mountains after dinner where there is no street lights, the mountain dog who accompanied us in our whole Birthi stay, the hot Paranthas for dinner, compassionate people who were sharing their stories to us, the mountains who treated us admirably...

If there is one place I would like to go back, in the entire Himalayan trip, thats here, Birthi. I got connected with this place a little too much. Hope to go back there again and do the things which I left undone. Meet the woman who invited us to her home, do a trek from Munsiyari to the mountains caked with snow and play in it..
Have you ever been connected to places and to do things like this, share your story of getting connected with a place, which you want to go back again..

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Would you like to see the place I stayed, surrounded by forest and waterfall beside it.. Watch the video..

Beauty amidst nature - View around Birthi Falls

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