This one-week road trip itinerary from Delhi to Munsiyari will take you across many highlights in Uttarakhand!
Since I have bought a motorbike in April this year, I have been planning road-trips across the Himalayas. Where these road-trips surely fall under the category of a ‘road-trip’ the fact that I travel very slow (for example, taking a month for the usual one-week Delhi-Ladakh trip) is what differentiates them other similar road-trips or the road trip itineraries you find online. These itineraries (that I will be sharing with you in the coming weeks/months) will take you across a place in a much detailed and orderly manner.
So, following the same ‘slow-travel’ approach, last month, in June of 2019, I did a 20-day road trip from New Delhi to Munsiyari – yes, the same route that can otherwise be done over a weekend. During those 20 days, I stayed at 11 different locations and drove nearly 2000km. I rented guest houses, stayed in backpacker hostels and even camped on the way. Sometimes, I stayed on the main Delhi-Munsiyari connecting road, while at other times, I took a detour and stayed at someplace totally offbeat.
So out of my 20-day road trip between Delhi-Munsiyari, if I were to suggest a quick one-week itinerary that promises not only a picturesque drive but many different experiences too – from exploring wildlife to temples to a local way of life, all bundled in one journey – this is what I will recommend.
Delhi to Munisyari: Road Trip Itinerary
Day 1: Delhi to Kalagarh (for Wildlife) | 230 Km
If you’ve never heard of Kalagarh, imagine it as an unpopular Jim-Corbett. Located some 50km west of Ramnagar and Kotdwar (where most people visiting Jim Corbett stay) Kalagarh is one of the closest natural wildlife habitats from New Delhi and offers an offbeat and peaceful location – with villages to explore, other than some wildlife and migratory birds, of course.
The drive from Delhi to Kalagarh is moreover an enjoyable one, that, if nothing else, keeps you away from traffic (other than the frequented Delhi-Rishikesh or Delhi-Jaipur routes) and takes you from Delhi to Kalagarh in less than 6 hours. Spend a night at one of Kalagarh’s wildlife resorts watching beautiful Himalayan range in the backdrop and prepare yourself for driving in the mountains from tomorrow.
I stayed at ‘Upvan Wildlife Resort’ and can recommend a stay there.
Further Reading: Kalagarh, A Weekend Getaway Destination From Delhi
Day 2: Kalagarh to Almora (for TEMPLES) | 200 Km
Kalagarh to Almora is again a 6-hour drive, but a rather picturesque one. You will by-pass Nainital where weather will start getting colder. As you will leave Nainital, the temperature will rise again before it starts dropping near Almora.
Now, remember that there are two parts of Almora: one, that is crowded and bustling (where most of the locals stay, the older part of the town) and the other is the quieter, the greener part (where most of the tourist guesthouses and resorts are located).
The latter is located close to Mata Kesar Devi Temple. So, if you will ask me, I will suggest you to stay near Mata Kesar Devi Temple. Visit Mata Kesar Devi Temple and Neemkaroli Baba temple (on the way from Nainital and Almora) to complete your temple experience on Delhi to Munsiyari road-trip.
I stayed at ‘The Himalayan Woods’ in Almora and can recommend a stay there.
Here are more Travel Tips For Almora, and a youtube video of my Nainital to Almora ride…
Day 3: Almora To Village Naikana, Near Jageshwar (for LOCAL VILLAGE EXPERIENCE) | 50 Km
If you’re one of those people who are into local experiences and want to see the local way of life – at least in the Kumaon region in Uttarakhand – Kot Naikana is the place to be, and that’s why I suggest you stay there for a night during your one-week road trip to Munsiyari.
Kot Naikana is an old Kumaoni house furbished with new-age comfort, located in the middle of a small village. To make the experience more local, the daily activities at Kot Naikana includes a village tour, a jungle trek and a lunch in one of the village houses.
To get there, just Google Map Navigate for ‘Kot Naikana’. From Almora, it will take about 3 hours to get there. Since Kot Naikana is not connected to the road, you can either park your vehicle at Jageshwar temple and trek from there. Or, you can go to the other side of the circle (imagine Kot Naikana as the center of a circle, and you’re on the other side now) at Sankar Jaim Temple (which can also be Google navigated) and follow a more rural and smaller trail to Naikana Village (3-5km from Sankar Jaim temple). From this point, your stay is about a 3-minute walk.
Read more about the place here: Getting Local Village Experience In Uttarakhand, or watch the video:
Day 4: Naikana to Munsiyari (for a BEAUTIFUL DRIVE) | 180 Km
From Naikana to Munsiyari will again be about 6-7 hour ride, but it will be the highlight and the most eye-pleasing part of the journey. The best part will start from Tejam village which is a 50km stretch to Munsiyari, with a couple of high mountain passes and hairpin bends.
Munsiyari, as a place, holds not much charm but the drive to Munsiyari does. So take your time getting there, stop at beautiful locations on the way – particularly the Birthi Waterfall. For your stay, I suggest you to not go into the main town of Munsiyari rather stay at Mayank Homestay that is located well outside of the crowded Munsiyari and gives beautiful views of Panchachuli Peaks from its backyard.
It is also possible to camp in Munsiyari if you’re carrying a tent with you.
Day 5: Munsiyari to Golana (for CAMPING IN WILDERNESS) | 140 Km
On day 5, your trip to Munsiyari officially comes to an end and the journey back to New Delhi begins. If you’re carrying a tent, just Google map navigate for this town called Golana (located only 20km before Bageshwar) and camp there.
Watch the video below and see where I camped and how the location actually looks like:
The place is rather safe and the local villagers are very friendly. Camping in Golana will complete your dream of camping in the wilderness (not literally though but to some point). There are local shops nearby where you can eat.
Day 6: Golana to Nainital (for COVERING A HIGHLIGHT) | 130 Km
From Golana, Nainital is about 6 hours drive and is about 150 km. It is possible to do the journey in a day if you’re driving a car. For those riding a motorbike, however, splitting the journey into two halves can be a good idea. Additionally, Nainital remains a popular place for anyone doing Delhi-Munisyari route so a stay in Nainital can be a good idea.
When it comes to accommodation, Nainital has no dearth of options. Stay on the Mall Road if you want to experience Nainital closely, but be warned that Nainital can be quite crowded. It is also a good idea to stay outside of the Nainital, do a day trip to Nainital, and leaving the next morning without any risk of getting stuck in traffic. Nainital can be quite crowded sometimes.
Here’s a quick video of my Golana to Nainital ride and where I stayed:
Day 7: Nainital to Delhi | 350 Km
Nainital to Delhi is again only a quick 6 to 7 hours drive that takes you to Ramnagar and Moradabad on the way, and gives you literally nothing to marvel at!
Delhi to Munsiyari: Not Your Beaten Road-Trip Trail
No wonder, road trips are the best way to travel, given they give you full control over your journey. Want to stop? Stop. In a hurry? Drive fast. Fancy exploring a detour? Do it. What’s better is, road trips bring you closer to your family and friends. And if you’re doing it solo, you will have the best time introspecting yourself and coming out of your comfort zone. So yea, everything about road trips is just perfect if only you drive to the right place. Because if you ended up visiting a place that is rather crowded, your journey is going to feel less like a holiday and more like a tiresome job, where you’re commissioned to drive and drive more.
So yea, for a road trip to be enjoyable it’s important to have an itinerary that is rather offbeat, and that’s what Delhi to Munisyari road trip is going to offer – if only if you’re not doing it as the usual hurried weekend drive. So find yourself some time, follow this one-week road trip itinerary from Delhi to Munsiyari and complete your Uttarakhand experience all in one journey!
Also Read: Spiti Valley Road Trip Itinerary